Nick of Time

Me, getting into the season… Enjoy

There was no sneaky way into this house, being as it was only a small cabin of a home. He let himself in through the front door, letting it close very quitely behind him. It was dark, but for festive electric candles glowing in the two front windows. There was soft music playing, but it could have been coming from outside. He hadn’t noticed until he descended into the silence of the sleepy house. Immediately after hearing the music he turned his head to the left, and realized something else. The two bedroom doors were open; he was in the house alone. No one was there for him to worry about waking. It seemed strange at this time of night, but then again, he wasn’t entirely sure of the time. With so little moon in the sky, the darkness fell quicker than usual. He mused over this for a second, deciding he must be earlier than he’d planned. Must have made good time getting there.

He crept silently around the house, out of respect for the silence that had been there before him. (It seemed like the right thing to do.) No pets, no living things that he could see. Furniture, even appliances and decorations, although sparse. Pictures, photos, artwork. A family. Kids. Not much, but he could tell that it was a loving home. Then he finally found what he had been looking for, tucked neatly into the far corner of the living room. Very simple but clean and respectable; he could tell they took pride in it. They’d been here not too long ago. He could still smell something that had been cooked with a good amount of garlic.

Well, he thought, I can still do what I came for. He made his was across the length of the small abode in a few ranging steps. He set his bag down on the floor and began searching through it in the semi-darkness. He was being meticulous; he didn’t want to leave any signs of his presence. As he began to place his items on the floor, he heard a noise. Before he knew what he was doing he had dumped out all of the contents of his bag onto the floor in a messy pile. He grabbed the empty bag and scrambled to the back door, just as the front door was opening.

As he made his way around the house, the sounds of his movements muffled by the fresh blanket of heavy snow, he realized what he had been hearing when he got to the house. The family was back inside the house discussing how nice it had been to sing carols together. They had been out singing. He paused to listen to the sounds of the family for a moment. They had spent the later part of their evening at the shelter, spending time with the less fortunate, making sure they had a warm meal, place to stay, and that all of the kids got a present. They knew the children by name. Suddenly he realized that he was meant to drop that bag, and sneak out before he could do anything about it.

Finally, they turned on the lights in the family room to enjoy a glass of egg nog before bed. That’s when they heard the screams.

The children were used to getting the same toys or games that they gave to their neighbors at the shelter each year. Never much, but always enough. They had never seen so many presents before. They were beside themselves with glee, they didn’t even know how they would play with them all. Santa knew, as he got back in his sleigh, that he’d given them the perfect number of toys this year. The perfect number for them to share. Like he knew they would.



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