Creepy in a Gary Sinise kind of way.
Bam. Bam. Bam.
She screeched at the pounding, her back shuddered at the tremor of the door. Heart racing she called out, "Who’s there?"
"Margaret? It’s me, Henry. Open the door."
She released the lock and pulled the door open with a bang.
"What’s going on? Your neighbor is babbling about strange men and loose women."
Maggie grabbed his arm, dragging him through the doorway. With a glare at Mr. Anderson she slammed the door again. There was a certain pleasure seeing the suspicion on his face in that instant she’d forced Henry through the door.
"I had an intruder, Henry." She moved to the windows and drew the curtains. Doing so, she lit her candle-lamp that sat in the furthest corner. "Please sit down. My kitchen is a mess, and I should report this, but I need to sit for a moment."
"Are you okay? Was anything taken?"
"I don’t know," she answered from the kitchen doorway. The glow from the single bulbed fixture at the center of the room shed just enough light to see there was no way she was getting her cocoa tonight without spending at least an hour cleaning first. Whoever it was had torn the place apart. With a sigh, she turned back. "There’s nothing to offer but some water. I might have some brandy…" She crossed her arms and rubbed the goose bumps away. "Honestly, I’m exhausted."
"Thank God I came by. Should I call the police?" He rose from the chair and turned his hat over in his hands before setting it on the chair. "Let me get you that brandy."
"I know you said we had an early morning tomorrow. I really think I should report this before we head out." Her eyes followed him to the liquor cabinet. "It’s too late now. I’m not going to bother them over this, not when nobody was hurt. It seems so trivial compared to what the police are probably dealing with in other parts of the city."
Henry poured a drink and handed it to her. She sipped, swallowing the fear and the tears. He patted her back and rested his hand on her shoulder.
Her breath stopped when his thumb trailed down and caressed the slope of her arm. She backed away and his hand fell to his side, his face showing no sign of discomfort. She, on the other hand, was beyond uncomfortable. She cleared her throat.
"I could stay on the couch if you’d like. I hate to leave you—"
"No!" Moving to the cabinet—and away from Henry—she placed the glass on top of it. "I mean, no thank you. I feel much better now and really appreciate that you came by when you did, but I think I’ll just lock up and head to bed. It was probably just a down-on-his-luck bum looking for a quick pick." Her laugh was short. "Not that he found anything worth taking here."
"Well, if you’re certain." He reached for his hat, closing the distance between them, and smiled—a sad smile. He lifted his hand as if to touch her face.
She pulled back. "Henry." Rounding the chair and crossing to the door, she opened it for him. "Please, don’t make this harder than it is."