If you've read Part I and don't wish to read it again, scroll down for Part II.
Sam had warned her. Actually, Erica’s husband had forbidden her from watching crime TV while he was away on a hunting trip. When she’d finally turned off the TV, scenes of torture and murder danced in her mind. But, she liked watching crime shows.
Erica pulled a blanket tight around her body despite the muggy summer air moving through the basement patio door. It was midnight and she was wide awake and—anxious. She sighed and turned the flat screen on again to watch a late night talk show.
“I wonder what Sam’s doing,” she said then pulled a cell phone from her pajama pocket and pushed a speed dial digit.
The number rang once and again and after the fourth ring went to voicemail. “This is Sam, leave it and I’ll return it.”
“Hi, Babe, just wanted to say I’m missing you. I hope you’re having fun, but I can’t wait to have you home again. Call me when you wake up? Love you.” Erica ended the call and placed the phone on the table next to the couch. She pulled free of the tangled blanket that held her captive and headed for the kitchen upstairs.
Erica stopped on the first step. “Maxy, where are you?”
Max strolled from behind a chair stretching his legs and meowing with each movement a wimpy sound not worthy of his 13 furry pounds. He flipped his bushy tail then rubbed against her legs.
Erica doubled over to gather Max in her arms, but soon released him when he squirmed for freedom. She took another step up then stopped to sniff the air. Was that cigarette smoke she smelled?
She remembered the open door and ran back to close it. Erica jumped when she saw her own distorted reflection in the glass then pulled the sheers over the black hole.
“I shouldn’t have let Sam take all the guns with him.” She laughed and walked back to the stairwell.
From the kitchen upstairs, Erica heard a muffled clatter that caused her heart to bounce in her chest. The noise stopped.
Should she be quiet? Should she make noise? Was there was someone in the kitchen?
Not Alone Continues....
Not Alone Continues....
Supported by a bookcase at the bottom of the basement stairs, Erica stood frozen except for her trembling legs. One at a time, she lifted each foot to climb the stairs and with each step she pressed herself flat against the wall pausing to listen. Her eyes darted from the upper landing and back to the basement. She didn’t have a plan if she met an intruder—except to run.
Once she reached the top, Erica jumped around the corner like one of the cops on the crime show she’d been watching—minus the weapon. She fumbled for the lights and heard a crash behind her. Erica clutched her chest and fell against the wall only to realize she’d heard the icemaker releasing the ice.
A cabinet door squeaked when she opened it to get a glass to fill with water. Then, she hurried back down the steps spilling droplets along the way. Just as Erica came out of the stairwell, she felt someone grab her hair and pull her sideways toward the bookcase. The glass fell to the floor as she fought to pull away from her captor.
“Max,” Erica said expelling the air in her lungs then pulled the cat from her hair. “What are you doing? You’re not supposed to be on the bookcase.” Her voice was shrill and nervous. “I guess we shouldn’t have taught you how to leap on heads, even if it seemed cute at the time.”
Erica’s hands trembled as she comforted the insulted cat. She released him on the floor and sprinted back to the couch scooting under the blanket. Erica hated sleeping in their bed when Sam was away, but she wasn’t having any luck sleeping on a couch either.
She pulled the blanket up to her chin and studied the room that was illuminated by the glow of the TV. The oversized clock on the wall read 2:10 a.m. The talk show had turned into an infomercial. Her eyes paused at the sheers swaying over the patio door, except, she’d closed the door. It wasn't the sheers that were moving. Erica held her breath as her heart kept cadence with every step of a pacing shadow outside the glass door.
Stay tuned for the conclusion of Not Alone next friday.