Just a few minutes after our dinner guests left tonight, Brian and I heard what sounded like someone screaming. Brian ran outside, I called the police. When they arrived (4 cars!), no one was to be found. Brian says he heard someone yelling up the street from us, then nothing. We both heard them say, "Help." Brian heard them say, "Leave me alone."
Living in the city, you get used to hearing scraps of other people's lives, their drunken yells and their early morning car doors. But this cry was weird. It reminded me of the coyotes we used to hear some nights when we lived in Vermont. It was so distorted that we couldn't agree if it was a man or a woman.
The police didn't find anyone, though. Which makes me wonder if we made the whole thing up. Maybe it was someone who'd had too much to drink, and didn't want their friends to walk them home. Maybe it was a couple having a fight. But the weird thing is how strange it makes the nighttime street seem no longer like a friendly block of people and dogs and stained-glass makers, but instead a wall of houses, where every dark window could hide a secret danger.