The doorbell rang.

“Good grief! Who rings the doorbell?” shouted Teela, shocked nearly senseless by the unfamiliar sound.

“Don’t they know someone might be sleeping or busy or something?” muttered George simultaneously.

It was four-thirty in the afternoon. Dusk was barely creeping over the Vermont sky.

“And what are they doing on the front porch? Don’t they have enough sense to go around to the back? Who goes to a person’s front door?” grumbled Ed as he attempted to brush past the Christmas tree so he could see out the window.

“Should I move this thing? George asked, examining the two by four that was nailed across the front door, red Christmas stockings festively hanging by cuphooks screwed into the board.

The dogs were going nuts.

Teela got up and went around to the other side of the Christmas tree from her son Ed. Neither could really see what was happening.

A strange sound came from outside… was someone singing?

“How many of them are there?” asked Ed, his brow furrowed.

“Do I need to get a gun?” whispered George, already shuffling the half-wrapped Christmas presents off the bench so he could reach his rifle.

Ed nearly tipped the tree over onto his mother as he squeezed between it and the window. Peering out from behind the lace curtains, he saw a group of a half a dozen people standing in knee-deep snow on their front lawn.

They were singing.

The dogs pushed their way past him, jumping up at the window, barking like mad. Teela whined “Hey… ow!” as she caught the prickly tree before it fell to the floor.

“They’re singing.” Ed announced.

“Singing?” asked George, trying to keep one hand on his rifle while pulling on his snow boots.

“Do you want me to sic the dogs on ’em?” asked Ed.

“Let me see who it is first. Is it those people who just moved in up the street?” said Teela, scooting the tree away from the window so she could see out.

George uttered a guttural sound at the dogs, who stopped barking and came over to mill around his feet, tails wagging.

Teela stood on her tiptoes to see over the lace curtain that covered the lower half of the window. “It looks like that new family from church.”

“The ones from Michigan? Or was it Minnesota? I know it was an M state…” said George, who had put down the loaded rifle so he could pull on his coat.

“Someplace out west.” Teela answered. “Anyways, it looks like they’re leaving.”

There was some confusion as they debated walking around through the snow or unblocking the front door to reach the front porch. George won, opening the back door and setting the dogs free. The pack raced down the driveway, but George grunted at them and they stopped at the street, right as a car drove by much too fast for the amount of snow that was still stuck there.

The dogs jumped onto the porch, knocking over the large plastic nativity set Teela had so carefully placed there. Soon, bits of foil were everywhere.

“Well? What was it?” Teela asked, standing in the back door, holding her bathrobe tightly around her.

George held up a paper plate. “Cookies or sumthin’.” he answered. “Just hope they weren’t chocolate. Damn fools.”

Ed humphed. “Well, they probably won’t be bothering too many other people tonight.” He gestured to the sky, and snow began to fall.

This was written for the Write on Edge prompt:

We’d like you to craft a piece of fiction or creative non-fiction around the holiday season, keeping in mind that for some people “the holiday season” begins around Halloween and doesn’t end until well after the New Year is underway.

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. Come back and dazzle us this Friday!

I was especially inspired by the idea of the doorbell, since here in Vermont (Where I’ve been stuck for the last fifteen years) the idea of actually going to someone’s front door and, God forbid, ringing an actual doorbell is strangely forbidden.

I miss Colorado.

Now here’s the problem: As is, this story is about twice as long as it has to be. Today is Wednesday. Link-up is Friday. So please, comment, give me concrit, and help me whittle this thing down!

The shortlink to this post is