Black Static

A blue Oral B toothbrush protruded from Allison Harleigh's mouth as she pulled down on the pink blinds to peer at the back deck. Relieved she had remembered to turn off the porch light, she left the window and turned to spit in a porcelain sink. She stopped in mid-stoop, however, and toothbrush in hand, returned to the window to peek through the blinds again. On the porch stood a dark figure prying at the doorknob.

Allison rotated slowly to face the mirror. Her eyes bulged like white cantaloupes, the netting red from lack of sleep, the navel a black dot inside a dark brown circle.

Could that be Jeremy? No, he's in Kentucky this week and won't get back until tomorrow. He has a key anyway. It's too big to be Kristen. She's in Spain for the month, anyway. It's close to midnight. It's too late for anyone else to be coming.

She returned to blinds, her fist tightening around the toothbrush. The deck was empty. The back door stood ajar.

A pale face reflected from the mirror. White suds dripped from her open mouth leaving a trail of toothpaste down her cheek and chin. Muted footfalls shortened as the intruder approached the bathroom door. Closer. Closer.

Alison inhaled quickly, and then gagging, she spluttered toothpaste over the white tiled floor and the glossy marble counter, she dropped the toothbrush and gripped her neck as if to calm the involuntary muscular contractions besetting it. The air around her was a frozen block of champagne, so cold it burned her mouth and throat, so solid it was impossible to inhale.