There is an unusual noise!!!

I’m lying in bed, having just turned out the light. Then it starts.

“Squeak!” it goes.

“Squeak!”

It sounds a little like a child’s soft toy (obviously one with a squeaker in it). And it’s coming from outside the window.

This is a first.

One thing I particularly like about living here is that it’s dead quiet at night. There might be the odd ‘old house’ type noise, generally in the winter – you know, where you lie awake trying to work out whether what you can hear is the wind in the chimney or whether it’s somebody whispering very slowly: ‘I – am – going – to – kill – you…’

Otherwise there’s just the LTLP, who snores like a heffalump. But that’s about it.

“Squeak!”

The sound’s moving around quickly outside the window. One minute it appears to be coming from the front garden, the next from outside Short Tony’s, the next from further down the road. Then back again.

There seem to be two possibilities.

Firstly, one of my mates has made the two hour drive up here, stopping off on the way to purchase a child’s soft toy (inc. squeaker) from a 24-hour service area in order to effect a particularly weak practical joke on me.

I consider taking a potshot into the bushes just to teach them a lesson, but this scenario does seem unlikely, so I am forced to conclude that what I’m dealing with is probably a Peculiar Animal.

“Squeak!”

The squeaks are extremely regular, every five seconds or so. I lie there, marvelling at just how quickly something initially funny and intriguing can start to become very annoying indeed.

I go to the window, trying to locate this Ben Elton of the animal kingdom. I shine a torch out. Aside from being mobbed by flying insects, I can’t see anything.

“Squeak!”

It’s clearly not a cat. Nor a rabbit, nor next-door’s dog, nor an owl. I don’t know what moles and shrews sound like. It could be a young pheasant with a speech impediment, but that seems unlikely.

I switch off the torch. It takes me a moment to realise that there is still a torch beam moving round the garden.

Shit!!!

It has a torch!!!

This is alarming but inevitable. Animals were going to evolve to carry torches sooner or later.

It takes me a further moment to realise that the beam’s origin is Short Tony’s bedroom window. Big relief. I am still the dominant species.

“Squeak!”

I go back to bed and try to ignore it.

A car passes, and the squeak is no more.

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