Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Christmas Gifts (11/13/08)
TITLE: A Thief In The Night
By John Chang
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He stood some yards away gazing up the slope to the little red door. The doorway was lighted up; a lamp shone out steadily through the darkness. Despite the heavy snowfall, shivering as he was, he still stood there. His feet was so cold. His socks so damp. He should probably just move on, he told himself. But still he stood - unable as it were - to plunge on.
It was not as if he was so tired - though he was. It was not as though his feet found not strength to carry him on. It was the sight which taunted him - that which hung on the little red door - the lamp at the door side gently shining on the homemade wreath with two items pegged on it for which he wanted.
Oh, why was he where he was right now? Why did he not take precaution and started not on this journey? Why had he not taken heed of the weather report - of the news of the incoming storm? Why had he not taken heed of the misgivings within - that perhaps, his vehicle may not be able to take the journey? But started He had. And his fears had come true. There on the highway, the trusted jalopy throttled to a stop. It was too dark - too stormy – too late in the night. No one else appeared to be on the road.
Still, he was but a short distance from the highway exit and from there three miles more to home. “Surely, I can plunge through this snow.” he told himself. But he had not reckoned on how deep the snow had become. And he had not reckoned on how unprepared he was. True, he was well bundled up – hat, coat and gloves. But it was his boots or more than that , his socks which essentially failed him. The deep snow, the plunging footsteps and the snow had inevitably seeped from the top of his boots and dampened his socks so thoroughly. He was so cold.
That was when he saw the little red door, its lamp shining at its side, its Christmas decoration - the one thing he wanted now. For there, pegged to the wreath, was a pair of big red Christmas stocking - relatively dry since an awning covered the front of the door.
But should he? Was that not stealing? But surely they won't mind. Indecision besotted him. Indecision wrought within. Finally, unable as it were to move on - since he thought of the distance he still had to plunge through - he moved up the slope and approached the little red door. He stood there for a moment longer and then with a sigh he stepped up and removed the two Christmas stockings. Then, as if the struggle calmed somewhat within, he sat on the steps sheltered by the awning and removed his boots one by one and his socks accordingly. Wiping his wet feet with his own damp socks, he quickly put on the big dry Christmas stockings and hurriedly put on his boots. Then he got up and plunged on enjoying the comfort that for now his new acquisition provided.
The next morning, two little girls yelled and screamed in delight - their eyes at the window - looking at the fresh newly laid snow. Their noises woke up their father and since he was awake, they hesitated not to ask if they could go and play - to which he wearily replied that play comes only after breakfast.
So in the morning, there they were - playing - until suddenly one of them - knee high in her boots exclaimed, 'Hi, where are the stockings?' Mum was duly informed and she too puzzled along with the rest of the family as to where the Christmas stockings were. It was unlikely these blew away since these had been pegged well and truly to the wreath.
In the afternoon, there was a knock on the door. Opening it, the father found a young man he knew not. Embarrassed, the young man explained the reason for his visit. And held up two Christmas stockings which he had filled with Christmas gifts before returning them.
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