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Back Breath

A moment in time

By Tony MartelloPublished about a month ago 2 min read
Back Breath
Photo by Hayley Murray on Unsplash

The stale smell of the barbecue grill stays with me as I drive home. There are a few pieces of chicken left on my jolly green apron and some dried up crusty barbecue sauce. Molecules of fun memories stick to my nose from that smoky Irish pub restaurant my friends and I work at. We had a long night at work busing tables, chatting with friends and keeping up the fast pace.

As I approach the hill near my home I glance to the left and see an orange October moon glowing down on the hillside. A warm inland breeze blows from the east over Morgan Hill and San Jose. It originates from the San Joaquin valley and blows over the foothills and reservoirs to greet our town with signs of fall time. I turn through the curves in the road and catch glimpses of city lights glittering through the dark trees and openings between the leaves. As I pull up to my driveway I see no one is home. Nice, I'll enjoy a quiet night, relax and chow down on some barbecue.

I turn the truck off and grab my dinner in the white foam box. I walk down into the garage and through the door. The hallway is dark but I see light in the living room at the end of the house. I cruise into the kitchen and put the food on the table. I have to take a piss… As I approach the bathroom I hear pat, pat, pat, right behind me and I stop walking. I freeze in my tracks and so do the steps behind me. After a moment frozen in time, I take a couple more steps and then feel a step behind me, and breath on my back. Without using words it communicates to me that I am not alone… I don’t think anyone is here. Is it Mike, my brother playing tricks on me? Only problem is I don’t see anybody.

I scurry into my room and squat down onto the floor and feel for my gun. I get lower onto my belly and feel the pump under the rifle and grab it by the air pump. Yeah, I know… a pellet gun may not seem like much but it's all I have to attempt to make me feel safe. I just want to use it to scare away the intruder and make a statement. I don't get easily scared, right? I swing the barrel around and scan the room and see a beautiful view of golden orange lights with no silhouette, so the perpetrator is not in my room. I check the front door, nothing. I check the sliding glass door with another spectacular view, nothing. I walk back the way I entered into the house and nothing. After ten minutes of surveying the scene I decide to eat. No being is going to keep me from eating some tasty barbecue.

While chomping down on some great grub I promise myself everything is fine and accept that there are times we freak ourselves out and there may even be times where we do really feel the breath on our backs and steps behind us lurking in the dark of the night.

Three years later after we sold our house, a neighbor a few houses down the hill shared with us that a man was shot and killed in our house in 1959 and those steps in the night began to make sense…


About the Creator

Tony Martello

Join an author like no other on various tales that entertain, philosophies that inspire, and lessons that transform us. He is inspired by nature, the ocean, and funny social interactions. He is the author of Flat Spell Tales and much more.

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