Story prompt/exercise courtesy of Dictionary.com’s Word of the Day
Something was wrong. He always had a varied vocabulary, but his vernacular was off. His voice was strained too. Not to mention the queer shift of focus in the middle of their conversation.
“I believe I’ll be taking tomorrow off. Goodbye, Karen.” A click and then silence followed.
Karen held the receiver to her ear awhile longer, thinking, before she clicked the off button and set her phone on its base.
Something was definitely wrong. She tried to dwell on his exact words, but she couldn’t fathom any extra message contained within, only that he wanted her to know something was wrong.
Karen picked the phone back up to dial the police, quickly hanging it back up before she got to the final digit. “Best not get the big man involved?” Karen repeated those words aloud. It didn’t make sense at that point in the call, but now she wondered. What would the police do anyway? They don’t send cars out to investigate feelings. What else could she do? What did he expect?
The sound of breaking glass from the kitchen answered her, a warning. Karen felt she might choke on her heart as the sounds propelled her to the front door. She flung it open and nearly slammed into the man blocking her way out. She strangled on a startled scream the man quickly smothered with his hand on her throat as he shoved her back inside and shut the door behind him.
She stumbled backwards and twisted her body toward the stairs in an attempt to scramble up. She screamed again as she heard the man fast behind her and felt a hand grab her foot, only to be left with a shoe. She heard the front door open and shut again, but resisted the impulse to look back. Once up the stairs she bolted for the bedroom doorway, and used her momentum to tumble over the bed and fling open Harold’s bedside table.
As though she were practiced, Karen hunched on the other side of the bed, handgun pointed at the man across the bed from her. He saw the shotgun just as she squeezed the trigger, pausing, with wide eyes, an incoherent protest just before the resounding click echoed in the room. That click which was at once loud and far too quiet froze the scene and held the fear-drenched plummet of defeat.
The man smirked, coming a shaking hand through his shaggy black mop of hair and chuckled.
Unwilling to admit defeat quite yet, Karen threw the gun at his head and grabbed a pillow off the bed before turning around once more to launch herself through the bedroom window, pillow first.