Hello, is someone online, anyone at all? My name is Jennifer and I could really use a distraction to get him out of my mind. I can't stop seeing him everywhere, feeling him breathing down my neck, peering at me while I shower, standing over me while I sleep.
I haven't had a moment of peace since this bastard came into my life like some kind of tornado, eviscerating everything in its path and turning my world upside down. Even though I am under police protection, I don't think I can feel safe ever again.
I had just recently relocated after getting out of a horrible relationship. After several bumps and bruises and a boyfriend who didn't know the meaning of a restraining order, I came to the conclusion that my life could use a serious reinvention, so I packed up and headed as far away as I could. It was just me and my dog, Tucker, us versus the world.
For a while, money was rather tight, but I eventually managed to land a job in my new town's local fast food joint. I wasn't gonna get rich anytime soon but it paid the rent. A couple of weeks in and I had a nice routine laid out. I was in bed by 8 30 every evening and I was totally content with my new life.
One night, I woke up around 3 30 am and went downstairs for something to drink. Right when I got into the kitchen, I happened to notice that a car had pulled up on my driveway and a strange man got out and was heading for my door.
I bent down and hid behind the counter. Beads of sweat ran down my forehead as I hid there anxiously awaiting his next move. He was getting closer and closer but I still couldn't quite make out his face.
One thing I knew for sure was this was not someone I was interested in fighting. I'm only 5'2'' and 110 lbs and he had to have been at least twice my size. He was just about to go for the door handle when Tucker made his way downstairs and began barking his head off. This spooked the guy and he took off running.
As soon as I was sure it was safe, I took off and headed back upstairs. That was the fastest I ran since I took track in high school. My heart was beating out of my chest while I strenuously rammed my dresser against my bedroom door.
I sat up in bed cradling Tucker next me with a boa constrictor type grip. This dog was the best protection I had and I was not letting him out of my site. I thought about calling the police, and looking back on it now, probably should have.
What really happened though? I saw someone, someone who I could barely identify and they ran away. There'd be little evidence if any at all to even corroborate my story.
I took the incident as a serious wake up call, no pun intended. I got lucky but I needed to start being more careful, both in and outside of my home.
I had a very specific system for leaving the house. Every time I left, I made sure to lock the deadbolt on my door. This worked well for a little while but then I started to notice something. When I would return home, though, the deadbolt was always open again.
At first, I chalked it up to a lapse in memory but after it happened two and three times I knew there was something more to it than that. This time I had to get the police involved. There was actual physical evidence that my home had been tampered with.
Again, there wasn't much they could actually do at the time but at least they knew something was going on in the neighborhood. That would increase police presence in the neighborhood which should have scared the guy off.
A couple hundred bucks later and some shiny new locks and life went back to normal for some time. The anxiety and paranoia that had weighed so heavily on my mind and body began to melt away.
I actually began to enjoy life again. I was sleeping better and even made some new friends and began to hit up the social scene again. It felt so good to come home from a night out and snuggle up with Tucker on the couch and fall asleep watching Netflix.
One morning, after a night of binge-watching Orange is the New Black, I was jolted awake by a telephone call.
"Hello", I groaned, still half asleep on the couch clutching a bag of potato chips.
"Hello ma'am", the lady's voice on the other end wreaked of synthetic pleasantries. "This is a courtesy call to confirm your appointment. A service technician will arrive anywhere between the hours of 4 and 6 pm."
It all came back to me. I was supposed to have my cable installed. I had tried to do it myself to save a little money but for some reason, I could not for the life of me get it to start up. For the longest time, I was able to skate by using just Netflix or Hulu, it's easy to do when you're mooching off a friend's account, but I wanted to have even the most basic channels. Just catching a ball game or watching the news would be nice every once in a while.
I glanced at the time on my cell phone, shit did I sleep in late. It was not like me to sleep past noon but my body must have really needed it. 12:45 PM, just over ten hours of sleep. There was stuff that needed to get done so I threw some clothes on and hopped to it, deciding to shower later.
The next couple of hours in the afternoon were a series of mundane tasks blended together with all the ingredients needed to make a boring day. Head to the post office, do some grocery shopping, topped off with cleaning the house and doing dishes and cleaning the house, making the place presentable for all who entered, even if it wasn't a social visit.
There was about another half an hour to go before the cable guy was scheduled to arrive. Thinking that he would not even remotely arrive at the earliest allotted time slot, because when do they ever, I decided to take a quick bath.
I put my phone on charge and slipped into the bathroom. The warm satisfying water left me physically and mentally refreshed after yet another day of adulting. Suddenly, I could faintly make out the moans and groans of my back door opening. Everything was locked, so I tried to tell myself that it was just my mind playing tricks on me, but then the one squeaky spot on the kitchen floor started to chime in as well.
Having very little options, I pulled the tub curtain closed, as if that would really shield me from anything, and poked my head out around the side. I could slightly see two shoes in between the crack of the door and I could just about make out the sound of heavy calculated breathing on the other side.
Whoever it was had me right where they wanted me and they were determined to squeeze every last bit of tension from me.
"Who's there!?" I shouted. "The police are on the phone, if something happens to me they're gonna hear everything!" I desperately blurted out the most threatening things coming to mind.
"My boyfriend will be here any second, and he's big and he'll kick your ass! I've got a gun! My vicious attack dog is gonna rip you to shreds!" That's when I remembered Tucker. Why the hell wasn't he barking his head off?
Hanging around in the bathroom wasn't doing me any favors. I was gonna have to take a stand and hope for the best. I exited the tub and put on a towel. Clutching my wooden back brush, I moved slow and precise towards the door. This was it, the moment of truth.
I burst through the door. I swung my back brush around like a blind and disoriented kid to a piñata. No candy for me though, I was out for blood, and I didn't get any either. No one was there. It was just a pair of my sneakers.
Was I starting to go crazy? I was ready to write the whole thing off when I looked over and discovered my back door slightly ajar. Off in the distance, I could hear the dim echo of a dog howling.
That was Tucker! Every pet parent knows the sound of their own baby. How in the hell did he get out though, who opened the door?
As quick as I could, I threw on a t-shirt and some sweatpants and darted outside. "Tucker! Where are you? Come on sweetie come to mommy, please!" It was no use, he wasn't even anywhere in sight.
I began to make my way to the front of the house when I bumped into something, or rather, someone. The sudden appearance of a big burly man sent a momentary shiver down my spine. Where did this creep come from?
"Excuse me, you're Jennifer?" His voice was soft and had an aberrant quality to it. Either he didn't speak English too well or he had some kind of impediment. A large tool belt dangled from beneath his waist. It was the cable guy.
"Oh Jesus Christ I'm so sorry, I just… wasn't expecting you so soon."
"That's ok", he assured. "I'm actually right on time."
Something puzzled me though, "Why didn't you go to my front door? What are you doing back here?"
"I tried", he explained. "Then I heard you screaming back here and I just assumed…"
"Ahhh ok", I said. Since he was already this way I proceeded to lead him into my house from the back.
"Listen", I explained. "I know you're already here, but this really turned out to be not a great time, my dog just got away."
"I'll make this quick", he promised. "I have another job coming up so my time is limited."
We walked into the family room and I pulled out the cable box from underneath the TV stand.
"I can't figure out where I went wrong. Everything seems to be connected but I can't get a picture."
The box shook as he took hold of it. His muddled expression told me everything I needed to know. This guy was obviously new. I didn't wanna upset the guy but my patience was rather thin, especially with Tucker being on my mind.
"I better not get charged for this visit!" I nagged.
"Oh no, don't worry about that. This one is on the house!"
While he was fiddling with the cable box, I went and retrieved my cell phone from off its charger. I wanted to call the cops and report Tucker missing.
My phone lit up and sprang back to life. I was about to dial 911 when I noticed I had a voicemail. Before I could check it, the cable guy started running his mouth.
"I uhhhh… think I fixed the problem", he explained. "You see there was this little piece of the plastic packaging stuck and I think it wasn't letting the wiring go in all the way." He looked down and saw the cell phone in my hand. "Hey don't touch that!" He tried to snatch it from me. "You'll… mess with the signal!"
I quickly pressed the play button on the voicemail. It was that same phony sounding lady from the cable company earlier.
"Hello ma'am, just calling to regretfully inform you that due to extenuating circumstances, we've had to go ahead and reschedule your appointment for tomorrow, you can expect the service technician tomorrow between the same time frame previously given to you. Thank you and we apologize for any inconvenience."
I froze in my tracks. Was I hearing that correctly? That wasn't right. That was impossible. I could only gulp and utter the one question drowning my mind. "Jus… Just what cable company did you say you were from?"
The TV finally started working. On the screen before me, a local news report exhibited a picture of the man face to face with me in my living room.
"Police are urging all residents of the area to avoid traveling alone whenever possible and exercise extreme caution if approached by the man photographed here. The suspect is believed to be extremely dangerous."
The man flashed me the same paralyzing ear to ear grin like the one in his photograph. "Whoever said I was a repairman?" He cackled. I couldn't believe it. After all that time cowering in fear from a boogeyman hidden in the shadows, I was able to put a face to the nightmare.
Before I could shout, his hands were wrapped around my throat.
"No no no!" He began to reprimand me. " Just because I heard you scream doesn't mean that anyone else will!"
With every ounce of force I could muster, I kneed him dead square in the groin. The door, although only a few feet from me, never seemed farther away. I flung it open and was prepared to make a mad dash for freedom when he grabbed me by the leg and hauled me back into the prison that was my home.
He removed a screwdriver from his utility belt and shoved it toward my eye. As I lay there, my heart beating out of my chest, every fiber of my being was focused on keeping that thing away from me. It didn't even matter to me that his other hand was still around my neck. I was so tired! My consciousness clang to me like a disease, one that he had almost found a cure for.
I was seconds away from total darkness when suddenly he began to lose his grip.
"Arrrrgggghhhhh!" He cried out in pain. His cries were modulated by the ferocious growls and snarls of a dog. It was Tucker. He came back!
I gasped for breath as the two engaged in a ferocious cage match. I wish I could have done more, but I just didn't have the energy and he was way too big. If I hoped to survive, I had to take the one opportunity that Tucker had provided for me.
I jetted out of the house and down the street to the nearest neighbors that I knew would be available. Within minutes, the police arrived and were combing the area. All that was found was a pool of blood, which forensics later determined to be a mixture of human and canine. My baby gave his life for me to be here today, and I'll never forget that.
Ever since the incident. I've been a complete mess. I initially moved away to prevent something like this from happening and in the end, all I did was lose the one male in my life who did give a damn about me. I'm under police protection now, and I will be until they find this son of a bitch.
I'm not letting anymore men into my home, cable man or not. I'm sticking with Netflix from now on. If you'll excuse me I must be going. The police have some more questions for me. If my message has reached you, I pray that you heed my words. Be careful who you open your doors to. He did say he had another job, after me!
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