There was a splash in the pond! Mary went running towards the pond full tilt. She quickly shed her flip-flops so she could run faster, and as she ran she yelled “It’th Todd! It’th Todd! Momma! Momma!”
“Another false alarm”, thought Mrs. Hargood, “Every time a leaf falls in the pond, or a bird splashes, or a frog croaks she goes running!” she said to Mr. Hargood who was sitting beside her on the porch swing on the deck of their little house as the Sun was setting on the horizon.
“Might be him this time,” said Mr. Hargood, “Could be.” he said stopping the swing and squinting for a better look.
“We’ll see. I hope it is though, this waiting is near killing me.”
“Don’t you worry now, he’ll be back right as rain. You remember, don’t you? I came back, and my father before me.”
“Yes, but your father almost didn’t make it. He limped until the day he died!”
“Maybe so, but Earnest would rather limp than have not gone at all.”
“That’s true John.”
“He’ll be home soon, and he’ll be just fine.”
Mary Hargood stopped her quilting and laid it in her lap then she rested her head on her husband’s shoulder. John Hargood put his arm around her and watched Mary in the distance approaching the pond.
Mary stopped at the edge of the pond and watched intently the ripple that had started in the middle of the pond and moved out in a perfect circle until the water lapped at her bare feet. Looking for another sign of movement and seeing none, Mary turned to walk away.
“Hey little sister, where you going?” asked Todd pulling himself from the water and walking towards her.
“Todd!” she screamed in her high pitched little voice and ran into his arms, getting her summer dress soaked in the process.
“Mary!” Todd said laughing, “I missed you so much!”
“I mith’d you too Todd!”
“Wath that?” she asked, pointing at the medallion around his neck.
“It’s a medal I got from some good friends.”
“Oh. Let’s go see Momma and Daddy!”
Todd picked her up and put her on his shoulders then headed for the house running, spinning and laughing along the way. Mary was giggling and laughing “Thtop!” all the way.
“It’s him!” said Mr. Hargood.
“Thank the Lord!” said Mrs. Hargood.
Together they ran to Todd, hugs and kisses were exchanged and joy abounded at the return of the new hero from the World Below.