A few days after we moved in, we were awakened one morning at an hour that might not necessarily be that early except that we had just moved and we didn't have to get up yet by an unearthly electronic voice of doom saying something we couldn't quite make out. I thought it said, "It's Wednesday," which was plainly wrong because it was Tuesday. Or maybe it said it was Tuesday and it was Wednesday. Everything was kind of a fog, anyway.
I got up and hunted through the house, but the voice had ceased and we couldn't quite make out where it had come from. Several days passed with only the normal child voices interrupting early morning slumber. But on another day, it happened again, though not quite at the same time. And over the next several weeks, the Voice again spoke at random times, saying something garbled and impossible to make out, especially since it was a total shock each time it began to speak. We did manage to deduce that it was coming from somewhere in the hallway, and that whatever it was saying at the beginning concluded with, "Consult the manual." This was unhelpful as we did not know what manual to consult, nor why.
Finally one day I decided to fry potatoes for breakfast, which, as usual, led to filling the house with smoke. This set off the smoke alarm, and to our astonishment, in addition to the horrible screeching, it spoke to us. "The hallway is full of smoke." Well, we knew that, so it wasn't very helpful, but at least we recognized our spectral Voice at long last. The more immediate problem was that the alarm was sounding, hungry small people were going into hysterics from the noise, and there was no silence button--at least not one that works. I finally managed to pull it down off the ceiling and take it outside. Unfortunately, in the process, I managed to break the fastener that would have allowed me to put it back on the ceiling. Nonetheless, DOB insisted it needed to be *somewhere* high up, so we wound up hanging it on a magnetic hook which we stuck to the corner of the wall near the top, sticking out into the hallway at a weird angle.
Now we know which manual to consult, but we still have made no progress in figuring out what we are to consult the manual for. The shock of the voice speaking is too much to allow for concentration on the synthesized message. I suspect it's batteries; it usually is with smoke alarms. However, I looked at the battery compartment and it looks like in the process of getting the batteries out I'm going to break that just like I already broke the ceiling fastening, only without any way of getting around it.
Thanks to moving the door into our bedroom, there's another smoke alarm in the hallway anyway, so if I do break it permanently, I won't regret it much. And if it wakes us up at 7 a.m. on a morning when we are sleeping in, I may just make an example of it. With the ducklings watching, just in case they wonder what happens to those who dare such deeds.