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Hide and Seek
Finally, they’re gone. Danielle thought to herself as she heard her parents pull out of the driveway to go on their weekend trip to the cabin. It was the first time Danielle had been left alone overnight. She smiled mischievously as she sent out a text to a few of her closest friends.
“They just left, you’re safe to show up whenever tonight!” the text read. She quickly changed her Facebook status to “Home alone for the weekend! Woop!” and logged off. Danielle sighed to herself and smiled at the huge mansion her lawyer and doctor parents had left her with for the weekend. She remembered how fun it had been to play hide-and-seek in the colossal house when they’d first moved into it when she was only five years old; it had been the hotspot for all the kindergarten kids. She strolled into the home theatre and sat down on one of the big, squishy leather couches to watch one of her favorite movies in peace.
The DVD menu had just popped up when Danielle heard a strange noise. It sounded like the front door, which she’d left unlocked just in case her friends were a bit too “out of it” from their late night activities to be able to call her to let them in. She jumped up and made her way towards the foyer.
“HEY GUYS! You’re just in time for a movie!” She called joyfully, but when she got there something was wrong. The foyer was empty. She looked up into the long mirror in front of her and in the doorway behind her she saw a strange face – a man she did not know, yet the face seemed strangely familiar. She’d seen this man before, but she could not remember where. Danielle screamed. The man lunged but she flew into the adjacent hall and slammed and locked the door. Panting, she tried to collect herself. Was that real? It couldn’t be real! Her thoughts raced, but the banging against the door brought her back to reality, the man was trying to break down the door.
As Danielle began to fumble for her cell phone to call 911 a cold wave of terror washed over her; she’d left her cell phone on the couch in the theatre. She saw the wooden door begin to splinter and frantically ran down the hall into another room. Hopefully, the maze of doors and hallways will throw the intruder off, she thought to herself as she sprinted, cold sweat dripping down her face. She slipped into a parlor in one of the side hallways; there was a cupboard with a false back that had been one of her best hiding spots as a child. She climbed in and tried to calm herself. Hyperventilation and shaking hands were dead giveaways when trying to conceal oneself.
Despite the success of this particular hiding spot in the past, it apparently was not fooling the intruder because he soon broke into the room the cupboard was in, “I know you’re in here! I can see your footprints in that fancy soft carpet of yours!” he shouted, “Come out, come out wherever you are!” his sadistic voice boomed throughout the little room. Tears began to trickle down Danielle’s cheeks, all hope seemed lost.
Who IS he? Danielle racked her brain fanatically, and then she remembered. It’s him! She had seen him lurking around her neighborhood and lingering in front of her house the past few days, but she’d told herself it was no big deal and not to worry about it. I’m so stupid how could I not see it before? I’m not going to make it. He’s too smart. There’s nothing I can do. The tears began to fall harder. NO! You have to do SOMETHING Danielle! She scolded herself, You can do this.
Danielle suddenly remembered that her secret compartment’s second wall was a false back with another cupboard in the next room. She carefully and quietly slid it back and scrambled into the other room. Just as she slid the other false back into place and closed the cupboard she heard the man begin swinging things at walls in frustration. He surely would have found her if she had waited another second. These close calls were making her even more shaky; she had to force herself to ignore the sense of dread spreading through her body like a disease. She knew she needed to somehow keep her cool.
Her heart pounding, Danielle silently opened the door into the next hallway – it was empty. She ran as lightly and quickly as possible to the elevator and pressed the up button, I’ve got to get to the house phone. Unfortunately her family relied so heavily on each of their cell phones they only had one antique rotary dial phone in the sitting room on the top floor. The elevator was going excruciatingly slow, but she did not want to risk being cornered on the stairs. A thought popped into her head to press the emergency stop button on the elevator control panel but that would do no good. She’d be stuck there until her friends showed up – possibly putting them in grave danger. Ding! The elevator bell seemed earsplitting. She stood stock still, nothing. The man did not seem to have heard the bell. She raced as silently as she could towards the sitting room. Then, just as she grasped the door handle she heard heavy footsteps pounding up the stairs.
“Oh! So you got an elevator too, rich girl?! I’ll have to ask for extra in your ransom! Ready or not, here I come!” The man laughed maniacally. Danielle began to panic and dashed into the room. There it is! The old phone sat on its little antique table with a lace tablecloth draped upon it. But the footsteps were drawing closer! Closer and closer they came. She dove into a little closet nearer to her than the phone. She was just about to slide the door shut when a thought struck her, if I were him, where would I look first? A closed closet of course! So, even with all logical instinct telling her otherwise, Danielle left the closet door ajar.
Just as she settled herself among the trinkets in the closet, the door to the room burst open. She clamped her hand over her mouth to quiet her panicked breathing. She could see the bottom of the man’s legs and his feet stepping into the room, he was so close; she wanted to cry but was far too scared. Just before his feet passed the opening of the closet, they paused. Danielle held her breath in wide-eyed horror. She saw his hand slowly reach for the door, his fingers were on it, and then, ever so gently, he pushed the sliding door. It slid about an inch or two until something stopped it – her toe. Everything in her body seemed to flip upside down in a jolt of fear. Her stomach turned over and her heart pounded so loud she was sure he would hear her. He’s got to know that I was in here to stop the door, I’m dead, I’m dead, I’m dead. But, the hand fell away; the feet changed direction and headed out into the hall.
“I’ll find you little princess! Mark my words! You can’t hide forever!” He yelled, his steps fading away. Danielle sat in place, shaking, half in fear and half relief. The phone! She crept out of the closet and darted across the room to the old phone. She turned the dial as best as she could with her trembling hands, 9….1….1.