This is not a movie. There's no dramatic music in the background. A happy ending, far from a guarantee.
The concern in Donnie Herman's voice was clear as day. So was his stress. With two telephones to his ear, he listened to his wife, Melinda, as she fled into an attic of their Loganville home. With her: Her two 9-year-old children and a loaded .38 revolver.
In the house: An intruder with a crowbar.
On another line was the 911 operator Donnie Herman had called for help. Herman's words to his wife, as he sat helplessly, an hour away from the home, were recorded.
"Stay in the attic," he instructed her, calmly.
"He's in the bedroom," she told him. He repeated the words to the 911 operator.
"Shh. Relax," Herman said, trying to calm his wife.
Then he instructed her to do what was fast becoming a realistic possibility.
"Melinda -- if he opens up the door, you shoot him! You understand?"
What happened next has made the Hermans the new faces of the right to bear arms.
Melinda Herman fired a six-shot revolver at the intruder, hitting him five times, in his torso and in his face. Surprisingly, he managed to flee.
Gun rights groups say this shows that law-abiding citizens should be allowed to buy their weapon of choice and as big a magazine or ammunition clip as they like.
They remind people that Melinda Herman had only a six-shot revolver.
"It's a good thing she wasn't facing more attackers. Otherwise she would have been in trouble and she would have run out of ammunition," said Erich Pratt, director of communications for the Gun Owners of America.
"She shot him five times and he still didn't drop. This is going to endanger people's safety."
The right of self-protection has been thrust into the forefront in a national debate after last month's Newtown, Connecticut, tragedy.
This week, a federal task force led by Vice President Joe Biden is holding talks with private industry groups, the NRA, and legislators -- all to determine the correct balance between the right to self-protection and preventing further mass shootings.
Meanwhile, Americans are flocking to gun shops to buy guns and ammunition in record numbers -- partly due to Newtown and partly due to their fears that the rules are about to change on what they can legally own.
The FBI said it conducted almost 2.8 million checks for gun purchases in December, a record high for a month.
Donnie and Melinda Herman own two guns for protection at home, but until two weeks ago, she had never fired a gun. Her husband told sheriff's department investigator's that he took her shooting so that she'd be familiar with the family's guns if she ever had to use one.
Now, clutching the .38 revolver, Melinda Herman was in the middle of a heart-pounding crisis inside her own home.
She had already locked multiple doors before she and her children took refuge in an adjacent-room attic -- the kind with a small door that you have to bend down to go through.
The intruder had used the crowbar to break through the front door and then two other doors upstairs, and she could hear him coming closer and closer.
On the phone, Donnie Herman calmly instructed his wife about the use of the weapon she had practiced on.
"Remember everything I showed you. Everything I taught you," he told her, and he reassured her that help was on the way.