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…
I hit the floor, slightly upsetting a small table that I had been playing solitaire on.
I stayed down only an instant.
Then, I was moving, matching Mack’s haste and panic.
He had seen something from the kitchen window that had scared the crap out of him I guessed.
He found cover against the wall just below a picture window at the front of the room, trying his best to imitate paint.
He had his back against the wall, propped up on an elbow and trying to …yeah…he’s trying to look through the top of his head…trying to get a read on what was happening.
That’s when I noticed the shadows under the front door
They were moving slowly…over-lapping and separating again…then stopping.
I heard muted voices…not discernible…but I could tell…2 voices
For a moment, I was silent…still.
I looked across the room at Mack.
He was trying to get my attention…
His hand came up, and he made a slow dribbling motion…it said “Stay down”.
When I gave a nod, his hand moved again.
It was 2 fingers displayed together…then they parted into a “peace” sign.
I understood immediately.
We had to separate and keep apart in this small room to avoid being detected together.
Keep our strength a secret.
Not get caught in a pair.
I moved my head slowly… scanning my possible escape route.
I was aware that the blood thundering in my ears might be heard and give away my position in the room.
I took some long deep breaths…as best I could, due to the fact I myself, was now trying to imitate carpet.
I fought to control my breathing and prepared to move.
Mack’s fingers counted down from 3….
We moved…fast and quiet.
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! I had to focus!
Mack had waited just long enough for me to start my burst of movement before he bolted to another spot.
He must have timed his action the second he had seen the shadows fade from under the door.
Mack flashes across my line of vision, rolling toward the basement door…misjudging his momentum…
In my adrenaline charged brain, I knew he was gonna hit long on his roll.
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 when I heard him crash behind me…
I sucked in my breath…
The Shadows stopped, fell on the door again.
Disembodied voices getting a little louder…closer…..coming back to the door.
[Labored breathing from Mack]
KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!
I almost shit my pants!
What the hell is 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 breathing hard, 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