by Carlee Erika Schilk

I felt a strange tingling on my skin and knew I wasn’t alone. It was really late when I opened the front door of my apartment. The door had jammed and I fumbled with the lock for some time before it finally opened. For some reason, I crept through the hallway in the darkness, not wanting to turn on any lights. The tingling was still with me as I hunted for something blunt to protect myself with.

I had gotten my apartment broken into on more than one occasion-which is what you get for living in a lousy neighborhood-so being on my guard wasn’t all that difficult.

Sure, I could have purchased a dead-bolt or some other device to protect my home with-you know, one of those alarm systems you can install yourself?-but I figured he’d just want to steal that. Besides, a ten dollar dead-bolt wouldn’t stop some psycho intent on coming in and raping or killing some poor hapless victim.

There is an oval shaped lamp I can see silhouetted against the window shades and I quietly unplug it, wrapping the cord around my hand. I can hear faint breathing somewhere close and my heart begins to pound in my ears. My antenna is working perfectly tonight I’m going to clobber whoever is in here for sure.

My steps are muffled by good floorboards and thick carpeting. I’ve always hated thick carpeting. First of all, it’s hot in the summer and in winter it feels scratchy-and all year round, you feel like you’re walking on sponge. Stains are hard to get out of them, too.

Now I can hear more movement-coming from the bedroom. The nerve of some people. I grasp the lamp tighter, its smooth edges cool to the touch, raising it above my head.

A man’s large figure steps out from behind a wall and I attack. The lamp comes crashing down on his head-I make sure of that-and he has no idea what hit him. It is a good, solid thump. Out of curiosity, I crouch down and touch the guy’s head. I can feel the warm blood coming from a long gash on his scalp. Bull’s-eye.

“Warren? Are you alright?” a woman’s voice calls worriedly.

Okay. So maybe I fibbed a little.

“Warren?”

Maybe this really isn’t my apartment.

“Warren??”

But I’ve never raped anyone.

“Stop playing around, Warren.”

Yet.

“This isn’t funny.”