The Peeper

For a stint during my college years, a peeper stalked my comings and goings. At the time, I worked two jobs, and this creep knew my schedule better than I did. Alerted to his presence by my dynamic duo of super cats, I eventually scared him away from my balcony, although a motion sensor light and a couple of friends (you know who you are) may have had something to do with curing my peeper problem. At any rate, the sequence of events recently ran through my mind, sparking the following story.

      Exhausted, Jenna wiped cool fingertips over tired eyes as she walked up to her second floor apartment. After an eight-hour desk job and a five-hour waitressing shift, she wanted nothing more than to peel off her circa 1950s diner uniform and climb into a hot bubble bath. Although her legs ached up the twenty-nine stairs to her floor, a sudden relief flowed from head to toe as her key sank into the lock, earning a much-welcomed click.

      As she opened the door, her two Siamese mewed their greetings. Locking the door behind her, she threw her bag to the floor and crouched to pet the cats. When her knees began to ache, she moved to the kitchen, cats crisscrossing under her feet. With the little beasts temporarily occupied with dinner, she slogged to the bedroom, shedding bits of uniform along the way. Within minutes, she lay in her tub, soaking the daily grind from her tired muscles.

      After sufficient skin pruning, she exited the bath, toweling herself dry while striding into the bedroom. Dropping the towel to the floor, she noticed two tails patrolling the bedroom window. Though she thought it curious, she was too tired to care. Naked, she plopped onto the bed, letting her wet hair soak into the bedspread. She closed her eyes, dreaming of a better place, maybe Hawaii; somewhere where all her worries would simply slip away. The crack of breaking glass startled her from her reverie. She opened her eyes to find a man, dressed in black, face covered with a balaclava, looming over her. She screamed, but a gloved hand quickly muffled her cries.

      The cats wailed like fussy babies as the masked man violated their master. Horrified, Jenna had at first tried to fight, but her weary body was no match for the man's strength. He pumped into her, pinning her with one arm, the other cycling between covering her mouth and stroking her belly and breasts. A steady stream of tears burned down her face. The man arched as he finished, and collapsed onto her, his bared mouth parting hers for a final kiss. He pulled away, leaving Jenna shocked and lifeless on the bed.

      As he stuffed himself back into his pants, he said, "I've been waiting for this for a long time." Like a vulture, he had been spying on Jenna for weeks, waiting for life to beat the fight from her weary body.

      How long had he been watching? The thought of being stalked made her angry, awakening something deep inside her. She rolled from the bed, staggering toward her dresser. She palmed a tchotchke, a small granite cat. Her sudden movement caught the attacker off guard, and he forwent zipping up to quell the potential threat. He sidled within inches, grabbed her by an elbow and pulled her back toward the bed. She collapsed without a peep. He bent over her, trailing a finger down the side of her face. She used his proximity to her advantage. With all her strength, she thrust the stone cat upward. The base of his nose cracked. He stumbled backward, blood painting his mouth and soaking into his cloth-covered chin. Jenna jumped to her feet, swinging at his head like a piñata. Off-balance, the attacker toppled to his backside. Jenna continued pummeling his face until her blows sounded like they were hitting the inside of a watermelon.

      Assured by his listlessness, Jenna steadied herself, straightened and hastened to where she had dropped her bag. As she fished out her cell phone, she eyed the bedroom. The cats paced around the body, meowing their distaste for the fallen man. She agreed, and dialed 9-1-1.