He lay in bed with his eyes shut trying to remember if this noise was part of a dream or if it was based in reality. With eyes still closed, he listened intently to the sounds of his environment, trying to discern the source of this disturbance that so rudely interrupted his much needed slumber – a slumber back in the safe confines of his headquarters that was currently sheltering him from the unrelenting winter.
He was a veteran of many adventures and not normally in need of such rest, but a series of recent campaigns with his rookie partner, one involving a narrow escape from a fierce snow creature and another featuring a frightening confrontation with an intruder, have left our hero in dire need of a recharge.
With the thoughts of successful, past missions playing out in his head, the tired adventurer was slowly drifting back to sleep when this same noise startled him to attention once again. Realizing now that this was no dream, he decided it was time to explore.
Pulling on some clothes to ward off the chill in the air, he glanced out a window to try and gauge the hour, but realized it was still pitch black out and couldn’t tell if it was the middle of the night or the darkest hour just before dawn. He crept towards the source of the noise and wished he had his trusty partner by his side. The fact of the matter was, his rookie partner was a rookie no more, and the veteran had actually come to depend upon his assistance in times like this.
He pondered waking the upstart adventurer for this very reason, but still had a stubborn streak in his body and scoffed at the idea that he couldn’t investigate this noise on his own. No, he’d let the young one sleep a bit longer and handle this one himself.
The noise suddenly returned, but this time much louder and longer. The strange thing was that this sound actually had a familiar ring to it, as if he had heard it once before. But where?
As he crept closer and closer he glanced outside another window to get his bearings and noticed the sun starting to peak above the horizon.
“So, it was morning,” he thought to himself. Again, a familiar feeling tickled the back of his brain as if he should remember something. Not liking this nagging feeling, he altered his direction and headed for the rookie’s room, deciding he needed his partner’s help after all.
The elder adventurer slowly opened the door to the young one’s room so as not to startle him, but soon realized his sidekick was already awake and at attention.
“Did you hear it too?” his partner asked.
“Yeah,” the elder grumbled tiredly. “I wonder what it could be? It’s too early for visitors. Let’s go check it out, but make sure to be careful as we get closer.”
“I just hope it’s not another intruder,” the youngster exclaimed.
The pair crept closer and closer to the noise, their footsteps barely registering a sound after years of practice in the field, until they reached their destination at the far end of headquarters. At this point, it was clear that whatever was making the noise didn’t care at all for secrecy. In fact, if our hero was to guess, he would think that the source of the noise actually wanted to be heard at this ungodly hour.
And then it hit him.
Today was the day the new recruit was starting. His rookie partner was truly a rookie no longer as his team was taking on some fresh blood in the form of a 3rd member.
The veteran slowly came out of his crouched stance and patted his partner on the back, “It’s a proud day for both of us, kid. The new recruit starts today and I’m putting you in charge.”
“Me?” the ex-rookie asked. “Do you think I am ready?”
“Of course you are,” he replied as they opened the door to the room that the new adventurer was waiting in. “I wouldn’t let you handle this if I didn’t think you were. Plus, all he really wants this early is a sippy cup of milk and maybe to snuggle a little. More importantly, while you do that, I’m going to get 10 more minutes of sleep right here on the floor.”
“Thanks Daddy,” said the young one as he tickled his little brother’s neck and offered him up the cup of milk. “I won’t let you down.”
This article originally appeared on Chelmsford Patch on 1/7/12.