Thursday, December 22, 2011

He Knows When You're Sleeping

     Owen closed the bedroom door and tip-toed down the hallway to the kitchen. His wife Lily was preparing a pot of herbal tea for the two of them.
     “Did Carter finally fall asleep?” she asked, filling his favorite mug.
     “I think so.” Owen took a seat at the kitchen table. “It took a while because I told him all about Santa Claus. He’s finally old enough to understand it.”
     “That’s so sweet.” She took her own seat and cupped her warm mug in her hands. “Although I still feel some hesitation about telling him those stories. It feels like we’re lying to him.”
     “Nonsense.” Owen held her hand. “Believing in Santa is part of childhood. I wouldn’t want to deprive him of those memories when he’s older. Besides, it gives him another reason to behave.”
     Lily smiled and sipped her tea. “You’re probably right. If he’s interested then I wouldn’t want to crush his enthusiasm.”
     “Oh he’s definitely interested,” said Owen. “He wanted to know every detail about Santa and hung on my every word. Honey, I wish you could have seen how big his eyes got when I told him. I’ve never seen him so focused. I think I should dress up as Santa one of these nights and surprise him in his room.”
     “You two are adorable.” She leaned over and gave Owen a kiss. How could her family be more perfect?

     A few doors away, Carter lay in his bed, wide awake. Under the covers, he clutched the baseball bat he retrieved after his dad left the room. He kept one eye on the window and the other on his closet. Somewhere, somehow, there was a crazy old fat man who dressed like the devil and watched his every move. The thought made Carter tremble with fear, and he didn’t understand why his parents left him alone when this maniac could be anywhere. If he did show up, Carter wasn’t going down without a fight. He had his trusty bat, and although his teacher scolded him for it, he wasn’t afraid to bite.

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