The Intruder

The following Throwback Thursday is a true story that happened to my son and me a couple of years ago.


We were all alone.  Jeremy, our cats, and I were home one afternoon in the heat of the summer.  We hadn’t had rain in weeks, and temperatures were soaring.  The heat here in Florida makes people do crazy things.  No, really; it’s true.  There are numerous scientific studies linking hot temperatures to hot tempers.

We’d already had some strange happenings since we’d moved into this neighborhood.  We’d had a couple of neighbors whose homes were burglarized during their sleep and one that woke up in the middle of the night to come face to face with a criminal in their living room.

I also wasn’t foreign to scary situations myself.  Once, while I was in the midst of moving, I walked into my home just as a burglar was going out the back door.  I thought it was my then-husband until I realized a lot of our stuff was missing and they’d emptied the waterbed into a floor vent and stole the bed!

A different time, I was robbed while I worked at a convenience store, and I ended up stabbing the crook with a steak knife which was how the police ended up catching him when he reported to the hospital.

Another time, I had a window peeper, who again, I thought was the boyfriend I would later marry, until he left a very lewd note and I had to call the police and go to court over the creepy stranger who’d apparently been stalking me!

Even since I lived in this house, I went to take out the garbage and rounded the corner only to come face-to-face with a man who was siphoning the gas from my car.

And a different time in this house, I was taking a shower late at night when I was startled by a camera flash against the window going off and saw someone taking photos of me!

But just because I had experienced scary situations, didn’t prepare me physically or mentally to encounter another one.  In fact, each time something like that happens, I kind of figure that I’ve reached my quota, and the law of averages dictates that it shouldn’t happen again.

No such luck.  As I said, my son and I were home alone with our cats that scalding afternoon.  I was stationed at my computer which is located on my desk in the living room next to the west-facing sliding glass doors.  We have a couch in front of those doors and even if we didn’t, we couldn’t use them anyway because the doors don’t align properly so they’re difficult to open.  And because the sun beats in from the west and makes it at least ten degrees hotter in the living room as well as blindingly bright, we have dark paper over the glass and behind the blinds so the sun can’t get in… and we can’t see out!

Jeremy brought in the mail then decided to take a nap.  As he slept, I sorted through the bills and junk mail, then read the neighborhood association flyer that warned us to be on the lookout for prowlers as another house had been recently robbed.

After reading the mail, I went back to work and was diligently Photoshopping a wedding I’d recently shot.  The television was down low, and I was focused on my work.  I ran into a problem and had to significantly enlarge the photo so I could hand draw a correction to a wardrobe malfunction.  My mind was focused only on my work when I heard the first THUMP!

I bristled.  Someone was trying to get in my back door!  THUMP!  There it was again.  My heart started racing.  THUMP!  Oh, my gosh!  He was trying to get in!  Worse yet, the cats were getting curious and all ran over to the glass door and started making noise.  I willed them to be quiet, but my appeal was moot.

I held my breath and ran to Jeremy’s room and woke him up.  In an urgent whisper, I said, “Someone’s trying to get in!”

He gasped and sat straight up, groggy and disoriented.  “What?”

“SHH!  Someone’s at the back door!  They’re trying to break in here!”

He narrowed his eyes and jumped out of bed.  “I’m gonna kill them!”  He ran past me toward the garage door.

(On a side note, because of my son’s Asperger’s Syndrome, he seldom feels pain.  Because of this, he thinks he’s invincible and never hesitates to stand up to anyone who may be a threat.  He also has no fear that they may have a gun or knife.  And worse yet, he has no fear of consequence of the law if he does something foolish.)

He came back in from the garage carrying a shovel and asked, “Where is he?  I’ll kill him!”


The color drained from my face.

Now he heard it, too.  He spun on his heel and said, “Don’t worry.  I’ll be right back.”  And before I could stop him, he raced out the front door.

My hands flew to my mouth.  I tried to stop him, but he didn’t listen.  I picked up the phone and prepared to dial 911 when all of a sudden I heard Jeremy yell, “Get back here!”

I rushed out the front door to the backyard, and that’s when I saw him.  The intruder was none other than a huge turtle who had apparently crawled out of the dried up pond in our back yard in search for water and kept walking into the glass door and hitting it with his shell!

(Yes, really.)

Talk to me:  Have you ever been scared by something other than what you thought it was?  Would you ever hit an intruder with a shovel?  Would you be more embarrassed to admit to this story on a blog or if you’d have actually called the sheriff out and they found the turtle?


29 thoughts on “The Intruder

  1. I told you before you are a jinx – now fully confirmed! A truly brilliant post and a very fine piece of writing. Very brave of you knifing the miscreant in the shop – most impressed.

    • LOL! You didn’t really need to wait this long to confirm my jinxism, did you? 😉 As for the miscreant, I had a rush of adrenaline and wasn’t thinking…It was really rather stupid. I chased him as he ran out and slammed the heavy door on his hand, then stabbed him several times in the hand and wrist before he was able to pull his hand out. Afterwards, it hit me what had happened and I sat on the floor and cried! LOL!

    • LOL! We poured water on him and pointed him back toward the pond. We do have snapping turtles, though I don’t have a clue what they look like. And we also have a neighbor who makes “friend soft shell turtle” though i don’t know what one of those looks like, either, so I don’t know if this guy was my neighbor’s dinner later or not. 🙂

  2. Another well-told story, Rachel! I relayed your tale to my son who is also on the spectrum, his eyes lit up with a bright smile. Thank you for that.

  3. I actually prefer to tell embarrassing stories on my blog. It’s fun and gets people laughing!

    Yes, I’ve awakened many times in the night (it’s always at night!) to the sound of so many things I couldn’t place. I get kind of paranoid about safety, so any sound I can’t place I immediately assume someone is trying to break in. Ergh. I rarely am able to calm down enough to get back to sleep. But, oh well!

    And sheesh, Rachel! Your life is insane. In both good and bad ways, I guess. I don’t think I could have survived all you have with my sanity intact. No, ma’am.

  4. I squatted on a trail pointing my rifle at a bear for about an hour waiting for it to make up its mind to attack. It was twilight and the longer I waited, the darker it got, so I started to inch toward the bear hoping to scare it away. It was a bush.

  5. A Maryland Terrapin got lost, too many states to the south, Rachel. Scary thumping with the thief out on the loose for sure! I’m glad Jeremy met up with the shelled wonder not the burglar. 🙂

    • LOL! That’s funny! Yes, I’m glad it wasn’t someone real. Not too long ago, Jeremy was a customer at a 7-Eleven that got held up at gun point, and when I heard about it, I was so afraid that he tried out his Ninja moves on the guy and would have wound up shot. But it scared him to death. I hope it taught him to at least have enough fear to respect the intruder if he’s ever in another real situation again. 🙂

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