She opened her front door and froze. Something wasn’t right. Her young dog was staring into the entryway, hair bristling, and growling deep in his throat. Oh no, not again, she thought. This was the third time her dog had acted spooked about going into her house after long days spent working and chauffeuring.
Was someone here? She looked as far as she could into the dark house and listened intently but saw and heard nothing.
“Someone here?” she called out.
No answer. There hadn’t been those other times either.
She slowly reached in without entering the house and turned on the light switch that was just inside the door frame. The light didn’t reveal anything out of place. But her dog was still growling and staring into the living room. That was strange. The last two times he had quit growling as soon as she had turned on the lights.
Should she leave this time? Go find someone to come back with her? No, she was an adult. She could handle this like she did the other times. She didn’t want anyone to think she was not capable of living by herself, of taking care of her problems herself.
Heart pounding, she reached in and picked up the baseball bat she kept by the door for protection. Holding it up over her shoulder, she walked into the living room.
No one was there. And nothing appeared to be missing. However, the TV was on. Did she forget to turn it off before leaving this morning? No, that was impossible. She never turned it on in the mornings. She glanced around. Wait. The slip cover on the couch was wrinkled like someone had been sitting there. And there was a glass on the side table with some ice melting in it. She tried to remember if she had forgotten to straighten the slip cover the night before. Regardless of whether she did or didn’t, that glass with the melting ice could not be hers. If she had forgotten to clean up before going to bed the night before, the ice would have been completely melted by now. And even if she had for some reason drunk something while watching TV that morning, it wouldn’t explain how the ice was still in there after the sixteen hours she had been gone.
Someone had been here! Maybe more than one! There hadn’t been any evidence the first two times, but this time there was. Were they still here?
She quietly made her way down the hallway to check the bedrooms and bathroom, her dog cowering behind her legs, a low growl still rumbling from his throat.
No one. The house was empty.
She turned and headed back to the living room, relaxing a little bit as her dog stopped growling. She checked that the doors were locked. They were, and the chain lock was still in place on the back door. So if they had been there, how did they get out?
Puzzling over who could have been there, no longer able to dismiss it as her imagination, and her nerves too frazzled to stay up, she decided to go to bed. She climbed in, pulled the covers over her head, and willed herself to escape into sleep.