I crept down the stairs, hoping the steps would not squeak. I paused and looked through the railing. The living room was dark except for the halo of lights strung on the Christmas tree.
I looked at the digital clock and it pulsed 11:59.
Goosebumps ran up my arm and neck as a blast of cold air so sudden and brief sent the ornaments on the tree to swaying.
I stood up and looked over the railing as I continued down the stairs.
I paused, my foot on the squeaky step and looked back upstairs to my parents’ room. Dad’s low, rumbling snore assured me that he was still asleep.
Tiptoeing the rest of the way down the stairs and into the living room, I noticed that the plate of cookies was empty save for a few crumbs.
Another chill went up my spine as I stepped in a boot print of water in the middle of the floor.
Something by the tree rustled and I caught my breath. Two eyes glowed in the flashing Christmas lights.
“A puppy!” I squealed.
I knelt onto the floor and opened the kennel door. Rustling came from upstairs as the puppy bound out of the kennel and licked my face.
I looked for the dog tags, but there weren’t any. I was sure I had heard them jingling.
Dad yawned and turned to mom as they both whispered at the same time, “I thought we agreed no puppy this year.”