“What was that? Honey? Wake up!”
“I think I heard something!”
“Wake up! I think I heard something! A noise in the house!”
“It’s three o’clock in the bloody morning!”
“Go see what it was!”
“Me? You heard it, you go see.”
“Some husband you are! You’re supposed to protect me! Now go see what that was!”
“Oh Jeez. Ok. Ok. Stop nagging me.”
Robert swung his feet out of bed and onto the floor, which was of course cold.
“What? What’s wrong?”
“Nothing. Never mind.”
“Well hurry up then!”
“All right already! Lay off me!”
He lifted himself the rest of the way out of the warm bed and trudged down the hall, yawning and searching for the light switch as he went.
“Dammit!” he muttered under his breath, “That’s bloody bright!”
When he got to the end of the hall he turned left into the living room and looked around in the half light from the hallway. Nothing seemed amiss. Everything was where it should be. No plant knocked over, no books out of place on the shelves. Nothing.
“Huh. Stupid woman. Hearing things again.”
Robert turned and started back down the hall.
He spun around. What the hell? Now he was hearing things too.
He took a closer look at the living room, his eyes now adjusted to the gloom. Still, nothing seemed out of place. But wait, was that breathing he heard? No, it couldn’t be. He stood still, holding his breath for a full thirty seconds, listening. Now he was sure he heard it, someone breathing.
“Oh crap, she was right, there is someone in the house and I’m standing here in my shorts like a fool,” he thought.
Retreating a few steps into the hall, he slowly opened the door to the closet and grabbed an umbrella that was propped in the corner. Holding it tightly in both hands he closed the closet door with his foot and inched forward where the hall met the living room and peeked around the corner.
Seeing nothing, Robert slowly stepped forward into the living room. He tip toed around, carefully looking for whoever was breathing. He checked all the places he could think of where a person would hide: behind the couch, around the corner of the fireplace, on the far side of the piano, behind the easy chair in the far corner. But he found no one. He stood in the middle of the room perplexed.
“I’m damn sure I heard the thump and I know, well I think, I heard breathing.”
Robert jumped a foot in fright. Out of the corner of his eye he saw that the easy chair had bounced into the air about two inches and come pounding down onto the floor.
“What the hell?” he said, turning and looking at it.
It did it again.
Robert slowly walked over and stood in front of the easy chair, holding the umbrella like a baseball player ready to swing at a pitch.
He got down onto his hands and knees, still holding the umbrella and slowly lowered his head to the floor and looked under the easy chair.
There, in the darkness, a pair of eyes looked back at him.
“HOLY MARY MOTHER OF GOD!” screamed Robert while simultaneously trying to stand up, run out of the living room, and at the same time protect himself with the umbrella which had somehow popped open in his mad scramble.
Robert dropped the open umbrella, jumped over the coffee table, tripped over the foot stool and fell on his face.
“You’re not getting me!”
He stood up and ran for the entry to the living room. Three steps later he had made it, very much alive. He looked back and saw the easy chair rise again.
Having succeeded in getting out of the living room in one piece, Robert flew down the hall and into the bedroom and slammed the door.
“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you!”
“What do you mean?”
“Just never mind.”
“Is everything OK now?”
Robert thought about his answer for a moment. If he said no, then he’d have to go back out there and deal with whatever it was under the easy chair. If he said yes, he wasn’t sure if he could go to sleep knowing it was out there anyway. But at least the door was closed. It couldn’t get into the bedroom with the door closed, could it? Then he could deal with whatever it was in the daylight. If daylight would help.
His wife said something but he was too stunned and lost in his thoughts to hear her properly.
“What? What was that you just said?” he asked her.
“Oh for heaven’s sake, try listening this time! I said: while you were looking around out there, you didn’t happen to see the dog, did you? I think I forgot to put her out.”
“THE. DOG?” said Robert.
Note: Every week we choose from four topics to write about. This week one of the topics was “What’s in your living room?” and I’ve chosen that.
Your comments and creative criticism are more than welcome.