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The Night He Came Home

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Rain hitting the window so hard it sounded like ice, thunder so loud it was as if it was trying to cover up the screams of a loved one. Through the front door, up the stairs, behind the door on the left is an empty room. Sports posters, sport magazines, an Xbox and a few video games under a stand that keeps a TV up. A bed pressed against the back corner of the room. A bed that has been made, yet no one lay on it.

Down the hall sleeps a girl, a young girl; her auburn hair slowly getting knotted by her tossing and turning in her purple bed. Even further down the hall is the parents’ room. The mother sleeping on her side, cuddled and warm under the blankets. The father sits by the window and watches the rain and lightening, listening to the thunder with ease. Soon enough he closes his tired eyes to fall asleep by the window.

Outside is a man, wearing the same uniform he has for a long time now. He picks up the dirty wet mat and finds the key that opens the door. Once he was able to sneak inside the house and close the door quietly, like a teenager sneaking back in from sneaking out after their curfew. He took off his muddied boots so he wouldn’t track around the house, and took off his rain coat, placing it inside of a bag he was carrying of dirty laundry that needed to be cleaned. He left them right there at the door and slowly made his way to the stairs. He looked up with a smile, knowing everyone was still sleeping. He silently walked up the stairs, step by step; making sure to not make any of them creak. Thunder was getting louder each time it rolled and the wind grew faster. Once he made it up the stairs and walked into the empty room, he smiled; trying to not let a tear fall from his eye.

The young girl sat up and screamed, at the same moment thunder rolled again, waking out of a nightmare. Her mother and father woke up, and the man stepped out of the room; making his way to the young girls room. The man walked into the girls’ room first, finding the girl crying into her pillow. He sat down gently and put his arm around her. She leaned into him without looking up. He heard a gasp from the door and a faint cry of happiness from the woman. He looked over to see both parents standing in the door way.

“Alice, what’s wrong?” the man asked. Alice sat up straight and looked at the man.

“Joey!” she shouted, hugging him tightly and breaking down into tears again. He hugged her back, and rubbed her back to calm her down like he used to before he left.

“Why didn’t you call and let us know you were coming back so soon?” the woman asked.

“Dad and I decided it would be better as a surprise,” Joey said with a smile. Alice leaned back with a smile, wiping a tear away. Joey stood up and hugged his Mother and his Father. His Mother smiled through her tears; realizing it wasn’t a dream, and that it was truly the night he came home.



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