Wednesday 9 November 2022

Burglar by Prue King, a Bloody Mary

A freight train hummed southbound past the packaging warehouses while on the main road boy racers intimidated other drivers returning home after a night out.

            Inside the retirement villa all was quiet when she turned off her bedside light and snuggled into the quilt. At last, some time to herself after another day caring for her mother. She ran through her programme for the next day.

            Her body rhythms had slowed and her eyes relaxed when she woke to the front door unlocking. 11:40 glowed the clock.

            The front door lock is high security and has a loud click. She threw off the bedding. Was her ailing, ancient, mother wandering outside or was it an intruder? What could she use to whack anyone? No baseball bat under the bed, no weapons, not even a golf club at attention behind her bedroom door. The cathedral dining chairs were unwieldy and a man would easily grapple one from her. Protect herself and her mother. Fly spray perhaps to blind his eyes.

            The light switches by the garage door clicked on, off, on, off. It didn’t make sense. Was this a code?

            She turned on the hall light. There was no one in the lounge, no sound. Through the fog, light from a street lamp reflected off the wide open front door.

            Police or retirement village office? How quickly would help arrive? Security might be there in five minutes or police in seven if she rang emergency and they were free. She peeped into her mother's bedroom: she was safe, curled in her usual sleeping position facing the night. She darted into the sunroom to grab the phone and also the blue directory to find the office number.  She entered the lounge.

            Hunched, a man's shape in black coat and a beanie formed in the sub-light. It was Ted, her brother, unannounced, bringing in his guitar.


About the author 

A former journalist who’s lived in six countries, Prue studied writing for the theatre and has half an arts degree. She’s written poetry, plays, revues and a parenting book. 


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