The Intruder – a Work of Partial Fiction

We got into bed later than we should have.   Lori had been busy helping bail me out of a commitment that I had made far beyond my abilities to complete and we didn’t move to the place of nocturnal respite until well after 10:30.   Katrina was working a late shift until 12:30 and someone was going to need to drive over to the store to bring her home.   Lori set her alarm for 12:35 to allow her the time necessary to get there at 12:40 as Katrina had requested.   I kept my clothes nearby and did not remove my contacts as I lay down planning, uncharacteristically, to run the late night errand under the heavy weight of my guilt and gratitude.

The ringing telephone awakened us at 12:25, even before Lori’s alarm sounded.   Apparently Katrina was able to slip away from the work environment a few minutes earlier than was previously expected.   I climbed out of bed and slipped on the clothes necessary for the cold late night drive and made my way out the bedroom door.   My contacts were still foggy as I felt my way down the stairs, blinking all the while to try and moisten the uncooperative lenses.   At the bottom of the steps I was reaching out to get the car keys from their hook when suddenly my skin went cold and a compressing pang engulfed my chest.   There before me, directly next to the key rack, in my house, in the early morning darkness a man stood silhouetted against the dim light of the kitchen window.   Who was this?   Why was he here?   What was he doing at this hour, uninvited and unwelcome in my home?   He did not move; he did not speak; he only stood like a statue staring into my undoubtedly rapidly whitening face.   Before a thought could cross my semi-sleeping mind, I heard a startled yelp escape my throat as I thrust my left hand up into a defensive position and my right hand shot forward to impact the intruder just below the chin.   I snapped my left heel toward his groin, but hit him somewhere about mid-thigh.   He reeled backwards across the open area of the kitchen, his head separating silently in mid-air from his shoulders and bouncing into the cabinet as his body slammed against the floor and slid to a stop just below the sink where it lay motionless looking so very oddly in the dim light like a wooden step ladder collapsed and harmless now across the room.   Some three feet away a pile of Christmas garland seemed to be staring back at its erstwhile torso.   My right hand throbbed with repeated bolts of pain.   I thought it might be broken, but later research would reveal only scrapes and bruises.

I felt empty, a little foolish standing there in the darkness of the midnight, but as I turned to walk away I comforted myself with the reassuring thought that because of my diligence, my decisive response, this morning in a less than perfect world, one more family was safe from the rampages of common household hardware gone terribly awry.


The Intruder – a Work of Partial Fiction — 1 Comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *