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Emphasis


It's funny, how the emphasis in a sentence can completely change its meaning. I remember the example I read; I never said she stole my money. You can put the emphasis on any of the words in the sentence, and it will have seven different meanings when you're done.

So now I'm lying in bed, listening to the footsteps downstairs and thinking I didn't forget to lock the front door emphatically


I remember that I said that to my wife the other day, when she found it unlocked in the morning, but the emphasis was different. It was: I didn't forget to lock the front door. There was an implication that it was her who forgot, and she sure as hell picked up on it. Didn't speak to me for the rest of the day.

The footsteps are in the kitchen, directly below our room, and I can hear a murmuring of voices. There are at least two of them. But I didn't forget to lock the door. How did they get in? Well, I didn't forget to lock the front door ... but maybe I forgot to lock the window. I didn't forget to lock the front door ... but maybe I forgot to bolt it.

There was a report last week about two armed, violent fugitives who escaped from the penitentiary in the next town over. People have reported hearing things in their gardens at night. That's why my wife's been so concerned over the door in the first place.

Could it be them? I get out of bed as quietly as possible, trying to avoid waking my wife. She's a heavy sleeper, and I think it's better that she sleeps through this. I creep silently down the stairs, avoiding the third step - it always creaks in cold weather. Then I slip through the hallway and try the door. It swings open slowly.


Maybe my wife was right after all. I glance back into the house. Those men won't stay in the kitchen for long. Soon they'll move upstairs, and they'll find the rest of my family. God only knows what they'll do then - I can barely bring myself to imagine it. I don't have much time before they climb the stairs and find my nagging wife and the infant son I suspect isn't mine. I'm not blind. I've seen the way she looks at the other guys in the village. I can see that the boy doesn't look a thing like me. Now isn't the time to get distracted, I know, but the suspicion is driving me crazy.


I creep out into the night, mentally rehearsing what I'll say to the police.

Maybe I didn't forget to lock the front door. Or maybe I didn't forget to lock the front door.

Well, I know what I won't say, though it's the only one that's the truth;

I've been waiting for them to try our house.

I didn't forget to lock the front door.



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By reddit user acingit via: reddit.com/r/shortscarystories

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