Read an Excerpt
Richard sat all alone, working the night shift in the electronics shop. His job consisted of cleaning the building and doing the weeks accounting work.
The storm was getting worse. The sound of the crackling thunder sent a shiver down Richard's spine.
He sat at his desk, which was also another employee's desk during the daytime, with a pencil in hand. He was to record each of the business transactions on a balance sheet. Next, he was to calculate the weekly expenses and income on an adding machine.
His eyes were beginning to water, and his eyelids felt very heavy. For he had already been there nearly five hours. The time was 3:00 a.m.
The lights blinked on and off, and Richard prayed that the electricity would not shut completely off. For then how would he be able to do his accounting work?
Richard stared at the loose blinds which hung across the front windows. The windows were covered by these large white blinds which dangled about them.
There was one problem, though. Some of the blinds had broken and fallen off the frame. So there were several slits through the window from which Richard could see through at a distance, and a stranger could easily see in.
The lights flashed one more time. Richard stood up and got a very frightening feeling that someone was watching him. He looked once more at the front windows.
Suddenly, what Richard had hoped wouldn't happen, happened. The electricity shut off.
He stood up and dragged his heavy feet toward the front blinds. He went to an area of the blinds in which he had to peek through in order to see out.
He swallowed and peeked through the largeblinds.
"Ah!" screamed Richard. He opened the blinds to find a man standing directly in front of him outside the window. The man just stood there and stared back at him with bulging eyes.
Richard was shocked. He quickly closed the blinds and gasped for air. Working the night shift, he often felt as if someone was watching him, but he had always thought he was just letting his own imagination get the best of him. Never could he have imagined someone actually standing there staring in at him through the open spaces in the blinds.
Richard had always been a brave man and had worked the night shift many other times. Actually, he preferred to work the night shift. The peace and quiet of the night gave him comfort. Although many of his friends thought he was crazy for thinking this way, he knew he had nothing to fear, or so he thought.
He had peeked through the blinds on many other occasions to find nothing but the dark night, a few passing cars and his own vehicle in the front parking lot.
Loosing his cool, Richard prayed for his safety and for some kind of help. He stood there for about five minutes unable to move. He tried to keep quiet and not make a sound, as if this would help, but the stranger had already seen him.
He told himself he had to save himself. It was 3 o'clock in the morning and no one was around to help him. He forced himself to walk to the phone that was back on his desk. He was careful not to look back as he walked as if in slow motion to his desk.
He grabbed the phone and quickly dialed the number of the local police station. He ducked down beneath the desk to conceal himself.
What's going on? thought Richard, horrified. The phone was dead. Perhaps the stranger had cut the lines? Or was it the storm? Who was this awful man? Maybe he was a burglar? Or a murderer? Or an escaped lunatic looking for his next victim? He sure looked like one.
Richard sat under the desk with his head in his hands, not letting himself look back at the front window area. He sat there praying and praying for about ten minutes.
Then something clicked in his head. I must look like such a fool? he thought to himself. What would my family and friends say if they saw me now? They'd think I was a coward, a wimp. I've got to put an end to this! It can't go on. I can't let this stranger, this man, scare me like this, have me crying like a baby. He wants me to be afraid. I can't let him win. I won't let him win! I've got to get up, walk over to that window, and peek through the blinds one more time to see if he is still there.
Richard stomped back over to the front windows, annoyed. He stood there for a few minutes then took a deep breath and peeked through the windows once more.
"What!" screamed Richard. "No!"
The stranger was gone! And so was Richard's brand new red convertible which had been parked out front in the parking lot.