Peter stood frozen, his sock clad toes curling against the linoleum. He could hear the hum of the refrigerator and the laugh track of the TV in the living room. Everything else was quiet. No footsteps. But he better not breathe just yet.
He snuck a peek at Bobby. Bobby had also frozen to the spot, his eyes wide and his arm still reaching forward. It looked like he wasn’t breathing either. Bobby’s eyes drifted towards Peter’s as a drop of snot dripped from his nose. Bobby didn’t even move to wipe it away – they were both too scared to move another muscle.
Peter looked towards the doorway, sure that he’d see his worst nightmare already standing there on the threshold to the kitchen. His life was over, he was sure of it. But there was only empty space there, except for the dust motes floating in the sunbeam streaming in through the window.
Peter looked down and saw the remains of the once beautiful plan scattered across the floor. Bobby whimpered and broke the spell.
“Shhh!” Peter whispered and quickly clamped a hand across Bobby’s mouth. He could feel that drop of snot now stuck to his hand but if that was the most horrible thing that happened to him today he’d be lucky. Bobby’s eyes went even wider and Peter looked back down again at the mess on the floor.
“Daisy! No!” Peter hissed, springing into action to brush the dog away. Too late. The dog was already hoovering bits of chocolate off the floor. Great. If she ate something sharp she’d yowl and then his life really would be over.
Bobby whimpered again.
“Hush, will you? And go get the broom. Quietly!” Peter whispered, still holding the dog who was now frantically straining her tongue towards the crumbs on the outer edge of the disaster zone.
Bobby toddled over to the closet and reached up to twist the knob. The door stuck and Peter watched as Bobby put both hands on the knob, standing on the tip toes of his Elmo socks, and pulled with all his strength. The door made a soft creak and popped open, spilling a mountain of Tupperware from the top shelf, covering Bobby, who fell back in a heap against the counter, and startling Daisy, who turned and barked at what she surely thought was an intruder set to steal the bounty of broken cookies so recently gifted to her.
In the ensuing silence Peter heard the final death knell. The TV clicked off.
Sweat trickled down his neck as he summoned the courage to look back towards the doorway. Fearing that he would be turned to stone, or worse, he finally raised his eyes as the silence deepened. He saw the slowly tapping slipper, the faded fleece pants, the hands planted on hips and knew a dread deeper than his six year old stomach had ever known.
His mother had arrived. And she was mad.
He didn’t even need to see the look on her face to know that he would not be eating another chocolate chip cookie for a very long time.