It was a miserable, bitter cold night along the Colorado River in San Saba County. The wind was howling when my wife and I drove up and parked in front of the old wooden house on top of a hill overlooking the river valley. It was pitch black and not a star was visible due to the Arctic blast that had blown down into the Texas Hill Country. I turned my back to the cold and quickly worked to turn the key in the old lock, get into the house and turn on a light. While my wife was getting her things from the car I rushed into the house and lit a couple of old gas heaters to try and take some of the chill off before we went to bed. We had driven several hours in the dark after work and needed to rise early as we were going deer hunting the next morning.
The old pier and beam ranch house had been home to several generations and told its age by moaning and creaking in the howling winter wind. We piled on the quilts and hurried to bed snuggling to stay warm. I had drifted off into that semiconscious state just before sleep when I heard someone walking across the wood floor in the back of the house. I at first thought my wife had gotten up to get something but as I instinctively reached back I felt her next to me. She also had been awakened by the sound of footsteps. As the footsteps got closer to our room I jumped up in the dark and felt for my bag to retrieve my Colt 1911 .45. I slipped quietly over to the door and felt for the light switch. Light filled the room as I flipped the switch and the footsteps moved to the other end of the house. I jerked open the door and ran into the next room ready to confront an intruder and found nothing. My wife and I then went room to room searching the house looking for an intruder. I checked to make sure all the exterior doors were latched and went back to bed, this time with the pistol and a flashlight by my side.
I had a hard time going back to sleep and lay listening to the moaning and groaning of the old house trying to hear any sound out of place. I finally drifted off to sleep from exhaustion. Something made me sit straight up in bed and I again heard the sound of footsteps walking through the old house. This time they were headed straight towards the bedroom where we lay listening. I picked up the Colt and lay in wait. The sound of steps actually came right into our bedroom yet I heard no sound of a door opening in the dark. I turned on a flashlight expecting to confront the intruder but found the room empty. I leaped to the floor, flipped on the light switch and heard the sound of footsteps running through the house. I was freaking out as I chased the sound through the house. I could hear the sound of footsteps but saw no one. The old house was about 120 feet long so try to imagine what was going through my mind as I ran through the house in the dark with my flashlight and pistol in hand. I could hear every step on the cold wood floor yet no one was there. I ran to the end of the house into a sun room that was mostly glass and had an exterior door that went out into a side yard. I threw on the outside light just in time to see a big Armadillo come running out from under the old house.
The house was built on pier and beam at about 24 inch centers. The old wood floor was nailed directly to the solid beams so any sound was amplified right into the old house. The armadillo roaming around under the old house was hitting his back on the bottom of the beams as he moved under the house making the footstep sounds every 24 inches. When I jumped on the floor the sound must have scared the armadillo and it ran to the other end of the house making the running sounds. As I ran chasing the sound, the armadillo ran faster all the way through the house until it got away from the stomping sounds on the floor above. We had found our intruder. I never did sleep well in that old house again, Wild Ed