My name is Harper May Everly, I am twenty-three years old and blind. I live in the only tiny pale blue townhouse on my street with my lively, guardian angel Hamlet. He is a one year old rottweiler and lab mix who has gone through intense training to be my service dog. Without him I don’t know where I would be. To have him means to live vicariously, without that I am nothing but a silent whisper against the wind of a brisk morning.
I live in the only pale blue townhouse on my street, because I am the only one on Old W. 6th Street, I have no neighbours, no one down the street and maybe I have no one in this town. I don’t get out much, most of the things I need are delivered to me by my doctors son, such a lovely boy he is. Always comes in and chats; His company is something I look forward to throughout the weeks. I can’t see the people in this town but I can hear them, or am I just imagining the voices to fill the void in my heart? I know I hear the footsteps around my garden at night, Hamlet hears them too, so I mustn't be crazy.
Today is a special day for Hamlet. I will take him for a walk up and down the street and smell the morning roses, we both sway to the tune of the birds humming peacefully in the trees. But then Hamlet stops; This is odd. I talk to him, “What is it boy? Come on, our walks not over yet.” He doesn’t move forward, I feel his body cower and his legs shake. I hear his scream pounding in my ear as he rubs his back into my legs. I quickly turn around and start home, Hamlet is no longer walking beside me, he is running full force in front of me in a hurry to get home. I smell the dried paint of my house and feel my sidewalk under my feet. And then I feel his hand grace my hair and I can hear him inhale, the stench of alcohol is strong against the afternoon air. I know I can't stop, I take one big step and push through my door turning quickly to lock it behind me.
Hamlet barks at the door so I know someone is still out there. I don’t call the police in fear of looking stupid, I try to rationalize with myself, maybe it’s just someone from town or a kid selling cookies. No, not a kid, the smell of alcohol and the size of the hand rules that out. But there is that voice in my head.. “Why aren’t they knocking?” “Why didn’t they say my name?” “Why did Hamlet get so scared?” I knew it couldn’t be someone from town, if there are even people in this town Hamlet wouldn’t get scared. This is a nice neighbourhood, nothing bad ever happens here. My clock rings and I jump, knocking over Hamlets dish. He stops barking and comes to my side; he knows I’m scared, I know he’s scared too. We sit on the floor of my kitchen and comfort each other, then he gets up and brings me the towel and guides my hand over the spilled water. I gather myself and refill his bowl and give him some more food. I know he won’t eat until I do, so I make myself a sandwich, I am too frightened to eat, so I pick a few pieces off here and there and throw the rest in the trash.
I don’t sleep much at night, just our usual morning walk wears me out so running from whoever that was this morning has made me exhausted, I tell Hamlet “Bed,” and we walk through the house doing our normal check to make sure all windows and doors are closed and locked. They are, I knew they would be, but when you’re blind double checking is sort of your hobby. I check my gun, which isn’t even real,but it looks real enough to do the job of scaring someone away. I don’t believe in guns and violence, but I do believe in protection. My father got it for me when I moved into my own place, that’s the last thing I have left of him. I close the door to my safe, set the alarms, and head to bed.
I don’t know what time it is, but it must be after seven, I haven’t heard my clock go off, all I hear is the sound of Hamlet running through the house barking. I’m wide awake now and I hear my alarm system. Nails on a chalkboard, a kettle on the back burner, tires screeching in the night, my ears are bleeding at the sound. I can’t think, I need to get to Hamlet. I call out for him but he doesn’t come, I call and call again. I hear him whine, I rush from my bed and follow it. There’s too much going on and I can’t focus. Then it hits me, I don’t know what it is or where it came from. But I feel my blood drip down over my face, I can’t move, but I still try. I need to get to Hamlet, what if he’s hurt. Then I hear the man scream, I know it’s the same man because the smell of alcohol is stronger than before. Hamlet has bitten his arm and is pulling him off of me. I feel around trying to find something, a sharp object, a phone. Then I grab it, the knob on my safe. I quickly punch in the code and the door swings open. I reach in and grab my gun, I shift my body weight and between me and Hamlet we take him to the ground. I pull back and with all my soul I bring the gun crashing down onto his right temple; He grunts and then he is limp.
I roll off of him and tell Hamlet, “Come.” In a second he is sitting over me sniffing my hair and licking my face. I reassure him I’m okay, then I feel around on his body to make sure he is okay, I feel nothing. My next move is to call the police, but as I try to pick myself up, my body freezes with pain. I keep trying but I can’t get up, I begin to panic. What if this man comes to and I’m still stuck on the floor. I tell Hamlet to get me the phone; We’re still new to this trick so I hope it works out in my favour. Hamlet runs off and a few minutes he returns with the phone in his mouth, I reach forward to grab the phone, I feel a sharp pain in my arm and turn to look. The man laying on my floor, blood rushing from his head, has woken up and latched onto my arm, turning it back and forth as if trying to break it in half. I hear my bones crack under the pressure of his callused hands. I scream and Hamlet attacks again, he’s out for blood and I fear he won’t stop until he gets it.
With his left arm in Hamlet's mouth he reaches around and clocks Ham in the head with his right. At this point fear and adrenaline have taken over and I spring off the floor and run to my safe place. Another thing my father had given me, he had a small room installed underneath my stairs specifically for reasons as this. I am inches from the door when the man pulls me back by my hair, instantly I’m thrown to the floor. Ham doesn’t come so I know he must be hurt, I have to fight. Time is not something I have, he has the upper hand and I fear if I don’t fight back he’ll kill me. What does he want? I tell him I have money if that’s what he wants, I plead for him to take the money and any possessions I own and leave. I tell him I won’t call the cops, I’m blind so I don’t know what you look like. Please, have mercy.
It’s as if I’m not actually speaking, he pays no mind to the words coming from my mouth. He hits me again and I go unconcious. I don’t know how long I’ve been out, I don’t hear Hamlet or the man anymore. I think to myself, am I alone? Then I hear Hamlet, he’s whining and the sound of his nails on the floor tell me he’s trying to get up. I talk to him in a way to try to calm him down. He finally gets up and walks to me. With his help, I am able to shake my hands free and I run them along his body; He’s bleeding. I ask if he’s okay and he nudges my hand with his head. I don’t know what is going to happen next, I tell Hamlet to grab the phone again, I need to call the police, I am too weak I don’t know if I can continue to fight and Hamlet needs medical attention. He goes off to find the phone and I am left alone. I am Buddhist so I don’t believe in a God, I believe our strength comes from the power within. I recite the prayer of healing until Hamlet returns. He drops the phone in my lap and I press the button, the grooves on the key remind me of the calluses on his hands. I begin to shake, Hamlet licks my arm, after a second I stop shaking and press the button. I hear the operator connect me to the police.
“HELP! My name is Harper I am blind and there is someone in my house attacking me. My address is 114 Old W. 6th street, I am the last house on the street. Please hurry, I don’t have much time left.” I throw the phone, but I don’t hang up, and I tell Hamlet “Safe” he tries to walk but his body is shutting down, my pants are soaked with his blood. I pick him up and feel around, on the wall behind me is a picture, I am in my living room. From my living room is a straight shot to the stairs, and i’m completely open for attack. I take a deep breath and run. I feel the first step of the stairs and know I am close, but fear sets in when I smell the dreadful smell of his morning “coffee.” It makes me want to throw up, but I know any sense of fright and hesitation and I am dead. I continue to run around the stairs and I punch in the code, I almost break the keys I push so hard. The man tries to grab me but I am too far in the room and I close the door on his hand. I know that I am safe in here. I pick up the emergency phone, I am still on the line with the police. I tell them I am in my safe room and they inform me someone has already arrived. I am saved, I tell Hamlet everything will be alright. Then I hear the sound of the gun and someone hit the floor. To my luck the cop has been shot. I open my mouth and try to speak, the cop on the other end of the line tells me not to move and to be as quiet as possible. He says he doesn’t want to scare me anymore than I already am, but that he has bad news to tell me. “The man in your house is no random Joe off the street, he is a professional serial killer, in the last month he has killed 600 women and injured many others. We will send back up, don’t move. We’re going to catch this guy.”
I have enough food and water to last me a month, I hope I don’t wait that long. I am beyond broke down and the only thing I am capable of doing is crying. I make no sound as tears stream from my face. I lay down and cling to Hamlet, I tell him I love him and he breathes weakly into my ear, I prepare for the worst, tonight's Hamlet’s last night on this earth. I cry even harder at the thought of that. Outside the room I hear the man rummaging through my things, he is trying to find my money. I have $30,000 hidden in three spots throughout my house behind the only three pictures in my house. He will never find it. Then I hear the door kick open and heavy boots on the ground. Then I hear the voice that saved my life. Officer Bradson calls out to the man in my house. “Daniels, this is the end of the road for you. You’ve failed at your last attempt to murder this victim. There is no sense in running,there are cops and SWAT teams all around this house and all down the road for miles.” I don’t hear anything for a minute, then someone upstairs yells for the rest of the men to come up there. The man who broke into my house was going to kill me, he failed and took his own life knowing if he didn’t he would spend every waking minute being tortured in prison until the day came where he would lie on a table in front of all families of every woman he murdered and needles would be placed into his arms and he would die by lethal injection. I opened the door of my safe room and three officers rushed to my side. All I could say was “My dog… my dog… Hamlet, Is he okay?” The officers moved past me and rushed to grab Hamlet, they took him to the ambulance and made sure he got the medical attention he needed. I have a feeling in my heart everything is okay now. I try not to show my fear but I think I’m failing. A nice lady with a voice as quiet as leaves falling from gentle trees comes to me, she sits me down and calls over one of the men in the ambulance. As he wipes the blood from my face, the nice lady tells me to call her Mickey. She asks if i’m alright, if there is anyone she can call. I tell her no, as much as I want to call to my father I can’t, I was so close to seeing him again. But I am very thankful I am still alive. She asks about my mother, I lie and tell her she’s dead too. My mother and I have never been close, no matter how bad the situation is she wouldn’t pick up the phone.
It’s just me and Hamlet, he’s my whole world. I ask if he’s okay. Then I hear him bark as he jumps off the ambulance truck and into my arms. I know everything is going to be okay. I grab his leash and I walk him up and down the street as the smell of morning coffee and the sound of the song birds singing a victory tune fill the air. I become real close with the officer who took my 9-1-1 call, he comes over every Sunday for dinner and afterwards we finish packing. Tomorrow is the first day of our life, we’ve moved in together. And I am not sure who’s happier, me or Hamlet. Every morning Jason takes Hamlet out for a run, something I never did. He loves it, and after work when he comes home they go out and play fetch. I still haven’t gotten over that night, I can still smell the alcohol on his breath in my dreams. Sometimes I wake up screaming and Hamlet and Jason race to comfort me. I know I am safe now, and can live a happy and fulfilling life, especially since I found out about the ring.