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There's A Stranger In My House
The house was everything but quiet. Sounds filled the house. I was alone. The only other living thing with me was my cat. My mother was at work, she wouldn’t be back until eight. It wasn’t the first time I had stayed home alone, and I was sure it wasn’t going to be my last. I had used to be deathly afraid of being alone, for fear that someone would try to break in. But I had since then gotten over my irrational fear, deciding that the chances of it happening were very small, and not enough to worry about.
I jumped as I heard a loud thump. Spinning around quickly, I realized it was only the sound of my cat jumping from the couch to the floor.
“Pearl, you scared me,” I said breathlessly.
I’m acting like a child. I’m fifteen, I shouldn’t be so afraid of something so stupid, I scolded myself. I was alone in my house, what more could a teenager want? I should be having a ton of people over, break rules, be rebellious. But I wasn’t. I was standing rigid out of fear, and talking to my cat. The sad story with the title of My Life.
I walked over to stroke Pearl’s fur. I sat next to her, and listened to her purr. Another sound made me jump off the floor. Pearl stayed on the ground sleepily.
It’s the furnace, I realized. I am such a child!
I glanced at my watch. I still had four hours to go until my mother came home. I had enough time to sneak over to my friend’s house and be back before anyone knew the difference. But, being the law-abiding teenager I was, I did not venture as much as a foot outside the door.
Putting my iPod in to block out anymore noise, I settled down on the couch. I closed my eyes and tried to focus on the music playing. I was finally able to relax when I heard my favorite song. Feeling my muscles release their tension, I settled deeper into the couch.
I didn’t realize I had fallen asleep until I woke up. Glancing at the time again, I realized I had been out for almost an hour. Stretching, I glanced about the room. Then I realized something was…off. Was it me, or had I left the light on before I fell asleep?
I frantically tried to find an explanation. The bulb blew out, Pearl hit the switch, I turned it off without even realizing it. I narrowed down each theory when I realized that my mother had changed it yesterday, Pearl wasn’t strong enough to hit it, nor could she reach it, and I would have known if I turned off myself. So what…or who…could have done it?
I felt my body tense up again. I’m going crazy, I tried to tell myself. No one is in this house! But I could tell I doubted myself. I had been afraid before, sure, but that was nothing compared to the feeling I felt now. Even the air seemed to be aware of another presence, one that was not welcome.
What do I do? Where should I go? I asked myself frantically. The nearest door led to the backyard, and the white fence was too high with no place to scale. The only way to open the gate was with the key, which I did not have access to. I could try to run upstairs to the front door, but who’s to say that whoever was in the house wasn’t on that floor? Even in my terrified state, I could comprehend enough to keep myself from being seen. Although, if they turned the light off, then they must have seen me. but maybe they figured that since I was asleep I wouldn’t disturb them.
So this would mean that they’re not killers, I decided. But they could still be armed. This put me into a scared frenzy. I tried to keep my mind clear enough to think straight, but it was getting harder and harder with each passing second. I needed to get out of here, and fast. At least into a room where I could lock myself in.
I made a soundless break for the bathroom. I locked the door, and sat myself down with my back to it. I didn’t weigh enough to act as a good barrier, but it was all I could do.
Taking my phone out of my pocket, ant thanking my lucky stars that I had put it there this morning and not in my purse that was still in my room, I called my mother.
“Hello, how may I help you?” she answered in the cheery voice she used when answering phone calls at work.
“Mom, it’s me,” I said, my voice barely louder than a whisper.
“Teresa? What’s wrong, sweetheart?” she asked.
“Mom, there is someone in the house!” I whispered frantically.
“What? Teresa, that’s ridiculous! I thought you got over this, honey.”
“Mom, please, there is really someone in this house!” I said desperately, praying she would believe me.
“Did you see this person?”
“No, but I know there’s someone here.”
“And how do you know that?”
“Because, I fell asleep, and when I woke up, the light was off, and I’m sure that I had it on before. And I can feel it, mom, I can. Please, you have got to believe me.”
“Honey, you know that there are noises in that house. The furnace is old, the washing machine is loud when it’s on, and the old air conditioning vent needs to be replaced, it makes so much noise. And you probably turned that light off when you were falling asleep.”
“No, mom, I didn’t, I know I didn’t!” I said, trying to convince her. But she wouldn’t budge.
“Teresa, go watch TV. I’ll be home in a few hours.”
But she had already hung up.
Putting my phone back in her pocket, I glanced about the small room. I might be able to hang out in here until she comes home, I reasoned, I mean, it’s not like they would want to come in here.
But I knew that if the person or persons in the house had any brain at all, they would look for me when they saw I was no longer asleep on the couch. Then when they saw that the door was locked, thy would know I was on the other side.
What do I do? I though frantically. It my own mother doesn’t believe me, there’s no way the police would. No one is going to help me. I have to fight them on my own, then.
I didn’t know how much time I had. Minutes? Seconds? I put my ear up to the door, trying to hear even the slightest sounds. I heard footsteps, getting more and more distinct. They were coming closer.
When they were so close they had to be just outside the door, they stopped. I held my breath, and tried to make no sound. I willed my heart to beat quietly, but it just wouldn’t listen.
“I know you’re in there!” came a shout from outside. My heart decided to quiet then, only it had completely stopped instead of just slowing down. I tried to take in a breath, but it was as if there was something gripping my lungs, not allowing anything in or out. “I’m going to break the door down!”
I refused to speak, hoping that he was just bluffing, and that he didn’t really know I was in there. No such luck. The door banged against my back, causing me great pain, but I still did not move. He kicked it, again and again and again. I could tell the hinges were not going to be able to take much more. I pushed the door back as far as I could, but I was no match for whoever was on the other side.
So this was it. I was going to die, right as my worst fears were realized. They say that when you fear something so much it will actually happen. I was proof that it was true.
I refused to go down without a fight. Even if I didn’t think I could last long enough, I still wanted to delay him and prolong my life as long as I could. I glanced about the room again. The only thing that could be used as a weapon was a metal bucket in the corner. It might be able to do nicely.
I picked up the bucket as silently as I could. The door still shook violently, but it looked like it would hold to allow me just enough time to do what I had to do. It was heavy in my hand, but I could still swing it around. Reaching out ever so slowly, I unlocked the door. Not realizing it was unlocked, the person behind it kept shaking it. I turned the knob, and pushed it open as fast as I could.
Not knowing it was going to swing out, the person could not get out of the way in time. Dazed, but still standing, he wasn’t down for the count yet. I hit his head as hard as I could with the bucket. He stumbled, but he still remained upright. I hit him again and again until he began to back up, stumbling for his balance. I realized he was headed for the concrete stairs that led to the basement. Perfect.
Summoning courage and strength I didn’t even know I had, I continued to hit him, not allowing him any time to retaliate. Hitting him with one final very hard blow, he tripped and fell, the sound of bones cracking as he hit the basement floor.
I ran. I dropped the bucket and ran. I ran upstairs and out the door. I threw myself on the grass, breathing in the warm air. Safe at last.