I've mentioned elsewhere that I love my apartment complex. There's nothing remarkable about the housing itself, but it's a very far cry from my old crack hood. It's on the edge of town, surrounded on three sides by a nature preserve. No boom cars, no airport flight path, and minimal light pollution. At night, the frogs are deafening and I can see miles of open prairie. It's bliss! Better yet, I live on one edge of the complex with a balcony facing several acres of woods. I satisfied my curiosity with a single foray back there - once I passed the tree line, I found a patchwork of abandoned homeless camps and toxic litter - but I don't see many homeless coming and going, and they prefer to be invisible anyway. Because it's technically off the complex property, many of us walk our dogs in a big swath of grass between Chez Flea and this woods. I've never had any misgivings beyond having to scrape my boots a lot. That is to say, until last night. It was far off in that woods, but I heard a very emotional argument between a woman and two or three men. I stopped for a moment and listened for the entertainment value (my time in the 'hood made me a cynic!) but quickly realized they were harassing the woman. She said "Leave me alone!" And they escalated their tone and volume. I thought for a moment about going in there, but realized that I'd have a few acres of woods to search through. Worse, I know I don't have the skills to handle multiple attackers, and I don't have any weapons either. I loitered for a couple minutes trying to pinpoint the exact location of the sound or a glimmer of a campfire, until I hear her shout "I'm calling 911." The men laughed, and then the mocking got ugly. I hightailed it home and made the call myself. The dispatcher told me that someone had already called, and the police were arriving as we spoke. I don't know how much good it would do her as they'd still have a few acres of woods to comb through. Suddenly they went dead silent and I didn't hear a peep for the rest of the night. I felt pretty useless. There were compelling arguments on both sides of my getting directly involved. I probably just would have escalated an already unbearable situation and gotten the victim and myself badly hurt or killed. I'm not sure whether I should congratulate myself for being alert enough to sense the need and make the call, or damn myself to hell for being complacent. That sudden silence felt very ominous to me. I could have done more. I combed the papers this morning and didn't see anything about a rape or a corpse, so I can just hope for the best.