ALL ALONE, Part 3
“Think she might be seeing things?” the sergeant asked. Rick shrugged and knocked on the door. He waited a minute and tried the knob. Locked. He knocked again and said loudly, “POLICE!”
Gracie jumped at the knocking and then stood straight up when she heard the shout at her front door. She still couldn’t move and when her knees wouldn’t hold her up anymore she sat back down. She managed a breath or two and jumped again when her phone rang. It was the police dispatcher girl telling her the officers were at her door and could she go and let them in.
She felt so small sitting in her chair while the three big policemen went through her house stepping over the attic opening door lying on the hall floor. They boosted the dark haired officer up to look in the attic and they went outside and then back in again. Each of them asked her what she had seen and they looked at each other and back at her. Then they all stepped out onto the front step and left her alone again.
“She’s old and lonely. There’s nothing here. That attic door could have worked loose over time and fallen on its own,” the sergeant said. “Not a window or door out of place.”
“Man I hate to just write her off as whacky. She reminds me of my gram,” the other officer said.
Rick was uneasy. He had a pregnant wife home alone and his mom was a widow living in her own small house up in Hudson. He wanted to believe her. “Give me a minute more Sarge. I’m gonna check outside again just for grins.”
The sergeant and the other officer moved back inside with Gracie and Rick took his time and went around the house moving slowly, looking. At the side of the house he went into the carport and slipped sideways past her Buick. At the end of the carport was a tiny laundry room. Rick stuck his head in and looked up. The top of the laundry was open into the attic. Rick moved under the opening and was about to boost himself up on the washer when he played his flashlight over the top and shuddered when he saw the imprint of a sneaker on the lid.
Gracie wasn’t alone after all. Hidden behind Christmas decorations and down between the joists was a recently released convict armed with an eight inch hunting knife. Rick shouted and ordered and the young man was dragged to the opening and was lowered down, handcuffed and marched out the front door past a shocked and frightened Gracie.
Gracie wasn’t the only fortunate one that night. The officers could have left and then what? It may have been fatal for Gracie and the end of the policemen’s careers, a tragedy averted. Gracie decided that she really didn’t like being all alone and needed little convincing to move in with her daughter and grandchildren in North Carolina. Rick received a commendation for his actions but knew just how close to disaster all of them came that quiet Tuesday night.