My uncle had died a year ago. He wasn’t married and had no children. He had a will drawn up and left the only piece of real estate he owned to me. I was the last surviving relative. It was a small log cabin, on the edge of the woods, about 20 miles outside of town.
It was a beautiful piece of property, but isolated. It was perfect for me, no internet, no TV, just a bookcase filled with classics and a wine shelf fully stocked with several bottles of rather expensive wine.
I wasn’t lonely. I spent my days gardening, napping or gathering wildflowers.
My evenings were spent in the company of Hemingway or Frost.
One night, somewhere around 2 a.m., I was awakened by the sound of heavy footsteps, traipsing across the front porch. I heard the rattle of the handle, on the front door to the cabin. Fortunately, I had by sheer habit, remembered to lock the door. The lights were out. It was pitch black, except for the overshadowing of the crescent moon above. I had been asleep for a good hour.
Seconds later, my intruder slammed his heavy boot up against the thick oak door, in an attempt to dislodge the lock. The sound was deafening! It reverberated again and again! Each time, I imagined a vicious monster entering the room and my life began to flash before my eyes. I was terrified, but didn’t scream or make a sound! I stifled my impulse to cry out for help. Thankfully, the door was solid!!!! It didn’t budge!
My uncle had built the cabin himself. Fortunately for me, he was an accomplished craftsman. The cabin was well built and the door was insulated and secure! After a few more attempts, my uninvited guest had given up. He attempted to peer thru the windows before walking away, but each one was obscured by solar shades or light diminishing curtains. I thought maybe he’d try and break a window, but the glass was insulated and extremely thick. Maybe he knew better than to try. Perhaps he had previous experience with Andersen’s product line and knew it would be a futile effort, to try and break thru one of the windows. All were locked and in place.
He couldn’t see me, lying paralyzed on the sofa, facing away from the front door. It appeared that no one was at home because there were no cars parked out front. My car needed a wheel alignment and the brakes done. It was parked in town at the local garage.
I waited a few minutes before I had the courage to move. I was scared to death! Was he still out there? Would he see me or hear me, if I moved from the couch? My heart was pounding in my chest! I was shaking uncontrollably! I felt the floorboards creak beneath my feet , as I stepped down off the sofa and walked across the room. I got up slowly and approached the window to the left of the door. I pulled back then curtain, ever so slowly, just a crack.
So afraid that he might see the curtain move, realize someone was inside the cabin and decide to come back for me! I could see from a distance, the back of a large man wearing jeans, boots, a tan baseball cap and a red and black, flannel, shirt jacket. He was walking away from the house. I watched as his silhouette disappeared into the woods. My cell phone was in my purse. I fumbled thru all of the nonsensical objects, before securing my phone and dialing 911.
A woman answered.
“911. What is is the nature of your emergency?”
Frantically I responded, “A man tried to break in! I need help. Please, send someone! Please, I need help! You have to get someone here right away!”
In a calm and controlled manner, the dispatcher responded, “Are you hurt, mam?”
“No, but you need to call the police! Please send the police!”
I was obviously panic-sticken.
“Is the man still there? Is he there now? Is he still at your location”?
“No, I mean, Maybe. I’m not sure. He went into the woods. He’s still here, somewhere”, I exclaimed.
“What’s your location?”
“I’m on County Route 7, three miles from the bridge, heading north.”, I reported breathlessly.
I was beginning to hyperventilate. Conscious of my laboured breathing, I attempted to slow my respirations. The last thing I needed was to pass out!
“Do you have a street address?”, she asked.
“No, it’s a log cabin…” I interrupted.
“Oh, Skip’s old place”, she said with assurance.
“Yes, yes!” Obviously, she knew the cabin. She may have even known my uncle.
“Don’t worry, dear! Help is on the way! Are all of the doors locked?”
“Yes. He tried breaking down the door. He tried getting in”! Please, he might come back. They’ve got to hurry”!
“ Are there any weapons in the house?”
“Yes, I have a pistol”.
“Okay. Just try to remain calm. Where is the gun?”
“It’s in my suitcase.
She stayed on the phone with me for the next fifteen minutes, until
the local sheriff’s car pulled up in front of the house. I had enough time to retrieve my LC 380 and load the magazine into place before the police arrived. I hated guns, but had always been told that I’d be glad I had one… for just this type of an incident. I was glad I didn’t have access to it, though… when I initially woke me up and heard the doorknob move. I probably would have fired and maybe killed him. Wasn’t it better, that he just left on his own? I wrestled with the thought of killing someone in self-defense. A million scenarios were running thru my mind.
What was taking the police so long? Was the guy going to come back?
I unlocked and opened the front door when the sheriff finally arrived. My hands were shaking! It took me three attempts before I was able to successfully unlatch the lock. Once thru the door, I ran out onto the porch.
I told the sheriff and his deputy what had happened. They took pictures of the damage to the door and took my statement. They offered to drive me into town. I wasn’t about to stay in the cabin alone. I packed my bags and drove back with the two officers.
I was able to find an inexpensive hotel. Once settled into my room, I called a friend and made arrangements to come and stay with her until I could decide what to do.
The following day, I called a local contractor and arranged to have the lock and the door repaired.
I rented a car and drove out to meet him at the cabin.
He was a large man wearing jeans, boots, a tan baseball cap and a red and black, flannel, shirt jacket.
Image from Google Images: thelogbuilders.org