She never answered the door, each knock a rush of fear that took her breath away. Then, cowering in absolute terror, she’d wait until whoever it was would leave. Miriam was only thirty four, but since the break in, she’d not been able to leave the house. It’s flimsy walls seemed ineffectual but at least they were walls, and connection with anyone would have to be on her terms.
Jenny, her twin sister had moved to New York State with her husband and young Charlie some months ago, and every since then and that intruder, her life had been turned upside down. She just could not reconcile her feelings and fears, and they ruled her like a Sergeant Major, and no matter what she did, the fear just took her over.
Her neighbors rarely came in and only twice had Sarah from next door knocked on her door. And even then, knowing how safe it was didn’t detract her from the fear she felt, so she just waited, and Sarah left, not thinking anything of it.
The lounge room was cluttered but tidy and the curtains half-drawn, just in case anyone knocked. Miriam watched TV, read books and generally kept her home clean, and that was it, nothing more. This aberrant fear kept her so within its clutches, she dared not question this path of complete submission.
In was 10.am on a Saturday when the phone rang. ‘Is that you Jenny? Thank God!’
‘What’s the matter?’ asked Jenny, now worried about her sister.
‘Sorry I didn’t mean that,’ she stuttered, ‘I mean, its so good to hear from you.’
‘Has anything happened,’ Jenny inquired with concern.
‘Nothing really… just someone tried to break into the place, broke a window; but I’m OK, nothing else happened.’
‘My God, did you call the police?’
‘Of course I did, but the guy was long gone; I think he thought there was nobody home,’ Miriam explained, trying not to get emotional.
‘You’re still upset aren’t you,’asked Jenny, knowing well her twin.
‘Well yes I guess so, I feel kind of vulnerable.’ Jenny could hear the restriction in her throat.
‘I’m glad then, cause Noel’s in New York for business and I came along for a break. Carol’s taking care of Charlie, so I’m only an hour away.’
‘That’s wonderful,’ cried Miriam, the best news she heard for months.
‘I’m on my way; I’ll be there for dinner,’ said Jenny. ‘Can’t wait. See ya soon M’.
Miriam was beside herself and suddenly forgot about her problems and went to have a shower, and at least look civil for her beloved sis. For the first time in some months, Miriam was singing in the shower, and it was as if the burden of all that fear just lifted in one phone conversation. Why hadn’t she rung earlier and told Jenny what had happened. She suddenly felt silly.
The back door quietly clicked opened, and a man dressed in dark clothing and a hoody walked stealthily through the sun-room, the kitchen and up the hallway toward the bathroom, where Jenny was singing at the top of her voice. He opened the door without a sound and peered in, the silhouette of Miriam’s body dark against the pale blue shower curtain. Step by step he moved closer, Miriam oblivious to his presence.
He stood there motionless, staring through the shear curtain at Miriam’s svelte curved body, and unconsciously he licked his lips, as if to anticipate the coming feast. Suddenly he lunged forward and grabbed her through the curtain, and she screamed in absolute terror, thrashing about as the curtain tore from its connecting rings.
The man had her around the waist and dragged into the adjoining bedroom, dislodging her from the plastic curtain and throwing her like a doll onto the bed. He was on top of her, holding here wrists to the sides and ravaging here breasts with a ferocious assault. Her screams were so loud and intense, and then the front doorbell sounded.
‘Open the door M, what the hell is going on?’ Jenny screamed, shouldering the door over and over, the hinges creaking with each affront. The man stopped and realized he couldn’t fix this and backhanded Miriam, sending her unconscious. He left through the side window and disappeared, just as the front door gave way and Jenny dashed through the house in panic.
‘M, M’, she cried, finally finding her unconscious naked body on the bed. She pulled M into her arms and cried uncontrollably, rocking her back and forth. In only a moment M awoke and in fright but realizing it was Jenny, she clung to her in absolute desperation, sobbing.
‘You’re coming back with us’, whispered Jenny. ‘Never again will I leave you.’
Tony DeLorger © 2016
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