She pleaded. "I'm fifteen. It will be fun. I want to."
Tired of listening to her relentless pestering, Tina's father gave in.
Dogs were barking. The side entrance creaked.
What was that? Tina sat up in bed.
The room was pitch black, except for the digital clock readout—one a.m.
Probably a cat. Tina laid back down and pulled the duvet to her chin, with her hands gripping the edge of the comforter, she stared wide-eyed at the ceiling.
The security light flipped on. Tina sprang up. She slid out of bed.
Someone's out there.
Heart-pounding, body shaking, she dropped to the floor and crawled down the hallway toward the living room. Bracing herself against the arm of the sofa, Tina stood, leaned in, slowly lifted a slat, and looked through the blinds. A muscular man wearing a white t-shirt was fiddling with the latch on the gate. It released. Her heart jumped. Clutching the neck of her nightgown, she turned away from the window. I'm going to die.
Teeth chattering, she made her way to the kitchen. She grabbed a knife then dialed 911.
It seemed like an hour but was only a matter of minutes until blue lights flashed through the night, and cops pulled to the front curb.
"Are you home alone?" An officer asked.
"Yes, I'm the house sitter. The owners are on vacation."
"Maybe you should call your parents."
"I will in the morning."
With flashlights, two officers combed the yard and found no trace of a prowler. 'Make sure all windows and doors are secured,' they told Tina and left. She chain-locked the door behind them.
Even though Tina knew no one would be there, she looked under the bed. She paced through rooms. Checked and rechecked locks. She combed her hair. Brushed her teeth—bit her fingernails. Tina wanted to go home.
At the break of dawn, she was safely back with her parents. Her father called the homeowners. They agreed that Tina was too young and found another sitter. Tina felt she was too young, as well.
Later that day, there's was a knock. Her father opened the door and slipped a man wearing a white t-shirt, a twenty-dollar bill.