Constable Phillips dragged the new duvet from the bed to cover Fiona. He tucked it around her shoulders trying not to spill the cup of hot sweet tea his partner had just delivered.
“How are you feeling now Miss?”
“Hmm, I’ll be okay in a minute. If I could just stop shaking.” Great tears brimmed on her lower lids to slide down her face. Rubbing at the moisture with one hand she tried to smile at him with wobbly lips.
“Are you sure there’s nothing out there, and the door’s not damaged?”
“No, Miss nothing at all. No sign of an intruder and the doors and gate were all secure.”
“I was so scared. I have never been so scared ever. I couldn’t even talk to the, what’d you call her. You know on the phone. Can you tell her thank you?”
“The expeditor. She’ll understand, it’s all part of her job and you’re not the first and you certainly won’t be the last, unfortunately.”
“But, I was so sure, absolutely convinced that there was someone, well a man. I saw him. I heard him, his feet on the stairs.”
“Well, there is certainly no-one here Fiona. You’re safe now. I need to fill in a form if you’re up to it.”
“Yes, sure, of course.”
He filled out the incident report as his colleague made a final tour of the house. “All absolutely fine Miss. Are you going to be okay or do you want to call someone to stay with you?”
“No, no thanks I’m fine. You’ve been very kind. Thank you, really.” In truth she wanted to throw her arms around them and scream don’t go, stay here till morning but pride and an admittedly rather tentative grip on reality kept her snuggled under the duvet her knuckles white around the mug of tea.
“Right well, we’ll be off then. Make sure you put the dead lock on when we leave.”
She dragged herself to the door with them, still wrapped in the duvet and feeling totally drained and rather tearful as they left her on her own.
The five dead bolts clicked into place with a satisfying thud. Looking around at the neat little space, brightly lit and cheerful, it was difficult now to recall the terror of such a short time ago. Trembling and sobbing in the corner of the bedroom with the phone clutched ineffectually before her fear dumbed mouth she had heard the sirens howling in the street outside. Only when the policemen had thumped on the door, shouting out to her had she dared to leave the room and let them in.
She crept towards the patio doors. The police had left the floodlights on and she could see the whole of the garden, the patio and the gate, locked and secured. She knew that there would be no more sleep for her tonight and so she curled onto the settee sipping the rapidly cooling tea.
Every little creak and noise shot at her nerves causing her to twitch and jerk as she waited desperately for the daylight.
In the patrol car the young copper turned to his mate. “What do you reckon then?”
“Oh well, so many women living on their own now. Some of them can hack it and some of them, well y’know.”
“She didn’t strike me as the hysterical type though. She seemed pretty sensible, always allowing for the circumstances. She has had that other business as well, with the pots and the barbecue.”
“Well, all we can do is put in a report and suggest a drive by with the regular patrol for a bit.”
“Yeah, I guess. Don’t want it coming back to bite us in the bum when she gets raped though do we.”
“God no, no that.”