The Bat in the Attic – Corynne (Cory) Nuckols

The Bat in the Attic Closet 

When I was little, about 5 or 6yrs old, I was annoying my older brother a lot. He was six years older than I and he didn’t like this baby sister following him around. Or playing with his GI Joe’s. (They had a tendency to marry my Barbie when he wasn’t around to stop me.)  

Our house was an old 2 story white farmhouse and we kids had our bedrooms up in the finished off attic space that was the second floor. My sister who was 3 years older and I shared one room while our brother had the other room.  

Whenever I irritated him too much, he would shove me into the one unfinished attic closet that we had. It could only be opened from the outside, so once in there, I was stuck. It got to be where it occured so often, I started hiding one of my dad’s flashlights, a doll, books and even a set of batteries in the closet. Because sometimes, it would be awhile before anyone figured out that I was in there.  

Anyway, one day I irritated him again and he shoved me in there and left. I wasn’t concerned. I crawled over to my hiding spot, pulled out my doll and the flashlight and lit her up. I did get concerned when I realised the light was very faint. Dying batteries. As I turned around, I saw 2 small dots glowing and blinking in the light. I saw something large and dark flopping in the shadows on the floor and I heard a squeaking sound.  

Then the flashlight died.  

I screamed bloody murder. I didn’t know what it was, but I knew it was in there with me and I wanted out. Now. 

I screamed so loud that my father heard me, when he was at the other end of the house, downstairs, outside, in the garage. He came thundering up the stairs thru our bedrooms to that closet and let me out. By this time I was scared silly and crying, barely able to tell him. He got another flashlight and looked, but he didn’t find anything. He calmed me down and threatened to beat my brother’s butt when he got home.  

I sat with him for awhile in the garage but as things calmed down, like any child, I went to play in the backyard and forgot about it. Later that night, my mother asked me to go down to the basement and get one of dad’s screwdrivers to fix a loose kitchen cabinet handle. I went down and got the screwdriver, but I saw something flopping and started hearing squeaking noises.  

The same ones I’d heard in the attic earlier that day.  

I took off back up those steps, yelling for dad the whole way. My mother hadn’t believed me earlier in the day and I knew she wouldn’t now. I told dad and he said he’d go look. My mother made a comment about childish imaginations but I heard him go down the stairs.  

There were no sounds for a minute, then I heard my dad yell “SHIT” and come running back up to the top of the stairs. Dad hardly ever swore in front of us kids. He yelled at mother thru the door to get him his leather work gloves. She got them for him from the garage and then he went back downstairs to the basement again. 

As mother and I waited in the kitchen wondering what was happening, we heard some banging and swearing in the basement. Then we heard dad come back up the stairs. He called thru the door to us. “I want to show you two something… I found something in the basement. I want to prove to her that she really did see something upstairs earlier. Now slowly, open the door. I won’t come into the kitchen, I’m only going to stand in the doorway. Then I’m going out the back door.” Mother just rolled her eyes and opened the door.  

Then she screamed and jumped back. I remember her grabbing my arm and yanking me in front of her as we faced the creature my dad was holding. It was a bat. A huge bat. 

As I got older, I looked up bat varieties in Illinois and believe it was a large specimen of the Big Brown bat, native to Illinois. I know it was at least 12 inches across from tip to tip, because my dad was holding it up in front of him. And as he held it by the wingtips it went almost across his chest, shoulder to shoulder. It was a fuzzy brown color and it wiggled and squeaked as dad held it up for both of us to see.  

I thought it was cool looking but mother was yanking on my arm holding me in place as I stood in front of her. She was swearing and yelling at dad to get it out of her kitchen. Now! Dad just looked at her and said “Let go. I’m just showing you both this is what she heard earlier. This had to have gotten into the attic and fallen down thru the walls to the basement. It’s nothing to be scared of.” All I remember thinking at the time was “Wow.. I think mom just said a bad word. A bunch of them.”   

Dad looked at me, turned around and went back down the stairs to the basement. When he got to the basement, he called back upstairs and asked me to open the back door and hold it open for him. I went down the stairs to the landing and held the back door open as he walked up and out into the yard, still holding the bat with both hands.  

I remember asking all sorts of questions about it and what he was going to do. Dad said it didn’t look or act hurt, so he was just going to let it go and see what it did. Hopefully it would just fly. I was excited to see it fly away past the walnut trees.  

And I don’t know what dad said to my brother but I was never locked in that attic closet again.  

To this day I look for any bats flying at dusk. That experience stayed with me. For more than one reason.