Tuesday, November 08, 2005

An Excerpt...

Friday night Sarah left the store at seven, calling a cheerful farewell to Greg on her way out. She went home and changed clothes, grabbing a bag that she had carefully prepared that morning. It all seemed so simple as she drove the half hour to the house, parking a short distance away in a secluded spot she had noticed on her previous visit. It was hard to avoid making noise as she crunched through the fallen leaves around the edge of the property but Sarah hoped that anyone who might be about would just attribute her sounds to the wind that was blowing briskly through the trees. As quickly as possible she made her way to the corner of the garage. Peering inside, she saw that the car was gone, as she had known it would be since its owner was downtown having dinner. She stopped to catch her breath and to look around for any signs of activity. From her tour of the house the other day she knew that there was a housekeeper who worked during the day but she didn’t want to take a chance on the woman having worked late. After a moment she decided that the house was completely still, all the lights out with the exception of the two flanking the front door. This far out from the city the darkness felt deeper than Sarah was used to at home and she had to exert herself just a little bit to keep under control that human fear of things that go bump in the night. As swiftly as possible, she dashed across the open space between the buildings and around to the back of the house away from the glow of the porch lights. She knew that the office was located on the middle of the second floor, just above a small porch that led to the kitchen. Her plan was simple enough – onto the roof of the porch and then through the window. The backpack she carried contained tools she could use to get in if necessary but experience had taught her that people regularly left their second floor windows unlocked. Indeed, that was the case here and she slid softly through the open window, pausing to listen for any sounds, but she could hear nothing save for her own soft breathing. It wasn’t until she turned around that she realized something was very wrong. The formerly tidy room had been ransacked. Papers were torn up and strewn about everywhere, on the floor, all over the desk, and even on the couch, which was now stripped of its cushions. The lamp had been knocked off the desk and the typewriter ribbon entangled in the handle of one of the desk drawers. The bottom drawer had been pulled completely out of the desk and lay empty on its side. Without looking Sarah knew that the box she had come for was gone, but just to be certain she poked through a few of the piles, careful not to disturb anything more than it already had been. Satisfied that it was indeed missing, Sarah debated whether or not to check on the rest of the house to see if any more damage had been done. Caution got the better of this instinct and she realized that she had to get out right away. Tiptoeing back to the window she took one last look at the devastation and crept out into the night. She retraced her steps to where she had parked the car and sat down on the damp ground next to it. What had just happened?

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