Tuesday, December 26, 2006

In the night after Christmas the loaded sleigh sped away and dissolved into a sudden cloud of glistening snowflakes. Then, silently, it began to exist again, pressing distinct traces into the snow, on the Eve of the Yuletide holiday.

The sleigh's occupant knew the village well, from memory. He crept in and out of each house like a shadow, leaving presents that would later cause a minor sensation, as no one could say how they had been put there or who was responsible. But all were immensely astonished at the insightful selection, as if the giver had known exactly what the person might need later, even before that person had thought of it.

Since McPhearson had discovered the principle of time travel, he kept it a secret, using it only to satisfy his sense of generosity among the people of the village he loved, that special place of his childhood. There were so many Christmases to chose from, and he darted from one to the next, pausing only to replenish the pile of presents on his sleigh.

He made his final stop at an unlit cabin. The mean hermit who lived there had always chased the children from his yard. He was feared and avoided by all. McPhearson knocked. "I am the spirit of Christmas past," he called in response to the frightened stir. The hermit slowly opened the door to stare into his own face.

Story #384

The previous Christmas stories: #118 and #323

Here's wishing all of you a great Christmas and all the best for the New Year!


Story #370 somehow got lost in the shuffle, but I've finally posted it.


Miles to go said...

Hung in the rafters of the barn is a corpse of a man who hungered for another woman but used the guilt to take his life instead. His wife doesn’t know this as her icy fingers covered the smooth roundness of her belly with the coarse wool blanket. Surprised, she could feel her water spread horizontally searching to absorb the dry cloth beneath her. The dim light of the coals are bordered by dark ashes. Fear gripped her as the coals cooled and her contractions started.

Joaquin ignored the biting wind that stung his ears. The itinerant farm worker risks apprehension by Immigration, is also risking his life to save her. The cold ride on the snow mobile is similar to the freezing wind atop the train he rode to the states. The only difference-he is driving instead of riding to an unknown town where he knows no one.

In the meantime the wind covers his tracks with a soft blanket of snow leaving only fear and anxiety. All of them are left to confront their circumstances alone.

Cheesemeister said...

One of the patients I used to take care of was a woman whose husband hung himself in their barn. She was 101 years old at the time I was working with her and was completely demented. She would call out his name in this horrible, mournful wail. Your story reminded me of that!

Nutty Fruitcake said...

A Death Cheese Christmas Begins
by Nutty Fruitcake
for Rattling Bones Undead Musician Magazine
"Uh, Harry, this isn't Lord Iffy Boatrace's manor," The Cheesemeister said to Death Cheese tour bus driver Harry Cyclopps.
"Well, blame that drunken bobby that I asked directions from," Harry said. "It shouldn't be too much of a problem, though. After all, the big show isn't until this Saturday."
"The problem, Harry," The Cheesemeister groused, "is that this means I'm stuck on this tour bus with these knuckleheads for another God knows how many hours until you get us to Findiddnan Hall!"
"Well, why don't you just call Lord Iffy and ask him for directions?" Harry said, becoming a little more agitated.
"I doubt he's bothered to pay his phone bill," piped in Gary the Axolotl from his fishbowl. "Why from what his cousin Bruce Dickinson was telling me, the good Laird is always broke."
"Shut up, Gary, before I dump you out the window!" The Cheesemeister snapped.
Peter Piper tried to lighten the mood by tweedling out a tune on his pan pipes. They were snatched from his hands by the grumpy Spooky Guy, who snapped "Quiet, you fool! I still have a headache from that terrible headbanging incident caused by The Cheesemeister the other day when we were trying to break out from our writer's block."
"Oh, now that was MY fault!" the Cheesemeister demanded. "Not like you weren't having to show off like always, flipping your hair everywhere, like anyone was even watching you!"
"Whatever. At least I'm not the one who was going to marry that Pot Head guy that is the dispatcher for the Netherworld Ambulance Service."
"Knowing Pot Head, he's probably so stoned that he couldn't tell the difference between you and The Cheesemeister," chuckled Crappy Times publisher Dirty Dan. "Come on, you Scrooges, lighten up! This is gonna be a Christmas we'll never forget, I guarantee."
"I bet I can even write a whole new story about it," said Charles Dickens, hopeful that his application to the Curmudeon's Club would be accepted in time for the holidays.

Cori said...

Wooohooo! Happy Holidays Indie!

Miles to go said...

Hi Cheese,

How frightening it must be for your patient. Sometimes I think of those who find out they really are alone in this world and find their foundations fly out from under them. I hope you came to terms with your patient.


PS: happy holidays to you indie and all the writers here on this wonderful site.

Frances bo bancess said...

James grew bored of the landscape. Grasping the world between his hands he shook it widely. Snow rose from its resting place and filled the sky. It slowly floated back and settled, only to be disturbed again and again.

NoWickedWitch said...

No writer I, but that picture makes me nostalgic despite the fact I tend never to be so. I reminds me of where I was born.

You have a lovely holiday Inde.

{illyria} said...

love what frances wrote above.

hello, indy. glad to be dropping by again.

M.P. said...

Hi there.... Long time no comment but haven't forgotten you!
Have a Merry Christmas full of Joy and Peace! May the coming 2007 bring you all you've wished for! :)

Blage said...

Merry Christmas! Hope your season is merry and bright. Nice photo.

weirsdo said...

This picture looks like a Robert Frost Christmas. How appropriate that "Miles to Go" should post the first story.
Happy Holidays to you and your family, Indie. Thanks for your cyber presence.

lynsey said...

‘When I was a boy we used to have snow every winter – people used to hope for snow at Christmas – we called it a white Christmas and it was special - so beautiful. People in the south used to dream about it – they never had a white Christmas and they used to want to.’

‘Did you have reindeer, too, Granddad?’

‘And sledges and snowballs?’

‘Yes we did – not reindeer – but sledges and snowballs and we even made snowmen – and we’d have little lights – sometimes little candles and they would twinkle and look so beautiful.’

‘Is that before the North Pole melted, Granddad?’

‘Yes, before the Pole melted. Before the flooding, the warming, the wars, the famines, before everything changed, before it was too late. It was just winter – we really never thought about it. I know you can’t believe it, but it really happened. I miss it so much, but there was not much I could do. If we’d all worked together maybe…’

Doug said...

Merry Christmas to the Indeterminacies!

Indeterminacy said...

Miles to Go: Wow - this reads like an otherworld version of the story of Joseph and Mary.

Cheesemeister: What a tragedy. I can understand why you are writing a book.

Nutty Fruitcake: I enjoyed your back to the classics approach. Also, Christmas is a great time for fruitcake!

Cori: Happy holidays to you too! Wishing you a prolific and successful 2007.

Frances: What a chilling perspective. I wish I had thought of it.

NoWickedWitch: I enjoyed your writing all this year, and look forward to the new year of postings. It must be nice to come from such a quiet and rural setting, spoken as someone from the big city.

Illyria: Wonderful to see you here. Wishing you great holidays!

M.P. I stop by your place from time to time. Hope all is well. Best wishes for the New Year!

Blage: Thank you Blage. Wishing all the best for 2007!

Weirsdo: And thank you for taking time to read my stories.

Lynsey: That's a Christmas story of the near future, I fear. Well told.

Doug: Bah hambug!

Everyone: I'm offline this season, except for brief visits which are difficult to organize. So I won't be able to stop by all my favorite blogs until next year. Take care, and enjoy the days of celebration.

Cheesemeister said...

Holiday messages meet science fiction. It was great fun, yet rather intense too. Kind of struck a chord with me as I have been feeling a bit humbuggish for a while.

Indeterminacy said...

Hey Cheesemaster - we had a nice Christmas, but the New Year didn't like us. At midnight we hugged and wished everyone at the family party health in 2007. Hours laters three of us were sick, and during the day, three more, and the next day two more. I was one of the only ones who didn't get the virus (knock on wood) or whatever it was. But I am feeling very weak and will probably answer the new story comments tomorrow. It took all my energy to drive home, and to post the New Year's Eve story.