HIM saved them. In return once a year they celebrate HIM - and HIM gives them gifts.
“Do you think you’re going to get what you wished for this year?” Eleven-year-old Boranna asked her thirteen-year-old brother Morcam after entering his Sleeping Room.
“I hope so. I’ve asked HIM for a year long pass to the Video Vault.” Morcam still half asleep sat up in his Sleeper.
“You’re not going to get that. It’s too expensive for HIM.” Boranna skipped over to Morcam’s Sleeper - and bounced down on it. Which sent him toward the ceiling. He landed hard, and bounced up one more time himself.
“You got what you wished for last year. It was more expensive that mine is this year.” Morcam literally swung his legs over Boranna and sat next to her.
“That’s because HIM likes me better than he likes you.” Boranna glanced down at Morcam. He barely had anything on. “Get dressed. We can’t keep HIM waiting. Or we won’t get anything this year.” Boranna got up and ran out her brother’s room.
Morcam still half asleep lazily walked over to his Clothing Room. A swipe of his hand over a red sensor caused the door to that room to disappear. He enters another world. That place looked like a SpaceStorm hit it. Cloths laid everywhere – except their Ceiling Hooks. Some hanged on them, but most didn’t. After wading through that mess for several minutes, making a bigger mess on the floor, he found what he wanted: A red and green Full Length Night Shirt.
“I know it’s tradition to wear this for the Gathering, but it makes me look like a girl in it.” Morcam took it out of that room – and tossed it onto his Sleeper.
Her next stop on her way to the first floor took Boranna into her little brother and sister’s Sleeping Room. Nine-year-old Robecce and seven-year-old Antin. A Sleeper Sheet hung between the two Sleepers. “Have you too been fighting again?”
“She called me a baby. I’m not a baby.” Antin poked his head around the edge of the Sleeper Sheet.
“You sure are acting like one.” Robecce just got out of her Sleeper. Like Boranna she already had on her green and red Night Shirt. “I can’t wait until next year when I’m old enough to get my own room.”
“Stop fighting. You shouldn’t be fighting – especially during the Cold Harvest Holiday. Do you want HIM to see you fighting? HIM sees everything.” Boranna pointed up to a large black ball in the corner of that room.
“Boranna is right. We shouldn’t be fighting during this time of year.” Antin pulled down the Sleeper Sheet, and threw it back onto Robecce’s Sleeper. He already had on his red and green Night Shirt too.
The Sleeper Sheet bounced up and hit Robecce in the face. She waded it up a little, and prepared to throw it back, but she put in down on her Sleeper instead. “Your right Boranna – but not because of HIM.”
“Why do you say that? Your still not mad because of the Gift he gave you last year are you?” Boranna walked toward Robecce.
“I didn’t get what I wished for. You know what I wanted. It was Ice Blade, but what did I get: Clothing.” Robecce looked mad enough to kill.
“I’ve had years like that, but I didn’t stay mad for a whole year about it. You have an anger problem just like Morcam. Don’t let that anger destroy you.”
Robecce thought about that for a second. “I know I have a problem with my anger. What I want to know is what can I do about it.”
“That’s what I have trying to tell you for the last month.” Antin joined his sisters on Robecce’s Sleeper.
“You too have been fighting like this for a month. Where have I been? I need to spend more time with you two. As the oldest female it’s up to me to keep track of you too.” Boranna put her arms around Robecce and Antin.
“You’ve been spending all of your time with your male friends.” Antin felt Boranna squeeze him too tightly.
“That’s why you didn’t know about our fighting again.” Robecca pulled away from the arm squeeze.
“Like I just said I’m going to be spending more time with you two.” Boranna got up and headed for the door. “Let’s go to the Gathering – and hope it’s not too late to please HIM.”
Antin and Robecce looked at each other. Both acted like they planned on saying something to Boranna, but they didn’t. They just got up and follower Boranna out the door.
Morcam already sat in front of the Cold Harvest Tree as his brother and sisters walked into the Living Area. In the center of that room stood a large floor to ceiling Fruit Tree. On that tree several different kinds of fruits, and colors, hung from colorful branches on it.
Boranna came walking into the room with Antin and Robecce holding her hands. They sat around the tree too. Morcam and Boranna sat opposite of each other. As did Robecce and Antin. Once seated they held each other’s hands.
They started chanting something softly to themselves, but it sounded like the same thing. Suddenly the room went dark – except for the light above the tree. All of them looked down at the same time. “Where are THEY?” Morcam asked that.
“It’s all Robecce and Antin’s fault. They have been fighting again. Mostly Robecce’s because of her gift last year. It’s my fault too for not keeping my eyes on them.”
“It doesn’t really matter whose fault it is. THEY aren’t here.” Morcan tried to look at Boranna, but couldn’t.
Suddenly four pieces of paper fell down beneath the tree. Each one had one of the kids names on it. After sorting out whose belonged to who they started to open them up – but got stopped. “Wait! It’s tradition that you hear the story of the Cold Harvest Holiday before you start looking for your gifts.”
A light appeared above Lumdoc, their father, who sat in a chair. Next to him sat his Mate, their mother, Yetti.
“Almost three thousand years ago we lived on a barren world. There was very little to eat. What there was we fought over just to survive. Then HIM came. HIM gave us food. Showed us how to grow more. Then HIM gave us water to drink and use with our food. Finally, HIM gave us animals - for food and for companionship.” Yetti started the traditional story.
“It took us about five hundred years to become ourselves again. All during that time we thanks HIM for all his help. It wasn’t much until we got back on feet – and defend for ourselves. That’s when we decided as a planet to give back to HIM even more. Each family give HIM a gift every year, but in return HIM give us each a gift.” Lumdoc finished the story.
All four children peered up at their parents as they recited the story. They had heard it every year since they had been born, but it didn’t matter. Each year Lumdoc and Yetti told it in a slightly different way. Besides, it’s tradition. If they didn’t do it HIM would know. Another large black ball hung in the corner near the ceiling.
“Now is the time for you to find your gifts.” While the four children opened up their sealed papers Yetti turned to Lumdoc and whispered, “Did you hide the gifts good this year.”
“Weren’t you supposed to be the one who hide them.” Lumdoc had a big smile on his face. “Of course, I hid them good. Don’t I always.” By the time Lumdoc and Yetti returned their attention to the kids they had left.
Morcam scratched his head. ‘I don’t understand what this means. It read, ‘If you want your gift you must think tall, but to receive it you have to think small.’ What is that supposed to mean?”
Standing in the tallest room in the house Morcam started looking in the smaller things in the Play Room. “This has to be the place. If I a reading my paper correctly, then this is where my gift is at.”
It took him almost two hours but he finally finished searching that room – but he couldn’t find it. He definitely didn’t find what he wished for. “Maybe I was wrong about this being the place. I’ve looked everywhere, and the Year Pass to the Video Vault isn’t here. Nothing is here that wasn’t already here before.”
Marcam almost left that room to search another when he spotted it. A thin crack in the wall. Something stuck out of it a little. Marcam went over to it – and pulled out his gift. He got his yearly pass – to SportsWorld.
Boranna loved the gift she got, and it hadn’t been too hard for her to find. Her paper read, ‘Think what your mother likes to wear to someplace fancy, but it’s now where she usually keeps it.’ Boranna knew instantly what that paper meant.
As Boranna entered her parents Sleeping Room she went directly to her mother’s Body Ornament Box. She opened it and started looking through it before she remembered what the paper said. Boranna did started opening things – she just began looking around that room with her eyes.
It took a few minutes to realize what happened. “It could be anywhere here.” Then she remembered the paper. “It’s someplace she keeps her Body Ornaments, but not in the usual place.” Boranna knew her mother didn’t keep all of her BO in one place. The best BO she had she kept in a small container – in her Clothing room.
That’s where she found them. Hidden beneath some shelf clothing Boranna found an arm band, a neck rope and a pair for the ears.
Robecce wished for the same thing she asked for last year but didn’t get – Ice Blades. According to her paper she might just get them this year. Her paper said, ‘To find what you have wished for all you have to do is look where you would use them the most.’ That’s why Robecce’s at the Water Hole in their back yard.
During the Hot Weather Season, they used the Water Hole for exercise, and in the Cold Weather Season it freezes over so they could use Ice Blades. “they have to be here somewhere. It shouldn’t be too hard to find them.”
She looked everywhere, but she didn’t find her gift. That’s because it’s not there. Robecce did find it eventually – in her Sleeping Room, but it’s not what she expected it to be. It’s clothing again. “That’s not what I wished for. I’m never going to get my Ice Blades.”
Antin always wanted a pet of his own, but his parents kept saying no. That year he thought he might just get his wish. His paper said, ‘you can play with what you have wished for, but you also have to take care of it too.’
Not knowing where to look Antin looked everywhere. Antin started in the back yard, but he couldn’t find anything to even indicate a pet. His next place he checked out was the underground house below their house. That would be a good place to hide a pet. Once again he couldn’t find one.
It took him over two hours but he finally found it. Antin’s wish had come true – sort of. It’s a pet all right – a fake lizard. ‘I know why you gave me this HIM. Once I can prove I can take care of it I will get the real thing.’
Lumdoc and Yetti remained in the Living Area while their children searched for their gifts from HIM. One after another they re-entered with their gifts that they finally found. None of them looked very happy. “They all found their gifts from HIM.“ Yetti smiled.
The Word Count for this story, including the Title, is 1993.