An Unwelcome Guest
Stepping into the dark, empty vestibule, he shook the melting snow from his wool coat, stomping the murky slurry from his shoes and claiming a vacant coat hook in the dim light coming through the outside window. Down the hall, he heard their joyful voices wane to a faint conspiracy of whispers. He could make out a woman’s voice bitterly hiss “I hope not” before a brisk shush cut through the warm, dry air as his heavy footsteps preceded him down the corridor. He stopped, standing in the dining room archway, finding no place left for him at the table.