70: Home Invasion

70: Home Invasion

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: It's Christmas!

Home Invasion

Many of our fears are tissue-paper-thin, and a single courageous step would carry us clear through them.

~Brendan Francis

It was Christmas Eve. Or Christmas Day, technically. The glaring backlight of my phone reminded me how late it was as it guided me into my house. I quietly closed the back door behind me and snuck up the stairs, wincing at every groan of the floorboards. My parents knew I was going to be out with friends late, but I still didn’t want to wake them. I made it to my room and crawled into bed, exhausted. I fell asleep quickly.

The next thing I heard were hoarse, terrified whispers from my sister across the hall.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god...” I heard my sister Erika say slowly and quietly.

What was happening? I guessed it was around 4:30 a.m. I was still waking up, but I could hear the terror in her voice. She repeated her words over and over again, speeding up and getting louder. I had no idea what was going on.

“Oh my god, oh my god, oh my GOD...”

I was still groggy and confused. Was she dreaming? Sleepwalking?

“Who are you?” I heard her say.

I woke up instantly. I knew then what had happened: our house had been infiltrated. The possibility of expensive items waiting under the tree must have been appealing to burglars, and no one would expect a robbery on Christmas Day. The perfect crime.

I don’t know how much time had passed since I woke up. Erika was still sobbing, calling out to the figure standing feet from her. I felt a rush of aggressive bravery. My sister was in danger. Maybe my parents were too — I had no idea if the intruders had made it into their bedroom or not. But me — I was alive, and I was the only one who could help her. The only one who could save my family.

How could I defend her? What weapons did I have? I had no idea, and no plan at all. In my bed, I needed to go for two items quickly: my glasses and my light. I’d be blind without either. I only needed one swift move to get to both. Once the light was on, I would have only seconds before her attacker realized I was awake and coming. Seconds to find a weapon and charge into Erika’s room. Seconds to survive. I flipped over in my bed and reached to my nightstand.

But I didn’t make it to the light, or to my glasses. To the weapon, or to Erika. Instead, I froze in horror, because in front of me stood a blurry and dark figure, feet from my bed.

They were in my room too.

The panic kept me frozen for seconds that seemed like hours. I could still hear Erika, but my room seemed so still, so quiet. It was just me and the man in my room. I didn’t move, and neither did he. It was horrifying.

“WHO ARE YOU?” Erika screeched.

Suddenly, the blood rushed through my entire body, unlocking my joints and pushing me forward. I struggled with the light, turning it on while I searched for my glasses. I tried to hide a terrified sob while I fumbled around on my nightstand. What was I going to do? What was he waiting for?

My palm smashed into my glasses. Shaking, sweating, and crying, in what I assumed would be my last moments, I jabbed my glasses onto my face and looked up at my attacker.

Before me stood a cardboard cutout of teen heartthrob Edward Cullen. The singer Justin Bieber was in Erika’s room. They were Christmas presents from our parents.

~Monika LaPlante

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