As echoes of a sound that came and went in a flash faded, new sounds arrived: barking dogs, startled yelps from bedrooms in houses nearby. And as the sound of the blast faded, the smoke and smell of gunpowder did as well.
He never had the intention of ever using that shotgun, least of all actually shooting someone. Still, when rustling and footfalls came in the night, he knew where to go.
And here he was; trembling, stuttering, ears ringing, a body limp on the floor, oozing life. The person looked so big, so menacing. What was he doing sneaking into a man’s home in the first place?
It was hard to tell in the dim light where he had got him. The red suit was sanguine with both the dye of the fabric and the hue of the blood. A sack was dropped to the floor, vibrant boxes falling out.
“Oh my God, oh my God. I killed him. I killed him.”
Sirens came over the hills and houses. Presented into evidence: bloodied gifts, stockings and a gaudy tree.
And no Christmas came that year.