Chapter 6 – February 1A

The fourth Saturday, 8:30 PM

Rune exhaled, so softly that only a thin whisp of steam floated up from his mouth past his vision. Cold night air pricked cheek skin. Gloved hand reached for a handle, but fell before touching.

He stared at the front door of his family’s house. His family typically entered their home through the door in the garage, but his mother was still at hockey with his younger brother and his father had, quite memorably, made it cleat that if he was to be the only one home that afternoon, no passers-by were to be given the impression that anyone was home.

WELCOME. The orange and brown wooden rectangular sign hung at eye level from the door, and was festooned with painted pumpkins, miniature imitation Indian corn, and two smiling Pilgrims, a man in a tall hat on the left, a bonneted woman on the right. Rune remembered his mother asking him back in December, a few weeks after Thanksgiving, to please take down this sign, and he remembered telling her he’d get to it in just a minute, and now he remembered that he’d forgotten. And they hadn’t gotten a wreath this Christmas, and, considering how infrequently they used this door, it was unsurprising to see it still in its place.

He could take the sign down now, walk into the house and go down into the basement, find the box where his mother kept the holiday decorations, lay it in there and let it be properly forgotten for the next several months.

Rune turned quickly to his left, took two steps then walked off the raised concrete stoop, stepped into the snow, his right leg disappearing half-way up to the knee.

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