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Michael R. Ault

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Booby Trap
By Michael R. Ault
Thursday, April 07, 2005

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Generated from a noise in the dark of the night

I don't know what wakes me up. Perhaps a small noise in the otherwise quiet house. A creak of a floor board. The muffled sound of heavy shoes on carpet. Whatever it was, my eyes pop open and I am fully awake. Straining, I listen intently to the renewed silence. Ah! There, another sound. I don't know if I should feel relief or not. Now the question, what had caused it? I catalog the sounds I know the house makes, none fit. There, definately a muffled bit of talk. My heart beats faster, I can hear the sound of the blood pounding in my ears. There are intruders, at least two, in my house. I look down at my wife beside me. Her face, relaxed in sleep, shows no trace that she heard. I swallow in a suddenly dry throat. Gently, I nudge her until she awakens. As her eyes open, still heavy with sleep, I hold my hand over her mouth so she doesn't make a noise. She looks at me in surprise, a momentary question in her eyes whether this is some new prelude to love making. As another snatch of barely audible conversation wafts into the darkened room, she looks shocked, then terrified. Signalling continued silence, I take my hand away. Perhaps if we stay silent, they won't come back here, no such luck. We shrink behind the cover as the bedroom door opens and the probing beam of a flashlight seeks our faces. "Well Jim, looky here!" The man enters the room, a deadly looking pistol clutched in his hand, I don't recognize the make or caliber in the sudden light, his hulking companion enters behind him. With a quick jerk he strips the cover and sheet from the bed. As usual, my wife and I are nude. The man leers at my wife's body. "Bingo" he says. I feel helpless as his, and his companion's eyes rape her. I can scarce imagine the vile thoughts that course though their minds. "Leave her alone." I say it with as much quiet menace as I can, as ridiculous as that is from a naked man lying in bed. "And just what you going too do about it buck wheat?" He grins with a gap toothed smile. I tense, "Just try something," again, quiet menace. Momentarily, a look of fear shows in his eyes, then, the dead looking flatness of before. Without taking his eyes from us, he gestures with his gun hand, "Check the drawers Jim, see what treasures, besides this one," he gestures toward my wife, "are in here." He smiles again. "Guess we can turn on the light." Not taking his eyes from us, he flips on the light switch. He drops the flashlight into his coat pocket. Jim, if that is his name, starts ransacking the room. He pulls all the drawers from the dresser, spilling my wife's clothes across the floor. They both laugh about the colored panties my wife favors. Finding nothing, they turn to my dresser. "I wouldn't open the second drawer if I were you." I say it quietly. "Why not buck wheat?" The man moves towards my wife's side of the bed, he starts to reach toward her breasts, she flinchs away. "Now Missy, let's be friendly." He grins again. I have to take his mind away from the path it is on, if only for a moment. "It's booby trapped. I keep my coin collection in there. It's worth a lot." "Booby trapped!" He laughs out loud. "The only boobies in here are these." He roughly grabs my wife's breast, obviously hurting her. She winces, but stays silent. My entire body tenses, I can feel the sweat start on my brow. "Let my wife and I stand outside with you, if Jim over there is going to open that drawer." He stops fondling her and looks at me. "Alright hotshot, you open it!" He gestures for me to get out of bed. I look at my wife, terror is mirrored in her eyes, but silently she urges me to comply. I carefully get out of bed, every move controlled. "I was a ranger in 'Nam." I say the first thing that comes to mind. "They taught us how to booby trap hiding places. Two pounds of black powder tied to a slide detonator. Only I know how to disarm it." "So shut up and do it buck wheat." He looks at my wife again. I move suddenly to get his attention. He looks back towards me. "Watch it buck wheat." His eyes darken. "Open the damn drawer." He points the gun towards my wife's head with menace. It was time to put up or shut up. I kneel by the drawer, twice as aware of my nudity. I make a great show of being careful, I slowly pull the drawer out a few inches. They move away slightly, I smile. I reach slowly into the side of the drawer, taking my time. Their eyes follow my every move. I feel around in the drawer, my fingers find the hilt of my dual edged boot knife. "Now if I do this right, there should be a dull click." "And if you don't?" I notice he left off buck wheat. Is that a bead of sweat on his brow? "Boom." They move back another step. The leather clasp, holding the knife in its sheath, pops as its snap gives way under the pressure of my thumb. The sound is readily audible in the still room. I make a show of relaxing. I watch them as they relax. Jim's companion looks toward my wife and Jim wipes his brow. I whip the knife out from the drawer and fling it underhanded at the man nearest my wife. Fate is kind. The knife buries itself in the side of his neck. He jerks around to look in shock at me. His eyes go blank and he slides to the floor, dead. Jim looks at me, then at his fallen companion. I reach once more into the drawer...He runs. Later, as the police coroner removes the body, the police question me. "But how did you, naked, overcome two armed men." The police officer wets the end of his pencil on his tounge. "Well, actually I warned them." "Huh? What? Warned them? Warned them about what?" "I warned them but they didn't believe me. I told them the drawer was booby trapped, but they made me open it just the same." I smile at his puzzled expression.  

       Web Site: Seeds of Wonder short story collection

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Reviewed by Charles M 4/21/2005
Great story, it was very suspenceful and caused the adrenilan to flow. If you would only write a full length novel I'd appreciate it if you let me know for I'd sure buy it to read and share with family and friends. Charlie
Reviewed by Michael Charles Messineo 4/8/2005
Michael, Great short story!!! I was right in the room with you.


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