I Was Terrified Someone Was in the House

I was startled awake by a sudden crash, my eyes springing open as I was jolted from the dream I had been having. My pulse raced, caught in the place between fantasy and reality. In the silence filling the house I began to believe I’d imagined it, that the sound of breaking glass was somehow part of the dream.

I squeezed my eyes shut, trying to remember what had been passing through my mind before I woke up. An image flashed of me walking down a long hallway with closed doors on either side. I tried to connect with how I was feeling in the corridor. Was I afraid? Did the smashing glass come from one of the rooms?

Before I could be certain, there was another loud noise, the sound of something heavy but padded falling. Fear gripped me as I hugged the covers against my bare chest, unsure what to do.

I looked to my left and found Clay’s side of the bed empty. Clay was usually up before I was, running errands, working or taking a walk until I got out of bed. I was accustomed to waking up alone and then having coffee on the balcony while I waited for him to return. But this morning I wished more than anything he were there beside me.

What if someone had broken into the house? I couldn’t just lay there naked waiting for them to find me.

Frantically I scanned the room and remembered that my dress from the day before had been laid on the bench at the foot of the bed. Watching the open door, I scooted toward the bench, the sheet still clutched against me.

As soon as I could reach it, I grabbed the thin material and slipped it over my head. I looked down, realizing that the rayon knit fabric clung to my breasts, leaving nothing to the imagination. I considered the prudence of taking the time to put on my bra but when I heard a loud grunt I decided it was wiser to try to figure out what was going on, and sneak out of the house if I could.

Creeping to the opening to the hallway I found that one of the two other doors in the upstairs hall was cracked open. I had never been in either one as both were kept locked at all times. Just as I was about to race to the stairs I heard a man’s voice, Clay’s voice.

“I’m not interested in your piffle. Just get it done!” This was followed by what sounded like a hand slapping onto a hard surface.

Relieved that Clay was there, I crossed the narrow hall and peeked in the room. It was an office, furnished in the same warm tones as the bedroom. The massive mahogany desk in the center was proportionate to the enormous room. Matching bookshelves and filing cabinets were placed around the room, large abstract paintings hanging above and between them.

Glass was scattered along the hardwood floor near one wall, the paint about 3 feet above scuffed from where the object had hit. The black leather top of a fallen chair was just visible to the left of the desk. Clay stood at the opposite corner, his hand resting on the smooth surface, laid over his cell phone.

I had never seen Clay so angry before and I was reluctant to interrupt him. Suddenly his gaze met mine and chills went up my spine when he snarled, “You don’t belong here!”

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Piffle and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after I Silently Prayed This Time My Feelings Wouldn’t Be Unrequited.

What Will He Sacrifice for My Freedom?

Pushing himself away from the railing he resumes his professional stance. “I need to walk the perimeter, then we should get some sleep. Wait for me inside.”

When I don’t move he sighs with exasperation. “If you want my help you’re going to have to do what I tell you at some point.”

“I know. I’m sorry,” I respond. I pause, reluctant to anger him further, but afraid to go into the house alone. “Could I walk with you?” My eyes plead silently.

Clearly frustrated he replies, “I don’t know if it’s safe for you out here.”

“Please,” I beg.

With another sigh he relents. As we round the corner of the house he grabs a flashlight with such force the table it had been on shakes. I really need to stop defying him. There’s no reason he needs to put up with my childish behavior and I can’t risk him leaving.

With me trailing behind him we slowly move along the edge of the woods, stopping periodically. The moon is full and lights up the yard, but the forest around us is black. About halfway he hesitates, listening. He shines his light into the trees and a small animal scurries away.

Finding nothing of concern he crosses the yard, intent on searching under the porch. In the middle of the small yard I stop abruptly, noticing for the first time how many stars are visible. A memory flashes through my mind, an image more than a thought.

I see myself as a child, peering through a telescope on the balcony of my parents’ room. My mother is behind me, one hand resting on my back while the other points toward the sky, helping me find the constellation I’m looking for. As she draws the outline of Sagittarius she tells me the myth of the centaur Chiron. I had been enthralled by the tale, how he had been accidentally wounded by Hercules’ arrow, suffering great pain before giving up his immortality to free Prometheus. His sacrifice had always fascinated me.

Examining the night sky I find the stars easily now, having practiced many times over the years. Looking between the heavens and the man who has come to protect me I shudder involuntarily. Surely I am just being fanciful wondering whether Caleb would also need to sacrifice for my freedom.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Constellation and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after What Else Do I Discover in the Picture?

What Could I Do If the Police Wouldn’t Help Me?

I left the police station angry and frustrated, my hands clenched into fists as I pushed out the door. The officer I had spoken with barely listened to what I had to say. He wouldn’t even consider an investigation. I had been so sure when I had first started to tell him my story, but as I walked through what had happened I knew it sounded crazy. Even I began to doubt myself as I tried to convince the officer I had been kept against my will in a luxurious beach house.

Had it really been against my will? No, I had wanted to stay. Who wouldn’t?

The room I’d found had proven to be more than I could handle but that didn’t really make him a monster, did it? He had never tried to get me to do anything I was uncomfortable with. I never would have suspected he was into anything as perverse as what I’d found. Maybe it wasn’t even really his…maybe he had just bought the house and hadn’t renovated that room yet?

Just when I’d talked myself into believing it was all a misunderstanding, I remembered the photos and the journal. He had to have taken the pictures. And I had to assume the entry from the night we met, the one that said “Rohypnol 2 mg” meant something. I didn’t know a lot about drugs but I knew this was a popular date rape drug. But he hadn’t raped me. Actually, that first night, he had been a perfect gentleman.

None of it made any sense!

I needed to get somewhere I could think. If he really were following me, going home wasn’t an option. I didn’t have any reason to think he would hurt me and yet a primal instinct in me screamed RUN!

Standing on the sidewalk I was torn. If I turned left I could walk to my apartment. It would be a long walk, but I could get my car at least. Right would bring me back toward his house, but there were also hotels in that direction. I could rent a room to give me time to formulate a plan.

As I stood on the sidewalk, unable to make a decision I glimpsed movement at the side of the building to my right. My stomach clenched. I hadn’t seen more than one foot and part of a leg as someone rounded the corner, moving away from me. Where had he come from? I hadn’t seen anyone standing there when I came outside.

There was no way to know if it were him. It could have been anyone.

But my decision was made as I turned to the left.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Investigation and is part of something longer I am working on.

This post is a part of the story about the ex and comes after Is He Following Me at the Park?

Where Have I Been?

The blank page stares back at me as I wonder what I should write. I haven’t written anything, not a single word since Wednesday night. This is the first time since February that I haven’t written something every day. And with this break I’m unsure how to get back to writing, how to get my voice back, how to pick up where I left off.

I’ve been on a 12 day vacation with my kids. It was the culmination of a very long, eventful summer, and the past 5 days it has been more important for me to be present than to work on my personal goals. This summer we’ve spent time with family and friends, and attempted to satisfy the wanderlust my children have been feeling, wanting to explore new places.

This trip is both an ending and a beginning.

My 17 year old niece had spent 6 weeks with us, and although it was important for her that I spend every possible moment with her, I was able to continue toward my goals, fitting my writing in when I could, either before she woke up or while I was supposed to be working. This most recent trip began by returning her home to NH, where the girls and I stayed with my sister and her husband.

My sister, my niece, my two girls and I then spent 5 very tiring days up in the White Mountains of NH. We didn’t have time to do everything we wanted to do, but we made every second count. We hiked trails, discovered waterfalls, climbed rocks, waded in ice cold mountain water, took the gondola to the top of Loon Mountain, explored caves, climbed endless stairs at Lost River and took the train to the top of Mount Washington. We went kayaking and swam in the lake. We laughed, we danced, we played games, we sang songs. We thoroughly enjoyed being together, just the 5 of us, fully aware this might be the last trip exactly like this, as my niece turns 18 in February.

Through it all I continued to write and post every day, in spite of waking up ungodly early to go running with my sister…even though I do not run, and I certainly don’t run outside, and I definitely don’t run up and down hills…we ran, we hiked, we walked…every morning going 5-6 miles before the kids even woke up for the day. And still I wrote. I wasn’t always thrilled with the quality of my writing but I persisted.

In NH I saw my mother, my father, my nephew, and friends. I was busy every minute of every day and still managed to post right up through Wednesday. Thursday I could have continued, but instead I decided I wanted to be present. I wanted to enjoy my last day in NH with my sister and my niece as we went to Odiorne State Park, had one last dinner with my family before heading out on our next adventure…because that wasn’t the end.

Friday morning the girls and I flew to Baltimore Washington International for the second part of our vacation….a part the girls have been looking forward to for a long time. From BWI we took the train to Washington DC. It was the first time any of us had been. It was also their first ride on a real train, which may have been the most exciting part for them. We walked and walked and walked. We averaged around 10 miles a day for 3 days. We didn’t see nearly everything in the 4 days we were there, but it was enough. A friend met us there as well which added to the excitement.

Then finally, after 3 nights in DC we took the train back to BWI and spent the night at a nearby hotel before flying home today.

As I’ve said, I could have written through all of that, or most of it at least, but sometimes being present is also perfect. So I need to get back to my story. I’m definitely behind, and while I’m loath to cheat and do two word prompts with one post…and with a post that isn’t related to my story…I’m going to do it. I may come back to these words with a future post, or I may just pick up with tomorrow’s word. I will decide as it comes to me.

This post is in response to the daily writing prompt Loath and Wanderlust.

Bravely Living an Amazing Life!