Waking Up on the Couch I Can Hear Someone Upstairs

shadowy stairsI climb the stairs, avoiding the few creaky ones I’m used to avoiding coming down. Soft-soled shoes help, but I know whoever is up there will hear the slightest noise.

Every time they rummage, stumble, make any noise, I take an extra step. My slow climb is taking minutes that feel like hours.

I miss, or rather, don’t miss, one of the creaks. The noise above stops abruptly and a figure dressed in black appears at the top of the stairs.

My assailant, male I think, rushes me, probably trying to push me backward down the stairs.

I quash the instinct to fight back. Instead, I drop to my stomach, arms flailing above me.

I catch an ankle.

Then I catch a knee in the back as he tumbles over me.

By the time I turn and scamper back down, he’s lying motionless on the floor.

Before I even check for a pulse, I pull the ski mask off his head.

It’s more of a shock than when I first realized someone had broken into my home.

Finding that pulse matters now.


Over the Rooftops

alleyAs I slid down the rough surface of the shingles, shredding my pants while putting years’ of wear on my shoes in a single moment, I thought about the ridiculous depictions of rooftop pursuits in the movies. Leaping across flat rooftops, scaling peaks and running down the other side.

Nonsense.

I was determined not to let this guy get away, not because I was being paid for it (though of course, I was) but because he’d rubbed my nose in his last escape.

Still, my knees and hands were bleeding, my clothes were rags, my stomach was heaving and lungs were burning. I had to catch him, but quick, or give up.

I’m not the “die trying” type, thank you very much.

I slid off the edge of the sloped shingle nightmare and fell the short distance to the flat roof below. I’d seen it coming or I wouldn’t have slid down. Found my footing and ran to the other side.

It was too far to jump. Too far for me, anyway. So he was gone. Again.

Glanced down to see how far my fall would have been, and there he was, rag-dolled over a pile of someone’s junk in the alley.

There goes my dreams of capture and confession.

Then I heard him groan, and one leg moved.

The pile of junk I landed in was softer than his, because I went down intentionally.

It still hurt. But not as much as he did.