Batshit Crazy

   I'm told to get in the trunk of the car, but I refuse. We pull over to a hospital and I get out to use the restroom, slightly upset at the request from a man I've just met. After I wash my hands, I turn around and see a little girl standing on the opposite side of the long, dimly lit hallway. I freeze and immediately walk to find the exit, only the exit isn't where it had just been. I whirl on the spot, searching for a way out, feeling the panic begin to well up inside me. I run.

   I'm now pushing heavy plastic out of my way as I sprint through the cold room, stepping barefoot on white tiles, trying to find a way back to the car. I see what I think is an exit only to stop in my tracks upon seeing a tall, heavyset woman blocking the doorway. She, too, is just standing there, staring at me and not moving. That's when I realize she isn't human. I scream and begin running around the bathroom, a room that has now tripled in size with no viable ways out. I'm trapped.

And then I wake up.

I wake up and stare around my dark bedroom, getting a grip on myself, trying to get my eyes to adjust to the dark as is since I can't find my glasses. My breath begins to return to normal and I reach for my phone, happy for the VPN that allows me to drift into the mindlessness that is BuzzFeed for a bit so that I can get back to sleep. It's only 4:30 in the morning here in Zhangjiajie.

I'm halfway through a quiz telling me how many children I'll have when I hear muffled flapping. Half under the covers and half out, I peer around the dark room, decide it's just my nightmare coming back to haunt my waking hours, and go back to ticking boxes. That's when I hear it again, louder this time and more discernible. Flapping. I then hear a "Swoop!" noise and realize that I'm not dreaming. I duck my entire body under the covers and stay there. I grab my phone and pull it under the covers with me and send my best friend a terrified message:
"There's something in my room with me! I don't know what it is, but it sounds pretty big and it's flying all over. What do I do? I'm hiding under the covers right now, but I'm freaking out."
He doesn't respond. It's now 5:07 a.m. and he's on the east coast of the US, meaning he's probably at happy hour. "You have to turn on the light," I say to myself, realizing that hiding under the covers until sunrise in a terrified heap of uselessness isn't a viable option.

I take the covers with me, turn the light on, and am instantly greeted by a large, flying mammal.

I trip over the covers, abandoning them on the floor in favor of my glasses, as I scream and run into the living room, searching for the light in there. That's when I see the animal: a bat. It's swooping and flying all around the living room. I hastily open the front door and stand near the concrete staircase braless, in only a flimsy tank top and black boy shorts. My hair wrap is askew but still staying strong and I'm holding one of my sandals for protection.

I watch it fly around a little bit more and then it disappears. Now a new panic hits me - I've lost the bat in my apartment. I'm shaking at this point, but I step back inside and look around. It's in the kitchen. I'm now standing in the living room, still armed with a turquoise sandal and a desperate desire to close the kitchen door on the bat and the whole ordeal.

"What if I reach my arm in there to close the door and it swoops down on my arm?" I think to myself. "What if it touches me? What if it's already bitten me while I was asleep? The sisters will kill me if I die of rabies in China! How long has it been here before it decided to swoop down and say hello?"

I'm spiraling.

I watch it get more comfortable in my kitchen. It's stopped flying and is now hanging from part of the wall that's jutting out, sticking its long arms out to adjust, looking like the demon that it is.

I call upon the Lord Jesus Christ, Mother Mary, Saint Mary Magdalene, my dad, and every saint I can name to help push me near the kitchen enough to close the door. I finally do so and promptly do a jig of terror. Great, now you can never use your kitchen again. 

The brooms here aren't like the brooms back in the US. Here, they are just twigs and sticks held together by string and are very short. So using that to get it out is not an option for me as I clearly have a weak constitution. I've barricaded myself in my bedroom with towels under the door so that it cannot return and realize that I won't live or sleep soundly again until the bat is gone.

I want to open the kitchen door and porch door and hope it flies out on its own, but what if it doesn't? I only know two people in this city who speak English and one has already proven himself not to be useful/willing to help with bat removal. I don't want to bother the other, but this self-imposed hostage situation cannot continue indefinitely.

Hour 12 of Batsy's Invasion

I've named the bat Batsy. As I clean my room, plugging potential entry holes and generally have a force five freak out, I stumble upon a large stink bug on the window. Batsy, Batsy, Batsy, I say to myself Harley Quinn-style. You had one job and you couldn't even do that before you turned my apartment into a horror movie?

I kill the stink bug after a tussle and clean its corpse, waiting for sundown so that the bat will be active again, or at least active enough to fly out.

After a walk and some liquid courage, I open the front door and the balcony door and then kick in the kitchen door, AKA where Batsy's been sleeping all day. I look into the kitchen while holding the broom and there he is; he's just hanging there exactly where I'd left him half a day ago.

I look at his ugly body in anger and fear and quickly close the door again. Now what?

Having locked him back in, I start to wonder if maybe he'll fly out one of the kitchen vents. Surely I won't have to catch and release him like all the Wiki's, YouTube videos, and 'How To' pages state, right? I decide to call in reinforcements again, but this time it's students.

After chatting with several, I find a crew willing to help me with Batsy's release.
can you cope with it? don't worry. it'll not bit you :) to be more brave. you can open your door and use a stick or something else to drive it away. if you don't mind, we can help you to fight against it after the lecture
True to her word, she and her wonderful friend appeared in my doorway with big smiles.

9:19 p.m. Friday Night

"You can go in your room and we'll come get you when it's gone," said the young woman I'd been chatting with via WeChat. She's in her junior year at Jishou and mostly just wants to know when I'm going to start teaching.

"Thank you!" I almost scream at her and her friend, ecstatic that my bat nightmare is about to end. I dart into my bedroom and close the door, leaving two of my future students in my kitchen to release the bat like the coward I am.

Approximately 22 seconds later I hear a soft knock on my door. "You can come out now. Bat is gone."

I open the door and they both look cool, calm and collected, not at all what I would expect from two youngsters who've just done battle with a fierce creature of the night. "What happened?" I ask,

"We just picked it up and tossed it out the window," they say with a laugh at my look of confusion, revulsion at their touching it, and immense relief.

"Thank you!" I say again, hugging them both tightly and peering into the kitchen. I walk in and realize that Batsy is gone. Now all that's left is my paranoia about his brethren returning while I sleep and a resulting fear of falling asleep. No problem.