The Night Couriers

Ansel glared at Angel through his blond mop of hair.

“Quiet, you’ll wake him up!” He growled in a whisper.

“No I won’t, he’s sound asleep!” Chirped Angel, who was not so cautiously, in fact rather loudly rummaging through the change bowl in the top drawn of the dresser. 

The room was cast in the light of a full moon spilling through the massive old wooden framed windows on the south side wall.

Ansel fidgeted and flitted about as Angel slipped both hands into the bowl. The coins jostled and clattered against one another as she continued her search.

Gentle breathing emanated from the head on the pillow on the bed in the room that was lit by the radiance of the full moon.  

The breather seemed at peace. The consistent rhythm of the soft inhales and exhales would have been perceived as soothing by most. 

Unfortunately for Ansel, he was not ‘most’ and so was not soothed. It wasn’t that he couldn’t appreciate a tranquil breathing cadence. No, for Ansel the issue was more situational, and the ‘situation’ was Angel’s characteristic devil may care attitude. She glanced at him mischievously, her eyes sparkling, then turned back to the task at hand.

“Eureka” squealed Angel hoisting a shining silver dollar. Her smile was as dazzling as the slivery coin flickering and gleaming in the moonlight.  

“Didn’t know they made these anymore. Total treasure Ansel, massive treasure. We’re rich!” She gushed.

“Shhhhh! We’re not rich, we’re couriers!” Ansel huffed, still fidgeting. “Let’s get out of here.”

“Quit being such a fun sucker” Angel snapped. Then in a softer reassuring tone, she cooed, “Relax, we have the best job in the world. Can’t you enjoy a chance victory?  It’s the little things in life Ansel, or in this case a big shiny one.”

The head on the pillow stirred, and as it did the rhythmic breathing skipped a beat. The sleeper mumbled a few indistinct words and turned on the pillow.

Ansel and Angel froze. Two awkwardly posed statues holding their breath. After what seemed like an eternity the peaceful rhythm of soft inhales and exhales resumed. The silver dollar glinted in Angel’s trembling hand.

“Let’s go!” Ansel snarled under his breath.  

“Fine” Angel hissed. She readjusted the silver dollar in her hand. It felt heavy and was becoming hard to grip due to the beads of perspiration on her palm.

The two coin collectors looked toward the doorway making sure it had not become occupied by a family dog or cat.  They were fond of dogs, and cats too for that matter, but the feeling was not always mutual. 

Ansel made for the door.  Angel followed, as she did the perspiration on her palm made a play for the coin wresting it from her grip.  She watched with a look of horror as the silver dollar tumbled end over end toward the worn oak floorboards. Hearing her gasp Ansel turned his head.  His eyes widened to the size of tea saucers as his lips formed a silent scream, “Nooooooo!”

The coin slammed into the floor with a clank, bounced onto its edge, and commenced to roll in a weaving path toward the doorway. 

The formerly peaceful head on the pillow launched skyward, eyes wide open and issued and rather urgent “What the…?”

At a full sprint Angel grabbed Ansel’s hand.  She flung him toward the door with her right hand while scooping the coin up with her left.

The head on the pillow was now well off the pillow and rising; becoming a body out of bed. “Who’s there?” The voice bellowed. To be clear the bellow was a mixture of anger and consternation, mostly consternation.

Ansel rounded the door jamb and got his hand over Angel’s mouth just in time to prevent her from saying “No one!”

The head on the pillow, now a body out of bed scanned the room, rubbed its sleepy eyes, then took a second look. Nothing moved, no sound could it hear. The former head on the pillow sat down on the bed, took a sip of water from the glass on the bedside table, and cast a bemused gaze in the direction of the moonlit windows.

Three minutes later the silver dollar was safely hidden. Tucked between the fitted sheet and pillowcase of a much smaller bed with a much smaller head on its pillow.  Earlier that day, as you may have guessed, the much smaller head had lost its first small tooth.

Then without a sound, the couriers exited as they often do through the chimney flue, and fluttered off into the night.

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