When we first moved to the village, I thought it was kinda quaint and cute that the volunteer firemen had a big siren perched on top of the school house. Sure, when it went off it would scare the pants off the kids if school was in session, but overall, it didn't seem like a major alarm, if you know what I mean.
Reality hit a few years back when one night the siren went off about 11-11:30 p.m. I didn't think too much of it, except that I needed to sprint downstairs and try and stop Typhon from howling along.
The next morning, as I took the kids to school, I was greeted by tears. Turned out, the alarm had been for a lovely neighbour, an older grandma type who always took the time to chat to me and ask about the tribe. She was someone who was a big part of the village tapestry, someone who had been here forever and had made me feel welcome right from the start. She had suffered a major heart attack that night and, unfortunately, she didn't survive.
Since then, whenever I hear the siren, the hair at the back of neck rises and I cringe. I know so many more people here now and each time the siren sounds, I worry about who might be needing help. There are so many older folks living on their own around here, so many young families, so many people driving too fast on tight country lanes. Last month alone, the siren cried out it's sad sound as a house was engulfed in flames and the man who called that place home lost his life.
The siren scares me now.
Sometimes, luckily, it's for nothing. Or relatively nothing. A car stuck in a ditch, a flooded kitchen, someone who's fallen, those type of things. But the mystery when that siren pierces the darkness and cries out at 2 a.m. is horrible.
I understand why the women gossip in the village, why the old ladies network works so well. This needed to know, to be sure that everyone is ok, to find out what happened... I get that now. Family histories and clan conflicts aside, there is something about that siren that scares us all.