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Bedtime Stories

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My favorite time of the day was always bed-time, because that's the time daddy returns home from work. He's a fireman and he's saved lots and lots of people.

'Little Jack, my boy.' He always says when he reaches home. 'Come on, it's time for bed.' He would then scoop me up from the floor and carry me all the way to bed and tuck me in, and he doesn't leave my room till he reads me a bedtime story.

One day, however, mummy got a call in the afternoon. She started crying when she was on the phone, I didn't understand why. When she hung up the phone she came and sat down next to me. She was still crying and that made me feel very sad.

'Mummy,' I asked. 'Mummy, why are you crying?'

It took her a long time to answer me, by the time she responded I had already returned back to playing my Lego toys.

'Jack, daddy's not going to come home for tonight.'

I was confused. 'What about my bed-time story? Daddy always reads me my bed-time story. Is daddy coming home tomorrow?'

'Oh, honey,' Mummy still looked very sad but she was trying to smile a little bit, I could tell. 'Honey, I don't know.'

That night I was put into bed early by mummy, she said she needed sometime to herself. She still looked very sad and had been crying the whole day. That made me sad, too, because she wouldn't tell me why. I think it's something to do with daddy not coming home, but I don't understand why she's so sad. Daddy would come home like always, wouldn't he?

The next day mummy became even sadder and was crying all the time. Grandma and Grandpa came over to visit and they both were crying too. Nobody told me what was going on, all they did was hug me and say 'Oh, Jack' over and over again.

I think it's something to do with daddy, I think. I think he's sick, that's why he didn't come home last night. But he's okay now, he just came home.

I was already in bed by the time he came into my room, but I was very happy to see him.

'Daddy!' I cried out in glee. 'Daddy, you're home!'

'Jack, my boy. You've gotta be quiet, now, we wouldn't want to wake up mummy, wouldn't we?' He made a shushing motion with his fingers and climbed into bed next to me. 'What do you wanna read today?'

I picked The Big Red Tractor, and daddy read it very well tonight. He did all the voices and even gave Sally the Cow a funny high-pitched voice. It made me giggle.

However daddy said he had to leave after he finished reading me the story. He said he has to go back to work, he's got a lot more people to save. I was very sad to see him go, but I know he has to. It's okay, he promised he'll be back tomorrow to read me another story. He also said to keep his visits a secret from mummy, too. It'll be fun, he said, it'll be our little secret with each other. I don't really see how it's fun, but I'm okay with it.

Every night for the next two weeks, daddy came home, like he promised, and read me bed-time stories before I slept.

One night, however, after finishing his story, daddy said he had to leave for a long time, and couldn't come to see me anymore. Why, I asked. He said that he had to go to someplace far to work, to save even more people.

This made me very sad, and I didn't want him to leave.

'It's okay, little Jack. Daddy's going to be far away but I promise you that I'll be looking out for you all the time, okay? And when the time comes, you'll be able to see me again, and don't worry, I'll be waiting for you.' Daddy picked me up from bed and hugged me very tightly. He felt very warm and smelt of smoke, but I didn't care.

'Don't go, daddy.' I said as I started to cry.

'I have to, champ. Don't forget what I said, okay? I'll be looking out for you.' Daddy had already walked towards the door. 'See you around, little Jack.'


Daddy didn't come back after that, but I always felt as if he was around me. Sometimes, as I sleep, I can feel a slight brush on my forehead and sometimes I can smell smoke in my room. I'm not scared, though, because I know it's daddy, and he's always watching out for me.

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