Knock Knock

January 22, 2008
By Sarah Ramsden, Manassas, VA

I’ve never liked being home alone, and I especially hate being home alone when it’s dark outside, which is why I am still awake at three in the morning. I’m wrapped up in a blanket, curled up on my couch with a dog on either side, even though they’re not allowed on the furniture.

The neighbors probably think I’ve gone nuts. Every single light in my house is turned on, which does include the laundry room despite its location behind a closed door in the basement. I’ve also turned on every noise making appliance I own: three TVs and two stereos, in order to drown out any potentially panic striking noises from either within or without of my house.

Despite my efforts, a frightening noise slips through. The thud against the front door is muffled by TV voices and radio music, but still distinct enough that both my dog lurch off the couch and scramble to the door, growling and barking as their feet skitter on the tile.

I don’t move and wish desperately for the dogs to come back. I squint my eyes shut and try to will them to quit their racket, all the while thinking if they would just be silent whatever – I mean whoever – is out there might not realize I’m here. Not one part of me considers that the glaring lights and blaring music are a dead give away.

The barking has stopped, only to be replaced by low growls. I close my eyes a little tighter, grip the blanket a little harder, pray the snarling will cease and there will presently be two furry body guards back in their rightful places beside me.

The dogs don’t stop, and the sound of my racing heart accompanies their racket, carrying over the noise of the house. I slowly reach for the baseball bat, propped against the coffee table in front of me for exactly this purpose, without opening my eyes.

A wet nose presses against the back of my hand as soon as it wraps around the handle and I realize the dogs are no longer growling and have returned to the living room. I let out a relieved sigh and release the bat. It clatters to the floor, but I barely notice as I collapse against the couch. I was asleep there when my parents got home.

My mom shook me awake and demanded, “What happened to the door? There’s glass all over the front porch!"

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