• D L Richardson

How a doorbell ringing at 2am can spark many story ideas

People often ask me how I come up with my story ideas. THIS is how I come up with story ideas. The following is a true event.

I woke to the sound of the doorbell ringing and glanced at the clock. It was 2am. I thought I had just woken from a dream.

Then my husband rolled out of bed and stood up to stare out the bedroom window.

I mumbled, "What's up?"

He said, "If you can believe it, the doorbell just rang."

"So it wasn't a dream," I said.

Our front doorbell had chimed at 2am in the morning. Our front door is downstairs, we were sleeping upstairs. The husband was staring out the bedroom window which overlooks the driveway, but I don't need to get up to know that we can't see down to the front door. 

I gave him the most logical explanation I could think of at 2am in the morning. I said, "It's probably the battery dying."

He agreed, and we both did a quick look out the front and back windows before heading back to bed.

I never went back to sleep. My writer's brain went into overdrive, coming up with any number of scenarios. I narrowed it down to these:

  • My thriller writer's brain: someone is waiting downstairs.

  • My supernatural writer's brain: something is waiting downstairs.

  • My horror writer's brain: someone or something with an ax is waiting downstairs.

  • My sci-fi writer's brain: a signal from the real world is trying to reach us in the virtual world.

  • My children's writer's brain: a cat is playing 'knock and run'.

My logical brain kept telling me that it was just the battery failing. But I couldn't convince myself to go back to sleep.

Then, 10 minutes later, the doorbell went off again. Then again. Then again.

This time we both got up, looked out through all the windows on the top floor - no way was I going outside - and then the husband leaned over the balcony railing to stare down at the front door. 

"I can't see anyone," he said. Then he added, "that's just the pot plant down there, isn't it?"

I leaned over. There was enough moonlight to confirm that it was indeed just the pot plant. Logically, if we could see the pot plant, then we could see that there was no-one there. We'd have seen a pair of feet. Unless this person had run around the side or was clinging from the eaves.

Our doorbell has a button downstairs, and it connects to a chimer in the kitchen. Neither of us was going down to take out the battery.  This chimer is always plugged in. We unplugged the chimer.

I eventually went back to sleep, but I woke up at 8am, very tired, and with dozens of story ideas swirling around inside my head.

There are so many possibilities for a story based on a doorbell ringing at 2am. One day I might write that story. 

What story ideas might you write if your doorbell rang at 2am? 

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