The man padded slowly down the street, the snow that had gently fallen muffling his footsteps. The full moon forcing its light through the gaps in the heavy clouds meant it was brighter than he liked. As he walked he watched the windows and doorways for signs of life. Nothing stirred in the silence.
Halfway down the street he paused at a gateway then quickly walked up the garden path to the porch of the house. No lights were on. He reached into the letterbox and moved his hand from side to side. Yes, there it was, the burglar’s best friend, a key on a string.
Quietly pulling the key up to him he slid it into the lock and opened the door. Stepping inside he listened and hearing nothing he pushed the door gently closed. He knelt down and removed his boots leaving the laces undone and the tongues pulled up. Always be ready for instant action.
He moved down the hall and went into the first door, the sitting room. Residual warmth still hung in the air from the fireplace. The evening paper lay in the well-worn fireside chair. There was nothing of great value in the room. He turned back, and closing the door, moved down the hall to the kitchen. Someone had been baking during the day. He could smell the mixture of sugar, eggs and flour. He felt hungry.
He went back down the hall to the stairs and stealthily climbed them. Ignoring the large bedroom at the front of the house for the time being he entered the small bedroom at the rear. There was just a small chest of drawers with a matching robe and divan bed. The bed was occupied by a child.
He moved to the bed and knelt down, looking at the little, blonde haired girl that lay there, her face plump with sleep. He reached out to touch her and as he did so she stirred and her eyes half opened. As she took in that he was there her eyes opened wide. He pulled her to his chest. His heart pounded then filled with emotion as she cried out, “Daddy, daddy”. The soldier was home from the war.
Dedicated to the men and women of our armed forces at Christmas. May they all return home safely.