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Lying frozen in bed, I shiver vigorously with fear. The light, prance-like footsteps coming from the next room over sound like massive trains pounding at my ears. The noise rattles my chest as I hold my breath, not daring to be heard. My sweaty fingertips reach far under the covers in search of my phone. 9-11 is displayed across my screen. I dare not hit call. Will my silent pleas be heard?
It is the night before my freshman sweetheart dance. Typical, I frantically run around and carry about my business preparing for the following day. When I finally lie down to catch up on sleep, my mind is racing with a thousand wandering thoughts, each building up the tedious, overdue stress. Anything could go wrong. Trying to put my thoughts to rest, I close my eyes, praying my mental exhaust will get the best of me. I render sleep impossible; images cloud the inside panel of my eyelids.
I wake with an abrupt jerk: miserable nightmare. The branches on the trees are pounding on the window panes, threatening to shatter the glass. The wind is roaring and whipping outside, and I can hear the heavy raindrops beating at the roof. “Awesome!” I think aloud. “There is no way I’ll fall asleep now.” I sit up, reach for the remote, click on the television, and stare up at the ceiling. The late night T.V. shows are drab.
I can barely force myself to listen to these monotone voices, but just as a commercial appears I hear a quiet tap on the window in the spare room, located directly beside my own. I quiet my inhales, listening to the rattle of the blinds. Surely no one is in the room. It has been deserted for quite some time. I ignore my nerves by telling myself it is nothing but a draft in the house. My normally vibrant room appears dark and gloomy, and lingering over my head is an airy feeling that makes me feel out of place. BANG! Something is knocked over: the old rocking chair, the bookcase, the wooden stool? Someone is definitely in that room, and I’m finding it unrealistic to keep myself calm. My heart is pounding in my ears. I freeze, not moving a muscle in my body. It is three a.m., and I am the only one that lie awake in this dark house.
I am panic stricken. I long to call anyone for help, but I’m afraid my faint whispers will be heard in the next room. The creaking floorboards are more than I can handle. I stretch my fingers far underneath my heavy covers in search of my phone. In alarm, my sweaty palm grasps the useless technology as my fingers fight to find the correct buttons. Every move I make is jerky and hesitant. Slipping under my blankets, I am engulfed by my own body heat. Too afraid to speak, I text my friend, Logan. Logan is far from my muscleman; I am not expecting him to personally take care of my problem. It‘s just a necessity someone phone the police, for I am not capable. “Call 9-11,” is my plea. “Someone is in my house.” I wait quietly, eyes open wide.
The gentle vibrate of my phone is felt against my upper thigh. I quickly reach down to silence it, afraid of being heard. “Ash wut is goin on?!?!” it reads.
“Call 9-11,” I reply. He is wasting time. I listen intently, and I can hear the window being cracked open. The wind’s howls become bolder and more real.
“R U sure Ash. I don’t understand….”
“Logan just plz.” I feel so helpless and alone.
Within minutes there is hammering at my front door. It is frightening but relieving. Dogs, more than two, can be heard viciously barking outside my window. “CANFIELD POLICE! OPEN UP!” hollers the voice of a brute, young man. “CANFIELD POLICE!” he shouts again.
“JOHN, JOHN! GET THE DOOR! HUN?” my mother calls from her room. I can hear the worry in her delicate voice as she hesitantly peers around her bedroom door.
“WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON!” my dad exclaims. I listen as he noisily descends the staircase. Soaring out of bed, I dash through my room, past the spare, and down the steps into the front hall.
“Canfield PD. Is everything alright sir?” the intimidating man asks. He is wearing his bulky, black uniform, his hair is sopping wet, and with a glance around his massive figure, another shadow is slowly climbing the porch stairs. The red and blue lights from the police cruiser bounce off the large, crystal windows and onto my father’s face. The dark circles beneath his eyes are proof of his exhaustion. His stern look is softened by the wrinkles of confusion across his forehead.
“We received a call from an outside number reporting a burglary at this address. Are you aware of this Mr. F?” the cop questions.
“I have no idea what..” my father begins to answer.
“I do…” I interrupt. “Someoneisinthespareroomdadiheardhimiswearidid!” I ramble on, stopping myself only to realize how foolish and childlike I must sound.
A moment later my brother’s friend Adam peers around the corner. Standing there peacefully, he intrudes, “Ash, uhm.. I think maybe I was the one you heard in the spare bedroom. It was really hot, so I decided to open the window to let in some cold air, and as I went to get back into bed I tripped over the rocking chair, knocked it over, and stepped on my glasses. I ain‘t about to go to jail though.“
I stare blankly into his glossy eyes. His normally cute, stout, childish figure no longer looks so adorable. He wears a slight grimace, either of entertainment or embarrassment.
The light from the police officer’s flashlight illuminates the shame that is blazing in my cheeks. Everyone stands here dumbfounded. The annoying urge to giggle boils up inside me. To bashful to look into anyone’s eyes, I begin to climb the stairs back to bed.
“Hold on one second missy!” my mother quickly whispers. “Apologize for causing these men a hassle.” She, along with everyone else, looks too tired and worn out to deal with me at the moment.
“I am so sorry sir...” I comply.
“This is our job. We are glad you found a way to contact the police when you believed you were in an emergency, but maybe next time don’t always jump to conclusions.”
“Ya. I guess,” I agree, causing, once again, the rosy blotches to slowly appear alongside my cheekbones. Off I go, up the stairs, and back into bed. The whispered apologies can be heard through the vent below my window. Finally, the door is shut. I thump my head back onto my pillow, pull the moist covers over my face, shut my eyelids, and ever more easily, dose off into sleep.
The following morning I wake up to the sunshine pouring through my lime green curtains. The speckles of light splash onto my face like ice burgh water. I slightly pull the curtains to the side to catch a glimpse of the beautiful morning sky: empty and inviting. Sitting up in my bed, I whisper to myself, as if expecting a response, “Why is it that I am always jumping to conclusions.” My hasty decisions like to tag along with a bag full of embarrassment. Twisting the shimmering doorknob, I prepare myself for the walk of shame.