Written by A
Edited by Mr Kwan
“Tom, I’m leaving now! Don’t let anyone in,” Mother reminded. Just before stepping out the door, Mother turned, a mysterious cheeky grin on her face. “And I have a surprise for you and Mei later, okay? Bye!”
Tom nodded, a wide smile spreading across his face as he clapped his hands together. What could the surprise be? The anticipation had excitement bubbling up inside him.
In anticipation of her return, Tom and his sister eagerly embraced the prospect of passing the time with an exhilarating movie. As the captivating storyline unfolded on the screen, an unexpected rap echoed through the door, injecting a surge of curiosity into the room.
"Coming!" Tom's excited voice echoed through the house. He eagerly peeked through the peephole. Outside, a harmless-looking, lanky man with a meek demeanor stood, not much larger than Tom himself. Cradled in the man's hands was a sizable parcel. Tom's eyes sparkled with anticipation. Could this unassuming figure be the bearer of the surprise Mother had alluded to earlier?
"Are you delivering our mom’s gift?" Tom asked, excitement dancing in his eyes as he bounced on the balls of his feet. The man did not miss a beat and nodded vigorously. "That's right! From the weight of it, it seems to be something really good," he replied with a disarming smile. In that moment of unchecked enthusiasm, Mother's warning evaporated into thin air and without a second thought, Tom swiftly unlocked the door, flinging it open.
"Mei! Mei! Mummy's surprise is here!" he hollered as he welcomed the stranger into their home. Unbeknownst to Tom and Mei, the man had something more nefarious in his mind.
The instant the stranger crossed the threshold, he closed the door behind him and menacingly produced a long, silver knife. The blade gleamed with a sinister glint as it was brandished at the unsuspecting children. With a malicious hiss, the stranger demanded, "Hand me all the valuables and money in the house. Now!"
The children froze in fright, their faces draining of all colour. Taking each other's hand, they backed away slowly, a palpable sense of fear gripping them. The man advanced, one menacing step at the time. Tom could feel Mei trembling at his side. How could he have been so foolish to let a stranger in and put them in such danger?
The robber kicked one of the dining table chairs, upturning it with a loud crash, and immediately, a foreboding sense of dread consumed the siblings.
“Tell me where the money and valuables are!” the robber repeated, still wearing his smile which had taken on much darker undertones.
The children stood frozen, paralyzed, as they exchanged nervous glances. Then, the robber reached out and grabbed Mei by the hair and pulled. Mei let out a screech of pain, eyes widening with intense and primal fear. The evil man seemed to enjoy this as a sneer graced his face. Stroking Mei’s left arm with the tip of his knife, the robber looked at Tom. A cloud of horror enveloped Tom, his heart pounding with worry.
“Now,” the robber repeated, his voice dangerously soft.
Distressed and uncertain about the situation at hand, Tom anxiously scanned the surroundings, looking for a weapon he could use but there was nothing. Though Tom was overwhelmed by an ominous terror, he knew he had to do something.
“The last room to the left,” Tom croaked.
The robber let Mei’s hair go and he shoved her towards Tom, sending both of them to the ground. The robber grinned victoriously as he dashed to raid the bedroom.
“What should we do?” she whispered in a tense and visibly shaken voice. They had to stop him from getting away with all their parents' hard earned savings. Tom, fueled by a surge of courage, seized a frying pan from the stove, determined to intercept the robber. With a swift exchange of whispers, Tom and Mei orchestrated their plan and got into position.
The moment she saw a shadow fall on the ground, Mei stuck out her right leg. The intruder stumbled, the ill-gotten gains spilling from his rucksack onto the floor. Before the robber could even turn to comprehend his sudden downfall, Tom lifted the pan high and swung hard and true, delivering a decisive blow that left the intruder unconscious, sprawled amidst the scattered loot. The room crackled with the exhilaration of their daring intervention.
Fleeing from the threat, Tom and Mei sought refuge at Mrs Limr's house, where they quickly explained the harrowing encounter. Their kind neighbour, visibly horrified, wasted no time contacting their parents and the police. An air of tension enveloped the room as they anxiously waited for help, keeping vigilant eyes on the unconscious body of the intruder.
Five minutes later, the sound of police sirens shattered the uneasy quiet. Alongside Tom and Mei's mother, the officers swiftly arrived on the scene. The police, exhibiting prompt action, apprehended the robber, bringing a sense of relief to the shaken siblings and their neighbor.
In the midst of the chaos, Tom and Mei's mother enveloped them in a bone-crushing bear hug, expressing both relief and concern. The police, seizing the moment, offered a stern warning about the dangers of opening the door to strangers when adults were not present. Tom, feeling a weight of responsibility, looked down at the floor, scrunching his toes and wringing his hands in embarrassment. "I'm sorry I was irresponsible and naive, Mom, and for putting Mei in danger," he muttered.
Mother, overwhelmed with gratitude that her children and their belongings were unharmed, forgave Tom. This harrowing experience served as a powerful real-life lesson on responsibility, forever etched in Tom and Mei's minds.