She peered through the crack into the living room. At first glance, everything appeared fine. But something wasn’t right.
She wasn’t alone.
She went cold at the realization. Her first thought was of the mugger. He’d found out where she lived. He’d read her address off her driver’s license. He’d come back to finish her off.
She saw movement from the corner of the room and hid behind the door. Loren's eyes squeezed shut. She took a shaky breath. The cops. She had to call them.
That would've been the best option, but her cell phone was in the pocket of her jacket and her jacket was in the living room.
She bit down hard enough on her bottom lip to taste blood. She had to do something. Escape? Her apartment was three floors up and the exit to the fire escape was nowhere near her bedroom. She could attempt flying and end up falling instead.
Running out of viable options, Loren became aware she might have to wait it out or face the intruder. She opened her eyes and took a large breath. Her gaze fell on an umbrella. As she reached for it, she made a mental note to invest in a baseball bat.
She grasped the handle tight enough to whiten her knuckles and slipped out the door. She held it aloft. If she put enough heft behind it, maybe it could be as effective as a weapon.
She edged through her living room. No sign of anything yet, but she kept a lookout for sudden movements. Loren made her way into the small, cramped space that served as kitchen and dining room.
A hooded figure stood next to her kitchen counter, a hand wrapped around one of the pink plastic cups she kept in her cabinet.
Just the sound of her savior’s voice made her lower her umbrella-bat a few inches in surprise. It trembled in her grasp. “How do you know my name? Who are you?”
Maybe not a hero but a stalker.
The figure turned. A hooded black leather jacket hid most of his face. She caught a glimpse of his profile—a strong jaw, sharp nose.
“A friend.” He brought the cup to his lips and took a drink from it. “And I saw your name on your mail.”
“Oh.” It didn’t make her any less suspicious. “Why are you here? How did you get in?” Her voice grew stronger. “What do you want with me? Why did you help me?”
He faced her, eyes obscured by the shadow of his hood. He didn’t answer right away. Instead, he took another drink and put the cup aside. His arms crossed over his broad chest.
“I need your help.” He moved forward but stopped after a single step. “We need your help.”
Her fingers tightened around the umbrella handle. She eyed him. “Help with what?”
A small smirk touched his lips. “We’re going to save the world.”