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Published by Jack Bush
Sally is jerked awake by a noise downstairs, and suddenly realises that sleep is the last thing she'll get tonight...
Sally is jerked awake by a noise downstairs, and suddenly realises that sleep is the last thing she'll get tonight...

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Published by: Jack Bush on Jul 12, 2009
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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A short storyByJack Bush
The shattering glass echoes into the night.Sally jerks awake at the sound; bolting upright in bed.
What the hell was that?!Sitting perfectly still, she strains her ears for anymore signs of life from the house.She hears nothing, but dread begins to tug at the back of her mind.As quietly as she can, she swings her legs out of the bed and slips her feet into her shoes on the floor. With the rest of her clothes already on, she makes her way to the bedroom door, gently rocking her feet on the floor, heal to toe to make as little noiseas possible.Pushing the light button on her watch, Sally sees that its 3.37am.Realizing she’d been asleep for almost an hour, she curses herself for forgetting tocheck everything before relaxing.Idiot! See, this is what happens!Her hand reaches for the light switch in the darkness, but she stops herself.The less attention she draws the better.Sally puts her ear to the door and again listens for a few seconds.Silence is the only thing to greet her.Grabbing the knob with one hand and placing a firm palm on the wood, tocounterbalance, she slowing pulls open the door a few inches and peers into thedarkness of the hallway beyond.The house has become silent again.The only noise to be heard now is the blood ringing in her ears.Sally slowly ventures into the hallway, the carpet beneath her feet cushioning anydisturbance her shoes might make.In front of her, she can just vaguely make out the banister in the dull light, as it curvesdownwards, leading to the ground floor of the house.For the moment, the banister is her goal.Baby steps.Just get there without drawing any unwanted attention to yourself, and we’ll cross thenext bridge when we come to it.With hands out in front of her in case she should bump into anything on route to the banister, Sally takes small steps towards it, forever keeping her senses alert for theslightest noise from below.And it doesn’t take long to come.The distant sound of scraping glass meets her ears.Whoever had done the breaking had decided to clear it up, and didn’t care who theywoke up.This was not a good sign for Sally.As her hands finally found the banister, more concern was beginning to etch its wayinto her face, as she peered down into the darkness below.At least with the lights still out she has the cover of darkness on her side, so theelement of surprise was still in her favour.For the moment.Steadying her nerves for what may come, Sally slowly starts to descend the stairs.She suddenly remembers a time when she was 8 years old, dressed in only a WinnieThe Pooh night gown, and had discovered her father wearing a Santa Claus costumein the middle of the night, trying his best to be quiet, but the alcohol in his systemdenied him of that simple task and flared his rage upon seeing his daughter looking athim with bewildered eyes.He had dragged Sally back to her room that night and behind her closed door, andsmelling the Whiskey on his breath, he had taught her a lesson she would never forget.
And she never had.Christmas had lost all its values for her after that, and her father was never quite ableto look her in the eye again. Whether it was disgust or regret he viewed her with, shenever found out.He died in an accident not long after that, leaving Sally and her mother alone to fendfor themselves and do what they could to survive.And Sally did just that.Survived.She was never one to lie down and die, and give up when the going got tough. That just wasn’t her style.Ever since that Christmas Eve, Sally knew that some thing’s needed to be fought for and she would never cower in a corner again.And tonight was looking to be another one of those nights for her to prove it to theworld, once again.As Sally reached the middle of the staircase, she found it strange that her past hadcame back to haunt her tonight. Maybe it was the noise in the dead of night that hadtriggered it off, or maybe it had always been there, simply hiding, just waiting for theright time to make an appearance and remind her of her roots, remind her what sheused to be made of, almost mocking her present with the past.But at 24, that 8 year old little girl was long gone, and what remained now was anempty shell of emotion of what once was.It was then that Sally’s feet reached the bottom of the staircase.Peering into the gloom of the open-plan living room, the first thing to catch Sally’seye was the strip of light coming from under the kitchen door at the far wall.That’s where the perpetrator in the night was dwelling.The kitchen.Her internal night-vision was starting to level out now, as she began to move forwardshe could tell most of the things around her; Widescreen television, glass coffee table,which she managed to shuffle round without bashing into, a stereo system over to theright, so many things that could be taken.They belong to me!With no more than reaching distance from the kitchen door, Sally remembers all thehurt and pain that has gone before in her life.The heartache, the tears and the mental anguish; some of which can never bedislodged from her psyche or erased from memory.But now she had Mark.He cared for her, and had always given her the respect she needed.The respect she deserved.Sally had earned it.But sometimes, the agony of the past is all she can feel in her present.However, Sally knew one thing for sure; she was never going to let it manifest itself in her future. No more would she be a victim.Over the years Sally had become a survivor, and she wasn’t going to let whoever was behind this door change that.Of course the thought of calling for help had been her first choice, but she didn’t wantMark to think of her as the frightened little girl that she once was, but only of thefighter she now is.Sally gritted her teeth, threw caution to the wind, and rising a foot, kicked the kitchendoor wide open.The naked man looked up at her.

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