The explosion that wasn’t

Something really strange happened last night, at 2AM. Lately I haven’t been awake as late as 2AM, but last night I was, for various reasons.  I was not even in bed, although I was going there soon.  A train had just passed by.  There are a couple houses and a road between here and the railway track, but when the heavy goods trains pass at their best speed, it still makes the house shake a little.  I have gotten used to it, so it doesn’t wake me if I am already asleep, but I sure notice it when I’m awake.  This was a pretty heavy one, so I consciously noticed.

Half a minute later, perhaps, I heard a single explosion, and the house jumped, but only once.  It was not even like thunder, rolling over a distance. It was just one single BOOM, as if someone fired off a cannon nearby.  But obviously people in this quiet neighborhood don’t have cannons.

I got up, put on clothes, checked the basement (nothing unusual there) and went out. I went as far as to the railway station, about five minutes walk, but nowhere did I see or hear anything unusual at all.  If it had been that far away and still so loud, it would have had the whole neighborhood awake, but I was the only one around.  There were no unusual sounds or sights or even smells. Well, there was a strange chemical smell when I passed the closest neighbor, but it had been there in the afternoon too, when I mowed the lawn, many hours before.

I went to bed eventually, and got up and it was daylight, but still nothing strange anywhere.  I have just written it off by now.

Mostly in jest I thought perhaps it happened in the parallel world that my bathroom is connected to. You see, this house has a nice enough bathroom, considering that it is from around 1970. The tub is a bit cramped for me, but was probably ideal for the grandparent generation.  Anyway, it is a nice bathroom except that I often hear voices there. Not in the bathroom itself, but just outside.  However, one of the lawns is outside. When I check, there is no one there, and no one visible or audible around the neighbor’s house either. The voices sound very much like Norwegian, in the sounds and the tone, but I can never understand what they say.  They are slightly distorted, so that I almost think I might understand it if they spoke a little more clearly, but it never happens.

If the voices are not enough, there are the smells.  Now, we all know that bathrooms can smell.  That is not what I am talking about.  There are smells that don’t come from anything in my house.  The strongest one is of turpentine or white spirit or some such.  It happens some days and can last for hours.  There is no such thing in the house that I know of.  Sometimes it smells of flowers or perhaps some kind of shampoo or something with flower smell.  None of mine are like that.  It is not always the same, I think. It generally does not last as long as the turpentine smell though.  The smell is generally not at the same time as the voices, though I won’t say it has never happened.

Most likely there is some way the plumbing is carrying sound (and smell) from one of the neighbors further away.  I really doubt there is a parallel earth that is connected to ours through my bathroom, even though that would certainly explain it all.  If so, I’m afraid they had a very bad night there.  I will feel a slight jolt of relief when I next hear the voices outside, knowing that they are still alive… wherever they are.