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Posted January 26, 2010 by Tim Wells in Family

The Crimson Ninja

The Crimson NinjaThe assassin’s footsteps were silent. Her penumbral form melded so completely with the surrounding shadows that she could have been one, herself. She approached her targets’ home, quickly and expertly assessing her entry options. Having chosen her breach point, she made quick work of the lock and lithely slid inside. Her graceful movements belied their inherent deadliness as she made her way towards her slumbering prey. As she prepared to deliver the single, lethal strike that would make her victims’ rest eternal, she spoke. Her voice was less than a whisper as she uttered the last words the unsuspecting dreamers would never hear, “Sir, can I have some licorice? I’m feeding two, after all.”

You know when you hear an outlandish but true story and you say to yourself, that could only ever happen to so-and-so? Dawn and I are those so-and-so’s. We are weirdness magnets. So sit back and take solace in the knowledge that the true story I’m about to tell will likely never happen to you because Dawn and I are on the job.

We normally lock our doors at night. Sunday night, we had company over and forgot to lock the door behind our friends, when they left. We went to bed around 10:30 and were soundly sleeping at 12:30 a.m. when our eldest son opened our bedroom door and said, “Dad, there’s someone here.”

Groggy, I pulled myself up on one elbow and squinted at my son, silhouetted in the doorway. As my mind struggled to process the situation, I became aware that my son wasn’t alone. Standing directly behind him in our bedroom, was a twenty-something woman in a bright red jogging suit. Before I could react, she said, “I’m sorry to bother you at this hour but I can’t find my way home.” She sounded slightly confused, herself.

We later learned that our son had been awakened by the doorbell being rung repeatedly. I have no idea how Dawn and I managed to sleep through it. After crawling out of bed, our son opened his bedroom door to see a woman standing in our living room, and all the lights turned on. The woman asked my son if his mom was home. He hesitated before replying that his mom was probably asleep. That’s when he came to our room and the woman followed.

Dawn got out of bed and ushered our intruder into the kitchen. After hurriedly pulling on some clothes and seeing our son safely back to bed, I joined them. Dawn was attempting to ascertain who the woman was and where she was from. The woman said her name was Chrissy and that she had been out for a walk but couldn’t find her way back to the group home, where she lived. It quickly became apparent that Chrissy was developmentally disabled. I would put her mental capacity at a pre-teen level. She was also pregnant.

Chrissy was proving – whether by design or innocence – to be less than helpful in trying to resolve her problem. She couldn’t remember the name of the group home, where it was located, the phone number, or how she had gotten to our house. It was only when I suggested that we call the police that Chrissy was suddenly able to recall the phone number.

Dawn called the number and spoke to a woman who said she had been just about to call the police herself to report Chrissy missing. When Dawn asked how far away the group home was by car, the woman replied, “Ten to fifteen minutes.” We never did find out how Chrissy managed to make it that far from home in freezing temperatures.

While Dawn was on the phone, Chrissy spied a bag of Red Vines on the kitchen counter and said, “Sir, can I have some licorice? I’m feeding two, after all.” Before I could object (I wasn’t feeling very charitable), Dawn slid the bag to her. As Chrissy ate her licorice, she said, “Sir, is something wrong? You look mad.” Incredulous, all I could do was nod.

Dawn, being the kind-hearted-to-a-fault person she is, asked the woman from the home if she thought Chrissy would be able to direct Dawn if she attempted to drive her home. I stepped in at that point and made it clear that Dawn would not be going anywhere with Chrissy – regardless of how harmless she appeared.

Since we had some time to kill before Chrissy’s ride showed up, I suggested she sit down on the living room sofa. She did, and Dawn sat down on the love seat, opposite her. Almost as soon as Dawn sat down, Chrissy said, “I think I’ll come sit with you. That pillow looks comfy.” I headed her off by saying that I was going to sit next to Dawn, as soon as I was done letting the dog out.

While I was attending to the dog, Dawn was telling Chrissy that she really shouldn’t just walk into people’s houses in the middle of the night. Chrissy’s reply? “Well, your door was unlocked.” Dawn attempted to explain how that still didn’t make it right and that Chrissy was fortunate that she hadn’t walked into a less understanding household.

As I sat down next to Dawn, Chrissy addressed me again. “Sir, are you ok? You look tired.” Miraculously, I managed to respond without calling upon any well-deserved profanity.

When the woman arrived to pick Chrissy up, she didn’t even address Dawn or me. No “Sorry for the intrusion,” or even a “Thanks for calling.” Instead, she looked at Chrissy and said, “Ready to go?” As though this was your garden-variety social visit and maybe Chrissy would like to stay a bit longer.

After they left, Dawn made sure to lock the door behind them before losing the amazing composure she had shown throughout entire the situation. The tears flowed as her exhausted and overwhelmed mind played through a number of “what if” scenarios. It was quite a while before either of us was able to go back to sleep.

When my alarm went off at 6:30, I knew there was no way I was making it to work. I left a message for my boss, explaining the situation and finished by saying, “I know it’s an odd story, but you can’t make this stuff up.”

An odd story, indeed – and not even the first time we’ve had strange nocturnal visitors. But those are stories for another time.

One thing’s for sure: from werewolf employers to crimson ninjas, we can never complain that we lead a dull life.

Tim Wells

Dad, husband, gamer, blogger, geek. Not necessarily in that order.