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Danger At The Door

Six years ago when I left my ex, I moved into a duplex in a not-so-great part of town. With another oil-boom in progress, the city was growing by leaps and bounds and there were long waiting lists for housing - any apartment, anywhere. When this one came open I jumped at the chance, a cute little place where I could begin to sort out the broken pieces of my life. 

Not having lived alone for many years, I had a hard time sleeping at night and felt exhausted most of the time.  One night I collapsed into a deep sleep, only to be awakened a few hours later by someone ringing my doorbell.  Startled, I slipped out of bed, tiptoed to the door, and looked warily through the peephole.  In the shadows cast by the small porch light that I left on at night I could see two dark-skinned men, maybe in their thirties. 

"What do you want?" I called out through the door, trying to sound calm, although my hands were shaking so hard that I could barely hold onto my cellphone.  While the door was secured by a solid deadbolt, large windows and a sliding glass patio door ran down the three exterior walls of my duplex, and I knew that anyone with evil intent could easily smash their way in. 

"Our car ran out of gas, and we need some money," one of the men answered, looking down. "Can you loan us twenty bucks?"  Seriously?  Did they really think I was crazy enough to open up my door to them in the middle of the night? 

Using my boldest voice I said "I'm sorry, we (heavy on the "we" and hoping they would buy my bluff) don't have any cash."

"Not even five dollars?" the one wearing the hoodie asked.

"No, I'm sorry." 

"Yeah, ok," he said. 

 I held my breath as they turned and walked slowly across the apartment complex and disappeared into the shadows across the street. 

Needless to say, I didn't sleep at all that night, fearing that they might return at any time and try to break into my apartment.  I didn't even bother to call the police, knowing that in our town they would show up just in time to do a body count, and by then the two guys would be long gone.

I don't know why they chose to knock on my door, one of several duplexes in the complex. Maybe it was because my porch light on, though it wasn't the only one.  I don't know if they meant me any harm or were just a couple late-night partiers hoping to come up with some money for gas or beer.  I'm just glad that I listened to the voice inside my head that said "Don't open that door!"

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This story was written for Two Shoes Tuesday
where the prompt choices this week are night or noise.
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~Join us on Thursday for a special  Halloween Edition of Six Sentence Stories!!~

22 comments:

  1. No, don't open that door! And call the cops! Better for them to be late, than never there. If they had decided to come back the cops might have been there by then. I'm glad that you were ok!
    : )

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    1. You are right Joseph, and looking back I wonder why I didn't. I think I was just feeling very overwhelmed at that moment. I'm mighty glad that it turned out ok too! :-)

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  2. A similar situation happened to a friend and I when I was 17. Same apartment scenario, too. The next morning, we found one of the window screens removed!

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    1. That brings terrifying possibilities to mind, Annie! I have never felt more vulnerable in my life than I did that night!

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  3. I wouldn't have slept at all that night or the next 15 nights. Yikes! Opening the door would have been a very bad idea. Did you get a gigantic dog the next day? Or at least a tape recording of a dog barking to play when people knocked on the door?

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    1. Sadly, Christine, no pets were allowed in the apartments, not even a kitty to comfort me. I did read later somewhere that single women should get a big pair of men's well worn shoes and set them outside the door, to give the impression that they aren't living alone. I didn't have any kind of protection back then, but I have a handgun now, and I would use it if I had to!

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  4. It is scary when these things happen -- when in college my roommates and i were stalked by a convicted rapist who was on parole. Never open the door!

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    1. Absolutely right, Mimi, there was nothing good that could have come of that. I wouldn't have opened it for anyone, no matter how innocent they appeared, nor how the pleaded. It is sad that our world is like this, but it is.

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  5. :) This was scary for you Josie, I know. My __th time to be alone again, this time in another life (4th ???), gave me a memory jog while reading this. The two prompts:
    Noise -- my new apartment was the end one, upstairs, and bordered on a very busy and fast city street.
    Night -- I worked shift work. One week while on the day shift my apartment (a different one now) was burglarized. They crawled in the small bathroom window. Had I been working the night shift and sleeping at daytime they would have sneaked in on me.

    Isnt it nice to be stable and compatible again? We've been married 40+ years now.
    ..

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    1. I did give a hippy looking hitchhiking stranger a ride once on an Iowa Interstate. He had been traveling from Hawaii an d was going to NYC. At nights mostly he slept in local jails. As we were riding along we passed a Highway Patrol going the other way. He said he would have been in jail early that night/day as hitchhiking was prohibited on Iowa Interstates.

      I was relieved to have to let him out when I was getting off the Interstate.
      ..

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    2. The country home I lived in with my ex was broken into not once, but three times Jim, the last time he was sound asleep in bed in the middle of the day, as he also worked nights! He could easily have been killed.

      Yes, finding the right person at the right time in life is joyous! And we really appreciate it after experiencing situations that didn't go well, don't we?! :-)

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    3. I did my share of hitchhiking back in the day Jim, and as I look back now I realize that some of those situations were anything but safe. I'm sure my guardian angel's hair went white right about that time, if it wasn't already!

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  6. My apartment was broken into while I was there... terrifying... I didn't sleep for a long time after that and wouldn't have after your experience either.

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    1. I don't think I slept well the entire year I was there, Zoe, the nights I did get some sleep it was out of pure exhaustion. It was one of the hardest times in my life. But look where I am now! I sleep wonderfully snuggled up right next to Papa Bear, feeling both safe and loved! :-)

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  7. Never, ever open the door in the middle of the night. Especially if there is a clown standing there.

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    1. Amen, Maria! I'm not a fan of clowns to begin with, be it the costumed kind, or the kind that masquerade as regular people. There is just no justifiable rationale to unlock that door!!

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  8. It is good to have this message rammed home every now and then. Our advances as a civilization do not make the world a more safe place to live in. It is appalling to have to keep ramming the message home to our children about "Stranger - Danger".

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    1. So very true, Old Egg, our world is a far more dangerous place now than it was when we were growing up, there is more safety awareness and technology, but there are also whole new levels of crazy, and we have to be ever on guard for ourselves and our loved ones!

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  9. Such bold expectations on their behalf. Plus, they were hoping that porch light meant no one was home. I wonder if they'd expect their mom to open the door to strangers.

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    1. They had to be drunk or high, or incredibly stupid to think that line was going to win them great sympathy and an open door, Lotta Joy. I am compassionate, but I am not crazy! I too wonder how they'd react if someone knocked on their mom's door like that in the middle of the night.

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  10. you had a good intuition, That's a scary experience.

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    1. You are right, Shimon, there was not a doubt in my mind that opening that door was going to lead to bad consequences. I am lucky it turned out as it did.

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Your comments are always appreciated... they make me smile! :-)