DoorbellThe doorbell rang.

“Oh, God, not again,” Ann groaned. Night after night they came to her door, every night since Thanksgiving. She planted another plastic smile on her face and yanked the door open.

Oh, the weather outside is frightful…

Yesterday it had been a medieval-style madrigal group; the day before that, a small choir of angels, Sunday school students from the church across the street, she’d surmised, based on the insignia emblazoned on their matching scarves.  Today it was a family of eight, round-faced and round-bellied, and arranged in neatly by height a la the Von Trapps – or a Russian nesting doll, she thought uncharitably. She gritted her teeth in a caricature of seasonal joy as they sang.

But the fire is so delightful…

It was thirty days since Sophia had disappeared, storming from the house on Thanksgiving Day in a flurry of tears and harsh words. Each time the doorbell rang, Ann’s heart leapt and fell. Sophia loved caroling. Loved it and hated it, as only a fifteen-year-old girl could. Every year she fumed and complained about being dragged around the neighborhood, but once they started to sing, her voice was always the clearest and the brightest; the most full of cheer.

And since we’ve no place to go…

Ann stood just inside the door. She knew that the instant she set foot outside, Sophia would be gone forever. She knew it deep down, like she knew her own name. And yet the carolers came to her every night, wearing Sophia’s eyes and singing with Sophia’s voice.  Each and every face identical to her daughter’s, down to the running mascara and the freckles.  Like she had done every night for the past month, Ann stood in the doorway and listened.

Snow began to fall.

This post was made in response to this week’s Red Writing Hood prompt at Write On Edge:

The piece should begin with “The doorbell rang” and end with “snow began to fall.” The middle is up to you, and the entire thing should be under 300 words.

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