Close To Heaven

Jean felt a white-hot fiery pain in her left leg. Looking behind her, she sees her ankle protruding and twisted and she knows it’s broken. Sweat is forming on her brow and she bites her lip to try to distract herself from the intense pain. A puddle of blood is spreading quickly across the basement floor. The limp and lifeless dead man is bleeding from a gaping head wound and she kicked him in the ribs with her good leg.

“Bastard,” she spat at him.

He deserves to be dead. He tried to kill her. She had been doing laundry in the basement, off in her own world, focused on getting her whites white and colors bright, so she didn’t head the man quietly slink down the stairs until he was behind her, breathing heavily into her ear.

“Make a sound and I’ll slit your throat,” he growled as he held a knife against the soft flesh of her neck.

His breath was hot but it sent cold blades of fear down her spine. He overpowered her slight 5’5” frame and Jean’s mind raced for ways to escape. He had his big, tree trunk-like arms wrapped around her shoulders to keep her from getting away, but the more Jean tried to writhe around, the tighter his grip got and the blade of the knife dug in deeper, threatening to puncture her skin.

Panic set in; visions of her life flashed before her eyes. She did not want to die this way, not by the hands of this man. She began scanning the room for anything that could help her overcome this beast. Then there, propped against the folding table, she spied the croquet mallet. She silently thanked God for her children not ever being able to put their toys away and vowed that if she survived this, she was going to take them out for ice cream and maybe even buy them the puppy they’ve been asking for. Hell, she’ll get them two puppies.

Jean was also grateful she was wearing her high-heeled shoes; something about wearing heels while doing laundry made her feel like June Cleaver. With a deep breath and a sudden rush of adrenaline, she brought up her right knee and slammed her stiletto-ed heel down on the man’s foot. He howled in pain and in the surprise of the attack, he loosened his arm around Jean’s shoulders, causing him to drop his knife.

Jean felt her ankle pop, turn and snap as she tried to dig her heel out of the man’s foot and lunge for the mallet. She picked it up, turned around and swung it around her head. A primal scream ripped her throat raw as she connected the mallet to the man’s melon of a head. She was surprised how easily his skull gave away and he fell silently to the ground.

Jean had to get out of the basement and call the police but knew she’d never make it up the stairs on her ankle. She tried walking but instantly crumpled to the ground, yelping in pain and frustration.

Jean began crawling toward the stairs, her useless leg trailing painfully behind her. She looked longingly up at the door. The light from the kitchen was shining through the open doorway and to her, it looked like climbing the stairway to Heaven, and once she reaches the top, it almost will be or something close to it.

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