This weekend, I was house sitting for my older sister as she and her boyfriend were going away for Valentine’s Weekend (he works during the week and lives about an hour or two away).
From the start, I hated it. I hate the area she lives in and I hate her house, which is really big and creepy and you can never fully heat it, as it costs too much. Honestly, I had the heating on for about five-six hours and it was still freezing. I had to wear fluffy pyjamas, my dressing gown, a hat and stayed beneath the covers. Basically, I’d got the shit end of the deal.
Still, it’s been a while since my sister got spoiled, so I kept my mouth shut and got on with watching the house and caring for her pets.
Throughout the day, I let the dog in and out. It’s a big Staffordshire bull terrior who looks like he’s eats steroids instead of food. I can’t handle him on the lead, meaning I could only let him out in the backyard. Looks are deceiving, though, because he’s a big softy with the family and people he knows – he even cuddles up to the cats. Anyone else that he doesn’t know, not so much.
At one point, I’d noticed that I’d left the backdoor unlocked, so made sure to double check that it’d been locked whenever I let the dog out and back in. I’m so glad I made that mistake so early on in the day, instead of later at night.
I think it was about eight o’clock when I let the dog out again, preparing some extra food for him since he didn’t eat his breakfast. He’d been anxious all day and I had to shout at him to get in the house whenever I let him out. It was while he was eating it that I noticed a red light out of the window. Bearing in mind, it’s pitch black outside and there’s no streetlights in the back street. Being the over anxious person I am, I started worrying until I noticed the oven was right behind me, the time on it lit up by red lights.
But when I turned back, I saw the light of a phone. You know when you’re trying to find something with your screen? Like that. That’s when I did start to panic. I was in full view of whoever was out there, whereas they were hidden. Maybe I should have checked it out, but I’m like five foot three and weigh the equivalent of a bag of crisps, even with my recent weight gain. I’m totally defenceless and my only comfort was the dog chomping away at his tea.
Before leaving, I did my routine of double checking the lock, giving the door a firm tug just in case. Hearing the click signifying it as shutting properly (it’s an old, weak as shit door that doesn’t click shut until it’s locked and given a good shove, hence why it always needs to be locked), I shut off the heating (my sister isn’t made of money and it’d already been on five hours) and went back upstairs.
It was easy forgetting about the phone light I saw while in the kitchen. Following my sister’s orders, I left all lights in the house on – well, not totally because of her orders, because the house is creepy as fuck and I know I’m too chicken shit to leave the bedroom if the lights aren’t on – got tucked up in bed and pigged out on the snacks I’d bought, happy that I didn’t have to wear earphones to watch my favourite anime, Naruto.
I think it was nearly ten o’clock when I heard it. The loud bang of someone booting down the door.
Not wanting to wet myself, I kept repeating that it was just next door messing around. They were a big family with who knows how many kids and they were screaming and laughing about an hour before. It was the weekend and I knew me and sisters were even worse growing up, so who am I to complain?
But one of the cats was hissing behind me on the windowsill and I thought it was the fucking grudge for a split second, even though she doesn’t even hiss. The dog was going insane, barking at the bedroom door and the other two cats had run off.
That’s when I knew it wasn’t next door.
For some reason, even though she’s over an hour away, I rang my mum and told her what was happening. She tried calming me down, saying it was probably next door as she knew how loud they could be. Figuring she wasn’t much help, I hung up and rung my sister, who instructed me to let the dog loose. I didn’t need telling twice.
Whatever he saw down there had him going berserk. It took me a few moments longer to finally follow him and by that time, whoever it was, was already gone. I don’t know what they wanted or what their intentions were, but I’m simply glad it hadn’t been an hour later after I’d taken my tablets. I’m on a pretty high dose of Mirtazapine as well as sleeping tablets due to random bouts of insomnia and episodes of depression. If they had broken in after I’d taken them, I wouldn’t have known. I would’ve been dead to the world as they knock me out for about ten hours.
I was hysterical when I saw the state of the back door, once more screaming at the dog to come back and once he was in, I was slamming it shut, leaning my entire crisp packet weight into the door. The lock was strangely still in place, the only thing holding the door to the freaking wall, because it was completely off its hinges. I was crying into the phone to my sister, begging her to come home. She hung up to ring a taxi, as she and partner had been drinking.
During that time, I rung my mum back, crying hysterically and she used another phone to call the police who, to give them credit, were there in a matter of minutes. I was just so scared, all the worst possible scenarios rushing through my mind and making me feel sick to my stomach. After all, they would’ve seen me calling the dog back into the house, if that was them at eight o’clock outside the house on their phone.
They had to sit me down and talk me through some breathing exercises – I hadn’t even realised I was having a panic attack until I was calmed down. I’d only ever had one before in my life, and it happened to have been in the beginning of January, so quite recent.
After, one of the officers told me that his partner had checked the outside and inside of the door, saying it didn’t look to have been kicked in. Still freaking the fuck out, I snapped at him that it had been hanging on my the lock alone and I certainly wasn’t capable of doing that, even if I am on one of my rage rampages.
My sister and her boyfriend came in at some point, asking me if I was hurt and if the pets were okay and if they were all still in the house. We’re a family of animal lovers, so it didn’t surprise me, even if the policeman looked a little startled that that was her main concern.
I was still shaking pretty badly and the police had had to lock the dog in the front room when they arrived because he was still in his beast mode. Looking back at it now, I’m actually so surprised to see him so protective and vicious, even though I know I shouldn’t be surprised. It was his home and I’m his family. We’d spent the entire day and the night before with him sitting on my lap like he’s not some huge dog but instead one of the cats (I wasn’t supposed to, but I let him sleep on the bed, knowing full well my sister didn’t like it because of his short, spiky fur and not caring in the slightest – it was cold and I felt sorry for him).
My sister sent me home in a taxi and paid for the fare, tipping the driver to make sure I got home safely. I’m still quite shaken up by what happened and couldn’t sleep at all last night, scared of every little sound I heard outside even though I live over an hour away from my sister’s house.
There wasn’t anything valuable in the house other than the upstairs TV, my laptop and phone. I wouldn’t have been able to give them money – I’m a student who has already spent all her loans already. I’m not a fighter and, let’s be honest, I’m not in the best shape right now. I spent about half an hour the other week doing a workout and ended up in the hospital with bad chest pains, unable to breathe. They would’ve easily overpowered me and it terrifies me just thinking about what could have happened.
If it weren’t for that dog… I don’t know what would have happened. I’m so glad he was there.
Safe to say, I’m never house sitting again.