The old man woke up and felt the bitterness of the cold. He turned over and curled up pulling the thick wool blanket up tighter around his neck and head. Nodding off back to sleep his wife shook him on the shoulder and said “I think the furnace has gone out again, go try and fire it up.” Poking him in the back. Gruffly he replied “Just be glad you’re not in Bastogne. I’ll check it when I get up.” A few minutes went by and the old lady says “Do you feel a breeze? I think I feel a breeze. How come I feel a breeze, is the fan on? I can feel a breeze, go check and see what that breeze is. I’m freezing.”
“For Christs’ sake! Can’t a man get any sleep around here! God Damn it!” As he’s getting up she continues to peck at him. “I don’t see how you can sleep with a breeze like that. It’s just too cold to sleep, especially with a breeze. Don’t you feel a breeze? I know I feel a breeze.” The old man grumbles, putting his robe and house shoes on “Breeze, a breeze. You got a problem with a little breeze. What’s a breeze? You ought to be happy there’s a breeze. How can I sleep? I’ll show you how I can sleep with a little breeze. I’ve slept through a million breezes. A breeze ain’t nuthin’. Try sleepin’ through a blizzard with a thousand Krauts throwin’ mortars at ya’. Blowin’ up the trees, and puttin’ holes in the ground, grown men screamin’……………….” As he shuffles out the door.
Getting to the top of the stairs he pauses. Hmpff. Thinking to himself ‘Wonder what that is?’ Walking back over to the heat register he puts his hand over it. ‘Well the furnace is blowing hot.’ He crunches his eyebrows down and looks through the corner of his eyes towards the stairs suspiciously. ‘Somethin’s gotta be open, the door, window. It’s too cold for just an open/shut. And who would be coming over at this or sneakin’ out sometime in the night and didn’t latch the door. Tryin’ to be sneaky, tryin’ to be quiet and didn’t get the door shut. Busted, I know you’d be causin’ trouble tryin’ to get away with messin’ around. I’m gonna put it to ’em! Think they gonna pull one over on me like I’m too old for ya’ huh?’
The old man tightens up the knot on his robe and heads down the stairs assuredly confident he’s as sharp as he ever was.
Upstairs his wife is wrapping up to come down and start some coffee and get the stove cooking. She mumbles, “It’s already after five now, by the time I get some coffee going it’s gonna be six. Might as well get started, he’s going to be hungry when he gets back up from the basement. I just know it, he’ll be wanting some” She hears a loud noise. Something’s happened, she rushes out to the stairs. All of a sudden “GET DOWN HERE, QUICK! NO, CALL THE LAW, CALL THE LAW! GET THE SHERIFF OUT HERE!”
The lights are blaring through the windows, casting disco shadows across the fields and trees for miles. She’s standing on the front porch, radios crackling and flashlights bouncing through the woods, officers streaming yellow tape back and forth across her shattered world. The sheriff tries to comfort her some while explaining everything the best he can figure for now.
“It seems ma’am, I mean, what we’re pretty sure of, from the evidence that is. Somebody must have gotten in the house, and, with all the blood from the back room all the way to the kitchen and out the back. There was a confrontation. And you say your grandchil came to stay with you couple a few months back now? Well the phone being off the hook and all. We think someone was trying to call for help, but there’s no blood on the wall mount so they didn’t get a chance.” The back door’s busted up pretty good and the tracks and blood lead out towards the woods. That’s where we’re kinda stopped at right now, being so dark and the snow coming down so hard. We’ll know more round noon or so. The old alarm clock from the back bedroom, we think they used that as a weapon, in defense or maybe…. You woke up past five, and called us shortly there after.” She nodded, he continued “the clock is stopped at just about four”
Just then, they hear some of the officers down in the woods hollerin’ and shouting out “Here He Comes” her husband trods out from the trees and walks up to his wife. “Sorry hun’ I couldn’t find ’em.” And wraps his arms around her as she starts to cry.