Genre: Thriller

Jimmy had a helluva sense of humor. It was one of the things that attracted Emma to him, he constantly made her laugh. The best day of the year was the 1st of April – he never disappointed her. Often she waited the whole day for the joke, trick or fake news to arrive.

The phone rang, ‘Hon I’m going to be late, the Board wants this report…’

‘Yes I’ve heard it before. What are you up to?’ she interrupted him.

‘I…nothing I’m genuinely working late.’

‘Haha we’ll see.’ Emma smiled and he heard it in her voice. They said their goodbye’s and Emma carried on with supper. She loved her open-plan kitchen. Wall-size glass doors invited the garden inside and soothed her soul. The doors were closed against the chilly wind but the wall of green was lovely.

Supper finished she sat down with her wine and iPad. Again she wondered what Jimmy had planned. He never forgot. Smiling she sipped away, caught up in an article on “How to spice up your sex life” making her grin. Halfway through she heard something and looked up.

Jimmy was standing in the garden, dressed in black, looking at her through the glass wall. He wore a mask and was holding a fake gun, pointed down staring at her. Emma burst out laughing.

‘What?’ she laughed again. ‘Oh no! Whatever will I do? We have a burglar.’ She stood up pretending to be terrified, holding her hands against her mouth, more to block the laughing than anything else. She pretended to faint back onto the couch and lay dead still barely able to contain her giggles. Jimmy just stood there silently staring, she couldn’t read his eyes from outside and he never moved.

‘Oh no!’ Emma said again this time putting her hand to her forehead and hyperventilating a little. It was hilarious. ‘Come in Jimmy, let’s have a drink and celebrate how you scared me half to death’ more giggling. Standing she walked towards the doors to let him in.

A few things happened at once. She realized that her reflection blotted out his reflection. She stepped back and forward again then laughed.

‘You’re inside!’ she turned towards him and froze. It wasn’t Jimmy! This man was taller with sloping shoulders. Terror washed through her like an icy wave. Fight or flight kicked in. Calculating the best way out she turned towards the front door, it opened onto the road and she could run. She didn’t get the chance. Swiftly he grabbed her and threw her to the ground. Emma took a breath to scream but he cut it short with his hand.

Emma stared into cold eyes, her heart beating out of her chest. She struggled but it was useless. ‘Don’t scream.’ She nodded, tears slipping from her eyes. He used cable ties to immobilize her and taped her mouth, then stood up. Questions ran through her head, ‘how did he get in? How long would Jimmy be? Who was he? What did he want? Would he kill her?’ She stayed dead still hoping he would leave her alone. Closing her eyes, tears continued to slip out and she prayed to get through this alive.

She heard him going through her handbag, the kitchen and study as he slowly worked his way to the bedroom. Emma pulled helplessly at her cable ties. Turning her head she saw herself in the glass. How could she be so stupid? Why didn’t she realize he was in the house with her? She closed her eyes and tried to calm herself, there was nothing else she could do.

He was in the bedroom, again she heard him moving around. Emma thought about her mother’s pearls, her wedding rings and iPad, nothing else had any value really. Suddenly there was a shout and a BANG! Emma froze again.

“Was that a shot? What the hell?” She lay still listening and heard a groan. Emma didn’t know what to do or what had happened. She couldn’t call out or move and wasn’t sure she would if she could. ‘Please Jimmy come home’ she prayed. More groaning.

After an eternity he did. She heard him open the door, chuck his keys into the shell and put his briefcase down. Emma struggled and tried to call him, fresh tears of fear running down her face. He walked into the lounge and didn’t see her at first, she could see him in the glass. She struggled and he turned, his mouth making an “o” in shock when he saw her. He ran to her looking over his shoulder in fear. Jimmy pulled the tape off as gently as he could, it hurt like hell.

‘He’s upstairs in the bedroom, I think I heard a shot.’

Jimmy picked her up and carried her to the laundry room, he grabbed a knife, cut her hand ties, threw the knife down and instructed her to lock the door behind him.

‘Please let’s just go, we can call the…’ he closed the door on her protest. Jimmy slowly went upstairs, he was also confused about the groaning.

Emma cut her feet ties, locked the door and listened. She couldn’t hear anything and opened the laundry door a crack. There was enough distance to the stairs that she could close and lock it before he got to her if she needed to. Emma used her cell to call the security company shakily asking for help.

‘I hope the bastard fell and broke his leg’ he thought to himself. The noise was coming from the master bedroom. Jimmy took a breath and peeped past the door frame, immediately realizing what had happened.

Before he left and while Emma was making breakfast, he had set up his prank, left over from Halloween. The fake, bloody hand reached out when the cupboard door opened. Emma was supposed to do this sometime during the day but hadn’t. When the burglar opened it, he got such a fright he pulled off a shot, straight into his leg. Jimmy smiled, surveying the scene in front of him. The burglar had lost so much blood that he was too weak to fight Jimmy off as he kicked the gun away.

2 burly security officers were at the door much to Emma’s relief. She waved them in and quickly updated them. Cautiously they headed upstairs conscious of Jimmy being in the house. Jimmy called down ‘its fine come up, Ems call an ambulance he shot himself’. Emma joined them upstairs, shocked at the prank and how it had saved them.

‘Maybe he’s learnt his lesson’ Jimmy said with a smile, hugging his wife. Emma would never again complain about Jimmy’s pranks.


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Writer, Mother, Grandmother and Wife.

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