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We were sleeping peacefully last night when suddenly – 

WARNING! WARNING! Carbon monoxide level is zero…please evacuate the building…testing… testing.

I nudged H but he was sleeping the sleep of the dead. After a few more pokes he finally sat up and grabbed his flashlight. 

I grabbed my cell phone – it’s the first thing I thought of – and followed H and the flashlight beam down the dark hallway. The screeching warnings and beeping continued as he shined the light around the room. 

“I think it’s saying testing,” I said, as H shined the light on the small, but loud, piece of equipment attached to the wall at the end of the hall. The warning was coming to us from an irritating woman’s voice, alarming us of danger. 

He pried the detector off the wall while the noise continued and then we sat in the darkened living room as he tried to remove the batteries to shut that woman up, while I held the flashlight. I later wondered why we didn’t turn on a light! It was a carbon monoxide warning – not electrical. 

The high pitched shrieks continued to warn us to leave. My throat was itchy. My eyes were watering.  Was it only my imagination? Should we flee the premises?

After the smoke detector/carbon monoxide detector was finally dismantled, we headed back to bed. Leaving the window open all night gave us a better sense of security. 

The reason we have that piece of equipment is because years ago H’s mother had trouble with the heating unit and her neighbor found her barely conscious in the bedroom one morning. She made the front page of the newspaper the next day. That heating unit has been replaced. 

We may never know what caused the ruckus but it looks as though we are in the market for a new detector! 



About Elle Knowles

Elle Knowles lives in the Florida Panhandle with her husband and off-at-college-most-of-the-time son. She has four daughters, one son, and eleven beautiful grandchildren. 'Crossing the Line' is her first novel. The sequel 'What Line' is a work in progress. Recently published is Coffee-Drunk Or Blind - a nonfiction story of homesteading in the Alaska wilderness with her parents and four siblings, told through letters by her mother and remembered accounts from the family.

11 responses »

  1. It is probably the perfect time to test, to let you know it is dying!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. And you didn’t go outside why? Hmmmm

    Liked by 1 person


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