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FOOTSTEPS IN THE DARK
by Richard L. Provencher
5/26/2008 / Short Stories
Finally, it's Christmas Eve. Moonlight was like a flashlight beam across the sky.
Colin hopped with excitement, one foot tripping over the other. His eyes roamed the sky. Where is Santa's sleigh?
He also wished to give a gift to Jason, his best friend. Colin didn't have any money, so it was soon time to put his plan into action.
Colin worked hard to be good all year. As Christmas approached he was even more helpful.
"Yup, finished" he answered dad about his house chores today.
"Did you also check the cat's food bowl?" mom asked.
"Yup," he replied.
"Take the garbage out, sport?" dad asked.
It was a challenge for his parents finding new things for him to do. Because of this Colin hoped Santa was going to be especially good to him this year.
As Colin lay anxiously in bed, the wall clock showed 2 AM. Were those hooves on the roof? Chilled feet slowly slid into a pair of rabbit shaped slippers.
Superman PJ's kept him warm. Colin stepped into the hallway. Parent snores drifted from a bedroom nearby.
Curtains flapped in his sister's room. Colin almost stepped on the cat following by his feet.
Shadows made creepy shapes as he rested at the top of the stairs. Shivers danced along his back.
His hands scraped against the walls. And the stairs creaked as he tried to move quietly downstairs. Sounds came from the chimney in the living room.
His heart began to pound. Could that be Santa?
Colin moved silently as a bat. He was sure he heard reindeer snorting on the roof.
Someone had turned on the Christmas tree lights. Decorated gifts in all sizes and color spilled from beneath branches. The scent of balsam needles filled the air.
Colin's "OOH's" and "AAH's puffed like a gust of wind across the room.
His name was on so many gifts!
The little boy took a long time before selecting a special wrapped one. This was to be his gift for Jason. His friend would never know it was from a huge pile Santa brought.
Colin could get by with one less present.
The stairs creaked even more as scary shadows followed him upstairs. Dad's ZZZ's sounded quite noisy. This time the cat screeched as Colin stepped on its tail.
The boy dashed into his room, diving under the covers.
Sleep was interrupted when everyone joined in to wake him. They tried singing, yelling then finally shaking him.
"Sleeping in on Christmas morning?" his sister asked. Her open mouth looked like a question mark.
Colin thumped downstairs. He soon wiggled into a good spot and began opening parcels.
Blue and red pieces of wrapping paper flew in all directions. Other presents were covered in green with yellow ribbon. Some of the gifts had purple and red bows.
The pile of paper showed scenes of Santa and his reindeer, even mouse trains pulling parcels. A picture of snowmen, trees, and holly leaves joined the floor pile.
After all the presents were opened, there was a hush in the room. Was something else supposed to take place?
Colin wondered if it had to do with the missing present. No one else knew it was tucked safely under his bed.
He planned on bringing it to Jason later today.
Mom and dad kept making finger signals to each other. Shaking their heads, They searched around the room.
They knew something was missing. So did Colin. Hey, what happened to his super cool request from Santa? It was at the top of his Christmas list.
Colin wanted a yellow caboose for his N scale train set.
Ohno. Could that be the gift he picked for Jason? Maybe he could give his friend two gifts instead of one.
Too late, all of them were already opened.
He received a red Fire Truck, a model jet plane, a puzzle of Disneyland, new crayons and a Canadian stamp book.
But, he had no yellow caboose.
He tried putting on a happy face. After all, it was Christmas morning. When Colin told his parents what happened, they too were sad.
Then mom and dad said, "We love you eight times!"
After breakfast Colin placed a new name on the wrapped 'caboose' gift. It said, "For Jason, from your friend, Colin."
Later, mom and dad waited on the sidewalk as he pressed the buzzer. Jason answered the door and Colin said, "Merry Christmas!" then gave him his gift.
Colin's parents walked proudly beside their son as they returned home.
Yes, thought Colin. This was still a great Christmas.
* * *
Richard & Esther Provencher 2008
Richard enjoys writing poems; many of which have been published in Print and Online. He and his wife, Esther are also co-authors of stories and a print novel. They are "born again" Christians and very busy in their church, Abundant Life Victory International, in Bible Hill, Nova Scotia.
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