It was a quiet morning when Sarah woke up, usually her mom was making some kind of noise in the kitchen. She untangled herself from the covers and climbed out of bed.
She ran into her mom's bedroom and didn't see her there. She glanced in the guest room and there was still no sight of her. Sarah ran down the stairs and there was her mom, sitting on the couch reading a book.
"Good morning sweetie"
She ran into her mom's arms and gave her a big hug.
"I had a bad dream last night."
"Awe, it was just a dream, it's over now, what would you like for breakfast?"
"Cereal and a warm chocolate milk."
"Okay honey, stay here and play with your toys while I get your breakfast ready."
It was a slow morning for Kelly, she went to a friend's birthday dinner the night before and drank a little more wine than she had anticipated, and woke up with a headache. She took aspirin first thing and was waiting for it to kick in. She was in a bit of a daze as she poured herself another cup of tea and prepared breakfast for Sarah.
"Here you go honey, enjoy okay?"
Kelly organized Sarah's clothes for school and cleaned up her room a bit. She looked at Sarah's bed scanning the overabundance of stuffed animals. She wondered what she would do with them later in life.
"Coming sweetie. Okay let's get you dressed young lady because we need to head out for school soon."
"Mommy, I think Santa is real."
"Okay sweetie. Speaking of, you need to send him your list, he and his elves need time to make those toys."
Kelly didn't like lying to Sarah about Santa and had contemplated telling her the truth. She didn't want her to end up like the girl on Miracle on 34th Street, who didn't believe in Santa and missed out on all the fun.
"Let's go Sarah, I'm at the front door."
Kelly picked out a thicker jacket for Sarah as it was starting to get cold in the morning, much colder than it had been. It was nice and refreshing and would make for a lovely morning walk, that would help with the wine residuals. Off they went into the early morning sun and crisp cool air. It had been a lovely morning so far and they walked and talked about the upcoming Holidays and all the activities that were planned. As they turned the corner, Kelly noticed a large dog running around the front yard of one of the houses. She picked up her pace just a little. As she passed the house, she noticed it was a pit bull.
"Mommy, there's a doggie there."
"Yes honey I know, I see it. We don't know that dog though so we don't know if it's friendly or not."
"Can we pet him?"
"No that's not a good idea. That breed of dog is a pit bull and sometimes they're not nice. It depends on their owner and we don't know him or her."
Kelly's heart beat a little faster as she didn't see the owner anywhere, just the dog running around, looking in the garbage cans. She didn't want to seem scared for fear it would chase them. She hoped the owner was nearby. In that moment, she realized she had left Sarah's lunch at home.
"Sweetie, we have to run back really fast, we left your lunch box at home."
As they turned around to head back home, they heard a grunt of some sort. Kelly thought it could have been the dog, except she didn't see it outside anymore. She quickly glanced to her right and saw a tall man with broad shoulders and thick glasses standing near the garage. She figured he was the dog's owner and was glad to see him. She heard the grunting sound again and then realized it came from him.
"Mommy what's wrong with that man?"
"I don't know but he's acting awful strange, just keep walking."
Kelly looked over her right shoulder and saw the man with his right hand in the air and this time he had a machete. It was an odd thing to carry around. The grunting sounds, combined with a machete, quickly led her to deduce there was something not right about the scenario. She thought she saw him moving towards her. She turned around to get a better look...and sure enough he was.
"Sarah, run to Arthur's house."
"Do as you're told, go!"
With one hand behind her as if to shield Sarah, she turned to face the strange man who seemed disoriented and aggressive.
"Hey, what are you doing?"
The man didn't seem to understand English, instead of an answer, he replied with more grunts, this time louder. His slower walking pace sped up and he heading straight for her. She looked back and saw Sarah far ahead standing in front of Arthur's house, she was relieved she was clear of this maniac. As he began to run towards her, she was left with no other option but also run, in the other direction, as fast as she possibly could. The strange man was behind her full speed waving a machete, grunting and trying to catch her. As she reached Arthur's house, she swooped Sarah up and kept running. She decided not to go into her house for fear of him knowing where they lived.
"Mommy, what's happening? Why is that man chasing us?"
"I have no idea honey, just hang on tight, I'm going to run really fast to the end of the street, where all of those cars are okay?"
"Okay mommy but he's right behind us, he's going to catch us, I'm scared."
"Don't be scared and don't look at him, we're almost there."
The man's grunts had turned into screams now and for reasons unknown to Kelly she and her daughter were being hunted. Kelly was terrified inside and her heart was beating so fast, she thought it would pop right out of her chest. The one day Arthur wasn't hanging outside smoking a cigarette she thought...the one day. How could it be the streets were completely deserted, she wondered in a panic. She could hear his foot steps pounding the pavement just behind her.
She frantically waved her hand and yelled for help over and over to the cars in the street. At least something lucky happened for her that morning, there was a break in the traffic that allowed her to run across the street, leaving the hunter on the other side. As she crossed, an upcoming car saw the commotion and slowed down and rolled down his window.
"Do you need help?"
"Yes! That man across the street is trying to kill us"
The stalker didn't let traffic stop him, he ran straight into the road, waving the machete, not wanting his prey to get away. As he did so, the on-coming traffic screeched to a halt, to avoid hitting him. As all the cars on both sides of the street surrounded him, he still tried to get around them to go after Kelly and Sarah.
"Go away, leave us alone!"
The concerned drivers got out of their cars and ran over to help Kelly and her daughter. She saw one woman call the police. Finally, some help.
"What do you think you're doing buddy? Stay back, the police on on their way."
He didn't care what the nice man had to say, he was on a mission and he wanted Kelly and Sarah dead. As he made his way closer and lifted his weapon to cut through the man blocking his targets, he was cut off by a police car that had pulled directly in front of him.
"Put down your weapon or I'll shoot."
Suddenly, it seemed he did understand English, as this was the only thing so far that morning that he responded to. He turned to look at the policemen, who were holding guns straight at him. He lowered his machete and the police came towards him and handcuffed him. Finally the nightmare was over.
"Thank you so much for protecting us."
"You're very welcome, what happened with that guy?"
"I have no idea, we were walking to my house and he just started chasing us."
Kelly could finally breathe.
"Mommy, did they get the bad guy?"
"Yes honey they did, he's gone, he's not going to hurt us, ever."
The police confiscated the machete and listened to Kelly's story. They told her he was incoherent and not making any sense. She explained the whole morning and how she was fearful for their lives. She thanked all of the strangers who stopped to help them. They consoled her and Sarah and the community watched as they drove him away.
"Can we go home now?"
"Yes honey, we can. How about we stay at home today and play with your dolls?
"That sounds great mommy!"