Rated: E · Short Story · Holiday · #2262515
Timmy's been bad, but learns a lesson from a Christmas Eve visitor
|Background. Every year, my local writer's group has a holiday party. One of our traditional activities is that we all write short stories (or story fragments) of 1000 words or less based on an agreed topic. The stories also must include a particular word. We share these at our party. This year, the charge was to write a SciFi, horror, or fantasy story set at the winter solstice (i.e., Christmas) that used more than one tradition or culture. The idea was to use multiple religious traditions, hence be "syncretic." The required word was "whelve," which means to bury or hide. |
My story doesn't use different religious traditions or cultures, and it was a stretch to get "whelve" into the story since the POV character is six years old, but here it is.
Given the constraints, feedback is welcomed. I'll need to eventually cut a couple of hundred words from this, but it's first draft right now.
Approximately 1100 words
A Green Christmas
Timmy squirmed in his bed and balled his fists. He muttered, “It’s not fair. Daddy always takes her side.” The memory of his little sister’s tear-streaked, red face and green hair brought an impish grin to his lips. All he’d done was turn her the colors of Christmas. What was so bad about that? Nothing, that’s what. He declared to his empty room, “Am not bad.”
His father’s stern voice came from the other side of his closed door. “Young man, you're on timeout until you apologize to your sister.”
Timmy shouted, “I won’t. Not never!” The little creep deserved what she got after she busted his toy light saber. No one cared about him. “It’s not fair.”
“Life’s not fair. You’re a big boy now. You’re six.. You know, it’s Christmas Eve. You better be careful. Santa knows if you’ve been good or bad.”
Timmy rolled his eyes. What was he, five? There was no Santa. Besides, his parents had already bought his gifts. He’d found them hidden in their closet last week. They weren’t going to waste all that money.
His mother must be on other side of his door, too, because she said in that annoying, wheedling tone she always used to get something she wanted, “Timmy, dear, try to be a good boy. Don’t spoil Christmas for everyone. If you say you're sorry, I’ll bring you some milk and cookies.”
Milk and cookies did sound good. But still. “I ain’t sorry.” He was right. They were wrong. That was all there was to it.
Daddy muttered, “Let’s just leave him to his timeout. It's his bedtime anyway.”
His mother answered, still wheedling. “But we shouldn’t let him go to sleep still mad. I might read him a story...”
“He needs some time alone to cool off. He’s just a kid, even if he is gifted. We shouldn’t reward bad behavior. You know the child psychologist said a time out was best.”
Timmy twisted his mouth into a snarl. Child psychologist. That worthless dweeb. He was dumb. And his breath was enough to gag Jabba the Hut. "Go away.”
His mother said, “Ten minutes, Timmy. Think about why you’re in your room.”
Ten minutes. They could give him ten centuries and he’d still not be sorry. Still, milk and cookies sounded pretty good.
What felt like ten years later, his mother knocked on his door. “Timmy?”
This called for planning. Even whimpering. “What, Mommy?” He’d work this to his advantage.
She opened the door and put a plate of cookies and a glass of milk on his nightstand. “What do you have to say for yourself?” She nudged his cheek with a knuckle.
Instead of rolling his eyes, Timmy tried for tears. All he could do was blink. “I’m sorry, Mommy,” he muttered, eyes downcast.
“I know you are, honey. Sometimes your emotions get the better of you. What did Doctor McCoy tell you do when that happens?”
“Take a deep breath. Do my numbers.” What a weenie. Like counting would help. Especially when he was right and they were wrong.
“That’s my good boy. Have your milk and cookies while I read you a story. You’ll want a good night’s sleep. It’s Christmas tomorrow!”
She even talked with exclamation points. What a nimrod. Still, she was so stupid that she was easy to fool. Timmy nibbled on his cookies while she read A Wookie Christmas, just like he was still a baby.
Moonbeams cast shadows across Timmy’s bedroom. His Mandalorian clock leered at him, hands at twelve and two. Timmy squirmed and grabbed his crotch. He needed to go. He slipped out of bed and waddled down the hall to the bathroom, where he relieved himself.
The house was dark and silent. Well, mostly silent. His father’s Jabba-like snores rattled from his parent’s bedroom. It was only mostly dark, too. The Christmas tree lights glowed from the living room.
Timmy adjusted his underwear and sneaked down the hall. Yes! All the presents were already there, wrapped and under the tree. There was even a glass of milk and cookies on the coffee table. Someone, probably Daddy, had taken a big bite out of one of the cookies. They must want him to think Santa did it.
Timmy sat criss-cross on the floor and started to examine the packages.
A clatter on the roof made him look up. Must be icicles or something falling.
A whooshing sound came from the fireplace. A short, green-skinned creature stood there, dressed in red with white fur, just like Santa. Except Santa never had pointy green ears and a green face. The Grinch, maybe?
The not-Santa tipped his head, wiggled his ears, and pointed a stubby green finger. His voice was high-pitched and warbly. “Timmy you are. Bad have you been.”
“Am not bad.” Timmy’s tummy chilled. Maybe Santa did exist, after all.
The green creature hooted like an owl. Or could that be laughter? “Bad you are not, but bad you have done. Yoda knows. Green did you dye your sister’s hair. All can see, there is no way for you to whelve your deed.”
Whatever "whelve" was, it didn't sound good.
Something thunked into the fireplace and ashes spewed into the room. It looked like a garbage can, except it had bright red lights and two legs that ended in wheels.
This was starting to look familiar.
“Yoda?” Timmy couldn’t keep his voice from shaking. “R2?”
Yoda nodded. “Smart you, are, yessss. Too smart.”
Timmy rubbed his eyes. “I must be dreaming.” He pinched himself. “Ouch!”
“Real we are. Dreaming you are not. But bad you have done. Bad, bad, bad.” More hooting.
Timmy chewed his lower lip. “It’s not fair. She broke my gun, and they didn't do anything. They’re wrong, too.”
Yoda heaved a sigh. “The dark side in you I sense. When look into the dark side you do, be careful you must. Looks back the dark side does.”
Timmy blinked. This time, his eyes filled with real tears. “I can’t help myself. Sometimes I feel like I’m always wrong. Like I’m losing no matter what I do.”
“If no mistake you have made, losing you are. When at peace you are, good from bad you know.”
Timmy sniffled. “You mean like when I do my numbers.” He heaved a deep, trembling breath. “I try to be good.”
“Do or do not. There is no try.”
Timmy glanced at the presents. “I’ve been bad. Are you here to take away my presents?”
“Here to teach, I am. Up to you what to learn.” He made a palm up gesture. R2 squealed and zipped back up the chimney. “Done here am I. Your path must you decide.” With a twitch of his nose and a twinkle in his eye, he disappeared in a glitter of stardust.
Timmy looked at the presents. His parents must love him, after all. He should have known it all along. He didn’t need Yoda to teach him that.
Maybe he could read a story to his sister in the morning. She wasn’t so bad, even if she did have green hair.