I woke up to complete silence but a screaming in my head that something wasn’t right. My eyes opened to the sight of two strangers walking through my living room. There was still no sound, not even the creak of their footsteps as they deliberately crept towards the door. I was instantly flooded with adrenaline as I shattered the silence with a single word. “Hey! ” I barked, causing the eyes of the men to snap straight towards the source of the word. Dropping what was in their hands they burst out the door into the night.

Seeing my pocket knife and cellular phone missing from where I had sat them, I sprang out up and gave chase. By the time I leapt off the porch the men were climbing into a black car parked down the street. I shouted, “I’m calling the cops! ” As if on cue the doors to the car swung open and now there were five men running towards me. I turned and planted myself between the men and my door. Too late for words I told them, “I’m not going to warn you again, get off my property! ” I slammed the door behind me and sprinted across the living room.

“Tom! There are guys trying to get into the house! ” My roommate, still in his boxers, stumbled into the room completely unaware of the events transpiring outside of his bedroom. Without a word he opened the door and stepped outside. Before I could get to the door he was already returning, but now his face was covered in blood as it rushed down from a gash in his forehead. His girlfriend stepped into the room just in time to see the blood reach his chest. “Call 911,” is all I could spit out between her screams. She pulled Tom into the bathroom and again I was alone in the living room.

I knew two things at that moment; I knew that we were in immediate danger, and I knew that the police wouldn’t be here in time. Placing my hand behind me, my fingers landed perfectly on the grip of my final option. I drew my Glock 19 and waited, finger straight and barrel pointed forty-five degrees down and forward. I faced the door and waited. Something hard struck the door and shook it on its frame. It struck again only louder. A third time the door was struck and this time a bloody fist penetrated just below the peephole. The room fell silent for a few short seconds, seconds that felt like days.

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Slowly the door opened and the men were scattered from the porch to the yard. As they caught sight of me they turned and ran, disappearing into the darkness beyond the reach of the porch light. I could hear the faint whine of police sirens in the distance. As they got louder I holstered my firearm and peered out the doorway where the once solid door hung, now scarred with blood and holes.

The first police car rolled to a stop, illuminating the houses on both sides of the street with flashes of blue and red. Walking outside I met the officer at the edge of the yard. “They’re gone,” I informed him. “Are they armed? he replied. As another police car pulled up I told him that I knew they at least had a knife. “Do you have a knife? ” he asked. I raised my hands above my head and said, “No, but there’s a loaded 9mm holstered in the back of my jeans. ” The officer calmly grabbed it, unloaded it, and sat it on the hood of his patrol car. We spent the following minutes filling out statements and recounting what had occurred to the various officers. We learned that the five men had assaulted a man next door, who was hospitalized and had his bottom lip ripped off, hair pulled out, and his back bruised with shoe prints.

We were lucky and grateful to be safe. Tom got some attention from the EMTs, and before the last officer drove off he handed me back my unloaded pistol. He told me to go inside, and after he was gone to come back out and I’d find the ammunition sitting on the porch, which it was. Closing the door as best I could I sat down on the armrest of my couch, loaded magazine still in hand. I put the magazine back in my pistol, pulled back the slide to chamber a round, and holstered. Looking down at my watch I checked the time, five o’clock in the morning on the fourteenth of June, I’d made it to my twenty-fifth birthday.


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