Short Stories

Short Story: Christmas Story

It began on a dark wintry night as all proper holiday stories do. It is that special time of year that needs something extra, something magical to bring out the warmth and hope. Tonight’s story began under a bed. Not just any bed, but a bed with proper wooden legs, a wide and fluffy mattress, and dreamy duvet, which would surely deliver dreamland at once. But our hero had not heard of duvets or mattresses. He had never laid on a bed, even when he had lurked under several of them. He was no disregarded toy nor a lost sock. There was nothing monstrous about him nor scary. Yet, lost he was and all alone, forgotten and disconnected.

He knew it would be Christmas tomorrow. That the one who for he was here had only tonight to connect with the past thoughts he had lost. The forgotten belief in the magic, into the scary as well, the world beyond schedules and bills. He was that forgotten belief, that thought of hope which had been carried until the world took it away. Or time as they so often thought. He was still here, there was still a chance.

The forgotten hope only needed an invitation to heal what had been broken. But how? Here he was stuck under the bed, and when the morning dawned, the first rays of the sun would wipe him away. This had happened so many countless times with so many others that he was in the brink of losing faith. He just needed one to believe in the beauty of the world. One to remember what it was like to stick a tongue on an ice-cold metallic pole and be stuck. One to see the good in everyone, and one to see monsters hidden in the closet who stayed away as long as you had your head buried under the duvet. As long as there was a possibility, there was tomorrow.

He rattled the bed by pushing his claws on the wooden boards. He screamed and clanked his feet against the end of the bed. Everything shook, but the other half of him slept. Earthquakes, trains, cheer tiredness, and all the other explanations had made his screams unheard. He made the bed rattle some more and more and more until he dropped from exhaustion, causing a loud bang. The other half mumbled.

He hit his head against the floorboards, keeping up the bang, after a bang, but soon the mumble stopped, and there only was the quietness of a sleeping man.

The forgotten hope peered under the bed to the open window watching the darkened landscape behind the frozen panels. All was lost. He sobbed and moaned. Why can’t they believe? What has robbed their hope, their futures, driven them to exhaustion and fear, painting everything with a bleak color of grey? I moan, and I scream, and no ghosts are invoked. Only slumber and utter disregard.

“Bills,” he whispered.

“Schedules,” he said.

“Run, run, no rest, not even tomorrow,” he threatened.

That caught the attention. There were a toss and a turn.

“Bills,” he said with more strength.

“Holiday travels, disappointed relatives, gifts and heartburn,” he whined.

More tossing and turning.

On and on they went until feet landed on the floor. His claws could grasp them, but he could not touch. He wasn’t let in.

The man groaned and sat there, his head buried into his hands, wakened.

The forgotten thought whispered, “I’m here let me in. You will feel much better. There is tomorrow, there always will be as long as I’m on your side.”

His words went unheard. Once again, he pointed the sharp finger of his claw on the heel, but there was no sparkle, no connection. Only a moan.

He begged the moon to sparkle. He asked the frozen windows glitter. He pleaded the man to see that there past the darknened room, there was light. There was a world with magical stars, the endless forest, the early birds and late owls, there was snow, and there were tracks on the snow. All in the man’s reach. But he didn’t see. And the moon didn’t sparkle nor did the frost glitter. Only the stillness of the night and thoughts of schedules and heartburns.

Why had he awakened the man? It was better if he was sleep. There they were, neither satisfied. The forgotten thought trying to reach for the heels and the man to make sense of all the loops that swirled inside his head.

The darkened sky was turning brighter, making the treeline glow. Tomorrow was there, and he had failed. The magic of one night would be soon gone, and halves would have never met.

“One snowflake, one thought of beauty, one memory from the past. Is that too much to ask?” the forgotten thought uttered. “I don’t ask the moon or a changed world, just a possibility of a tomorrow. Can’t you send me a bird? Can’t you whisper his name? Can’t you say all will be alright?”

The man stirred.

“Is that what you want to hear? That all will be fine? That good triumphs the bad? That not all is lost, and what is broken can be mended?”

The forgotten thought pushed his claw against the heal, and there was a sparkle. Yet, not becoming one.

“It is no lie. There is hope and love and beauty, you need to look past the bills at a sleeping cat curled into a ball. To your son’s face. To the red apple, that waits for you every morning. There is hope as long as you know what to carry with you. All the good and all the bad. All the rights and all the wrongs. There is always tomorrow, Christmas or not.”

There was a sparkle, and snow began to fall.

Happy Holidays!
P.S. I’m taking a holiday break. See you later and have a lovely time!

© K.A. Ashcomb

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