What happens when you are gripped with fear? How do you handle it when no one believes you are in danger? How do you deal with it when even your own family believes that you are the one with problems over the person you are afraid of.


Cathy Pace Matthews

Copyrighted 04/09/2016 by Cathy Pace Matthews


Mary was in her basement where you couldn’t even see her through a crack in a curtain of a window.  She had been down here now for a long time trying not to be discovered.

She found herself down here more and more often of late.  She has a neighbor.  Oh not just any neighbor but a neighbor.  You know the type.  The one who is always knocking on your door if it’s locked or just walking right in if they happen to find it unlocked.  Mary didn’t leave her door unlocked anymore.

It wasn’t only the barging in at all hours of the day or night but she no longer felt comfortable on any social media site.  If she signed on there was that neighbor ready to pounce.  The minute she signed in the neighbor would jump right in.  Mary no longer had many friends that the neighbor hadn’t friended as well so there was no privacy.  She was afraid to even send someone a private message or phone them anymore because the crazy neighbor had become friends with everyone Mary knew.  Hell in a lot of cases he had even made friends with Mary’s own family.

Things had gotten so bad she hadn’t retrieved her mail in days.  When she did leave the house it was in the early morning hours in order not to be seen by this neighbor.  Mary had even called the police about the man but they had acted like she was the one with something wrong with her.

Mary had been so afraid to leave the house she hadn’t gone to work in over a week and her boss had called this morning telling her that she had better be in the office the next morning with an excuse from a doctor or not to bother coming back in at all.  She hadn’t bothered to answer her cell phone but had listened to the message her boss had left.  Mary was quickly losing everything.  She had tried to talk to her mom about this but her mom had ignored her.  It was as if her mom hadn’t heard a word she was saying.  Shortly after calling her mom she had found where the neighbor had friended her mom.  She was alone and there was no one she could trust or who would even believe her.

Mary realized she needed to go to the bathroom but that would mean that she would have to leave the sanctuary of her basement.  There wasn’t a bathroom down here.  Mary thought she might have one installed down here but it really wouldn’t matter if she lost her job because she wouldn’t be able to afford to keep her home and she would have to move.  Mary looked around the basement to see if there was anything she could use as a temporary toilet but saw nothing that would accommodate her needs.  She would have to leave her hiding place and go upstairs unless she wanted to soil her clothes.

Mary took a deep breath and tried to work up the courage to leave what had become her entire world.  She had been hiding down here for days now and tried to remember the last time she had relieved herself.  For some reason she couldn’t recall the last time she had even left the basement.  Was she losing her mind?  Why could she not remember when she had walked up those stairs?

Mary felt her bowels empty themselves and the need to make a run to the bathroom was no longer an issue.  She should have clean clothes in the dryer and decided she would simply change her garments and put the dirty ones in a plastic bag.  She knew she had plenty of those down here.

She started to come out from behind the boxes she had made into her little hidey hole in but heard someone knocking on her front door.  Mary froze in her place not daring to move.  Deep down she knew that whoever was at the front door wouldn’t be able to hear her but she was still afraid to move.  No that wasn’t even right, she wasn’t just afraid to move she was unable to move.  She was that scared.

The knocking came again along with the ringing of the doorbell.  Mary wanted to slap her hands against her ears to block out the sound but knew that to do so would only keep her from hearing anything should the neighbor try to mess with the lock on the door.

Mary remained where she was long after whoever was at the door seemed to have left still afraid to move.  She knew she should make an attempt to clean herself up but her fear held her captive making it impossible for her to move.

Her phone rang again and Mary again didn’t bother to answer it.  She no longer trusted anyone and had no one she could turn to.  She wondered if she would allow herself to stay down here and starve to death or would she finally be overtaken with hunger and crawl her way back up the steps to try and get something to eat.

Mary must have closed her eyes and slept because she was awakened by a loud crash coming from upstairs.  She coward in her little hiding place knowing that the neighbor had busted in her door and was coming to get her.  She was so dehydrated at this point that tears wouldn’t even fall from her eyes.  All she could do was wait here for the end to come and she knew it was coming.


The two officers made their way through the house looking for the woman who lived here.  They had gotten a call that she hadn’t been seen in days.  She hadn’t shown up for work and her mother had tried to reach her many times but she hadn’t been answering her phone.

When they found the steps leading to the basement they drew their weapons.  Neither could tell you why but something didn’t seem right as they had opened the door.  There was a horrible smell coming from the lower level and they were both unsure of what might be down there.

“Oh God do you smell that?”  One officer said to the other.

“Yes I smell it.  This isn’t going to be good.  Hello Ms. Collins you down here?  Mary?”  The second officer didn’t know if he wanted an answer or not.

The two men carefully walked almost the entire basement when they noticed the wall of boxes stacked close to a far wall.  They could tell from where they were that there was a small space between the wall and the boxes big enough for someone to hide behind.

One officer motioned to the other letting him know that he wanted him to supply cover as he made his way toward the corner of the large room.  The other one nodded his head as his partner made his way toward what could be a setup.

“Oh Jesus Christ!”  The first officer said as he got his first look at what was behind the boxes.

“What is it?”  The second officer asked as he came up behind the first.

“Crap.”  The second officer was trying hard not to lose his lunch.

“Call it in.  Someone really did a number on this poor girl.”  The first officer was having the same problem as his partner.


Mary wanted to cry from joy.  The men were law enforcement.  They must have decided she had been telling the truth and they were finally here to help her and she could get cleaned up and maybe save her job.


“How long do you think she has been dead?”  The second officer asked

“I don’t know but I would say for at least a week.

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