Clemence Shead slipped off her white tee-shirt and yanked a pyjama top over her head. Carefully, she unclasped the gold necklace from her grandmother and placed it into her jewellery box.
“Hey…” muttered Clemence, peering down into the ornately decorated box. “Where’s my charm bracelet?” She fumbled around through the piles of necklaces and rings, searching for her silver charm bracelet she had received for her birthday that year.
“Esme…” hissed Clemence. She raced downstairs. “Mom! Esme stole my charm bracelet!” she cried, racing towards her mother. Dawn put down the basket of laundry she was holding and frowned.
“Are you sure, Clem? I mean, why would Esme want your bracelet? She doesn’t really like jewellery!” Dawn answered.
“Yeah, well, Esme hates me! She’d do anything to make me angry! I wouldn’t be surprised if she sold it to one of her little weird friends!” Clemence snapped.
“I didn’t take it,” a small voice said. Clemence looked down to see Esme glancing up at her, her green eyes filled with tears.
“Yes you did! Don’t lie! You’re the only one who would take my bracelet!” Clemence cried.
“Now, Clemence…are you sure you didn’t misplace it, honey?” Dawn asked, placing an arm around Esme, who was now sobbing uncontrollably.
“You’re just taking her side!” Clemence spat out the word ‘her’ like it was a bad word. “I know it was Esme!”
“It wasn’t! I didn’t do it, I promise!” wailed Esme, tears streaming down her rosy cheeks. Dawn sighed and gave Clemence a stern look.
“Just leave it for now, okay?” she whispered to her oldest daughter as she gently guided Esme towards her bed. Clemence sighed as she watched the two walk away. Of course Esme took my bracelet! she thought, Who else could it be?
“Goodnight Kitty! Goodnight Eva!” Andrew Armstrong called, kissing his daughters on their foreheads.
“Night, Daddy!” giggled Kitty as Andrew tickled her under the chin. Kristin tucked the soft blankets over each girl and smiled down at her daughters.
“Mom?” Eva’s quiet voice was hard to hear over Kitty’s giggling, but Kristin rushed over.
“Yes? What’s wrong, darling?” Kristin asked, wrapping her daughter in a hug.
“I can’t find my piggy bank!” Tears welled up in Eva’s eyes and she swallowed hard.
“Oh honey, don’t worry! We’ll find it in the morning,” Kristin said, stroking Eva’s back gently.
“Okay…” Eva wiped away a tear and sniffed. “Night-night!”
“Goodnight girls.” Kristin turned off the light and walked out of the room.
The bearded man frowned thoughtfully as he peered into a warm, bright window. Happy laughs and cheerful voices came from inside, filling the street with joy.
“Everything seems too happy here…” one of his two accomplices hissed.
“Don’t worry. We’ll change that soon enough, my friend!” the bearded man sneered, his face ugly with hatred. The three men laughed, then snuck away.