A rumble outside. It’s close, by the front door.
I open my eyes; the dark is a blanket covering all light. I can only see the shadow of the shape next to me, it rises and falls with his breathing. I reach my hand to touch his back.
‘Hon, wake up!’ I whisper urgently.
‘Hon, there’s a noise. Right at the front door.’
‘It’s a possum,’ he mumbles and turns over.
The rumble again.
‘It’s not a possum,’ I say.
‘Cocking nora,’ he mutters as he swings his legs out of the bed. ‘Grab your phone, in case.’
My heart is beating, pushing against my ribs. Each beat pounding so hard, I wonder if my heart will explode. I make a mental note to Google that later. I slide my feet into my slippers and find my phone. I switch it on, wishing that I could be one of those people who sleep in the glow of the back light.
Wandering into the hallway, I find Bob on his tippy-toes, walking towards the door. He’s crouched over, trying to hide his upper body bulk, attempting to be inconspicuous. I stifle a laugh.
A fist bangs on the door as a voice yells, ‘Open up!’
I jump in fright. Only seconds ago, I found it almost funny. Now, I look at my phone, urging it to come to life. Another thirty seconds and I’ll be able to dial 000.
‘Helena!’ Bob yells at me.
‘On it,’ I call back.
‘Who’s there?’ Bob says, leaning on the door.
My insides flip. I know what happens next; I’ve seen it. Somewhere. A movie. A dream. The operator answers, my panicked voice explains we need the police. Now. Hurry.
‘Come away from the door, Bob,’ I whisper.
‘Who’s Bob?’ asks the operator. ‘Find a safe place. The police are on their way.’
‘Bob,’ I call again. An axe splits through the door, barely missing Bob’s cheek.
‘Fuck!’ he calls as he stumbles backwards. In his haste he falls onto his butt.
I run to him, try to pull him away. ‘Helena. What the fuck is happening?’
We sit, huddled together in our hallway, as the axe is pulled out. I can hear the operator on the phone; I dropped my phone in my rush to get to Bob. She’s shouting for me to come to the phone. I crawl to it. I freeze as the axe smashes the door again, fracturing the wood and glass.
I scream as the what’s left of our front door is ripped from its hinges. The intruder storms inside. In the distance, I hear sirens.