The external conflict that most directly leads to the climax centers between Connie and Arnold Friend. When Connie's family leaves her home alone, Arnold unexpectedly shows up at her house, telling Connie information about herself that seems impossible for him to know.
Connie allows Arnold to emotionally and mentally manipulate her. At first, she cannot even recognize the danger he presents, finding him more of a curiosity than a threat. Eventually, Connie begins to realize that Arnold could be dangerous, and she repeatedly tells him that he is "crazy." But she doesn't leave. She doesn't scream. She doesn't flee. Arnold's conversation continues to take increasingly sinister turns until finally Connie rushes back into the presumed safety of her house:
"It's just a screen door. It's just nothing." One of his boots was at a strange angle, as if his foot wasn't in it. It pointed out to the left, bent at the ankle. "I mean, anybody can break through a screen door and glass and wood and iron or...
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