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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Fearful (08/23/07)

TITLE: The Intruder
By Lynda Lee Schab


Ruth was paralyzed with fear. Well, not really paralyzed. If she were, she wouldn’t have been able to feel her back, which was aching more and more every second.

But she couldn’t move.

If she did, she would be a goner, for sure. Either from a heart attack or from the intruder, lurking just outside the door. She shuddered, violently. Ouch! Shuddering certainly didn't help her back situation.

But as much as she craved to stretch out her aches and pains, Ruth stayed put, cramped inside her tiny apartment’s laundry room - which was actually a closet - pressed up against the dryer. Oh, if only she had held out for an apartment with a full sized laundry room.

At least she had seen the intruder first and had time to escape before he caught sight of her. She didn’t want to think about what could have happened if he'd caught her unaware...

Another shudder. Another shooting pain up her back. Ruth tried quietly shifting her weight to her other foot but it didn’t provide much relief.

She put a hand to her chest and concentrated on taking deep breaths. Slow and steady...quietly. In...out...in...out.

Ruth didn’t want to watch but couldn’t help herself. She’d seen enough movies to know closing her eyes was not an option. Better to observe his every move so she would have the advantage. So she peered through the slit between the doors.

Oh-oh. He was on the move.

Ruth followed him with her widened eyes. Back and forth, back and forth. What is he doing? She wished he’d stand still long enough for her to get a good look. As scary as it was for her to look at him, she wanted to memorize as much as she could, in case she was later asked for a description so the intruder could be caught. But he wouldn’t slow down.

Oh no. Where did he go? He disappeared from her line of vision. Ruth desperately strained to catch a glimpse of him again but to no avail.

Her heart picked up speed again. What if he’s right outside the closet? What if he’s getting ready to attack me? What if...

A door slammed.

“Ruth? Honey? Are you home?” Patrick.

Fear and relief washed over her at once. But she had to warn her husband.

“Ruth?” Suddenly, everything grew dark as her husband's six-foot frame stepped in front of the closet.

“In here,” she whispered.

Ruth squinted at the light as Patrick opened the doors, his brow creased in confusion. Then his face softened. “Another spider?” he asked.

Ruth swallowed hard and nodded. She poked her head around the corner, eyes darting away from her husband’s face and to the floor, in search of the intruder. She pressed a hand to her aching back.

Patrick chuckled. “Which way did he go?”

Ruth pointed.

Patrick leaned forward and kissed her forehead. He shut the closet doors. “I’ll let you know when it’s safe to come out.”

Ruth breathed a sigh of relief, her heart finally slowing to a normal rhythm.

“Are you sure it went this way? I don't see it!” Patrick called.

Her heart contracted. Panic seized her again and a line of sweat trickled down the side of her face.

Wait a minute. Was that sweat?

Or was it...

Could it be...

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This article has been read 1077 times
Member Comments
Member Date
Sherry Wendling08/31/07
Hahaha! You got me! Even with all the excellent foreshadowing. Verrry clever!
I loved the detail about her trying to compile an accurate description of him for later investigation! And her aching back...Obviously we've both spent time crouched in the closet! Great stuff.
Lynda Schultz 08/31/07
OHHHHHHHH, so good! I figured it had to be a creature of some kind, but you kept me hanging on to every word right to the end.
Verna Cole Mitchell 08/31/07
You did a great job with "fearful" here. I was hanging on every word till I read "spider." Then my mind was at ease till the last sentence. Wow!
Kristen Hester08/31/07
As I was just stung tonight by a scorpion and then had to hunt down and kill another one, this piece really spoke to me. GREAT JOB! It is so much fun. I understand the feelings of the MC. You did a great job!
Dianne Janak08/31/07
I am clueless reading these tonight.. lots of surprises and twists and fun endings... Great writing.. kept me into it till the end... Loved it.
Sharlyn Guthrie09/01/07
You got me! I can definitely relate, though. I hate spiders! I'm quite sure I wouldn't hide from one in a dark laundry room, though. Fun story (at the end!)
Rhonda Clark09/01/07
This is so very funny. I have had experiences with family members who are scared of spiders. You did a great job on this one.
Joanne Sher 09/02/07
Excellent suspense - and a great twist. You definitely got me too! Great job!
Dee Yoder 09/02/07
Well, I wasn't hiding in a closet this morning, but I was standing on the toilet seat lid, calling for my husband to get the "GIGANTIC" spider that was in the TUB! Ewww. And Ick. I can relate. Totally. And, they ARE intruders. And dangerous. Really, they are.

Your writing had me right there with you!
Tammy Johnson09/03/07
Fun! I'm getting to know you too well - I had it figured from the beginning - only I thought it was a mouse. haa haaa

Great suspense and keeping the reader engaged, but that is no surprise my sweet talented friend.
Jan Ackerson 09/03/07
Perfect, but you got the name wrong--should have been "Jan." I saw one once in my house, about this big:


...and I put a coffee mug over it and took my little girls to the mall. Hubby got home, saw the mug in the middle of the floor, thought must be a spider under there and dispatched it for me.

You got the terror JUST RIGHT.
Pat Guy 09/03/07
Okay ... the last line gave me a shuddering chill! I couldn't figure out what 'thing' was the intruder but I certainly didn't expect a teeny-tiny spider!

Too funny Lynda! The last line clinched it all! Oh the horror!!!!!! :) Kudos girl!
Patty Wysong09/03/07
You really had me going there! Great job--and to think my heart was pounding over a SPIDER! Thank God for understanding husbands. :-) Hugs!
April Bailey09/04/07
Arachnophobia at its finest! You had me going there for a minute, and I was so freaked out when her husband came home. I wanted to warm him myself. Funny. :o)
Jacquelyn Horne09/04/07
I don't like spiders either, but I'm not terrified of them. But you showed well what happens when we are. The revealing of the identity of the intruder was a cute change.
Sheri Gordon09/04/07
Very funny -- and hits way too close to home. Compelling writing throughout. Nice job with the topic.
LaNaye Perkins09/05/07
Oh my, you got me too. I thought someone had broke into her home. lol Great telling of a phobia that hits way too close to home for me!