Molly normally liked when the weather was bad. She preferred the rain to other types of weather; she always got her best writing done when there was thunder and lightning in the background. She just didn’t have it in her tonight.
After a couple of hours trying to get through the piece she was writing for work about her recent trip to Syria, she called it a night. She had about a page and a half to show for her efforts, but it would just have to wait.
She went downstairs to feed her cat and pour herself a glass of wine. Molly palmed her glass of Cabernet as she leaned against the counter. Her sleep schedule was still off from her trip and she knew she wouldn’t sleep for hours. She grabbed her cell phone and pulled open one of her dating apps. She had a message from a guy named Preston.
“How is your night going?” he wrote.
He was cute and she was bored so she responded with “It’s good. Just drinking some wine and relaxing.”
They chatted for a few minutes, and Molly went and plugged her phone into the charger in the hallway. Molly took a long, warm bath and when she went to check her phone, her heart fell into her stomach.
“That pink robe looks good on you” the message read.
Molly ran to the front door and made sure it was locked, and then she sprinted to the back door and latched it. She had a lump in her throat and her hands were shaking as she typed out “how did you know I’m in a pink robe?”
But no one messaged back.
Molly went up to her room and locked the bedroom door behind her. She checked under her bed and in her closet and when she was sure no one was in the room with her, she grabbed her pistol out of the nightstand by her bed and loaded it. She didn’t want to call the police over what was probably just a prank anyway.
She sat on her bed clutching the gun, trying to calm herself down.
Her phone beeped. “Why do you look so nervous Molly? I’m not going to hurt you; you can put your gun down.”
Molly let out a cry, and quickly muffled her mouth with her hand. She thought about calling her ex-boyfriend Danny, but after she had broken up with him before her trip he made it clear he didn’t want to speak to her.
Just as Molly was about to call the police, her phone beeped again. Another message from “Preston.”
“Call the cops and I will kill you. I can see you.”
She could feel the warm, salty tears streaming down her face. The sound of glass breaking downstairs pierced her thoughts. She grabbed her phone, ran to her closet, and barricaded herself in it. She didn’t have anything to lose, so she called the police.
“911- what’s your emergency?”
She kept it short. “There’s a man breaking into my house, I’m at 473 Cherry Lane, please hurry I’m in my bedroom closet with a gun.”
“Okay ma’am, there’s an officer not far from you. He will be there as quick as he can. Stay on the phone with me. Do you know how to use your gun?”
“Yes, I think so. I have it loaded.”
“Okay, just don’t panic. You’re going to be fine.”
“Oh Molly, where are you?” teased the intruder. “I thought I told you not to call the police?”
She could hear him opening doors and getting closer. The voice sounded familiar, but through the closet walls everything was muffled. She heard her bedroom door shake. Whoever the man was couldn’t get it open. He threw himself into the door a few times until it broke open. Molly held her breath, not knowing what to expect. She was thankful she had a dresser in her closet that she had been able to push in front of the door…maybe it would delay him more until the officer could get there.
Her hands were shaking as she backed herself into the wall of her closet and braced the gun in front of her. She had only shot it a couple of times, but she figured at such a close range, she wouldn’t miss. She didn’t know if he was armed or not, but she wasn’t going to wait and find out.
“Oh Molly, this wasn’t very smart. I’ve got you cornered now. Those cops you called won’t get here in time.” he said.
She saw a knife plunge through the door. He stabbed it until he had made a whole big enough to see through, and as soon as she saw his eyes and the knife, she shot.
Her ears were ringing and tears were streaming down her face but she was alive and no one was trying to get through the door anymore. Before she could stand up she heard a voice coming up her stairs asking if she was okay.
“Yes, yes I’m okay. I’m the one who shot,” she screamed out.
She stood up, knees shaking and pushed the dresser away from the door so she could get out. When she opened the door and saw the officer she knew she was okay.
Then she looked down, and saw Danny on the floor. She hit her knees and cried out, finally realizing why she recognized the voice.
Over the next couple of hours, after several officers combed through her house, she learned about Danny’s plan. While she was in Syria, he had used his key to her house to set up cameras and microphones, so he could watch every move she made. He knew where she was and what she had been doing for the days since she had been back from her trip. They didn’t know the point of the dating profile, other than to make her feel even more vulnerable, and make her think it was someone else torturing her until he revealed himself. They found his car a block away with ropes and tape in the trunk.
The only thing he didn’t think through was that she could have a gun, because she had never told him.
Outside, the thunder rolled.