The Day the Squirrels Attacked
I'm going to tell you a story. A true and terrifying tale of when I was just a wee girl. I awoke bright and early as I did every day at that age. My father had already left for work and my mother was still asleep. I, being the sweet and considerate daughter I still am today, quietly made way across the living room in an attempt to close my mother's bedroom door so she could continue to sleep peacefully as I watched my morning cartoons and eat a balanced breakfast of pop-tarts. I was just crossing in front of the fireplace...when it began. At first, I thought it was my imagination, but the noises got worse.
In one leap, I was on the couch, arms tightly wrapped around my legs. I sat there in silence, just staring at the gray bricks, ears at full attention. I wasn't certain if what I heard was simply my imagination, but as the soft scratching continued, I knew it was more than just my mind.
Probably half an hour passed until my mother woke up. She exited her room with a stretch, ready to face the day, only to find her daughter with a look of panic in her eyes as she sat curled up on the couch. Of course, she inquired as to why I was in such a state and I told her of the creature in the fireplace. She listened with me and heard the scratching sounds as well.
Bravely, she approached the fireplace, looking inside. She opened the flue to see if anything would fall in, but nothing happened. With a shrug, she attempted to close the flue, but it was stuck. I gasped as the scratching continued, the creature now having a way inside. My mother tried to comfort me, telling me that it wasn't likely anything would fall in. She placed a box in front of the chain screen as added security and left for the back room to read her paper.
My mother's words seemed to do the trick. I forgot all about the scratching as I watched my cartoons. I had not a care in the world until I heard a loud clattering from the fireplace. I looked over just as it fell, knocking over the box as it clung onto the chain screen with a loud screeeeeetch!
A squirrel covered from head to tail with soot. In my mind, I remember its eyes burning red. As it screeched, I screamed. I climbed onto the very top of the couch, my back pressed against the wall as it emerged from the fireplace, the screen and box doing nothing to stop it. The squirrel ran through the living room as I continued to scream before it ran into my parents' room. Quickly, I jumped off the couch and shut the door after it. I was still clinging to the doorknob in a daze when my mother rushed in.
I summed up the situation briefly. There was now a squirrel in her bedroom.
We stood there, wondering what to do. My older brother had finally woken up and we began to explain the situation. As we did, we all heard a noise. A recognizable noise. The noise of scratching from inside the fireplace.
"Sweet babies," I thought in terror. "There are more of them!"
My mother called animal control as my brother went to his room. I returned to my place on the couch and assumed the same position. I clutched my legs tightly to my chest as I listened to the scratching coming from the fireplace and now my parents' bedroom. I was at a lost of what to do. My mother seemed to feel the same way as she sat down next to me, wondering how she was going to get a squirrel out of her room. Then my brother emerged from his room.
Wearing socks, sneakers, sweatpants, and a hoodie that was tied to cover a good portion of his face, he walked over to the kitchen. He rummaged through one of the drawers until he found an old pair of oven mittens, which he then donned. My mother and I looked at him in confusion until it suddenly hit us both.
He was taking matters into his own gloved covered hands.
He entered my parent's room showing no fear. Not that we could tell as everything but his nose was pretty much covered up. It was a simple mission
- Get in
- Open a window
- Get out
It was a flawlessly executed, fool-proof plan. Or so we thought.
All three of us ran outside to witness the fruits of my brother's labor. We saw the squirrel at the window...but the wrong window. Instead of jumping out through the open window, the squirrel sat at the closed window next to it, looking at our dumb-founded faces. With a groan, my mother and brother went back inside as I was assigned to watch the squirrel until it left. I sat on the grass, staring at the stupid thing, until something on the roof caught my eye.
I watched as several of them gathered around the chimney, some crawling in.
"Mom!" I screamed. "There's more of them! They're going in the chimney!"
"What?! Throw something at them!"
So I did, rebuking each and every one of those fuzzy troublemakers.
Since I obviously didn't want to hurt any of the squirrels, I did my best to throw around them, but it did little to detour them. Fortunately, the squirrel in my parents' room finally emerged and I rushed back inside. My mom was now frantically calling my father as I went into their room and closed the window.
Animal control still no where to be seen, my father told my mother the squirrels were probably trying to rescue a fallen friend. If we put a rope into the chimney, it may encourage them to climb out. No rope at home, my mother and I went to the hardware store as my brother watched over the roof. It wasn't long before we returned and my mother scaled the roof to carefully place in the rope. At first, it seemed to work as more soot covered squirrels climbed out, but inside the living room, we could still hear the scratching.
After several hours, animal control finally arrived. We all breathed a sigh of relief, certain they would solve our troubles. We couldn't be more wrong.
After only several minutes of less than enthusiastic attempts, the two men informed us that there was nothing they could do. The only option they could give us was to completely seal up the fireplace and they could be back in a few weeks to recover any dead bodies.
With a unanimous "NO" we sent the two men on their way.
We were all at a loss of what to do until my father finally arrived home. With my orange beach shovel in hand, my father was ready to face those squirrels head on, wearing nothing more than a pair of shorts for protection.
My brother manned the back door, ready to open it whenever my father would give him the signal. My mother and I sat on the kitchen counter...for moral support, of course. With half his body inside of the fireplace, my father began scooping squirrels out left and right. My brother quickly opened and shut the back door to let the squirrels inside out and keep them out. Quite a congregation of squirrels had gathered at this point to check on their soot covered, dazed friends.
All seemed to be going well as a pattern followed. My father would scoop out a squirrel and it would head straight for the back door. The squirrels outside began to disperse, satisfied with having their brethren back. It seemed there was just one more stubborn squirrel left in the chimney. My father struggled with it, climbing into the chimney after it. Finally, he pulled the hysterical squirrel out and it tumbled into the living room. Instead of heading for the back door, it darted into the kitchen. My mom and I shrieked as it rushed by us and into the dining room. My father chased after it with the shovel as it made circles all through the house. Opening the front door, we were finally able to shoo the last squirrel out of our home. All in all, the ordeal lasted roughly 12 hours from 8am-8pm.
Years have passed, but if you look closely, you can still see small black paw prints on the wallpaper in the dining room.