They saw him coming, they did. Crunching through snow ,up the path to the front porch, the knock deliberate and hard. It was the first time a policemen had called. He was tall and direct:his presence accentuated by his helmet,which he did not remove. A truncheon hung low from his belt. The father looked concerned.The children hid behind.
There was talk of a man on the run: there was talk of a gun. He may have passed through in the night. The garden at the back had to be checked.
The garden was a perfect white triangle of snow. No one had been out. It went to a point at the top where wooden fences met on either side . Had the policeman visited the other gardens or just this one the children wondered?
Out of the back door the policeman went – alone. A cold breath of air filled the kitchen. He stode over the grass in deliberate fashion lifting his feet high into the deep snow. Mother commented that he should have worn boots.
And there it was , right at the point where the gardens joined – one deep heavy boot print, black in the white, the crisp edges of snow folded over glistening it frost.
How that one footprint sullied and tainted. Someone had trespassed. The fugitive had, through the bleakest February night, woven his way across fences and walls of a sleeping suburbia with a gun.
They shuddered when they saw the marks . There was talk of the crime , talk of the gun. The children were kept in. The story was not.
It became a spy plan involving the woods at the park at the back. That would be where the man had gone, they thought as they stared through the glass.