Time Stood Still.
Standing grandly in the corner of the dusty and cold living room was the grandfather clock that had been passed down for generations in the family, It was a silent sentry to all the goings on in the house. Tonight it was bearing witness to a crime. As he struck midnight the rain pounded on the roof and the windows like it wanted in. Everyone in the house was asleep except for the lady of the house who suffered from a severe case of insomnia. Marie was up at all hours of the night and took comfort in the fact she could always rely on the clock to tell the time and keep her company on these lonely nights when everyone in the house was asleep.
Tonight was no different she sat on the couch fire crackling in the fire place, book in hand and rain pounding on the windows. It was getting cold now that it was turning from summer to fall up here in the north of Ohio. Usually she liked the changing of the weather but this year it seems like it has gotten colder sooner than normal, this could only mean one thing, a bad winter was to come. Good job she had a nice fireplace and lots of cut wood in the wood shed. Mr. Bronson always kept her stocked up on wood in the fall and winter. At her feet sleeping was he constant company, Mr. Diddles, her cat. He was starting to show his age, he was old for a cat. He was going on 12 years old now. He had been a rescue from the shelter ten years ago, she wouldn’t know what to do without him though.
For some reason tonight She felt extra cold. Nothing she did could get her warm. She was wrapped up in a wool blanket and her sweater and her flannel pajama’s and still she felt the chill from the cold night air. There was a breeze coming from under the door that led to the hallway, which was unusual. Marie got up reluctantly and Mr. Diddles meowed at having been moved. “Oh stop being a fusspot, I’ll be back in a minute.” Marie smiled down at the cat looking up at her in an annoyed way. Marie walked over to the door and she felt cold air coming from under the door and it was blowing hard. “That’s strange.” She thought as she opened the door to the hallway. It was pitch black in the hall, with no moon to illuminate the hallway through the front door windows or the dining room windows. As she squinted to see in the dark, waiting for her eyes to adjust, she heard a faint rustling of papers coming from her closed office door.
There was no one else in the house so what could be making that noise in there? Marie hesitated when she got to the closed office door because she heard a loud bang as something hit the floor, like it had been tossed across the room. Someone was in her office going through her stuff, but who and what could they possibly be looking for, she was a widower and a poor lonely author. Just then the silent sentry clanged to life chiming the hour, it was one o’clock. All of a sudden it went silent behind the door. Just as Marie was about to turn and go get her phone from the living room, the office door was flung open and a young boy was standing there, holding her keepsake box where she kept her important documents but nothing of value. The boy looked no older than sixteen, he had a bad case of acne and messed up wet hair that made him look like a drowned rat. He was dressed in black boots, black jeans that were tight and stuck to his legs because of being so wet, a black t-shirt and a black rain jacket that was still dripping rain on the carpets.
Both of them gasps in surprise at seeing the other. The boy looked so shocked and scared. “I thought no one was home” He stammered at the shocked look on Marie’s face. “Would that make it OK for you to break into my home?” The youth looked down at the box he was carrying and looked remorseful, then his eyes grew defiant. “Where are you going with my keepsakes box? You know there’s nothing of value in there?” Marie pointed at the box he was looking at. He held out in front of himself now, then opened it up as if to make sure she was telling the truth. When he saw it was just filled with papers, he threw it on the ground at Marie’s feet. “Look lady why don’t you save me some time and tell me where the cash is?” He said trying to look menacing, but he was just too baby-faced to be menacing to Marie. She shook her head. no. “I don’t keep cash in the house, all I have in $50 in my wallet, I can give that to you if you want.” She motioned to where her purse was sitting on the hall table.
The youth looked at Marie a long time trying to see if she was telling the truth or not. “OK, and don’t go calling the cops on me either.” He pointed to the purse as if telling her to get her money out. Marie went to the purse and took the money out of her wallet, as she did so she was tempted to pull out the taser she kept in her purse, but she thought against it, this boy just wanted money and looked like he was hungry and cold. “Do you want something to eat and drink? I was going to make some hot cocoa and get a couple of cookies.” She smiled at him trying to reassure him that she wasn’t trying to play any games just trying to help him. “What? Do I look like I need charity?” He looked like she had hurt his feelings deeply. “No, I’m sorry I didn’t mean to offend you, I was just thinking we could share a couple of cookies and cup of cocoa and talk about why you broke into my home.” Now, the youth shuffled his feet uncomfortably.
“No, I’ll just take the cash and go.” She handed over the cash and he snatched it out of her hand and walked to the front door and turned the handle. “Oh, by the way, sorry about the broken window.” He smiled and then fled through the door into the stormy night. Marie went into the office and there above her antique book shelf was the broken window letting in a torrential amount of rain onto the bookshelf. “We;ll, that’ ruined now.” She walked back out the room and grabbed her rain coat and went to the shed and grabbed a piece of plywood to cover the window until the morning when Mr. Bronson came in and could get it fixed. She put the plywood up and locked the front and back doors and looked around the office and shook her head. “What is the world coming to that you can’t live alone and not be afraid anymore?” Marie told herself she would clean up the mess in the morning but for now she was cold and wanted to go sit in the living room and curl up with Mr. Diddles in front of the fire and fall asleep.