Snowfall at Marcie’s House

            Marcie awoke in what she instantly knew must be the utter depths of the night.  She heard all the slightest sounds.  She heard the fridge in the kitchen humming its monotonous hum and daddy snoring gently in the next room.  Her nostrils sucked the cold night air from the eternal, winter draft that found its way through cracks around the daddy installed storm windows.  They picked up the faint, mildew smell that accompanies moist, spider web-covered windowsills.  In her room she saw only the frightening shapes of moon-tossed shadows.  No, wait, she also saw the glimmer of her teddy bear’s eyes.  It stood in repose in the moonlight on a shelf that hung above her bed.  Cold, and maybe the least bit scared, but also lonely, she wrapped herself in a quilt and waded through the covers to the foot of her bed and stretched for her teddy.

            Safely back under her bed she snuggled to Teddy and, unable to return immediately to sleep, listened.  She still heard daddy and the fridge.  There was also the cricket that always spent winter behind the clothes dryer.  With every movement her bedsprings creaked and harshly her breathing resounded in her ears.

            From her bed she had a view of the hall and the room in which Brother slept.  She heard snoring for a while and then creaking springs.  The dog loped, toes clicking on bare floor, from Brother’s room.  He disappeared from the faint moonglow into the shadows.  She heard him lap water in the kitchen.  Moments later he reappeared and returned to Brother’s bed.

            Suddenly she was thirsty.  That made her hungry.  She tasted the bits of fried chicken between her teeth.  There was that morning breath taste in her mouth.  She felt warm and safe snuggling in Teddy’s soft, downy fur.  And the blankets piled on her gave that feeling of protection from what might go bump in the night.  Still, she was thirsty and hungry and had those partially-eaten, meaty bits in her teeth.  She couldn’t sleep like that.

            She peeked carefully under her mattress to ensure safety from those that go squeak and thump under one’s bed.  Then she carefully stepped out of bed with Teddy and a blanket in tow.  She scrambled back into bed.  The dusty, cold floor had contacted her feet.  She reached over to fetch her slippers.  A petite eflkin with forest friend by the arm, she trotted to the kitchen.

            She opened the fridge and cold electrical light streamed forth.  She found the milk and corn beef without difficulty.  The bread was in the breadbox.  A glass required a chair to reach. 

            She put her snack items in a chair and then climbed up next to them to put them on the table.  How proud she was at being able to do these things alone.  She feasted until all the milk and beef was gone.  It seemed a huge amount to her, but she was a big girl now and needed a big meal.  She was so responsible, too.  She put away her dishes and threw away the milk jug and even washed her hands and brushed her teeth at the bathroom sink.  And she did it all by herself.  In the morning she would tell Brother and daddy all about it.  They would be so proud of Marcie!

            Thinking of big Brother made her wander into his room.  There was the doggy, a mound of fur at the end of the bed.  She climbed onto Brother’s bed to pet doggy. Brother wasn’t there!  She sat with her eyes staring at his pillow and then shook her head with her eyes shut and rubbed with knuckles at them.  She looked again and Brother still wasn’t there.

            She climbed off his bed and wandered the house calling softly, “Big Brother?” in a most whispering voice.  He did not answer her.  Passing through the dining room she saw snow falling lazily in the faint moonlight.  She eagerly pushed a chair up to the window and climbed onto it to press against the cold glass and stare in rapture at the snow.  Time passed and she noticed big Brother in the moonlight.  Excitedly she dashed to the back door and struggled for a minute to get it open and push her way out.  Kicking and giggling she ran through the moonlit snowfall to bump into big Brother and throw her arms around his leg.  An impish, child smile she cast in adoration at big Brother who had been, until now, standing in the snow, still as a statue.  He was startled beyond belief and she giggled. 

“Marcie, what are you doing out here?”  He put something in his jacket pocket.

“I was getting a midnight snack,” she declared, “What are you doing, Patrick?”

He didn’t answer, instead he reached down and picked her up and absently brushed the snow off her slippers.  He looked sad so she kissed him affectionately upon the cheek.

“What’s in your pocket?”

“Nothin’, Marcie.  Let’s go in, it’s cold.” Brother was crying.

“Patrick, what’s wrong?”

“I was just thinkin’ about mom.”

“Oh.”  Mom was a serious topic.  Marcie kissed Brother again, because kissed faces always smile. Brother smiled through his tears.  Marcie didn’t understand, so she put her head on Brother’s chest and sighed.

Brother took them inside, because it was cold and Marcie was shivering.  Once inside he took the thing from his pocket and emptied it when he thought Marcie wasn’t looking, but she saw daddy’s pistol in his hand.  He took a piece of paper from next to the picture of Marcie’s beautiful mother on the mantel piece.  He stuck it into the fire and watched it burn to ashes.  He put Marcie to bed and said, “Thank you, Marcie.”

“What for, Patrick?”

“For being here and being you.”

“O.K., good night, Patrick.”  She went to sleep in blissful happiness.



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