An old draft I pulled out of the dust today... nothing more and nowhere near finished
Thunder rolled somewhere off in the distance and rain lightly pattered on the windows. Kate yawned and stretched, running her left hand along the top of the leather couch. She opened her eyes and looked at the coffee table in front of her. She must have fallen asleep because the brand new candle she had just shelled out eight bucks on was burned nearly to the bottom of it's decorative holder. Sitting up, she let the blanket fall from her shoulder to her lap. She was about to stretch again but she was attacked by a flying ball of energetic fluff. A slimy tongue excitedly lapped at her face as though she had been out of the house for a year. Laughing she invited the (not so small retriever) onto the small spot of couch next to her. He obliged and circled twice before plopping down with his chin on her thigh and glancing nervously towards the window. Kate laughed and rubbed his velvety ears.
"Oh, Russ you big wuss. Big dog like you being scared of a little thunderstorm." He licked her wrist as she continued rubbing his ears. "And to think, I got you for protection." She sighed and laid her head on the back of the couch. She was just about lulled back to sleep by the sound of the storm when there was a loud rapping on her door. Startled, she looked at the clock. Who on earth would that be, it was nearly three in the morning. The rapping continued, louder and more desperate this time. She hoped it was just someone with the wrong apartment, this happened sometimes when people came home a little... tipsy...
She walked towards the door, her hand gripping the retriever's bright blue collar. The dog tensed as the pounding started up yet again, more desperate now then ever. Someone down the corridor opened their door and yelled for quiet. The pounding ceased. Kate took another step towards the door, her heart was beginning to beat faster and Russ had raised his hackles.
She heard a man clear his throat and begin walking away down the corridor. She breathed a sigh of relief and quickly checked the peephole. Seeing no one there, she double checked the locks on the door and moved her dining room table in front of the door. Thunder cracked, this time so loud that some of the hanging pictures vibrated against the wall. Russ lost his ferocious look and tucked his tail between his legs. Frozen in her tracks, Kate waited for the loud thunder crack to end and regained her composure. She looked at the table and wondered if maybe that was just a bit much. The man had obviously realized he was at the wrong door. She continued with these kinds of thoughts trying to reassure herself, but decided to leave the table there, then went on to move the chairs in front of the table. After all, this is where they belonged.
Heading towards the bathroom to wash her face, her heart began to race again as she heard a new set of footsteps steadily coming down the hallway again. Closer and closer the footsteps came, until just outside her door, they stopped. Her heart flew into her throat and she began shaking. As quietly as she could she tip-toed towards her door to see if she could see through the peep hole. Someone in the hallway sneezed, blew their nose, and the footsteps continued for just a few more doors. A set of keys clinked, a door opened then slammed shut again.
This is ridiculous, she thought to herself. It was just a neighbor, and that one before was just at the wrong door, probably on the wrong floor. It's happened before. Everything is fine. She took a few deep breaths and headed into the bathroom to finish washing her face. Instead of warm water, she used cool. She let the water run through her fingers and became mesmerized as it left different trails on the palms of her hands. She couldn't shake the feeling that something wasn't right. She reasoned with herself saying that it was just the storm making her nervous. All she needed was a good nights sleep, everything would be better in the morning. She turned the water off, dried her face and hands, grabbed her blanket from the couch and went to bed. Russ curled up next to her, his tail rhythmically hitting against her leg. Slowly she drifted into the blissful world of dreams.
A figure emerged from the shadow in the corner of the room. The dogs tail stopped wagging and his head sank low onto the bed. He bared his teeth and watched as the figure approached the bed. Kate continued sleeping, her rhythmic breathing assuring the intruder that he was undetected. He moved to her side of the bed ignoring the large retriever. He bent his head over her sleeping form and reached a hand down to touch her silky soft hair. He trailed his fingers past her ear, down her neck, over her shoulder, and down her arm. She stirred slightly and he withdrew his hand quickly. He turned, soundlessly left the room, and seemed to dissapear into the shadows of the hallway. The dog relaxed, yawned, laid his head down with a huff, and went into a peaceful sleep.