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The thud came again. Rose clicked the television on mute, straining her ear against the storm that splattered the roof with a mixture of rain and hail.

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RACHAEL BOWMAN. The thud came again. Rose clicked the television on mute, straining her ear against the storm that splattered the roof with a mixture of rain and hail. The soft thump came from the basement, as though someone, or something, had knocked a book to the floor. Rose gripped the arms of the chair and cursed her husband for leaving her alone on a night like this, knowing she was fearful of storms, empty houses and prowlers, however imaginary they might be. She'd already lit every lamp and overhead light in the house, but they failed to dispel the damp, dreary feeling of impending doom. Rose was a bit too over protective about things, she wouldn't stay outside for more than 10 minutes, because of the dangerous sunrays. Her husband Jimmy had nagged her about getting a dog to keep her company on the nights he worked late, but she wouldn't have anything to do with a dog. What if the dog got rabies and went mad while she was alone with him? Her small delicate frame would be no match for a snarling animal who would shred her to pieces with its gnashing teeth. The television screen flickered in muted silence as it ran the news story again, warning the public about the man with the knife. ...read more.


"But when will that be?" she demanded, refusing to be treated like a mad woman while a maniac moved slowly just one story below. "I'm not sure," his voice had the tone of impatience. "Lot's of problems due to the storm. We are all pretty busy. Maybe you could call a neighbour? Someone to sit with you till we arrive?" "Sir, I don't need a baby-sitter! I need you to come and arrest this killer!" There was a long pause followed by a sigh. "Okay Mrs. Campbell. I'll send someone right over." Rose replaced the phone in its cradle, this was her lifeline, and trembled at the emptiness of the house. The roar of the storm scared her, a blanket of loneliness encased her, tickling the hairs on the back of her neck. A jolt of lightning crackled nearby, its brilliance exploding the yard beyond the window. The lights flickered, plunging her into darkness and Rose dug her nails into the fabric of the chair. The lights fluttered, fighting to stay alight as the storm roared directly overhead. The lights remained at half strength, their dirty yellow light casting deep shadows in the corners. The phone echoed loudly in the stillness, giving her the fright of her life. She lunged for it; her grip was tight on the receiver. ...read more.


Rose clamped a hand over her mouth, fearful that a scream, however quiet, would squeeze the last bit of breathable air from her lungs. Spinning towards the counter she ran her hands across its surface searching for anything she might use as a weapon. Nothing. She pulled at the knob on the silverware drawer and sent the contents crashing to the floor. Fumbling through the mess Rose felt the carving knife handle and clenched it firmly in her fist. Thunder and hail rocked the frame of the house as another bolt of lightning crackled over her head, illuminating the kitchen just as the cellar door burst open. The creature with the bright eyes stood at opening, it stared at. Rose halted and squinted at the creature, its tail wagging side to side. "You're are cat!" she shouted, her veins pounding with blood. She tossed the carving knife to the floor. It's just a stupid little cat. Her laughter eased her frightful state, soothing her petrified nerves. The short-hared cat licked its paws. "Just a cat," Rose whispered again as kneeled by its side and stroked its fur with her trembling hand. "Where did you come from, You scared me half to death." Arching its back it rubbed against Rose's thigh. "You must be hungry? How about a bowl of milk?" She rose to her feet and opened the fridge door. "Just a cat indeed," the man whispered from the shadows of the cellar. Candlelight glinted off the butcher knife in his fist. ...read more.

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