“Stacia! Stacia!” Tom stared at the phone receiver in frustration, hearing nothing from the other side. Dead. Probably because the phone was thirty years old and collecting dust in the basement. He counted himself fortunate the phone jack down there had even worked.
Maybe Stacia got the message and would call for help. At least she was home. He hadn’t been sure she would be, but she was close, and that meant she could help. Hopefully.
Tom slapped his forehead. Why hadn’t he just called the police? Hastily he fiddled with the phone jacks, banged the phone against the workbench, tried it again. Nothing. He growled and threw the phone across the room, where it collided with a shelf full of cardboard boxes labeled “Boys Baby Clothes”.
The only way out of the basement, other than through the house, was to go up the back stairs and out through the storm doors. He already knew those were locked. The combination lock for them was on the outside, of course, where there was no way he was going to be able to get to it.
So his choices were to stick it out in the basement, open a jar of pickles and wait for something to happen, or… His eyes were drawn back to the toolbench. Slowly, almost reverently, he walked over, already making his choice. Time to arm himself.
Just then, he heard the padlock on the cellar door begin to rattle.