Tyler Brown stood in the middle of the upstairs hall, brooding over the glow of afternoon sun beaming from a door that shouldn’t have been open. For a moment, Tyler considered the fault of her exposed bedroom her own until she yanked at a wedgie and searched her memory to recall slamming the door less than twenty minutes ago. How could she forget last visiting her room when her mom’s nagging couldn’t dare subside on a day all about her daughter? On her way to defy Theresa Brown’s request to keep her phone at bay, Tyler faced yet another obstacle between her and her unread texts.
As logic would serve, all plausible culprits pointed to her immediate family, but they were either mingling in the dining room or out in the backyard with more relatives and guests. Tyler was sure of this, recounting each of their last locations since that was the first objective of “Mission: Get Phone and Hide in Cleavage”.
But who in the hell went into my room? And for what?
Badly Tyler wanted to snort at the absurdity of criminal activity. Historically, jumping to conclusions proved to get her nowhere fast. But like most teenagers, not a soul was allowed to go into her room without permission. Whoever committed this sloppy crime would be put to task about this transgression.
THUD! THUD! CLINK!
Wait a minute.
Her stomach dropped and banked in the direction of fear. The only offender capable of brashly rummaging through Tyler’s things was her little sister CiCi, but the smallest Brown was away at their Aunt Martha’s house to prevent bloodshed on Tyler’s important day.
More clinks and thuds echoed from inside her room. Her hands trembled as she put them on her head and let assumptions swell her imagination. Since Cici was out of the lineup, there was only one other option– the worst possibility.
For the last three months, feral disease-carrying fiends– especially raccoons– terrorized garbage cans, garages, and sheds. Since the Browns were hosting a celebration, the kitchen backyard door had been propped open for the last hour. Without a doubt, this evolved into a life or death situation as Tyler feared to scrap with a raccoon that didn’t reject roaming in broad daylight.
In a panic, she patted around her waist before she held her boobs. Of course, she didn’t have anything on her person except a conservative jade cocktail dress and strappy black kitten heels.
Wait, my heels!
Tyler quietly removed her shoes and held them up to her face, pointing the small heels outward and inching closer to the light with her blunt weapons. As the countdown to the smackdown ticked down, her face wrinkled at the thought of dying in the ensemble hand-picked by her mom. She figured if she was capable of stretching out the rabies scuffle, some of the shreds and blood should add a splash of style to the average dress. Inevitably, her thoughts drifted towards her future casket attire and the consequent fights that would ensue between her mom and Uncle Willy over paisley print.
Uncle Willy, don’t let her do me dirty even in death!
Tyler paused and gasped. What would they even put on the tombstone?
“Tyler Brown. Death by raccoon.”
Her attention swayed from embarrassing post-death embarrassment and back ahead, as the movement inside her room echoed of metallic objects shifting. What was the raccoon doing in there? It sounded like it going through her jewelry.
Tyler pushed her back against the wall and smacked her head against a hanging picture. She immediately reached back to console the pain but tapped the frame with her shoe. Her eyes bulged in fright!
Oh no! It must have heard that!
She didn’t move. With her right arm above her head, she tilted her nose down in an armpit check all the while listening for more noise in her room against the distant hums of lively and incoherent conversations downstairs. It was quiet in her room.
Her heart beat like a wild drum. Her adrenaline rushed at the odds of catching an audacious rabies-ridden criminal. Baxter County was known to have bold wildlife, but how would she fight one smart enough to finagle past humans, sneak up the stairs, and jack her jewelry? Would she survive the fight?
The Brown family lived in an excellent middle-class neighborhood. Crime rates were so low that she struggled to remember the last time they experienced an offense outside of a rough storm. As expected, the rain warred against everything outside that cemented or using an emergency brake. The neighborhood lost power for merely two hours, but Ms.Veronica, across the street, still mourned the loss of her tulip patch. If she knew the raccoons were out for human necks, she might dig and cannonball into her own grave.
Tyler shook her head back to the present. If taken out in a rabies fury, the matter of Ms. Veronica’s fate or a paisley print was out of her hands. All week Tyler and her peers were bombarded with oversaturated speeches about “the rest of their lives”, but, now, her future was threatened by a fiend a fourth her size. Two days before, Tyler graduated and had a thoroughly mapped out timeline. She wasn’t going to let a murderous raccoon, of all things, cut it short.
Though, her options felt bleak. It was either go in heels swinging, garner the help of her dad or, even better, Uncle Willy. While her father would likely panic and scream, “Throw a towel on it!“, Uncle Willy had a small assortment of Ginsu knives to end the little thief’s thieving thievery as he screamed bloody murder.
Tyler’s attention shifted as Uncle Willy’s distinct belly laugh erupted from downstairs. Suddenly, the option to call for his aid disappeared. The thought of disturbing his good time and soiling his good knives felt criminal.
Come on, Tyler! This is your room!
She was running out of time. Tyler had to think fast before “maimed” or “murdered” appeared beside her name in local articles. It was time to be a big girl or “woman”, as adults echoed at her ongoing graduation party downstairs.
Tyler took a deep breath and sent up a little prayer in the hopes of not being dismembered during the fight.
Mom, dad, Uncle Willy, little shit Cici , and the rest of my family and friends… I love you all, and truly hope you sprinkle fun-sized candy over my body during my wake.
Tyler couldn’t take anymore. It had to end now, and in a swift move, she pivoted in front with her heels ready for action.
Holy crap! CRAP!
She found herself stunned after being struck with severe ignorance. There was an intruder across the room, but it was no damn raccoon.