EXCERPT: 'Shattered Silence,' by Melissa Moore

I tossed and turned for a few minutes, but no matter what I did, I simply could not get comfortable with my pillow. I also could not put my fears to rest. I took my blanket and covered my head to block out some of the afternoon light and calm my racing thoughts. Finally, I began to relax. I was almost asleep when I heard a vehicle pull up in our driveway. Who could be here? I thought. Then I knew: I am in danger; I must lock the door fast! Through instinct and adrenaline, I jumped up quickly and locked the front door, then ran back to my blanket on the couch and hid. I heard a door to the vehicle close, and then it was silent for a moment. Just one person, I thought logically. Who could it be? I told myself that no matter what, I could not look out. Somehow I knew I had to stay utterly still. There was the noise of feet shuffling softly on the walkway and up the three stairs. Though I couldn't see anything through the thick blanket, I could feel someone looking in from the window in the door.

At that moment, I was experiencing the same warning of extreme danger I had felt just a few times in my life. I remembered the flames on the bus and tried not to panic. Maybe I should run to a neighbor's house?

"Stay very still," said a soft and peaceful voice. "Do not make one, single move." There was no confusion about my feelings. I was not over-reacting. I felt with absolute certainty that I was in danger, and that there was a crimi┬Čnal right outside my door. But I also knew that I was not alone. I trusted the voice and I did not move.

Suddenly there was a knock on the wooden door. I had to steel myself not to shake and tremble. Please don't see me, I prayed, grateful that my comforter somewhat blended in with the couch in the dim light. I stayed frozen in my position, hardly daring to breathe for fear that whoever was at the door would see the blanket move up and down with my breath. Not moving an inch, I waited for another knock or for the sounds of the person leaving. It was eerily quiet for a long, long time. There was no sound of the vehicle door opening or shutting. I closed my eyes inside the blackness of the blanket and willed myself to see what was happening outside. I saw only a momentary flash, but it was the image of a person looking for an open window, or an unlocked back door. This time, I really did hold my breath, praying with all my might that every window and door was safely locked.

Just then, I heard the door to the vehicle open and shut. There was another long silence, and I stayed still until I heard the engine roar to life. Quickly but stealthily, avoiding the window where it was most wide and open, I carefully looked to see who had been at my door. There was a pale, beige truck and my father's silhouette in the driver's seat. Mom had not mentioned expecting him at all.

At that moment, I could have unlocked the door and stopped him from leaving, but the feeling of danger did not subside. I decided to trust my feeling, and ducked out of the way so I would not be seen. Then I laid back down on the couch to rest.

Later I realized that at the time of the incident, it did not seem odd to me that I would allow my father, who I rarely saw, to simply drive away. Between the feeling and the peaceful voice that came to intercede, there was not a question in my mind that I had been in the presence of someone who would harm me. That knowing somehow overshadowed the fact that it was my father, not a stranger, at the door.

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