Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Surprised (09/06/07)
TITLE: When Laura Woke
By dub W
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Laura crept down the hallway and into her twin sons’ room. “Jimmy, Jason, wake up sweeties; real quietly, crawl into the closet.” She hoped her whisper was enough to wake the kids without them saying something loudly.
Jason opened his eyes. “Hey Mommy, what’s going on?”
“Shhhh. Help Jimmy get into the closet. There’s an intruder breaking in downstairs.”
Jason and Laura pulled Jimmy out of the bottom bunk and half carried him across the room. Laura positioned both boys in a corner of the closet then threw one of the bedspreads over them. “Jason, not a sound. Okay?”
A muffled voice answered, “Okay.”
Laura had left the shotgun leaning against the dresser. She carefully picked up the old weapon and opened the door. I need to call the police. She tiptoed back into her own bedroom and found her way to the luminous dial. Carefully she dialed 9-1-1. I wish those tones weren’t loud.
A woman’s voice answered the line. “9-1-1 operator.”
Before the woman could continue Laura whispered, “there’s someone breaking into my house. 2512 Old Salem, Westwood. They broke a window to get in.” Laura accidentally clicked off the phone. oops, maybe they'll send someone. She heard movement downstairs. “Oh, Jesus, I know I’m a sinner, but I need your protection right now.” I hope the Lord hears quiet prayers.
Laura picked up the shotgun and peered out the bedroom door. Only the hallway nightlight was on and the shadows of furniture cast strange shadows. Her tabby cat brushed through her legs and set a cold chill up her spine. They’re probably looking for money or drugs or silver. Shesssh, that silver pitcher of mama’s is so tarnished they’d have to polish it to discover it. She thought about the kids’ piggy banks. “They better not take those piggy banks.”
She hadn’t left any lights on downstairs, so she peeked around the stairway edge to try to see something. A shadow moved across the floor. The streetlight made for an eerie lamp. I think there's just one, but maybe more. She thought heard the china cabinet door open. “Oh, my, they’re going for the china.” She gulped. She hadn’t realized that she spoke out loud.
Laura slid her foot onto the tread of the top step. The step creaked. I told John to fix that. The second step creaked as well Well, now he has two to fix. “If I live through this,” she murmured.
She heard movement coming across the living room toward the stairway. She froze. “Oh, Lord, what now?” Her voice almost squeaked.
Laura quickly tiptoed down two more stairs and paused. The noise was closer. She raised the shotgun, not to shoot but to use as a club.
The footsteps suddenly changed, the banister shook, and a step was taken on the lower treads. Laura swung with all of her might. The old weapon struck something and a male voice screamed in pain. Then a body fell to the floor.
At the same time three uniformed officers burst through the broken back door, flipped on lights and jumped on the man. One officer abruptly took the weapon from Laura.
Laura saw the blood spattered on the stairway walls and instantly felt nauseous. She dared not to look down at the man.
The officers pulled the man’s hands behind his back and handcuffed him, then pulled him to his feet.
“John!” Laura screamed.
“Ma’am, do you know this man?”
Tears ran down her face. “He’s my husband.”
The dazed man looked up. “Laura?"
Laura stammered, "I thought you were in Boise."
Blood dripped from John's forehead. "When I called I was at the airport. Stupid umbrella broke the back door window. I wanted to surprise you."
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