Miqui Sherwood woke from a sound sleep. A floor board creaked. She raised her head and listened. No, she wasn’t imagining things. There it was again. Someone was in her house. Neither Cleopatra nor Blondie stirred from their comfy spot tucked beside the bend in her knees. No wonder, her two darling pets were both old and hard of hearing.
Maybe it was that raccoon again who had sneaked in through the doggie door. No. It took more weight than that to make a floor-board creak.
Someone was in the house. She’d heard from several of her friends, that they’d been burglarized but didn’t know when it happened. Well, she knew, because it was happening to her right now. Crap.
She eased out of bed as quietly as possible. What should she do? She didn’t own a gun, didn’t know how to use one, and wasn’t sure she would if she did have one. She scooped up her dogs and plucked her cell phone off the nightstand.
With her heart thumping madly, she tiptoed across to the other side of her large master bedroom and opened the door to the walk-in closet. Besides her clothes, this was one of the places she stored many of her holiday decorations, and since she still had her Christmas decorations out, the back was fairly empty.
Her Christmas decorations. She prayed the intruder didn’t share a fondness for any of her collectibles handed down to her from her mother and grandmother, priceless and irreplaceable. She adored each and every one.
Cleopatra and Blondie squirmed in her arms, letting her know they wanted down.
Miqui yanked a blanket off a shelf and put it on the floor. Carefully, she set the dogs down. Within minutes they both emitted soft snores, already back to sleep. So much for being any kind of protection.
Her bedroom was at the end of a long hall. She thought she heard the door to one of the spare bedrooms open. Good heavens, why was she waiting to make a phone call? She punched in the home phone number for Deputy Crabtree, the resident deputy of the mountain community of Bear Creek.
Calling 9-1-1 would take longer, and someone else might be sent. She knew the deputy lived close by. It seemed as though it took forever for the phone to start ringing.
Two rings later, a sleepy sounding female voice answered. “Crabtree.”
“This is Miqui Sherwood,” she whispered. “I think there’s someone in my house.”
“Where are you now?”
“My dogs and I are hiding in my bedroom closet.”
“Give me your address. I’m sure I know where you live, but just in case.”
She rattled off the number. “Hurry.”
“I’m coming right now.”
It couldn’t be soon enough to suit Miqui. Since she’d awakened the deputy, she’d have to dress first and then it was at least eight to ten minutes driving time from the deputy’s place to Miqui’s home tucked into the mountainside overlooking the town of Bear Creek.
She’d never been so scared in her life. Maybe she should find something to hit whoever it was if he came into her bedroom and opened the closet door.
To do that, she’d have to leave the safety of the closet and she might go back in the room the same time the burglar came in. No, she’d just stay right where she was and hope Deputy Crabtree arrived at her house before the intruder made his way into the bedroom.
Though she’d given up watching scary movies a long time ago, deciding that wasn’t a good idea since she lived alone, this was far worse than any scary movie could possibly be. It wasn’t often she wished she had a man in her life. She’d given up on that scenario though she still had a spark of hope the right guy might come along. Now was the time a strong, muscular man would’ve come in handy. There’d been a few fellows she’d dated and even considered marrying, but for one reason or another, it had never happened. In most cases, she knew her love of independence got in the way. She’d yet to meet the man who could accept her level of self-sufficiency.
She’d worked long and hard as a partner in a medical insurance group that gave her an excellent retirement, and she’d made wise investments over the years, so she didn’t need a man to support her. Nor did she want one to support. Yes, she was lonely at times, but she belonged to many local organizations, did volunteer work associated with each of them, and had many female and male friends.
Right now, cowering in the closet, she wished she’d not been quite so choosy about the males in her life.
Oh, dear God, the hinges on her bedroom door squeaked open. Whoever was there would see she wasn’t in bed.
Cleo, the black-and-white mixed terrier lifted her head. Her ears stood straight up. Blondie, a long-haired Doxie mix, stood, emitting a low growl.
Before Miqui could shush them, the closet door creaked open and gloved fingers appeared on the edge. She screamed.
The two small dogs raced past her, barking.
The intruder turned and darted off, the little dogs barking and nipping at his ankles. “Ow. Stop that. Quit it.” His protests faded as he ran through the house.
Whoever it was wore black from head to toe except for white spots on his running shoes. He quickly disappeared from view.
Now afraid for her pets, neither of them young, Miqui ran after the man and the dogs. “Cleo, Blondie, come back.”
All she could see of the burglar was his back and those white spots moving quickly as he dashed through the living room and past the kitchen. He disappeared into the laundry room. Her dogs galloped right behind him.