I 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.
One month ago at this moment our yard was silent and white. A foot of snow covered everything, including the lake. The pines had a light frosting of white and the darker bark of the elms and walnuts stood out from it all.
Nothing moved. No sound but a tractor in the distance.
… more … “Contrast and Brightness”
I’m writing some experimental fiction as part of my daily writing exercises. You’re seeing it because, though it’s not haute cuisine, it’s not egg shells and coffee grounds either. These will show up here and there, now and then.
The constant thrum vibrates my chest. Somewhere, a big engine turns, a little too fast. The pistons push the crankshaft past its limit, setting up harmonic distortions.
Over the thrum is a rhythmic oom oom oom, another layer of vibration.
The snow begins to lose coherence as its resonant frequency is touched twice in each cycle. Patches collapse flat to the ground, leaving three foot deep sinkholes in the white crystal powder.
… more … “Seriously Overreacting to an Annoying Early Morning Noise”