At first she couldn’t figure out what the screeching was.
‘Skree-clik…skree-clik’ it went faster, slower and hinted at something spinning. It drove her berserk. Finally she went out into the windy night to find it, less scared of the dark than she was irritated by the noise.
It came from Frank’s yard, her ancient and grumpy neighbor. She prayed that it wasn’t something he had installed permanently. Shining her torch surreptitiously from the bushes she found it. A windmill! It was beautiful, all silver metal that shone in the light. 8 feet tall, the sharp metal blades caught the wind. The awful noise screamed from the spinning blades.
‘That’s why I can only hear it when the wind blows. What the hell am I going to do?’ Dana swore under her breath. There was no way she could leave this, unless she was happy never to sleep on windy days. ‘Stuff it. First thing tomorrow, it’s you and me Frank.’ At least she knew what the hell it was. Tossing and turning she tried to sleep.
The next morning was bright and clear and no wind. Dana had managed to get some sleep but nowhere near her usual amount. It made her antsy and short-tempered. Even the welcomed coffee she had with her breakfast, didn’t help.
Smiling, she went to see Frank.
A hairy eyebrow and distrustful eyes peeped through the gap.
‘Good morning Frank are you well?’ Dana said. She plastered her best smile across her face to put him at ease.
‘Yes?’ he said again.
‘Fine thanks for asking’ she muttered under her breath.
Still smiling she said, ‘I see your windmill?’
‘What about it?’ Frank grumped, opening the door to reveal 2 hairy eyebrows. Dana wondered if he shaved them back when he went for a hairdo. Shaking her head, she plucked up her courage.
‘Frank please can you either move it or oil it or something? It’s keeping me awake at night. I will gladly—.’
‘What? What’s keeping you awake?’
‘What noise?’ he stepped outside to listen, Dana wondered if he was deaf.
They looked out at the shiny windmill, which of course wasn’t moving given that there was no wind. He looked at her.
‘Well it’s not making a noise now!’ She realized that Frank didn’t believe her and took a breath to calm her temper.
‘Didn’t you hear it last night?’ He shook his head.
‘Can you please listen the next time its windy and do something about it?’
Barely nodding, Frank walked inside and banged the door.
Feeling frustrated, Dana left hoping he would sort it out. For the next few days, there was very little wind and both forgot about the squeaky windmill.
‘Skree-clik…skree-clik’ Dana lay awake, fuming at Frank. There was no sleep left for her tonight she realised, pissed off as hell.
This time the windmill was noisy when she went to see Frank and she was glad, now he had to believe her. He came out after her knock and heard the ‘Skree-clik…skree-clik’ himself. Dana looked at him expectantly. He looked back, his brows knitting like to mating caterpillars.
‘I like it’ he said simply, going inside and banging the door. Dana just stood there in shock. ‘How the hell could he like that awful noise?’ It was infuriating and she had had enough. Using her fist, she banged on the door until he opened, his face thunderous.
Through gritted teeth she asked ‘Frank, I cannot sleep with that noise, its driving me nuts, please just oil it, that should work.’ Frank looked over at her, gave a small shake of his head and closed the door. This time he didn’t answer her banging. Dana left with a sore fist, dented pride and a huge sense of humor failure.
That night Dana lay awake listening to the slow ‘Skree-clik…skree-clik’ it was like Chinese torture. Even with the pillow over her head, she could hear it. Finally she turned the TV on loud and managed to sleep. It was beyond infuriating.
Sunday morning Dana sat drinking her coffee, looking at the windmill. It had stopped turning as the wind had dropped but the weather promised a stormy week and she was dreading it. Rubbing her tired eyes she conceded that she would have to sort this out herself. That morning she went to Allmart’s coming home with Kew10, a bottle of bubbly and a decent helping of fresh sushi. Sunday’s Frank went out and as farting gas-guzzler turned the corner, she was ready to go.
Keeping to the shadows, Dana made it all the way to the windmill without being detected by any neighbors, not that she knew them anyway. Straining to reach, she sprayed the entire bottle of oil out on the windmill, into every crack and join, practically drowning the blades.
‘Ta-daa. That should do it! Up yours Frank.’ She said with glee, hurrying back to her house. She popped the bubbly, savored the sushi and watch Frank get home, none the wiser.
3pm and she was flat, having had so little sleep the night before. Lying on her bed in the sun, she was soon relaxed, then fast asleep.
‘Skree-clik, skree-clik, skree-clik, skree-clik.’ She rose from her sleep like a George Romero zombie and lay there listening in disbelief. ‘No! No!’ The oil didn’t work and she was devastated. ‘Dammit!’ Looking outside she noticed storm clouds building. No sleep tonight, the thought made her feel sick.
She got up, finished the last of the bubbly and hoped that the weather would change. It didn’t, the storm moved in and Dana spent a miserable night listening to the cacophony of squeaking from next door. She hoped it was keeping Frank awake too.
Monday finally rolled around and Dana got out of bed feeling like a train wreck.
‘How the hell and I going to make it through today? And I swear, if that thing keeps me awake tonight…’ She didn’t know what she would be capable of but knew that she needed sleep.
Arriving home from work, she stared in shock at the windmill. The blades were flying in the strong wind. The sound was now more pronounced, and more like a ‘Skree-skree -clik…skree-skree-clik’ it was moving so fast.
Dana tried once more, pleading with Frank to move the windmill or do something to stop the noise. He ignored her. Defeated she returned home, almost crying with rage. She managed to heat creamy tomato soup, eat it quickly and get to bed. She turned on the TV and tried to sleep.
By 3am – she had had enough! Even if she was arrested, she welcomed sleeping in a quiet prison cell and not have to listen to this awful shrieking. The weather predicted a stormy week and she already had 3 sleepless nights behind her.
Dana pulled her gown around her, slipped on her tennis shoes and picked up her wood axe. Humming like a mental person, she went next door and started chopping at the legs of the windmill. 3 hits later and Frank was running towards her, shouting. He looked positively terrifying with his gown flapping in the wind and his toothless mouth, shouting at her. His fist was raised but Dana had no fear. Everything was crystal clear.
Frank grabbed the windmill and shouted again, but she couldn’t hear him. The wind was too strong. Dana stared at him and raised the axe again. This time she heard him, ‘Don’t you dare! Leave my windmill alone, you bitch!’ With the wind in his face, his eyebrows lay flat and his hair streaked out behind him. It was an epic windstorm and the rain suddenly lashed them with icy pellets.
“Get out of my yard’ he yelled. Dana dropped the axe in defeat. All she had done was make a few marks on the metal anyway. She looked up at Frank to try and reason with him when the most extraordinary thing happened… a bolt of lightning, the first of the season, hit the windmill, shattering it into pieces, instantly shutting up the noise. Dana managed to jump back, but Frank was holding the steel. Dana watched him light up like a firecracker. His hair fizzed and disappeared into smoke. Skin blackened and smoking, he held onto the frame, it turned red-hot and the lightening just kept coming.
Dana stood there in shock, mouth open until she tasted flesh burning and clammed it shut. Stepping back she waited for charred Frank to stop glowing before approaching him. Was he dead?
‘Yip. Dead’ she said, hanging the axe over her shoulder. Humming again, she wandered home, dried her hair, had a hot cup of tea and climbed into bed. The last thing she heard before drifting off was the soothing sound of lightning and thunder.