Dark. It is early morning, too early for me to be truly comfortable in calling it morning, but that's what it is. I seem incapable of sleep, peering endlessly at my computer screen as I tap the keys. Surf the web. I hear the sound of a car approaching, one that has a deep engine rumble, like a sports car or a fire truck. Doors slam. With the darkness closing in on me it seems as though the sound is right outside my window.

Fear, the icy acid that both exhilarates and wilts, pumps through my system, overwhelmed only by my curiosity. Who, I murmur to myself, is out there? Curiosity wins the fight and I carefully stand up from my nest on the couch, creeping to the door where my slippers lay. I slip them on and slowly slide open the deadbolt, careful to catch it just before it makes that distinctive shlit and alerts the 'whoevers' to my presence. I prefer to remain invisible for the moment. I roll over my bottom lock, a simple doorknob turn and burn, and begin to twist the doorknob.

My eyes are closed, hiding myself from my terror as I swing the door inwards. Now aware that the light inside will cast my shadow. Too late. It cannot be helped. I look down at my pajama-clad body - black capris, black tank - maybe I need something to protect myself. God knows that cotton won't stop bullets… or knives.

I snag the flashlight. It is the best weapon, ergonomic and hefty it serves two purposes - it can be used to both blind and beat my assailants. Blunt force trauma is a very effective deterrent I hear.

I take my first step outside clutching my light the way a cop might. The bulb portion facing me, turned off, with my middle finger on the trigger, ready to flash if needed. I smile, inhaling silently through my nose, exhaling through my mouth. This is it, I think, the moment of truth. I close the door behind me, fully exposed now.

My eyes flicker back and forth across the swatch of grass and dirt before me. Nothing. I move further out, forgetting to pie out around the corner of the house I simply edge toward the sidewalk where I can easily see all three directions and still keep my house at my back. It's important to have your back covered and if a house can't do that…

I monitor my breathing as I scope out the streets. There is nothing moving. The neighbors have their porch light on - something I will never understand. What use is a porch light casting warning shadows if your eyes are closed?

I take a few tentative steps into the street, the roaring engine is returning. More of a deep purr really, it approaches from in front of me, coming from a side street down which I cannot see. Funny, I know that it was right in front of my place, dropping people off just moments ago. Suddenly the truck pulls into view. Too distant to see me, as I am not stupid enough to keep my porch light on, but not so far away that I cannot make out the distinct markings on the side of it. GJFD, a fire engine.

It rolls down the road, away from me, leaving me in silence. My brow crumples under the weight of my questions - why is there a fire truck out here, why were there no sirens, who slammed the car doors? Crazy with curiosity I return to my abode, carefully glancing about me before re-entering the door, closing it and tossing the deadbolt. I don't bother to hide the noise this time. I turn around and face my assailant, gripping my blunt object in preparation to strike.

Too late.

Hello, and thanks for reading.

God bless,