He was safe.

No phones would ring, no thieves could break in, no internet hackers would steal his identity.

Enclosed in his one-bedroom bungalow ten miles outside of Raleigh, Joe planned for everything.

He could still get around if need be. His handicapped-modified car allowed him to visit people and go to stores. But otherwise, he had a monthly standing order at the grocery store, and the people from social services would visit on the same day. Always the 3rd of the month.

But they had just been here a few days ago, which meant that he could spend his time reading and listening.

Joe used to be terrified of noises. Noises were the precursor to the event where he lost use of his legs. The breaking of the door off the hinges. The cracking of the wood. Of course, the screaming.

That wouldn’t happen here, though. Sure, he had nailed the windows shut and blocked the other door with a heavy bookcase, but he still needed the front door. It was his only concession, but to bolster this one weak point, Joe had a gun.

Joe switched from his wheelchair to his recliner, put his feet up, and took a sip of his tea. Every afternoon–and today was no exception–at 2pm, he would set a cup of mint tea and a plate of shortbread cookies on the side table, right next to the gun.

Knock, knock.

Joe lowered the legs of his recliner and listened.

Knock, knock, knock.

“Who is it?” he yelled from the chair.

“I’m from the church, sir.”

“Go away!” Joe grabbed his gun, got back in his wheelchair and wheeled himself next to the doorframe.

“We’d just like to talk with you about our community.”

“I don’t know you! Go away! I’m not warning you again!” He could feel his palms starting to sweat. Now, his heart was getting too loud.

“Sir, some of your neighbors go to the church down the street, and they thought you might want some company. I’m not here to…”

“I said I wasn’t warning you again!” Joe wheeled in front of the door and fired six shots through it.

He couldn’t see on the other side, but he’d heard a thud, and it had gotten quiet. He wheeled back behind the doorframe and listened for a long while.

After about an hour, he put a trembling hand on the door and opened it. He could see just through the screen door that a short, pale man was lying, bloody, across his “Welcome” mat.

He unlocked the screen door and pushed it, but it would only open about an inch. It kept hitting the body. No matter how many times he pushed it, it just wouldn’t go. The body wasn’t about to move, either.

He began to panic. He was trapped in his own house.

And he had no way to fix his door.


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