Shannon's blood ran cold and froze the bugs that were crawling down her spine. The TV showed her asleep in bed with the green-screen fidelity of a low-light camera, obviously recorded recently since she had her new haircut.
She slapped the eject button and took another look at the VHS. It was unmarked. Shannon never left her videos unmarked. Scanning through the thousands of VHS tapes in her collection, almost none of them were unmarked. A handful were unmarked, and slipped into the rest of the collection, as if that would somehow make them harder to find. She chose another one at random and put it in the VCR. It was nearly identical, except her hair was a little longer. That would've put it at a month ago.
So for at least a month, some creep had been breaking into her house and recording video of her sleeping, not inches from her bed.
Leaving the video to run, she grabbed her cell phone and stood out on the lawn while she called the police. What if the creep was still in the house?
A few minutes later, the squad car rolled up and the officers scoured the house and emerged while holstering their weapons.
"No one is in there, ma'am," said the tall cop. "Do you lock your windows and doors at night?"
"Then we don't have any other questions."
"Actually, I do," said the short cop. "VHS, seriously?"
"Randy..." the tall cop said, rolling his eyes.
"No, man, hang on. VHS is a terrible format. You really need to record your material onto some type of digital media that isn't susceptible to every storage problem ever."
"All my equipment is for VHS."
"Get better equipment. Maybe then the creep will just steal your stuff instead of just using it. He could be weighing whether or not it's useful to bother to take."
The tall cop dragged the short one away before he could get his ankle past his teeth.
"Call us again if you spot the perpetrator. Shut up, Randy! You're going to get us put back on the Terrorist Gang Mafia Squad! This titanium plate in my head is still picking up Radio Sweden!"
Shannon went inside her house and piled her furniture in front of the doors and hammered planks over the windows. She clutched a meat cleaver and sat in a closet.
She woke up a few hours later, her drool puddling on the meat cleaver. Yawning and stretching, she got up and tripped over an unlabeled cassette left outside of her closet. She took it to the VCR, heart pounding, and slotted it in. The camera had been set on the floor and the closet door opened. A line of drool flowed out of her mouth.
Shannon screamed and kicked the VCR. She went from room to room, the meat cleaver held over her head, ready to crack open the skull of whatever creep was filming her. Nobody was in her house but her. She checked the barricades.
The cops would have to get involved again, but she needed evidence. She took a small camera that she owned, hid it on a bookcase, set it to record and slept on the couch.
She woke up with an unlabelled tape on her chest. Trying to control her nerves, she put it in. It was her sleeping, like all the rest. She went to her bookshelf, took down her surveilance camera, and put it in the VCR.
It recorded Shannon's armpit as the video flickered on, then her walking over to the couch, laying down and falling asleep. She then stood up.
"What?" Shannon said aloud.
The video Shannon picked up a camera, positioned it at the couch, then laid back down. A moment later, the camera in the recording clicked on as it began recording Shannon sleeping. After the tape clicked off, the video Shannon got up, took the tape out, put the camera away, and laid back down with the tape on her chest.
Shannon stood up, found a mirror, and addressed her reflection. "Start labelling the tapes at least. You know how much I hate disorganization."
The Moral: the ability to make an effective barricade is an undervalued skill