Friday, December 3, 2010

Saved by the bath

The family was gathered around the dinner table. As the sound of metal cutlery scraping the plates clean echoed in the room, Mother fed the suckling five-month-old.

Father got up when he had emptied his plate.

“I am going to take my bath,” he announced. Rather unnecessarily – everyone knew that he was the first to take his bath after dinner each day.

The sixteen-year-old nudged his brother.

“Get it,” he whispered.

The thirteen-year-old looked across the table at his sisters. All of a sudden he jumped up and snatched the doll out of the five-year-old’s hands. He tossed it quickly to his brother.

The five-year-old let out an ear-splitting scream. The eight-year-old, who was playing with her just a few moments ago, leapt up and cried at her brothers.

“Give it back!”

The sixteen-year-old had already gotten to his feet. He held the doll high above his head, while the two girls scampered around him, trying to get him to drop their doll. Both he and his brother had huge grins plastered on their faces.

Mother looked up from feeding the baby.

“Stop that right now!” she commanded her sons. “Give them back their doll.”

The sixteen-year-old grinned sheepishly at his mother.

“Sure,” he said, and flung the doll over the girls’ heads – to the general direction of the fireplace.

Screams immediately filled the air as both the eight-year-old and the five-year-old scrambled to catch their doll. The two boys clutched their sides in laughter.

The doll landed right beside the fireplace. The girls ran to it and took turns to hug it tightly, while the thirteen-year-old looked at his brother in admiration. The sixteen-year-old wore a contented look – he was a good shot and he knew it.

Mother sighed. She had to put up with this almost every night.

When Father had taken his bath, he took the baby in his arms while Mother took her turn in the bath. Next the siblings took their baths in turn, starting with the eldest.

After the five-year-old had come out of the bathroom, Mother went in again to bathe the baby.

The brothers were reluctant to get into mischief with their father in the room. They discussed their plans for the next day, while their sisters continued playing with their doll.

Suddenly the front door was pushed open. In the doorway stood two masked men. One carried a large knife.

Before any of the family members could react, the man carrying the knife had grabbed the five-year-old. (As luck would have it, the girls were sitting the closest to the door.) She screamed, stopping only when the knife was pressed to her throat.

The second man ordered the rest of the family to gather in a corner. As they were passing by the corridor that led to the bathroom, Mother appeared, carrying the baby in her arms. She was worried by the commotion and had come to investigate.

The sixteen-year-old decided to seize his chance. His youngest sibling was holding his bath toy, a wooden ship. Snatching the toy, the teenager ripped off its mast and hurled it straight at the man holding his sister, like a tiny spear.

The jagged end of the broken mast hit the intruder right in the eye. He howled in pain and dropped everything to grab his eye with both hands. His partner was so stunned by the unexpected occurrence that he was momentarily paralyzed.

The sixteen-year-old wasted no time in kicking the fallen knife out of the enemy’s reach and carrying his five-year-old sister to safety, while his father leapt onto the second man. The thirteen-year-old, not to be left out, picked up the poker from the fireplace and hit the injured man’s head.

During this time, Mother went out to call the neighbours for help. By the time she returned with two men from the neighbouring houses, both intruders were unconscious, as a result of being conked on the head with a fire poker.

Random phrase: Eat dirt, evil villain! (thanks to Elvin)

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