I was just drifting off to sleep when I heard the slightest scratch at my front door.
Instantly my body jolted awake and I lay frozen under the covers in my dark bedroom, straining to decipher the source of the suspicious noise without making any myself, even though the panicked thumping of my heart was in danger of waking up my entire apartment complex.
A few moments later I heard it again, a sound that might possibly be chalked up to a strong wind but just as easily could have been the noise of someone quietly testing the door handle and then pulling their hand back in shock as it unexpectedly creaked.
With a well-practised mind, I quickly went over the checklist I keep tucked away in my head for times like this when a rogue noise shakes me awake.
Was my front door locked? Yes, I’d triple checked it before I went to sleep and the chair I drag across it each night as an extra precaution was firmly tucked under the handle.
Were my house keys in my room with me? I quietly slid my hand out from under the covers and felt them safely in their usual place, on my bedside table sitting next to my fully charged phone.
Quickly I ran through everything else on my secret pre-sleep checklist- the windows were closed, the bedroom door was also locked tight – and only then did I feel my shoulders begin to unclench and my tense fingers slowly loosen their iron-clad grip on the blankets.