She darted her hand in, grabbed the rose, threw the letter in the box and ran in the house in one lighting motion. Before the screen door could slam behind her this time she had the bolt, chain and wedge in their place. The rose was on the floor where she had thrown it when she ran in.
She cried. He had been here. Had he been watching her kissing Curtis on the couch? Was the rose to taunt her? Was he ever going to leave her alone? She slid down with her back to the door. The curtains were open, was he watching her now?
She crawled below the window-sill and grabbed the pull strings on the drapes. At least he wouldn’t see her. She continued to the second and third set of curtains then went to the kitchen to pull those. Outside something scratched across her driveway in the wind. She ran to the window over her sink closed and latched it. She scanned the room.
The door leading to the basement was cracked open few inches. She flipped on the light and crept down fear burning her skin and adrenaline pushing her forward. She never used the sliding door to the basement so she never checked it. She could call Curtis. He couldn’t be more than a mile or two away. She reached down. No cell phone. It was in her purse upstairs. She crept through the near empty basement. The furnace and a few stacks of boxes would be the only cover for an intruder. She peeked around those and saw nothing. The only other place would be behind the curtain for the basement’s sliding glass door.
She picked up a broken broom handle that she’d remembered was under the steps and crept forward. Something creaked and she stopped, holding her breath so she could listen for the slightest sound. Slowly she tiptoed closer to the curtain. It moved slightly and she caught a scream in her throat.
What she was doing was insanity. She looked back at the steps. It would make more sense to run upstairs and call the cops. She lifted the bat over her head and in a quick motion ripped the curtains back and swung the bat. The curtain rod gave way and crashed down on her. She screamed and ran up the steps never once looking back. She slammed the door shut and leaned against it.
Not a sound came from the basement. She waited then opened the door a crack. There was nothing. She bent over and looked in the basement. The curtains were in a pile with the rod but there was no sign anyone had been in that basement but her. A small bit of relief washed over her and she ran to the back door to double check its lock. When she was satisfied the kitchen was secure she moved to the second floor and checked every window.
He was close by but he wasn’t getting in.
Rachel dialed the police.
A man with a gruff voice answered the phone.
She identified herself, “I’ve found another rose.”
You are reading A Face in the Shadow by Tiffany Colter.
Tiffany is a writer, speaker and writing career coach. She is a frequent contributor to print and online publications in addition to her regular marketing blog at http://www.writingcareercoach.com/
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This story is copyright Tiffany Colter. 2007. It may not be copied, distributed, sold or included in any larger work without the expressed written permission of Tiffany Colter.
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