So this week, there may be some Christmas themed short stories. I know it is getting late so I am posting my first offering now. I may update again later with a second one.
Loud music blared out of the shops, people pushed and shoved down the rain sodden streets as they tried to finish everything at the last minute.
Things were different as they all stopped to look at the snow swirling down towards them, a sign that the season was truly upon them, several of them hoping it would stay, it would settle, that they would have a white Christmas.
The magic was broken when somebody grumbled about the weather making a mess of the roads and the traffic a nightmare. Another voice agreed, saying that the airports would be chaos and how would they get home?
The snow continued to fall as the shoppers dispersed. There were still several days to go until Christmas day, so the panic hadn’t completely set in.
The bus out of town was crowded with people, their faces red and shining from the cold. Two old women chatted about what they’d brought their grandchildren, another woman was taking gifts out of their carrier bag to admire them, the bus driver was whistling a Christmas carol.
He stood at the end of the lane, his house in view, smoke issuing from the chimney. He could see the Christmas tree lights glimmering in the window, the sight warm and welcoming.
Unlocking the door, he kicked off his shoes and went into the kitchen. A note laid on the table. Left five minutes ago. Hope the house doesn’t burn down. Don’t stay here alone on the big day. Mum.
He thought it was nice that his mother had come to light the fire so that it was warm when he got home. He didn’t like her insistent note.
He jumped, turning to see a man standing by the cooker.
“Who are you? Get out of my house.”
“I want you to see that being here by yourself at a time of great festivity isn’t the way it should be.”
“Who are you? Do you want me to call the police?”
As he went to grab the phone the mysterious man clicked his fingers and it disappeared. He couldn’t believe his eyes.
“Christmas isn’t a time to be lonely.”
“What if I like being lonely?”
“Nobody likes being lonely.”
The mysterious man was right.
“You’ve shut yourself away because you think it’ll make everything go away. Nothing goes away.”
The man clicked his fingers again. Pools of light fell over two photographs standing on the kitchen cabinet.
“They would want you to be happy.”
“They don’t want anything. They can’t want anything.”
“If you spend one more Christmas alone, you’ll find out what they want.”
“What do you mean?”
“If one more year passes and you spend it alone, your heart will begin to turn bitter. You will reject everyone around you,” the man said, “Is that what you want?”
“I won’t. I won’t do that. I’m a good person.”
“One more year of wallowing in regret is enough to send you on a downwards spiral.”
“Listen to my message. If you spend another year alone, wallowing in this mess of your own creation, the world will not hesitate to turn against you. Feel the spirit of the season. Let the magic into your heart.”
“Who are you?”
“Let it just be said that I am a messenger.”
“Are you a ghost?”
“Not a ghost. A spirit, perhaps. I don’t intent to linger for long.”
“And you were sent just for me?”
“Not just for you. I suppose you would say that I was doing my rounds.”
It seemed too unreal. He felt like this man – spirit – whatever he was had been playing an elaborate joke on him. He leapt forwards, intending to catch the man out.
He woke, warm, comfortable. The events of the night before seemed like a distant dream.
His mother was standing over him, “Merry Christmas, dear.”
“December the 25th. Same as every year.”
“Quiet now. You came round in quite a state the other day. I had hoped you would have got over it.”
Just over his mother’s shoulder he could see the mysterious man standing in the corner. He sat up, staring over at him.
“What is it?”
He shook his head, “Nothing.”
Suddenly, he felt a feeling of warmth spread over him. He looked up at his mother and heard his father downstairs turn the radio on so that the live broadcast of carols sounded through the house.
He didn’t want to be alone at Christmas. Not anymore.
The music grew louder. He got out of bed and hurried downstairs.
“Merry Christmas!” he said.
He glanced out of the window. The mysterious man stood in the snow outside. He smiled.