December 11th

The plan was hatched and the two boys went on their way. They knew their mother would sleep soundly, though they had no idea what sleeping pills were. Michael and Manfred only had to wait until their father had also passed out from all the drink, as he did without fail every evening, so they could get the keys to his truck and get on their way. Although only twelve years old, Michael’s father had let him drive around the fields with his truck since he was ten, teaching him to drive. The boy was sure that his father just wanted a designated driver as soon as possible. His younger brother sat next to him in the truck and, after a reassuring nod to each other, they drove off towards Ludwig’s farm.

It was much easier to break in to Ludwig’s barn than they had anticipated. The key was under a crockpot next to the door. There were so many people from the village passing by at all hours to drop off presents and decorations that Ludwig decided to leave the key there. The presents weren’t very big, so it only took them an hour in the middle of the night to fill up the truck and get away with all the presents that had been put there so far.

They drove out of the village and took a small path into the forest, where they knew they would find a cave ideal for hiding the presents. Often, the two boys would hide there when their father was drunk and in a mood for shouting at them or their mother. No-one noticed that they had left and nobody noticed when they came back home.

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