I sit at my computer, words flowing through me as I type madly on the keyboard. A story has me in its grip and I’m unaware of anything other than it. I need to capture its essence before it leaves me.
I’m dimly aware of the screen door opening, the soft sound of footsteps, but I ignore them. I am focused on the story. Something tickles my subconscious brain. These aren’t the normal sounds of my house. The cat makes the screen door slam when he comes in or goes out. The screen door didn’t slam this time. Something is wrong.
The hair on the back of my neck stands out. I feel a shiver along my spine. Someone is in the house. I very quietly push back my desk chair and tiptoe to the baseball bat that sits in the corner of the office. Brandishing it, I creep towards the noise. Its in the parlor. I can hear someone breathing.
I see someone bending over trying to disconnect the cables from the TV. He has already detached the TV from its stand. I go berserk. I whip the baseball around and catch him on the ear. He grunts and turns towards me. I didn’t hit him hard enough. He starts walking towards me as he pulls a knife out of his pocket. I look for a sign of compassion in his eyes. I see nothing other than the gleam of violence as he comes towards me. No time to think. No time to wind up for another whack on his head with the bat.
I hold the bat down low like I’m submitting. But I still have a tight grip. He plants his feet, getting ready to stab – I raise the bat between his legs as hard as I can. He goes down. I’m frozen. I can’t seem to move my feet to run. I count three agonizingly slow seconds, making myself breathe. Then I run towards the front door.
Thoughts start to flash through my head. If I run down the steps towards the street, he’ll see me. I don’t how long he will be incapacitated or how fast he can run. Instead, I run around to the side porch and crouch beside the wall of the house. He won’t be able to see me, but I’m also trapped. My breath comes in ragged gulps. My heart is galloping. I raise the bat over my head and wait, willing my heart rate to slow.
Sirens. Coming closer. A neighbor must have seen something wrong and called 911. I silently thank whomever called.
I hear footsteps pounding towards the door. The guy bursts through the door and looks around wildly. His knife is held high, ready to throw.
Brakes screech and doors slam. “Police! Drop the knife! Now!” From my hiding spot, I see three police officers standing on the sidewalk, guns out and aimed at the guy with the knife.
He raises his knife arm.
I whip around the corner and bring the bat down on his wrist as hard as I can. He looks surprised. The knife drops and skitters along the bricks of the porch. The guns swivel towards me. I drop the bat and raise my hands. My entire body is shaking from the adrenaline rush. As the adrenaline leaves my system, I sink to the ground and sit.
The next few minutes are a blur of colors and noise. Police officers storm the porch, handcuff the guy, arrest him, haul him out to a car, and ask me if I’m ok. I nod. I think I’m ok. I don’t know for sure. I’m a little dazed.
“Ma’am, why did you hit the guy with a baseball bat? He could have stabbed you.” We’re sitting at the kitchen table. One police officer gets me a glass of water.
“I didn’t think. I just acted.”
“Thank you” he replies.
They walk back down the front steps, shaking their heads about middle-aged woman fiercely wielding a baseball bat while being faced with a guy with a knife and police officers with guns.
I walk to the back door and flip the lock. The cat can meow when he wants to go out.