Maria Belotserkovsky




It was exactly 11:28 at night when I looked at the clock. My parents were both asleep, and I had

just finished studying for a History test. I searched my closet for something to wear to school the next day.

When I nearly fell asleep on a pile of clothes, I decided that this would be a task better accomplished

the next morning. I stumbled to the bathroom with self-pity, and vindictively hoped that my history

teacher was suffering as much as I was. After groping around in the dark for the light switch, I began to

brush my teeth, keeping the water pressure of my sink as quiet as possible not to wake my parents. Finally,

after turning on the security system, I got to bed, and began to imagine the dreadful grade I would receive

on the next dayís exam.

Suddenly, I heard a noise. I remained silent and held my breath for a few seconds listening for

any other sounds. However, I did not hear anything other than the leaves rustling outside my window, so I

decided that the noise was coming from the icemaker downstairs, and tried to fall asleep. All of a sudden, I

heard another noise. "How much ice does that thing make?" I wondered.

For the next five minutes I lay still, waiting for any other suspicious signs of an intruder, and even

though I got them, I continuously blamed the icemaker. I had good reason to assume that there was nobody

downstairs, because we had a security system installed that included a motion detector. Nevertheless, my

mind turned traitor to my logic, and I began to imagine all of the possibilities of the near future. Many

nights of my fifteen years of life were spent in such fear; but equally many nights my imagination was

stopped short when I fell asleep. However, that possibility was eliminated tonight. I would not be able to

fall asleep even if I were on medication.

By now, I was sure that there was somebody downstairs. My logic was satisfied with the fact that

our motion detector was heat-sensor activated, and I began to pray that this unwelcome guestís temperature

would rise. The next ten minutes seemed like an eternity. My mind started to wander into a mental

asylum, and I began to picture headless chickens chasing apples with guns under their wings. Then, I

somewhat regained my sanity and remembered "Home Alone." I wondered if criminals were as stupid in

real life as they were on television, but I realized that even if their career paths were not wisely chosen,

their position required some skill.

The way I felt that night was surprisingly similar to the feeling I got when I thought that a spider

was sharing my pillow; but the thought that a burglar was a bit more dangerous than a bug, magnified that

feeling fifty times. I shut my eyes, hoping that this would all go away, but the tighter I shut them, the

closer the intruder got. I heard him climb up the stairs slowly and quietly. Suddenly, I realized that if he

was making an effort to be quiet, then he thought that I was still asleep, and maybe would steal around me.

Even though I was in a fidgety state, I was saving up all my twitches for one big turn, in order to assure the

villain of my sleep.

Now that I was somewhat comforted, I started to imagine the criminal tripping over my shoes, and

falling with a loud bang. What excuse would I have then for remaining asleep? Then, I remembered my

parents, and realized that they were actually sleeping. I feared that if they were to wake up, they would be

too dazed to understand their situation, and alert the prowler. My mind was so concentrated on such ideas,

that I hadnít realized that the robber was in the hall. He crept into my room, and began to look through my

desk. I could not believe that this was really happening.

My fear was not as well-hidden as I thought, and out of nowhere, I gasped. I had not realized that

I stopped breathing. I quickly decided that this was the time for me to make that big turn, and I covered up

my mistake by pretending that I was having a bad dream. The robber stopped and stood still for a minute,

until he was assured that I would not awaken.

I soon stopped acting, and lay still facing the wall. He could not see my face, and I foolishly

decided to open my eyes. As I was opening them, I noticed my mistake. In the silence, everything was

audible, especially to an ear as attentive as a thiefís. He had heard my eyelashes brush against the pillow,

and in an instant, he had his hand over my mouth. I was waiting for my whole life to flash before my eyes,

but I was too scared, to picture anything. Suddenly, I heard a loud boom, and I was sure I was dead. That

was the only reason I could think of for his letting go of me. Then I saw that he not only let go, but he was

on the floor holding onto his leg. I looked around the room, more confused than ever, and saw my dad

standing in the doorway holding the gun that the intruder dropped in the hall. All of a sudden, I heard my

alarm clock, and after turning it off, I looked back at the doorway. My dad was still standing there, but he

was not holding a gun; he was holding a shoe. The same one that I had been looking for the night before.

"Here," he said, "it was under my bed."