Julie was sleeping in bed, her arms wrapped around a teddy bear that her boyfriend had given her. Most nineteen-year-olds didn’t sleep with toys but the bear made her feel safe at night. Especially on nights like this. Both of her parents were out of town on business and Julie was home alone. She hated being alone. Hated it with a passion. Every noise she heard or thought she heard was immediately processed in her brain as an intruder. The idea of someone breaking into her home scared her more than words could ever express. But tucked into her warm bed, Julie was safe from the evils of the world.
Her eyes snapped open. What was that? Wide-awake, she listened to the world around her. After a few moments that felt like hours Julie relaxed again. It was just her overactive imagination playing cruel games on her. As her eyes closed for the second time she heard the noise again. This wasn’t imaginary. She heard something moving around in her house. Slowly panic started to build up in her chest making it hard to breathe. She held her teddy close and tried to focus on the situation at hand and stave off the impending panic attack. If someone was actually in her house she needed to keep her head on straight and that would have been a lot easier if she had remembered to take her anxiety medication that morning.
With her eyes locked onto the door, Julie leaned over and reached for her cell phone that was charging on the bedside table. Clutching the phone to her chest she gazed at it to check the time. The blinding screen read 1:15. Her parents said they would be coming home that next morning but if they were going to arrive early they would have called or at least texted her.