Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Eek! (02/25/10)
TITLE: An Unwelcome Guest
By Dolores Stohler
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“Oh, Oh, look what’s ahead,” she muttered to herself as she spied four youths playing basketball in the street near her house. Laura slowed the car to a near halt as she approached, reluctant to use her horn. When they failed to move, she beeped the horn gently. They parted to let her through but, out of the corner of her eye, she could see them jeering at her as she passed. Two of them made an obscene gesture she couldn’t miss.
Once in the garage, she hastened into the house, thinking that perhaps she ought to put a lock on the door leading into the kitchen. She had never worried about such things when Alan was alive, assuming that he would deal with any awkward situation that arose. Since he’d passed, she had a growing fear of those teens outside. Leo, her oldest son, had tried to get her to move but, when she stubbornly refused, he suggested she put in an alarm system to insure her safety. Her youngest son suggested she get a large dog and Patty, the baby of the family, had bought her a cell phone with a special button to press 911 if she were in trouble.
When Laura retired that night, she turned on the cell phone and placed it on the bedside table. Next to the phone went her rescue inhaler (she had asthma). Then she dug her car key out of her purse, placing it on the table also.
Sleep came slowly that night for her thoughts were troubled and filled with memories of Alan and the kids. She tossed and turned and finally slept only to awake when a noise from the garage jolted her out of her slumber. Laura heard the creaking of the floorboards in the old house and a squeak that could only be the door of her pantry. Surely someone was in the house!
She sat up in bed and listened intently. The house was still for a few moments, and then she thought she heard a sound from the kitchen downstairs. It sounded as though someone had bumped into a chair or a table. Quickly she switched on the light but was afraid to leave her bed. She sat stiffly still, just listening. A chill crept up her spine as her imagination kicked in, trying to follow the intruder as he looked over her things. She knew that anything of value was in a safe at the bank but was afraid of a physical attack.. She breathed a silent prayer that he would leave before he found her at home.
After what seemed an eternity of silence, her sharp ears picked up the sound of footsteps on the stairs. He would soon discover her bedroom. For the first time in her life, she wished that she could fire a weapon. How on earth would she defend herself?
With trembling hands, she reached for her cell phone but it fell through the clumsy grasp of her hands. It knocked against the side of the table making a noise that sounded loud to her panicky ears. What should she do? Even if she reached 911, the police would never get here in time. Fear increased until her eyes rested on the car key on the bedside table and she remembered Leo’s idea. Quickly she pulled her key from its place on the table and pressed the panic button.
The result was gratifying. A shrill siren resounded from the depths of the garage, aggressively repeating it‘s shattering alarm. Where was the intruder now, she wondered. Then another sound exploded upon the stairs as the burglar raced down, taking no care to be quiet. She heard a loud bang as a door slammed somewhere.
Breathing a great sigh of relief and, with hands still trembling, she reached for her cell phone and pressed the button for 911.
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