The sound resounded across the bay. Our peaceful laughing bodies could feel it echo through us as we sipped on our beers.
My boyfriend at the time and I had been staying with two awesome CouchSurfers in Paihia, New Zealand for the previous couple of weeks – an absolute New Zealand hidden gem. We had fallen in friend love with them, and had just retired from spinning fire poi on the beach in favor of concentrating on our beers as we listened to the water rush up to the shore.
It happened again.
At the first boom we all laughed. I think we sort of thought it was fireworks, or something along those lines. But soon we all realized that, for one, the sky was not lit up by fireworks, but more importantly fireworks do not echo through your entire body like that boom did.
What the actual fuck just happened?
We turned to look at the deserted hotel to our left. Yep, the boom and the scream had most definitely both originated from there. What on earth was going on? Should we leave? This was decidedly not looking good.
While the men, to varying levels, were curious as to what was going on, I thought it best we all leave. “This is how people die, guys.”
We stood up from our peaceful spot at the beach, and headed to the road. There we stood for what seemed like eternity to the one person who thought a loud boom and a scream were call to head home. Suddenly, a light appeared in one of the darkened windows. Then a dark figure passed by.
And looked right at us.
Oh my god, he saw us. Who was he? What was happening? GUYS! WE NEED TO LEAVE!
We walked to the car, and Luke called the cops. Alas, curiosity got the best of us all, though I’m rather certain I only left the car again for fear that a murderer with a gun would find me alone in the car. We stared at the hotel from a somewhat safe distance, waiting for cop cars to arrive.
No cop cars arrived.
The hotel was silent.
Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god, is someone dead? Where’s the gunman? WHAT THE FUCK IS HAPPENING, AND WHY ARE WE STILL HERE?!
When there were still no cops some fifteen minutes later, Luke called again.
In the anticlimactic yet totally screwed up conclusion to our night of terror (or should I say, MY night of terror, their night of intrigue), the cops informed us that, not to worry, it was merely a military practice.
A military practice that no one had been notified about in this small town which saw precisely zero military practices. And which the cops did not know about when we first called.
Thanks, police. You guys are totally on top of your shit.