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Chicken Soup for the Soul

Home Alone
After my husband left for work, I put our dogs outside and began my morning chores. I stopped mid-chores to use the bathroom. Although I was alone in our home, I closed the bathroom door out of habit. I switched on the ventilation fan and made a mental note to have it looked at because it was making such a loud rattling sound.
Despite the old fan’s noise, I suddenly heard a loud thud against the bathroom door. It startled me to attention. This it thudded against the door again.
I knew I had put the dogs out, and I was almost positive I had locked the front door. We live in the woods so I thought it could be an animal. Could a bear have gotten in through the sliding door in the back? Or worse, could it be a two-footed intruder? Before I could logically consider my own questions, the door was hit for a third time. I was truly frightened. I watched a distinct shadow slowly pass by, visible through the little bit of space at the bottom of the door, trying to get in.
I moved to the door and quietly pressed the button on the flimsy lock. It wasn’t much protection, but maybe it could buy me some time. I strained to hear any clue as to the intruder’s whereabouts, but the noisy ventilation fan made that impossible I thought about shutting off the fan to hear better but ruled that out because it might signal to the intruder that someone was in the bathroom.
I felt raw fear. I had no exit but through that bathroom door., I had to think clearly, but I was panicking. I told myself to slow down and think this through. Our dogs haven’t barked and normally they would alert us to an intruder. But maybe the rattling fan kept me from hearing their warning. After all, I had clearly seen that shadow.
I rested my ear against the door but heard nothing. I needed a plan of action. I looked about the bathroom for something I could use as a weapon but was frustrated immediately by my limited choices. I remembered a metal, alligator-type hair clip in the top drawer. It was strong, long, and tapered almost to a point at its end. Grasping it like a dagger, I raised it high in the air, testing its feel. I caught my reflection in the bathroom mirror. I looked like a desperate woman arming herself as best as she could, but a woman who knew she was no match for a bigger intruder. I wanted to cry, but there was no time.
I was tempted to make a mad dash for my cell phone left in its charger in an adjacent room, but I had no idea what waited for me beyond that door. Did I care to risk a confrontation I probably couldn’t win? Maybe the intruder was just waiting for me to make a break for it. Besides, even if I reached the phone first, I live in the country. It would take time for any help to reach me. I decided I should stay put and not force an immediate encounter.
Finally, I couldn’t stand it. I needed to know where the intruder was. I let five more silent minutes pass and then I quietly unlocked the door. With my makeshift hair-clip dagger held high, I opened the bathroom door a crack and peered out. I saw nothing unusual.
But I hadn’t imagined that moving shadow. It was real.
Then I looked down and saw the intruder who banged on the door-my trusty robot vacuum cleaner, now silenced and still, having turned itself off after it got stuck under a chair.

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