That’s what I “felt” my roommate Mack say more than heard it.
He had suddenly half crab-walked, crouching…ducking in and out of my peripheral vision, hissing this alarm.
I didn’t argue. I didn’t ask why.
Our long experience as roommates, and years of training had taught me to move first, then think…
Slightly upsetting a small table that I had been playing solitaire on, I hit the floor.
I stayed down only an instant; then,I was moving, matching Mack’s haste and panic.
I guessed he had seen something from the kitchen window that had scared the crap out of him.
He found some cover against the wall, just below a picture window at the front of the room, trying his best to imitate paint and not be seen.
He had his back against the wall, propped up on an elbow and trying to …yeah…he was trying to look through the top of his head…trying to get a read on what was happening outside.
That’s when we both noticed the shadows under the front door.
They were moving slowly…over-lapping and separating again…then stopping.
The dreaded shadow dance….y’all know what I mean….
Then….we heard muted voices…not discernible…but I could tell…there were 2 voices.
For a moment, I was silent…still.
I looked across the room at Mack.
I saw that he was trying to get my attention…
His hand was up, and he was making a slow dribbling motion…like it saying “Stay down”.
When I gave a nod, his hand moved again; 2 fingers displayed together…then they parted into a “peace” sign.
I understood, immediately.
We had to try and split up in this small room and avoid being detected.
Keep our strength a secret. No noise
Not get caught in a pair. No noise
I moved my head slowly… scanning my possible escape routes, if any.
The blood thundering in my ears might be heard and give away my position in the room, I just knew it.
I took some long deep breath, due to the fact I myself, was now trying to imitate carpet.
I fought to control my breathing and prepared to move.
Coiled Ninja cat was I….
I saw Mack’s fingers count down from 3….
We moved…fast and quiet.
Well, the quiet depends on how loud you deem quiet to be….
I roll behind an old couch, crashing into a ball of agony, clipping my knee against something…I don’t know what it was still to this day…
Shit! My position was compromised!!!!
Mack had waited just long enough for me to start my burst of movement before he bolted to another spot, timed his action in the split second he had seen the shadows fade from under the door.
They were leaving…?
Mack’s shadow flashed across my line of vision, rolling toward the basement door.
Even in my adrenaline charged brain, I knew he was gonna hit long on his roll; and it was gonna be loud.
He slammed into the door causing it and the doorknob to crash into the wall, busting the sheet-rock and ripping the the handrail off the wall!
I was already turning my head toward the front door as he crashed behind me…
I sucked in my breath…scanning the crack beneath the door.
The Shadows stopped, danced, then fell on the bottom of the door again.
The disembodied voices got a little louder…closer…..coming closer; as if they were listening….thru the door.
[Painful, labored breathing from behind me]
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
I shit my pants!
What the hell was going on?!
I turned my thumping head towards Mack’s position, flattening my nose against the carpet in the process (Is that pizza I smell?)
Keeping low…keeping silent.
Be, the carpet…..
Mack was half hidden behind the basement door.
He was rubbing the shoulder that had taken most of the impact with the door.
He looked scared and winded.
Mack glances at the door…then at me.
“WTF?!” I mouthed…
He looked at the door again, wipes his sweaty face with his hand…
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
I push my face deeper into the carpet at the banging noise…
Not knowing what the danger is…but, knowing it’s there.
I roll my face against the carpet…feeling the heat and smoke of the carpet burn starting to intensify…
My intense gaze at him asks for an explanation once again…
Mack is staring at me with wild eyes…
He whispers…pointing a trembling finger at the door….
”Rent-A-Center” he whispers….
I shit my pants