Maria came to.

Am I dead, she wondered as she lay on the cold concrete slab, among scattered papers, next to her car.

Not sure what to do, she lay there. From where she lay, she could see under her car. A pair of feet, on the other side of her car, was moving toward the door to the house.

Why am I not dead?

She tried to move. To yell a warning. Something. Fear held her paralyzed. All she could do was lay there and watch the feet as they walked up to the door and stood there for a moment

She noticed a small trickle of blood running from her hand onto the floor, a small pool forming around the keys that lay next to it.

The fog began to clear from her mind as the events of the last few minutes started to come back to her.

The man who had shown up in her garage had been holding a gun. He had shot her.

BLAM!

She came back to reality with a start as one of the feet on the other side of her car came back to the ground.

He was trying to kick in the door to the house!

She could see that the door had held.

The foot came off the ground again.

BLAM!

This time the door gave way.

The feet stepped inside her house.

The realization that her roommate, Dayle, was home forced her to move.

Again, she looked at her bleeding hand. Her mind struggled to put together what had happened to her.

And then it clicked.

When he had shot at her, she had raised her hand instinctively, in an attempt to protect herself. There was no way her hand could stop a bullet, yet she had moved anyway. Somehow it had worked. Raising her hand had saved her life. She had been holding her keys. The bullet had hit and ricocheted off them.

She quickly checked her body as she sat up. Wherever the bullet had bounced, it hadn’t hit her.

She sat there in silence a bit longer.

Silence.

Why was everything so quiet? Since the intruder had loudly kicked in the door there hadn’t been a single sound from the house. No screaming. No yelling. Nothing.

Staying low, Maria got to her feet. Quietly, she moved around the back of the bulbous Volkswagen. As she reached the rear bumper, she heard the front door close.

She froze.

Something was wrong. Other than the sound of the front door closing there still had been no sound from the house. She paused and listened for a moment. No one had walked by the garage door. If someone had left, they had gone in the opposite direction.

Or….

She stealthily to the edge of the door way and peeked inside.

He was still inside!

He was standing silently at the island in the kitchen with his gun raised. There was no one there. What was he doing?

She watched for a bit longer, until she saw a shadow move on the low cabinet. Someone was on the other side of the island cabinet.

It hit her.

He had pretended to leave, and was now waiting in silence. Dayle was on the other side of the cabinet hiding! She had no idea that she still wasn’t alone in the house.

Maria tried to call to her. Her voice failed her.

In horror, she watched as Dayle’s head appeared over the top of the counter. She was immediately shot and sank back out of view.

The sound of the gunshot was deafening. It echoed through the silence of the empty house.

Maria sprang into action.

Above her head was the button to activate the garage door. She slapped it with all her might. She knew the second her heard the sound of the door rising, he would come back into the garage to investigate. She had to move fast.

The door slowly moved up in it’s tracks.

Maria didn’t have time to wait for the door to open completely. She dropped, once again, to the deathly cold concrete and rolled under the still rising door. Immediately, she sprang to her feet and ran as fast as she could, yelling as loud as she could for help from anyone who could hear her.

She thought she heard footsteps behind her, but she didn’t look back. She couldn’t spare whatever forward momentum she had gained.

There were footsteps behind her. The intruder was running after her!

She had to escape!

The sound of a single gunshot erupted behind her. It was followed by the whine of the bullet as it sped past her ear. She changed direction and continued running, still screaming for help with all her might.

In the distance she heard the wails of police sirens. They were coming closer. She no longer heard the footsteps of someone running behind her.

Without stopping, Maria stole a glance over her shoulder. She was alone on a dark street. There was no one there.

The lights in the windows on the apartments were starting to come on.

Everything seemed to be should be on the street. Only one thing was out of place.

An AC/DC baseball cap laid on her driveway, just outside her garage door.

END

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