The shrilling of the phone broke her train of thought. She was struggling to get going on her essay and another interruption was the last thing she needed. She glanced at the clock – jeez, 10pm already – who’s calling at this hour? She picked up the handset and frowned. “Why are TrustForce Alarms calling me?” she wondered. She stabbed the Talk button. “Hello, Rebekkah Redmoor, who’s calling?”
“Good evening Ms Redmoor. This is TrustForce Alarm monitoring service. We have an alert from Mrs Forsyth. We called her home but got no reply. This number is listed as our emergency contact.” The caller was polite and efficient.
“Yeah, that’s Grannie. Is there a problem? She’s probably asleep. Her alarm is always going off. What d’you want me to do?”
“Ms Redmoor, we require a positive confirmation of an incident before we can contact the police. We have had several false calls from this residence recently. Is there anyone able to investigate?”
“What? No. I’m here on my own. You want me to go out in the middle of the night to see if there’s an intruder before you send the police? No friggin’ way!”
“Miss Redmoor, excuse me for asking, but are you over the age of majority?”
“Yes, I’m 21”
“Well then we do require you to confirm the report. If we dispatch police to another false arlam then Ms Forsyth will be charged the cost and we will have to terminate her monitoring service. I’m sure that’s not what you would want for your Grandmother, is it?” His tone had changed. Still polite, but now with an assertive, authoritative air like her father. “There is no need to put yourself in any danger Miss, but we do need to know this is not another false alert. If there is the slightest reason to suspect anything untoward you can call the police directly and avoid any confrontation.”
Reluctantly, Rebekkah said she would check, and hung up. She stood up from her desk and glanced outside. “Great,” she thought, “It’s snowing.” She considered her options. Grannie had no cell phone, and they said they’d already called the house. She could call her parents, but they would be seriously pissed. This was their anniversary and they had taken off for a romantic weekend, leaving her at home with the dogs. At 21 she was certainly more than capable, and they trusted her to deal with things responsibly. That came with the territory as a Redmoor.
With no alternatives, she trudged to the kitchen to winter-up, donning her red Canada Goose jacket, winter boots and gloves. She pulled a red toque over her curly auburn hair. She was about to step into the night when she felt eyes on her back. She turned to see Wolfie straing back at her, his white fangs catching the light as he panted in anticipation. “Might as well kill two birds,” she thought. She whistled to the hound. “Wolfie, come on.”
Together they headed out into the evening snowstorm. She tugged the fur collar tighter as a squall whipped shards of snow at her face. Wolfie didn’t seem to notice – to the Malamute this was like a summer’s day. Grannie’s home was behind her own home. It had always been her very own Hanzal and Gretel cottage in the woods. In summer she would cut through the back woods and pop out on Grannie’s doorstep, but in winter she took the longer route by road.
They trudged down the lane, passing the vacant lot being cleared for another new house. With her head down, she almost smacked into a truck parked opposite Grannie’s driveway. She cursed as she stomped past. Glancing inside she didn’t see anyone, just the typical junk of a forest worker’s truck – logs in the bed, chains hanging off the guard rails, the axe rack, empty, across the back window.
Reaching the house, Rebekkah saw that there was a dim light glowing behind the curtained room to the right – Grannie’s bedroom. “She’s in bed!” she muttered to herself, “Old biddy’s probably turned her hearing aid off.”
She stepped up to the door and tried the knob. She wasn’t surprised to find it open. She spoke under her breath. “One of these days, Grannie, there really will be an intruder back here. Can’t trust anyone today you know. Just lock the damn door!”
She opened the door and stepped inside, banging her boots clear of snow. She left Wolfie outside – the big dog would just shake as soon as he got indoors and she didn’t want to spend the rest of her evening cleaning up after him.
“Grannie, you awake?” Rebekkah called. She stepped towards the front bedroom.
“You okay, Grannie? The alarm company called, said they couldn’t reach you,” Rebekkah called out.
A voice spoke, “Oh, you know,” the replying voice wavered. Grannie’s voice sounded hoarse – maybe she had a cold?
Rebekkah moved into the bedroom and reached for the light switch. Nothing happened. “Grannie, did a bulb go?”
A hand grabbed at her wrist and yanked her into the room. She was spun around so that her back was to her attacker. The man was strong, and smelt of wood and sweat. His encircling arms pinned her. She felt his breath on her neck. “My, what a pretty little thing we have here,” he breathed. He held her tight with one strong arm and slipped his free hand inside her coat. He grabbed a handful of her breast through her sweater, squeezing and groping her painfully. “Maybe not such a little girl either,” he breathed, continuing to maul her chest.
Rebekkah flicked the glove off her hand and smashed her nails into the back of his encircling hand. The shock was enough for him to release his grip enough for her to spin free. He grabbed her again, face to face this time. He forced her backwards, towards the bed. She felt the bed behind her knees. The certain knowledge of his intentions spurred her again, and she pushed back just enough to allow her to bring her knee up hard and fast, smashing into his groin. He roard and fell back. She kicked him this time, smashing her boot into his hands which were now clutching at his wounded pride. With him doubled over and temporarily incapacitated, she made her escape.
The man recovered quickly, protected somewhat by his woodcutter gear and the adrenaline coursing through him. He stumbled after her and grabbed her just as she started down the steps from the porch. Pinning her once more, he snarled at her, “You like it rough? I’ll show you rough.” He lifted her bodily off her feet. As he turned her back into the house, he stopped. Standing between him and the door was a huge beast – it looked like a wolf. The animal bared its teeth and gave a guttural growl, then leapt at the man.
He dropped Rebekkah to fight off the beast. Wolfie sank his teeth into the man’s arm and shook him like a tug toy.
“Good boy, Wolfie. Hold him there,” said Rebekkah. She took Wolfie’s leash and quickly bound the woodcutter, hand and feet.
Rebekkah stared down at the restrained man. “Yeah, I like it rough, but I prefer bondage, and I like to be in charge. Now, where shall we begin?”