Short Story Sunday 169: Open

Short Story: "Open" | Flash Fiction

            When Caitlyn arrived home from work, she didn’t expect anything else to go wrong that day. It had been a long work day and she was glad to finally be home. She left her work back at the office not wanting to think about it anymore. She was thankful it was Friday because now she had the entire weekend to rest up, relax, and forget about all the damage her team had done that day.

She shut off her cell phone hoping that none of her group members would try to contact her later on in the night and try to discuss what happened that day. She refused to talk about it, refused to dwell on it more than she already had.

Caitlyn put her phone back into her purse and then stepped out of the driver’s seat. She closed the door walking around and opening the passenger side of her car. She picked up her purse and work bag along with her water bottle and lunch box. Her arms were already full, but she managed to close the door and lock it. She walked down to the end of her driveway and opened the mailbox. She grunted at the amount of bills that were in there. She barely got any mail each day. Now that her arms were full, there were quite a few letters as well as a small package.

She picked up the mail little by little and dropped them into her tote bag. The letters were going to end up wrinkled and bent, but she didn’t care. Caitlyn assumed most of them were bills anyway, so how important were they really?

She closed the mailbox and walked back up the driveway. She tried to balance everything she was holding onto while fiddling with her keys trying to pick out her house key.

Caitlyn walked up the steps to the front porch. She managed to open the storm door and stopped it from closing on her by sticking her leg out. Then she stuck her house key out in front of her, but there was nothing for it to go in.

She paused, realizing that the front door was already open.

Why was the front door open?

Caitlyn looked all around her with her brows furrowed in confusion. She started to sweat on the fall afternoon wondering what was going on. She lived alone and if her parents or sisters had stopped by, there would be another car in the driveway. Not to mention they probably wouldn’t have left the front door wide open even if they were home.

Taking a deep breath, Caitlyn stepped through the doorframe. She gently put her things down on the floor in the mudroom trying to be as quiet as she possibly could. She reached into her purse and took out her cell phone turning it back on, just in case. Then she turned around taking the storm door handle and pulling it closed hoping it wouldn’t slam and make a loud noise.

Of course, she didn’t want to think that there was anyone inside her house, but she couldn’t be too careful either.

Caitlyn tip-toed out of the mudroom, leaving the front door open. She didn’t want to make too much noise and she also wanted to be able to run away quickly if there happened to be someone in the house.

She poked her head around the wall and peered into the living room. There, on the couch, laid her cat. Caitlyn relaxed her tense body, but she was still confused and felt she needed to be cautious.

If her cat was just sleeping on the couch, then nothing must have been wrong, right? No one was in the house but Caitlyn and her cat?

Caitlyn shook her head. No, her cat wasn’t a guard dog. Her cat wasn’t going to care if a stranger entered the house without permission. She turned back around and looked at the wide open door. How did someone get into the house anyway? They clearly didn’t break in, but if they didn’t have a key, then how did they get in? Unless… Did she leave the door unlocked by accident when she left for work that morning?

She stepped farther into the house, her cat resting his head back down on the couch again. He didn’t seem to even really care that she was home, so he definitely wouldn’t care if a stranger waltzed right through.

She had checked around the whole house, but she didn’t notice anything out of the ordinary. There was no one hiding out in the house so Caitlyn assumed if someone came by they had left already. There was nothing missing or out of place, either. So, she must not have been robbed.

Caitlyn walked back through the living room and into the mudroom. She moved her things out of the way pushing them with her foot so she could close the front door. She put a hand on the doorknob and twisted it. Sure enough, it was locked.

Caitlyn furrowed her brows at the door. What in the world had happened today? No one must have come into her house if they didn’t have a key because there was no break in. Nothing was touched or anything, either, so…

Caitlyn closed the front door and thought real hard about that morning. She looked down at the ground at all of her stuff and then it clicked in her head.

She remembered carrying all that, plus a box of things for her project at work, and she didn’t have enough hands to close the door. She had put everything into the car telling herself that she would run back up the front steps to shut the door after she had loaded the car. However, she was already running late and was panicking about traffic so once she put everything into the car, she just hopped into the driver’s seat and left.

Caitlyn left her stuff in the mudroom and sat down on the couch beside the cat. She closed her eyes taking a few deep breaths. She had just left her home completely wide open for the world to see and enter if they wished.

What a day.

Words: 1,040

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