The below is a response to a writing prompt that simply stated “A woman is in danger.”
As she slammed the door to the office she could hear the footsteps. Slow thuds along the crimson, nylon carpet of the snaking hall echoed like thunder throughout the baron house she once called home.
It was here somewhere, I know it. I can’t let him have it.
The enormous room seemed to consume her slender figure as she frantically searched for the object that had endangered her life and torn her world apart in less than thirty six hours. After what seemed like an eternity had passed she halted. The thuds had ceased. Silence echoed throughout the house.
An old Victorian wooden desk sat motionless behind her. It seemed to impose with honour and respect upon the room which was lined with towering book cases on both sides reaching up to ceiling. The ceiling was a stained yellow from the relentless nicotine abuse that had taken the same effect on its previous owner. Behind the desk was a large window that framed the whole world to anyone who took the time to gaze out across the rural carpet that lay beyond the iron gates.
She slumped on the ground against the desk. Exhausted, she waited, restraining her breath almost to the point of fainting. As she settled down and looked to the heavens for any kind of help from that one person who had abandoned her long ago, there came a crashing thud against the door. She pulled herself up using the desk and shook as she stared directly at the door. This was it.
Just as she waited in baited breath for the invasion she remembered the words her father would always say to her when they rarely spent time together. During those uncommon afternoons she would sit on his lap as he read to her in his deep and dour voice. “Remember Kate, always keep the things you love close. I keep all my dear possessions between you and your mother” he would say with a warm grin while looking out across the estate.
“Between you and your mother.”
She had walked by those portraits so many times and always hated the likeness the artist had used but it had to be there. Her father’s own portrait stood valiantly on the wall between those of the two dearest women in his life. He worked all his life to give his small family everything they needed but his most treasured accomplishment was his business. Kate had learned very quickly in her young life to recognise this and to accept it despite how it drove him away from home.
She raced over to her father’s portrait and ripped it off the wall. The walls of the room seemed to shake as the intruder relentlessly tried to force his way in.
A safe. It was there, staring at her. The answers she had been waiting for, the clues she needed. The safe didn’t seem to be fully closed so she yanked it open with both hands and looked inside.
Nothing? How could there be nothing?
The door came crashing down, splinters of wood scattered like an autumn snowstorm as he stood there, stationary. The intruder trailed his muddy boots along the carpet with the rainwater streaming from his long black coat. The Stetson hat which once stood atop the long black hair had gone. Instead the black hair had become a mask that was hiding the hideous scar that scorned his rugged face. In his callous right hand, he grasped a book. It was an old book; leather bound arches with old archaic writing on the panels. In his left hand, he held his blade. The blade seemed heavy; the handle was decorated with jewels that looked out of place being held by such a vulgar creature.
He took two slow, powerful steps into the room and stopped. Then turned slowly around to his left and focused his sights on her. She crept to the corner, cowered against the portrait of her father which now lay torn in despair. He trudged heavily towards her.
She kicked and screamed at the monstrous frame of the intruder as he grabbed her by her long unkempt brown hair that she had always complained about being too dull. He threw her to the ground in the middle of the room and crept towards her as she scurried in retreat hitting her slim frame against her father’s powerful desk. He gradually made his way towards her. She felt around the carpet for anything and, exasperated, her hand fell upon a cold, metal object that lay cushioned in the carpet. Her father’s letter opener. After a quick glance, sizing up the beast that was ready to tear her apart, she leapt towards him with the weapon. She drove the knife into his thigh. The knife pierced his flesh and he let out a feral scream and collapsed onto one knee. She dashed past the wounded intruder, who was struggling back to his feet, and fled down the vacuous hallway which ran like an artery through the house.
It had to be in that safe, who could’ve taken it? Or who even knew about it?
Her mind swirled with unanswered questions and her stomach churned as she tried to focus on who had taken everything from the safe. The corridor seemed eternal as she threw her exhausted body into every step of the marathon she was running to be free.