Dorothy Vargas worked in law enforcement for a little over fifteen years. She was single, never married, with no children of her own. She had a younger sister, Emily. Emily was married and had two kids, a boy and a girl.
Emily was very close to her sister Dorothy, or Dotty, as she would always call her, as well as most people who knew her. Their father was a police officer who died on the job when they were both children. A hostage situation at a bank went out of control, and Officer Vargas was the first one on the scene. He rushed in without waiting for backup. No one understood why he suddenly felt the urge to play the hero. As the robbers saw him bust in the bank, they opened fire, killing him on the spot.
Their mom was devastated after that. Still, Mrs. Vargas did her best to raise her two little girls. Dotty wanted to be a doctor, but after what happened to her dad, she decided that she would chase the bad guys and put them in jail where they belonged. Emily became a nurse. Dotty never talked about it, but after what happened to her dad, she was always afraid. Sometimes, she would hear gunshots nearby and think it was the band of robbers that killed her dad.
When their mother died, after the funeral, Emily's husband got a great job opportunity. He was a lawyer, and a big-name law firm offered him a nice position with a juicy paycheck. They would have to leave Bowling Green, KY, for the Big Apple, New York City. Both Emily and Jeff felt it would be a way to look for a new beginning, away from the pain of the loss that the Vargas sisters had to deal with everywhere they went.
Emily talked to her sister, hoping she would consider following her to New York.
"I still remember when we were kids, and our dad died. You were different after that. You never talked about it... about how much it changed you... but I noticed. I just... I didn't know how to be there for you back then. I don't want to make the same mistake now. Please, Dotty... just think about it. You can also fight crime in New York... I'm pretty sure there's a lot of bad guys over there too... even more than here," Emily said to her sister, trying to convince her to move to the big city with her.
Dotty's eyes looked tired. She was a tall woman (5'11") and looked like an amazon warrior. In her fifteen years with the police, she saw humanity at its worst. Dotty already knew what she wanted. It wasn't necessary to take her time with this decision. "Losing dad was very hard, that it was. But after being on the force for all these years, I didn't think anything could leave me shook. Mom's passing did, though. Mom and Dad are gone now. I can't just go ahead and lose you too, now, can I?"
"Are you sure, Dotty?" Emily asked. Dotty immediately replied, "You bet your arse I am. Besides, those kids of yours need someone to keep an eye on them. I've had enough of killers and robbers... I'm retiring from the force. It's time to find another path in life... and maybe even someone to walk it with." Dotty was determined enough with her words to convince her sister that this was what she wanted. They both hugged while Emily teared up a little.
While they hugged, a loud crashing noise made Dotty jump in her boots, putting her on high alert. "What was that?" Emily asked, confused. "I think it came from the living room. I'll check it out," Dotty said while carefully walking to Emily's living room, unsure of what she would find. Jared, Emily's eldest, was moving some boxes upstairs and had accidentally knocked over a few decorations. One fell on the center glass table in the living room, smashing both the bust decoration and the glass table to pieces.
"Sorry, Mom, Aunt Dotty. Please don't ground me forever! It was an accident! Honest!" Jared was so sure he was going to be grounded forever because of the amount of damage he did. "We'll just wait for your dad to get home and examine the evidence. He'll be the one to pass judgment since it was his bust that you smashed to bits," Emily stated, leaving Jared even more tense.
They were finally settled in their new home in New York. Dotty had planned to go apartment hunting as soon as they all got there, but Emily convinced her to wait at least until she was well settled in and had figured out what she was going to do there.
On the very day they arrived at their new home, as Dotty was unpacking the few boxes she had and setting them in her room, she would always hear footsteps coming from the room next to hers. While unpacking her clothes and putting them in her wardrobe, she would hear several footsteps coming from the other room. They all sounded heavy, as if the people walking were wearing boots. At first, she assumed it was the guys from Mayflower, the inter-state relocation service Jeff's new law firm contracted to help with the move. But she distinctly remembered seeing their feet. There were just three guys, including the driver, and none were wearing boots.
Given Dotty's naturally developed suspicious nature due to her time as a police officer, she dropped what she was doing and casually walked over to the room next door. While heading walking through the hallway, she noticed the door was halfway open. She saw shadows moving as she got closer. "Put that down. She's here!" she heard someone saying. At this point, she didn't hear any more footsteps. Even though she didn't have a weapon, she still went in the room, heart racing, adrenaline pumping, ready for whatever she'd find behind that door. The room was empty. The window was locked. There was nothing in the room.
"Aunt Dotty?" little Carrie called out her name from outside the room. When Dotty heard her, she jumped, frightened. The sudden break of silence had startled her. "Aunt Dotty, did I scare you?" the little girl inquired. "No, sweetie. Your aunty's OK. Are you finished unpacking your stuff? Is your room all set?" she tried to make everything seem fine in front of her niece. "The man said they're almost done. Mommy said not to bother them."
Dotty went with little Carrie outside to the porch swing and sat with her. Carrie had her favorite doll in her hand. While she told her aunt about all the games she planned on playing, Dotty couldn't help but think about what she heard and saw.
That night, after the movers unloaded everything from the truck, they were about halfway finished unpacking stuff. Jeff was at the office getting settled most of the day, and as he got home, he helped Emily set up the kitchen. Everyone was happy with the move. Jared was a bit bummed out that he had to go to a different school, but he liked his new room (especially because he didn't have to share it with his little sister).
They had a late dinner to celebrate together. The menu was breaded chicken strips with tomato and lettuce salad. Carrie was playing with her salad after she ate all her chicken. Dotty was mostly staring at the plate while holding her fork and knife.
"Is everything alright, Dotty?" Jeff inquired. The sudden question seemed to burst the thought bubble she had going on. "I'm fine... Just a bit exhausted, that's all," Dotty replied. "Did you finish settling in alright?" Emily asked. "Mostly. Carrie here distracted me a bit, but I'll be able to finish up in the morning. What's left is almost nothing."
They finished dinner while talking about the moving experience and how each one of them was having a blast. Despite Dotty saying she was fine, Emily had this looming feeling that the truth was actually the opposite.
They all went to bed, and Dotty fell asleep pretty quickly. She opened her eyes again and saw that it was 2:15 A.M. Going back to sleep was a challenge when this happened. After tossing and turning for a whole hour, at 3:16 A.M., she went downstairs to the kitchen. She drank a glass of water and went right back upstairs to her room. As she put her hand on the doorknob to open the door to her room, she heard the same footsteps coming from the room next door. This time, it sounded like a group of people running. She stood there with her hand still on the doorknob, and the door halfway opened. She could hear someone saying something but couldn't understand what the person was saying. She stealthily walked with her back pressed against the wall towards the other room. When she was within arm's length of the door, she stopped. This time, the door was closed. "Once they're all asleep, we'll take them out. You take the big girl. I'll handle the kids. You three go for the mother and the father..." she heard someone utter clearly.
Dotty was confused. She couldn't understand how a group of people could have gotten in the house without anyone noticing. And the fact that they were planning to take them all out, besides it being terrifying, made no sense at all. What was their motive? While she tried to make sense of things, she concluded that it was best to do something instead of standing around trying to solve the case in her mind. She went downstairs looking for a blunt object to use as a weapon. She found a wooden bat lying around. 'Thank God for Jared and his love for baseball,' she thought as she tiptoed her way back upstairs.
Her heart was racing. She was sweating like someone who had run for several miles. While she was reaching for the doorknob to quietly open the door and peep inside, she heard footsteps closing in on her. She was trying to decide whether to open the door and try to rush in and take them all out, or to wait for them to come to her, taking them out one by one. Her hand was trembling as it hovered over 1/16th of an inch of the doorknob. But another sound took her out of reality almost giving her a heart attack.
"Dotty? What's going on?" Jeff said both confused and worried as he saw her holding a bat and about to enter that room. Dotty frantically gestured for him to not make a sound. Jeff insisted, this time whispering, "Dotty, what are you doing with that bat? Who's in there?" Dotty replied back also whispering, "Call 911," opened the door and ran into the room uttering a loud battle cry.
Jeff was now frightened. He went in behind her and turned on the light. No one was in there, except for Dotty and himself.
"I don't understand... what were you...?" Jeff stammered. Dotty looked even more confused than him. It was just like earlier. The window was closed, and no one was there. "Dotty... I have to get ready for work. Try to get some rest, OK? You don't look too good." "Get ready for work? But it's only..." Dotty imagined it was about 4:00 A.M. "It's 6:47 A.M. This window is opposite to where the sun rises, so it's not that obvious that it's already morning. Get some rest, Dotty." Jeff insisted as he walked away.
Dottie did not feel relieved that the room was empty. She still felt frightened, uneasy, and a near overwhelming sense of danger.
Several days passed. Every night was the same. Dotty would sleep two to three hours at most and hear similar noises coming from the empty room next to her, suggesting that it wasn't actually empty.
Things took a turn for the worse when she would hear those noises even when she went out. Near every corner, she'd hear heavy footsteps following her. At times she even heard guns cocking.
It got so bad that she ended up running out of a job interview because she was convinced that a group of criminals was about to burst into the room and shoot to kill.
That day when she got home, Emily was preparing lunch in the kitchen. She heard her come in and went to talk to her.
"Dotty... You're not sleeping, are you? I can see it all over your face... You know you can talk to me, right?" Emily said sounding deeply concerned. "Em... I think I might be losing my mind..." Dotty said and broke down crying immediately after. "Dotty, I spoke to a friend of mine. He knows a doctor here in New York. How about we go see her?" "No! I can't leave... What if they...?" she suddenly had a strong aversion to what her sister was saying. "That's OK, Dotty. I'll talk to her and see if she can come over tomorrow."
Dotty was terrified that if she wasn't watching their home, something terrible would happen.
Emily convinced her to go rest for a bit. As Dotty went and lay in her bed, she fell asleep in less than sixty seconds. While she was asleep, she saw her dad running into a bank where a group of robbers were held up with hostages and saw the armed robbers mercilessly shoot him down. One crashing sound suddenly woke her, and as she got up, startled, seeing a huge crack on the wall in her room, the side that was toward the empty room, she feared the worst. She didn't hear any footsteps like she usually did, or any voices either. She picked up the bat that she was keeping under her bed and walked out of her room. That same feeling of dread had taken over her. Her heart was racing. She was sweating profusely. With her hand trembling, she reached for the doorknob. She slowly opened the door. As she did that, she saw men, their faces covered with ski masks. One of them ran past her, and two others remained in the room. There was a huge crack in the wall with blood dripping from it. The two men were standing over Jared and Carrie's bodies. There was a large pool of blood all around them. At that point, Dotty uttered a harrowing cry. It was so visceral, so frightening, and so loud, that Emily was shook when she heard it from the garden outside.
An inraged Dotty suddenly held on tightly to her bat and tackled one of the men in the room. He fell on the floor, and she started swinging the bat at him with savagery. She swung again, and again, and again until his head was split open, and the tip of the bat was cracked.
The other man that was left standing had a rather large army knife. As he tried to disarm her, she hit him where he was gripping the knife and broke his radius bone. The man dropped the knife wincing in pain. Dotty picked up the knife, staring him down with a boiling rage so hot that the man certainly wished he had never been born at that point. As the man tried to flee, Dotty stabbed him in his leg joints, making him plummet to the floor. She then proceeded to stab the man while uttering a guttural cry that, just as much or even more than the first one, had her sister Emily terrified.
Dotty got back up and walked inside the room again. She was trembling and crying all at once. But when she looked at the spot where the children's bodies were next to the crack in the wall, she noticed they weren't there.
Jared's body was suddenly in the place where the masked man whose head she had split open with the bat was. She lost all strength in her legs when she saw him. As she turned around, Carrie's body was in the hallway, having bled out from the many stab wounds she had inflicted.
Dotty wasn't able to scream or even cry at this point. A group of paramedics arrived, and they gave her a tranquilizer and put her on a stretcher.
Emily was crying. As the paramedics were loading her onto the ambulance, before she lost consciousness, Dotty saw both Jared and Carrie standing next to Emily. And the third masked man, the one who had run past her earlier, was standing there next to them. She tried to get out of the stretcher, but the paramedics restrained her. The masked man took off the ski mask, revealing himself to be Jeff. He had a crooked smile on him, just as Emily and the children. And right before she lost consciousness, she heard someone say right next to her: "We got her."
About the Creator
Yes, I drew the pigeon in my profile pic. He's a beloved character from my first written work. I discovered I loved writing during the lockdowns in 2020. If you like what you read here, consider following me elsewhere too!