The chillingly cold concrete of the basement wall under my shaking fingers felt safe and familiar and I almost gasped a sigh of relief as I reached out in the darkness, desperatly feeling my way from the terror just one floor above me. My lips trembled in deadly silence and I dared not breathe. As I inched my way closer in the blinding blackness of the night to the corner, I heard footsteps cautiously approaching the door I had just fled through at the top of the stairway.
My senses were realing as I tried to maintain what composer I could, but the utter breach of saftey I felt overwhelmed my sensibilities as I scurried quickly and quietly to the corner and crouched down as low as possible. I instinctivly reached my arms around my legs and lowered my head to my knees, huddling in fear. The screen door was ceremoniously creaking as the intruder began his descent onto the landing and down the stairs.
For all of the comfort the usual silence of night brought, I found none at this moment. This night I was deafened with every nuance of sound I had never noticed....the dripping of water in the old deep sink in front of me, the almost demonic orchestra of crickets performing all around, the leaves from the tree, like fingernails on a chalkboard as the wind, unaware, sent them scratching across the ground...all of these sounds served to more fully incapacitiate me, tensing my mood and sending rapid punches of adreniline pounding through my veins.
I strained to hear how close he had come....was he nearer now? I was sure of it. Headlights pierced the darkness through the small retangular opening at the east end of the basement. Would someone see him? The car passed on, passenger unwitting to the precipace on which I was balancing. I stiffled a sob of distraught anger as a a dried leaf beguiled the proximity of my predator. I caught the sound of a jet nearing it's landing route overhead and knew that as the roar of the engines consumed all else that he had could get to the basement door within that moment, unnoticed. As the jet loomed overhead, I grabbed a screwdriver I knew was sitting on the edge of the sink...it would be my only defense if I was discovered cowering in the corner.
Why? How? When did he get into my house? I fought to keep from screaming as my thoughts raced back through my day to try and uncover the answer to these questions. It was 5:30 as I unlocked my door with the deadbolt that my grandfather had installed when I was a teenager. My day had been hectic, as most days in real estate go, and I was glad to be home. I opened the drapes wide to let the sun in off the glimmering evening ocean, slipped into my most comfortable jeans and T and poured myself a sinfully rich Spanish Sangria, grabbed my smokes and headed barefoot for the porch steps to enjoy the sunset and Latin music on my MP3. I giggled inside at the prospect of a long, luxurious weekend all to myself.
The house had seen me through my entire life...from my days of infancy it had been my safe haven from the world. In it, my grandmother fussily attended to my every need as I laid on her warm, inviting couch with the sniffles. On it's porch, I sat with my grandfather watching the fishing ships on the bay just as I did this day. The sidewalks hosted hula hoop and hopscotch parties to me and my siblings and cousins. Laughter and love filled the walls at holidays and it was always decorated for every occassion......
The sound of the threshold being overtaken by an unwanted presence jolted me back to the present in an instant and I tightened my grip on the screwdriver. "Walk past me, walk past me", I thought. If he walked far enough towards the back of the basement without sensing my hiding place, I might be able to dash out the door and lock him inside.