by Victoria Rowse 

It was a regular day I got home about noon when I noticed the previously empty house was now alive with activity, I looked through my kitchen window to see my new neighbor he was tall, well bit and who was I kidding good looking. He was moving his things alone; I made my way over to his yard as he came out to the truck to grab another box.

            “Hi neighbor!” Alice said waving at the man who looked slightly annoyed.

            “Oh, hi,” he said turning his attention to his boxes picking out the next one to carry in.

            “Anyway, nice to meet you I’m Alice,” Alice said slightly put off by his rude behavior, maybe he was just having a bad day.

            “Yeah Ivan, nice to meet you,” he said. Alice furrowed her eyebrows a bit miffed from this less then friendly encounter; she shifted awkwardly and decided to leave.

            “Okay bye,” she said turning on her heel and leaving quickly, he was defiantly odd she thought. Over the next few weeks Ivan’s actions were even more strange, he kept odd hours, constantly looked out of his windows, and over his shoulder. Alice watched him closely; and then she didn’t see much of him at all that is until he crashed into her trash cans at two in the morning. Alice rushed out to see what all the noise was, Ivan fell out of his car clutching his side he looked hurt.

“Are you okay?” Alice asked starting to walk towards him “do you need a doctor?” she asked nervously.

“I’m fine too much to drink go away,” Ivan snapped struggling to his feet and staggering to his door. Alice stood back and crossed her arms over her chest, she didn’t believe him, she picked up her garbage cans and went back inside glancing through the window at her neighbor’s house. Over the next few days her suspicions increased it seemed now he was watching her, every time she went outside, he magically appeared she even caught him looking in her window. Alice decided she had enough she was going to confront him; she could tolerate him being rude, but he wasn’t going to blow her off and stalk her. Alice marched over to his house and knocked on his door, no one answered but the door opened she looked around for someone who might see her and braced herself.

“It’s not breaking in if the door is open,” she reasoned. Alice roamed from room to room it all looked so normal if not a little spartan but, he was a guy, so she wasn’t really surprised. Finally, she reached his bedroom nothing interesting save for a huge armoire in the corner. She wrestled with her conscious about whether or not she should look in it and decided against it at least until she saw the glint of something metal in the sunlight.

“Just a peek,” she said. Inside was a wide array of weapons from firearms to bombs. Alice silently took in the view she spotted a small metal box I’ve come this far she thought and opened the box inside she found passports and idenfication cards from all over the world.

“what the hell?” Alice jumped dropping everything she held in her hands. “what the hell are you doing?” he shouted. Alice turned slowly and saw he had a gun trained on her.

“I…you! What are you? Who are you?” she asked.

“You know what doesn’t matter your dead now,” Ivan said taking aim at Alice.

“Wait no!” Alice said raising her hands, “I’m sorry okay I have zero impulse control I swear I won’t tell anyone. I will move you will never see me again,” she said reaching for anything that would make him spare her.

“I can’t do that,” Ivan said, “I don’t trust you.”

“You don’t trust me! You’re the one out here playing double O seven!” Alice said motioning to the cabinets, Ivan rolled his eyes and huffed.     

“I’m not a spy I’m a hitman,” he said keeping his aim steady.

“oh, cause that’s better,” Alice snapped.

“Sorry Alice,” before he could pull the trigger a loud crash filled the room and a canister rolled to Ivan’s feet, he kicked it under the bed.

“Shit they found me,” he said grabbing Alice’s wrist and running to the hallway.

“who found you?” Alice shouted over the sound of bullets raining down on them.

“Russian kill squad I botched a job awhile back been on the run ever since,” he returned fire hitting his targets until his gun clicked empty. “Damn,” he muttered tossing the gun aside. “run,” he said running into the kitchen and snatching another gun from under an upturned table.

“I did not sign up for this,” Alice said running after Ivan and ducking behind a counter. Ivan was exchanging shots with the final gunman.

“You broke into my house on a bad day,” he said dryly, a bullet hit his shoulder taking him down and Alice scrambled over taking off her sweater “here” she said placing it on his wound.

“Look out!” Ivan shouted reaching for his gun, Alice snatched it up and turned around shooting the gun man without thinking. Ivan slumped over and took a breath “we need to get out of here,” he said sitting up slowly.

“We… five minutes ago you were going to kill me,” Alice said in disbelief. Ivan moved quickly and grabbed a duffle bag from a false panel.

“Yeah that was before you saved my life and made yourself a target,” he said. The pair left without so much as a backwards.

About the Author:

Victoria Rowse is a first-year student at Full Sail University working on her bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing for Entertainment. She has several works in progress including a fan fiction series on Wattpad and a podcast story for a local Facebook page. Victoria had a poem published in 2004 titled The Tsunami under her maiden name Lara on poetry.com. Victoria is an avid reader of fantasy, horror and general fiction. She lives at home with her husband, two children and small stable of pets.