The Mystery House
Tommy delivers newspapers. Every morning he gets up at 4:00 a.m. He rides his motor scooter to the newspaper centre. He collects 100 newspapers. Then he rides his motor scooter around the neighbourhood. He puts the newspapers into the letterboxes of the people on his list.
It is dark, and often it is cold. But Tommy likes it. There are no people on the streets so early. Everyone is still sleeping. Tommy likes to think about the people in the houses. He has never seen them. But he likes to make up stories about them. Some houses are very big. They have expensive cars in their garages. Some houses are very small. Some people have beautiful gardens. Some people have children’s toys outside. Tommy has ideas about the people in almost every house. This house belongs to a bank manager, he is very fat, thinks Tommy. The children in this house are in high school. The woman in this house is lazy. She doesn’t take her garbage out and she doesn’t tidy her garden.
There is just one house that Tommy doesn’t understand. It is small and old. It has expensive curtains and a beautiful garden. There is never a car, or a bicycle or toys outside. Who lives there? wonders Tommy. Is it a man or a woman? Are they young? Are they old? It’s a mystery.
Tommy often thinks about the mystery house. Then one morning he meets the owner of the house. It happens like this. It is winter and it is snowing. The snow started just as Tommy got up. The first house on Tommy’s list is the mystery house. When Tommy stops his motor scooter to put the newspaper in the letterbox, he sees that the door of the house is open. Then he sees footprints. They go from the front door of the house towards the road. Then they go towards the garden. Tommy is puzzled. He puts the newspaper in the letterbox and then goes to look at the footprints. Someone got up early this morning, he thinks. It only started snowing at 4:00 a.m.
The footprints are very small. They look like a child’s footprints. But Tommy doesn’t think a child lives in the house. The other strange thing is that the person was not wearing shoes. They are footprints of bare feet.
Tommy is worried. He thinks there is something wrong. He follows the footprints. In the garden, he sees someone lying on the ground. He runs towards the person lying on the ground. It is a very small, very old woman. She is wearing a nightgown. There is blood on the back of her head. Tommy thinks she is dead, but he kneels down and touches her. “Are you OK?”
She isn’t dead. She says something. Tommy has to put his head next to her face to hear. “The house. Someone inside. Hit me. I ran away. Frightened.”
Tommy looks at the house. He takes his mobile phone and calls the police and an ambulance. He runs to his motor scooter. Someone is coming out of the house. He has a gun. Tommy throws his bag of newspapers at the gunman. The man shoots. But the bullet hits the bag. The man is running towards Tommy but he falls over the bag. Tommy jumps on the man and sits on his head.
Then the police and ambulance arrive. The old woman is very ill but the ambulance people think she will be OK. The police take the man with the gun away. Tommy’s newspapers are wet from the snow. Some of them have holes in them from the bullet.
Tommy has to go back to the newspaper centre and get more newspapers. He must finish his delivery. The newspapers will be late today. Tommy hopes the readers don’t mind. He is wet and cold but he is happy. The policemen told him he was a hero. That makes him feel good. But he also feels good because he knows who lives in the mystery house.