Her eyebrows tucked firmly together as she approached her driveway. Something was off. The garage door was slightly open, and she could see the shine of her husband’s truck in the darkness.
She quickly decided to pull over as she kept an eye on their home. Her husband never parked his vehicle in the garage, she wondered why he had decided to. Something about the situation made her stomach twist into a tight knot. But just as she was about to keep driving, she watched as a woman dressed in black snuck past her husband’s truck.
A Family Neighborhood
Lind and Cliff had jobs that left them moving around a lot, and they decided to search for a family neighborhood in a small town in Iowa in which to start their own.
Linda wanted to find a safe town, seeing as they were nearly in their mid-thirties, but she had no clue what she involved herself in.
They Met While Young
Linda was in her early twenties, working towards her master’s in law, when she met Cliff, who was of similar age and had passed the bar to join navy SEAL training.
The couple had a romantic relationship filled with ups and downs that threatened to tear them apart, but it wasn’t long before they did what they never thought they’d do.
Cliff had proposed to Linda after being with her for seven years. They had both progressed in their careers – him, a full-fledged SEAL, having done multiple tours, and her, pursuing a Ph.D. in civil law.
They had spent most of their twenties and early thirties traveling for their jobs that were somewhat in sync. However, this synchronicity in their lives would dwindle.
The Perfect Home
Everything changed when they moved into their two-story house, situated in the Iowa town, with two garages and a driveway. Linda had been thrilled about the yard.
She saw the house and the neighborhood as the perfect place to start her family, but she soon began to doubt herself.
Linda and Cliff had often fought, sometimes splitting up before they were married but often mended the situation. However, there was one incident that stood out.
She had caught him with one of her friends, leading to an argument that nearly ended their relationship. It had been a long time since then, but Linda feared it would happen again.
Everything had gone smoothly when they moved. Linda had found a job as a lecturer at the local university, and Cliff enjoyed staying home for a few months before he returned to base.
Linda had long hours and spent much of her time away from home. She never knew what her husband was doing while she was away.
Left Work Early
One day was different for Linda when she caught a horrible cough.
She decided to leave work early and went to the clinic to get herself prescribed medicine before she headed home. What she would face would only make her fight back.
A Sneaking Woman
She noticed that the garage door was slightly open, but she could see the shine of her husband’s truck in the darkness. Something about this felt odd to her.
She pulled over and wondered why her husband had decided to park inside the garage when he hadn’t done that before. That was when she saw a woman in black sneaking by the truck.
She Was Furious
Linda was shocked and then grew furious when she recalled what Clifford had done years ago.
It hadn’t been easy for her to move on from it, but she had never forgotten. She steadied herself before making her way into the garage. She was going to do something about this.
A Forgiving Person
Linda had always been a forgiving person. As much as she tried not to think the worst in this situation, her mind conjured her biggest nightmares to torment her.
But as she sneaked into the house, getting a better look at the woman, it quickly became apparent that she had misinterpreted everything. As she peered from a corner, one thought razed her mind: I’m in danger.
The Reality Of Things
Linda slowly backed away from the corridor, leaving the house the way she came in. She’d thought the woman was looking for her husband when she realized she was terribly wrong.
The woman was a burglar armed to the teeth. Linda locked every external door, including the garage, through the house’s automated system and called Cliff.
Cliff had been away at a navy friend’s house when Linda called. Unknown to her, he’d been spending most of his days there to avoid the boredom of being home alone. He didn’t hesitate, jumping on the first cab home. Whoever chose to steal from his family had made a terrible mistake.
Cliff found Linda standing away from their house. He hugged her tightly, glad she was safe, before marching toward the towering house before them. But Linda did something that made him stop in his tracks.
Linda’s wrapped her fingers around her husband’s wrist tightly. She didn’t speak, but her gleaming eyes told him everything he needed to know: Please don’t go.
Cliff had been with Linda for over a decade, and he’d always seen that look whenever his platoon would get deployed. This time he would stay by her side.
The Right Way
Cliff remained back, calling the police instead of handling the situation independently. He was more than capable of dispatching whatever danger was lurking within his house, but the look in Linda’s eyes kept him rooted.
The police flooded the house in less than an hour, catching the thief who found herself locked in a place with nowhere to leave. They thanked Cliff and Linda for choosing the correct way to deal with the situation.
Linda now felt relief wash over her. She was in her husband’s arms, and she felt safe. She had just had a very stressful day, but at least it was over now. The burglar was now gone, and the police took a statement.
They ran her down the usual questions like possible motives. But she had no idea that this was far from over.
The Next Day
The next day rolled around, and Linda felt like she could leave all the nastiness behind her and continue her life as normal. She started her regular routine, which included tidying up the house while Cliff was at work.
But as she started, she had no idea that she would find something that would bring all of her dread back. And it was inside her house.
Making Sure Nothing Was Taken
Linda had another reason for cleaning up a bit. She wanted to make sure nothing was somehow taken by the burglar. Her mind would be at ease once she was sure nothing was out of place. She cleaned thoroughly as she went.
She was happy to have taken the day off to do this. Her boss was sympathetic when he heard about the break in. But she had no idea that things were going to change drastically in a few moments.
After working through most of the house, Linda couldn’t see anything missing. It was as if the woman knew it was over and decided not to take anything. She only had one last room to check.
Linda just had to clean their bedroom, and then she could relax. But she was unaware that the woman had left something behind rather than taking anything. And it would have her in a panic.
Under The Bed
While cleaning the bedroom, Linda changed the bed sheets and the pillowcases and swept the floor. Cleaning had always been therapeutic for her, but something would have her riled up really soon.
While sweeping under the bed, she felt the broom hit something solid. Cliff didn’t normally keep anything underneath the bed, but once she checked, her blood ran cold.
A Black Bag
Linda couldn’t believe what she had found underneath the bed. There was a black canvas bag wedged between the bed and the wall. She had never seen it before, and questions started racing through her mind.
She tried to rationalize the situation. Perhaps it was Cliff’s? As a Navy man, she was sure he had a bug-out bag in case things went sideways. But she had no idea how wrong she was.
Linda wasn’t sure what to do. Next, she decided to call Cliff before doing anything thing else. If this was, in fact, his bag, then she could just put it back and forget about it. She dialed his phone and waited for him to pick up.
But once her dear husband answered the phone, he wouldn’t say what she wanted to hear. In fact, his words would be anything but reassuring.
Cliff picked up the phone and answered the call from his wife. He heard a frantic voice on the other side. “Hi, honey. I know you’re busy right now, but I needed to know where this bag came from. The one underneath the bed. It’s yours, right?”
Cliff’s heart immediately started racing, “What bag? I don’t keep any bag underneath the bed. What’s going on?”
In a panicked voice, Cliff told Linda to leave the bag alone. If it wasn’t his and it wasn’t hers, then it was more sinister than either of them could have guessed. It was now clear to the couple that the bag was left there by the burglar.
But the thing was that Cliff wasn’t there to protect his wife if the bag was dangerous. He told her to come out of the house, and he’d meet her outside. But his wife’s curiosity would get the better of her.
Cliff called a cab just like the day before and told him to rush to his address. He knew that every second counted when it came to situations like this. His Navy training kicked in, and he knew what to do.
He made a phone call to the local police again and said he’d meet them outside of his house. But none of them knew that Linda was already considering doing something foolish.
Linda had hauled the bag outside of their home and left it on the porch. She waited around for Cliff, but with each passing minute, she grew impatient. She felt a burning curiosity in the back of her mind.
She knew it could have been dangerous. But for some reason, she needed to know what the burglar had the audacity of leaving in their home.
Linda even started thinking of justifications to open the bag. What if it was false evidence planted in the house to get Cliff in trouble? She didn’t want anything like that happening to her beloved husband.
She decided that was justification enough and bent down to open the black bag. But what she’d see inside would make her jump back and scream in horror.
Inside The Bag
Inside the bag were a lockpicking device, rope, a hammer, a notebook, and a pistol. Linda’s blood ran cold when she saw the firearm. What exactly did the woman plan on doing just a day earlier when she broke in?
But little did she know the notebook would be the most harrowing thing to be found inside the bag. It would change everything.
Linda reached into the bag and took out the notebook. She started reading through it and felt a shiver down her spine. There were addresses written down in the book with details about the residents living there. This included her address with her details, and it was circled.
The burglar must have been watching the neighborhood, writing details about every house. This made her feel more unsafe than she had ever felt before. But she also felt relieved as a cruiser arrived on the scene and her husband soon afterward.
The Police Arrive
The police took the bag and all of its contents as evidence. They expressed satisfaction that the notebook with sensitive information about her and her neighbors was now not in the wrong hands. They explained that the evidence would help keep the woman behind bars for an even longer time.
But Linda was just glad there was nothing harmful in the bag. Now she could really put the event behind her and focus on her life with her husband.
Disclaimer: To protect the privacy of those depicted, some names, locations, and identifying characteristics have been changed and are products of the author’s imagination. Any resemblances to actual events, places, or persons, living or dead, are entirely coincidental.