Something Strange Was Going On
She was approaching her driveway when she first noticed something odd about her house. She squinted her eyes, trying to get a better look. Her garage door was slightly open. Inside, she could see the gleam of her husband’s truck in the dark.
Confused, she decided to pull to the side of the road, desperately trying to make sense of what she was seeing. She had never seen her husband park his truck inside the garage. So, why was it there? But just then, her eyes suddenly focused on something else. She watched as a woman dressed in black snuck past his truck.
Linda And Cliff
When Linda and Cliff moved to a small town in Iowa, they only wanted to find a good neighborhood to start their family. The two had been all over the country, jumping from state to state because of their jobs.
But now that they were nearing their mid-thirties, Linda proposed the possibility of them settling down in a picturesque town that was not only peaceful but safe. She had no idea what she was getting herself into.
Linda and Cliff met when they were in their early twenties. Linda was on her way to getting her master in law, while Cliff had passed the bar to join the nation’s navy SEAL training.
The two’s romantic relationship would be on and off, with many things daring to cleave them apart. But it wouldn’t be long before they did the unexpected.
Going Through The Motions
Linda and Cliff had been together for seven years before Cliff got on his knees and popped the magic question. By then, he was a full-fledged SEAL with several tours under his belt, while Linda had moved ahead to pursue a Ph.D. in civil law.
For a better part of their late twenties and early thirties, the two spent their time across America, with Cliff’s deployments perfectly marrying with Linda’s lectures as a guest professor in many universities. But this harmony wouldn’t last for long.
Everything changed when the couple moved to Iowa. Their home was a perfect two-story house with two garages, a driveway, and the most ideal yard Linda had ever seen.
Looking at the house and the neighborhood surrounding it, she knew this was where she was meant to raise her family. The next few months would test her belief.
Linda and Cliff had always had their qualms. Some were world-shattering, leading to the breakups before their marriage. Others were minimal, often needing a simple apology to fix. But among their biggest issues was an isolated incident where Cliff didn’t treat Linda right.
She caught him in an uncompromising position with one of his friends, leading to an altercation that almost cost them their relationship. Although several years had passed after that incident, Linda always hoped history didn’t repeat itself.
Moving To Iowa
Their move to Iowa was as sound as they expected. They settled into their home, with Linda finding employment in a local university as a lecturer while Cliff enjoyed his few months at home before returning to base.
Due to Linda’s teaching schedule, she’d leave home early and return in the evening. She had no idea what her husband was doing behind her back.
A Different Day
The day that the incident took place was a different one for Linda. Halfway through her day, she’d come down with a nasty cough.
After rescheduling the rest of her lectures, she drove to the town’s clinic, got some prescription medicine, and quickly hurried home. What she’d find would leave her with no option but to retaliate.
The Garage, The Woman, And The Truck
Linda was near her house’s driveway when she noticed something odd in her home. The garage door was open, though barely. Inside, the glossy gleam of Cliff’s truck shone through the darkness.
Linda pulled onto the sideway, trying to make sense of everything. Cliff never parked his vehicle inside the garage, so why was today different? She was still debating the matter when her eyes caught a woman dressed in black sneaking past the truck.
Face It Head On
Linda didn’t know what to make of the situation. Her blood was slowly boiling as she remembered how Cliff had wronged her years before.
It had taken everything in her to forgive and put everything behind her. But she never forgot. With her fury now simmering, she hopped out of her car and stole into the garage. She’d face this matter head-on.
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.