2020_07_19

The Perfect End to a Long Day

Finally back in her apartment Anna was able to relax. In her room she unclasped the heels and kicked them off then climbed out of the tight dress that had been constricting her for hours. Though planning to shower, she flopped face down on the bed. After several minutes, and with an exaggerated moan at the effort of once again moving, she rose and went into the bathroom. Just as she was about to start the hot water in the shower a knock came from the front door of her apartment: Three quick, loud taps, a pause, and then three more.

"You’ve got to be kidding me!"

She waited several seconds, listening carefully. Maybe whoever it was would go away. Maybe they had the wrong apartment. Natasha had her own key, and either way she was out of town for the rest of the weekend. But the knocking came again, same as before.

"One minute!" she called. She returned to her room, whipped on a pair of sweatpants and a t-shirt, and jogged to the door of the apartment.

Who is it?" she called through the door.

Then she looked through the peephole. It was a girl; not Natasha obviously. The girl appeared a bit out-of-it; maybe drunk. She had a strange look on her face. Maybe she was in trouble. The girl hadn’t answered her question. Before really considering whether it was wise, she opened the door.

"Is everything alright?"

Without responding the girl pushed into the apartment, forcing Anna to step back or be bowled into. The girl closed the door behind her. Anna could see she had a certain frightened look on her face.

"Hey! I didn’t say you could come in."

The girl made a somewhat frantic gesture at Anna to be quiet. Anna realized she had her ear near the door and appeared to be listening attentively.

"Is everything alright?" asked Anna in little more than a whisper.

The girl shook her head but said nothing, continuing to listen at the door. Anna stood watching her, not sure what more to say to someone who refused to respond. Finally, after almost two minutes, the girl seemed to be satisfied. She stepped away from the door and breathed a sigh of relief.

"Thanks for letting me in," she said, and Anna realized she was not as young as she had thought; perhaps even her own age or older. She just appeared young due to a very slight frame. I’d bet she gets mistaken for a teenager all the time, thought Anna.

"Well, I didn’t have much of a choice did I?" to which the girl smiled apologetically. "But now that you’ve come in, you had better tell me what’s up. Is everything alright? Are you in trouble?" Anna blurted all of this out at once, not giving the girl a chance to respond.

"Oh, everything is alright now. Thanks again. Now," the girl drew a small .22 out of the pocket of her sweatshirt and pointed it at Anna, who shrieked.

"I’m really sorry but I’ll need your wallet. Oh, and your car keys."

Five minutes later the girl was gone and Anna sat, still full of fear and adrenaline, and phoned the police.