Sarah shined her light on the carpeted stairs, set the leather-bound masterpiece on the first stair, and went up the stairs on all fours.
When she was about halfway up, she reached up with one hand and turned her light off. As she kept going up in the dark, she wondered why the hell this guy didn’t have one damn nightlight in the whole freaking house.
Her hand reached out to grab the next step but found only air instead. Her head peeked up and over the last step.
She saw a light coming out of an open bedroom doorway at the far end of the upstairs hallway.
Still on all fours, she crawled over the last step. Sarah heard a groan and froze.
She heard another groan. Sarah stood up to her full frame and took two big, quiet steps toward what she assumed was the master bedroom at the far end of the hallway. Another groan and the unmistakable sound of flesh smacking flesh in rhythm.
Sarah tip-toed down the hall to the open bedroom doorway with the light coming out. She squatted down and listened. Their lustful exclamations embarrassed her. They also made her more than a little curious. She got as low as she could, held her breath, and peeked around the doorway into the room.
The only light in the room came from the lamp on the nightstand next to the bed. The young woman with questionable morals was on the bed, bent over on her knees with her hands on the bedpost for support. The thief was behind her, thrusting away with great vigor. Their primal grunts and rhythmic flesh-smacking echoed around the room.
Sarah dropped down to her stomach and hugged the carpeted floor. Even though neither of the two fornicators faced her, she still had to be very careful. She aimed her light straight down so there was no possibility of them seeing it and turned it on.
She searched the carpet, first shining it on the young woman’s rumpled red dress in the center of the bedroom, then scanning across to his pants by the left foot corner of the bed as seen from looking down from the headboard.
If the keys weren’t still in his pants, they would probably be on the nightstand. There was no way she could ever hope to get them there. At least not until they fell asleep. And she wasn’t about to wait that long with no guarantee the keys would even be there. No. If the keys weren’t in his pants, she’d have to risk making her escape on foot.
Sarah turned her light off and started her stomach crawl, first pressing forward by pushing off with her knees, then maintaining the pace by pushing off with her elbows. What she lacked in speed, she made up for in silence.
Ignoring the grunts, groans, and flesh-smacking going on above her, she concentrated on crawling toward the keys she hoped were there. Two-thirds of the way to the pants, she was happy with her progress.
“Turn me over,” said the young woman no longer in the red dress but now with even more questionable morals.
The carnal couple jostled on the bed.
Sarah pushed herself into the carpet as far as she could go… maybe a quarter of an inch.
After what seemed like an inordinate amount of shifting into position, the smacking of the flesh recommenced. It was immediately followed by more grunts and groans.
Sarah unfroze and started crawling again. She did her best to try to ignore the rugs burns she was developing on her elbows and knees but her skin was starting to chafe and, no lie, it hurt.
Seven flesh-smacks and eleven grunts later, Sarah reached out into the semi-dark with her left hand and grabbed a pant leg. She pulled it toward her as slowly as she could so as to maintain her silence.
Lying on her stomach, she reached forward with her right hand and felt the pants where she thought the pockets might be.
She ran her fingers over the fabric until she came to a bulge. She felt around with the tips of her fingers until she found the pocket’s entrance, then slipped her fingers inside. Keys.
Sarah reached in with the rest of her hand and squeezed the keys together as hard as she could, not wanting them to make any kind of jingle or clink. She left the pants behind, rolled over, turned around, and started her stomach crawl toward the open door.
The rhythm of the flesh-smacking was getting faster and the woman’s groans were becoming even more pronounced. Either the thief was a much better lover than Sarah had given him credit for, or the young woman with questionable morals was trying to get him to hurry up and finish with the most effective strategy ever devised by women when they wanted a man to hurry up and finish--positive reinforcement.
The quickening of the couple’s flesh-smacking rhythm quickened Sarah’s crawling rhythm. She held her breath as the stinging pain from the rug burns on her elbows and knees started overwhelming her adrenaline. The keys were wet in her sweat-soaked right hand.
Four feet from the doorway, the thief announced his moment of accomplishment with exuberance. Immediately thereafter, the young woman with questionable morals also enthusiastically announced her own moment of accomplishment; for which she assured him, he was entirely responsible.
Sarah reached the doorway and kept on crawling. She pulled her second foot out of the bedroom and into the dark hallway. Finally, she stopped crawling and rolled over on her back, trying to control her breathing.
She set the keys down next to her and massaged her elbows, which had been rubbed raw. She pulled her knees up to her chest and massaged them too.
As much as Sarah wanted to rest, she knew this was her opportunity and she had to move. She rolled to her side, grabbed the keys, squeezed them together, pushed herself up with her hands, and tip-toed away from the door.
She looked behind her toward the doorway with the light coming out, then turned around to focus on the dark hallway in front of her. She reached up with one hand, turned the light on her forehead on, and headed toward the stairs. She put her free hand on the rail and went down the stairs without a sound.
The book was on the bottom stair where she’d left it. She grabbed it and walked through the foyer.
Nine steps later, she found herself standing in front of the Five Star Safeguard, staring at it. And even though it had no eyes, she could feel it staring right back at her, daring her to try and crack it.
Sarah knew as soon as she opened the door to the garage, she would have less than one second before the alarm screamed bloody murder at one hundred and twenty decibels.
So, that was it. She would throw the door open, hit the garage door button on the side of the wall, jump in the car, hit reverse, punch the remote for the gate at the end of the driveway, and be down the street before the thief could get downstairs and shoot at her. If he had a gun. As far as plans went, it wasn’t half-bad.
Except she had a multi-tool in her fanny-pack. A flathead tipped screwdriver was one of the many tools. The Five Star Safeguard had a flathead indentation on the head of each screw in the four corners of the machine’s plastic outer shell.
Disarming a Five Star, that was a hell of a story to tell. And even if she never told a soul, she would know.
Sarah squeezed the book between her thighs, pushing the hem of her little black dress up. She spun the fanny-pack around, unzipped it open, and fished inside with two fingers. She felt her multi-tool and pulled it out.
Shining her forehead LED on the handle, she pulled out the flathead screwdriver blade. She worked the tip into the screw and started unscrewing it. She did the same thing three more times.
The alarm’s plastic outer shell was in her hands. She pulled it back from the rest of the alarm still on the wall. Her light shined on the number pad and inner guts of the machine consisting of circuits and lots of wires about the size of angel hair pasta strands.
She had been this far three times before. She had found out the hard way not to cut the wires. She had also found out not to try popping the number pads out. She had also, also, found out not to touch the two AA batteries at the machine’s bottom.
Wires were clasped together in groups of four. She figured if she cut the clasps but left the wires alone, she might be able to see behind the wires. Sarah set the plastic shell on the floor, put the flathead screwdriver blade back in her multi-tool, and opened the wire cutters.
She snipped the clasp open. The alarm screamed.