Friday, December 17, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Fiction : Day 9 (Friday Fiction)

This week's Friday Fiction is hosted by Catrina Bradley at her blog, A Work in Progress. Click here to read and share more great fiction! 

Author's Ramblings: Well, I'm trying to catch up, seeing as I'm a few days behind, so here's day 9, doubling as a Friday Fiction story. Please enjoy--and thank you all for the wonderful comments. I am having so much fun writing these and I'm glad you all are enjoying it. This story is inspired by "I'll be home for Christmas" thanks to Qzie for the suggestion! Next in the queue is "Toy soldier" and "The Ghosts of Christmas Eve". If you have a song you'd like me to storify, please mention it in the comments, on my facebook page or via email. Merry Christmas everyone! 


To find out more about the Christmas Fiction Challenge, Click here to read and join! 

Disclaimer is at the bottom. I do not own the lyrics or the song, this is merely a bit of of creative fiction for the fun of it. The idea/plot/characters created are my own.  

Title: Warp Open, Christmas Vein. 


I'm dreaming tonight of a place I love
Even more then I usually do
And although I know it's a long road back
I promise you
I’ll be home for Christmas.

Ellis stamped his feet into the tall, black cowboy boots. Shimmers of moon dust rippled off in tiny waves in sync with the flashing red strobe light above his bedroom door. He sighed, grabbing the all-purpose cloak of rough blue cloth from the hook near the door as he rose from the tiny cot.

He paused in front of the small mirror hanging on the wall, to run a hand through his hair. The act brought a smirk to the surface as he turned away, shaking his head. His hair would be the least of his worries where he was headed.

Reaching back towards the cot, his fingers closed around familiar, gnarled wood. The tall staff lent a more official air to his rugged appearance as he waited for the door to open. A series of lights flashed through the digital lock, a set sequence that he was not privy to.

The door slid open and he stepped out into an empty corridor, light blue, with soft white lighting all the way down. He settled the cloak around his shoulders, tugging at the scratchy collar. It was troublesome, but he would not trade its protective gifts for anything.

At the end of the hall, a clear capsule-like tube slid open, filled with shimmering silver glitter that seemed to hang, suspended in the air. He cast a glance towards the glowing screen, where the situation was abbreviated and summarized in the customary, standard four sentences.


He sighed again, gripping the staff a little tighter. There were children involved in this mishap. That would certainly take some time out of his job, at least, as far as clocking out for the week. Stepping into the capsule, he waited while the door slid shut behind him and then lightly thumped the staff on the ground.

“Senior Warpmaster Ellis Drayton responding to situation #1445.”

“Good evening, Senior Drayton.”

“Opening a sea-portal, mild waterway, allowance for minors.”

“Specific time?”

“Unlimited until further notice.”

There was humming and whirring before a final chime. “Permission granted.”

“Thank you.” 
Ellis faded into a curtain of silverness.
~*~*~*~*~*~
He arrived in a flat, desert land with strong winds whipping about the sand in painful, stinging sheets. It was enough to bring a grimace as he turned his back to the wind, slowly pulling on his energies and using the staff to temper them.

The gnarled wood was a smooth dark grain, with a cloudy, yellow orb at the top. It was now glowing faintly as he leaned forward to place it just beneath his chin, using it as a transfer point while he began the usual concentration of using his gifts.

Dear Lord, please help me find the children here. This isn’t even a hospitable quadrant of this realm, survival odds are against them, but it’s Christmas. Miracles can still happen, can’t they? And Lord, would it be too much to ask to be home when it’s all over? I miss Rippy and with this level of work and all that, I can’t even call her because of…ah, never mind. Just help me find the children. Please protect them and send an angel to keep watch over them until I am there. Thank you. In Jesus’ name, amen.

A sudden shot of heat surged out of the orb and he jerked away, rubbing his chin, while trying to squint at the image that now cleared before his eyes. It was a brother and sister pair, climbing out of a ship on the side of a sand dune.

It was a disturbing picture.

He held the staff out in the middle of the blurring, sandy winds and spun it. There was a wide circle of blue that sprang to life before him and he dived straight in.

~*~*~*~*~*~

I'll be home for Christmas
You can count on me
Please have snow and mistletoe
And presents under the tree
Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light beams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams


The online radio droned on and Rippy paused as she set the second plate on the coffee table. She didn’t want to look at the time again, because it would bother her again. She hadn’t heard from him in weeks—no months.

It was beginning to wear on her, just the tiniest bit. Sure, Warpmasters were a rare breed and often in high demand, taking on the sorts of jobs that normal, sane people would not even think about ever thinking about.

She shook her head, suppressing a shudder. They were also known for the level of confidentiality they could hold, thus allowing them to take on other jobs that various security officials could not handle.

It also meant that sometimes they had very little to talk about.

The thin gold band sparkled on her finger and she twisted the ring off, slipping it in her pocket. It hurt to just see it now, when there was Christmas all over her house and everywhere, but in her heart.

It wasn’t right.

“Ellis-!” She bit her lip, turning back to the kitchen. The house seemed far too big and far too empty in the moment as the digital media continued to stream, the song echoing in the tall great room, filling all the corners she could not reach.

~*~*~*~*~*~
They were in a fairly bad shape when he stepped out of the swirling blueness. Ellis resisted the urge to scold as he stepped out of the warp and onto the quavering, sandy ground. His feet sank several inches at once, but he pushed that aside, focusing on the huddled duo just a few yards away. It had been far too dangerous to port closer and the winds were worse here.

“Oi! You there!” He shouted, trying to catch their attention. He’d thought that a giant blue swirling thing would’ve been enough to catch their eye, but they hadn’t even moved.

A faint weight began to register as he slogged cautiously through the shifting sands to where they were huddled together, clutching each other. He was almost to them when the swirling sands nearly sucked him under.

Stabbing his staff directly into the cinnamon-colored whirlpool before him, he released a bolt of energy to scatter the sands and reveal the original, flat, half-stone, half-dirt ground. It showed a broken stone pathway to where the children were resting, before him.

He closed the distance within a matter of seconds, whisking the edges of his cloak over them to shield from the vicious sand. He felt their hands, cold and shaking as they grabbed his feet. “Hey!” He shifted to stand, carefully, enough to shield them and keep a decent balance. “You two alright?”

Two identically terrified faces stared up at him, the girl still crying and her brother trying to look stronger than he was.

“That was a question that required an answer.” He muttered to himself. “Are you hurt anywhere?”

The boy shook his head after a moment. “I think Didi is though. She won’t stop crying.”

“Didi?” He struggled to keep his voice even. “My name is Ellis Drayton, I’ve been sent to help you two. I need you to talk to me and I need you to trust me. Are you alright? Is something wrong? Are you hurt?”

“M-my stomach.” She whimpered.

Ellis swallowed the original words threatening to leap out of his mouth. “Okay. Anywhere else?”

“It’s bleeding.” She held up a sticky hand, covered in redness.

The words were stuck in his throat as Ellis mentally connected the dots his mind had been too distracted to puzzle out before.

“How did it attack you?” He demanded.

The boy shrank away as Didi pulled away to scoot closer to him.

“Was there more than one? This is important, you need to tell me now!”

“Stop yelling at him!” Didi tried to plug her ears. “I thought you said you were going to help!” She began to bawl in loud, hiccupping sobs.

~*~*~*~*~

A faint, throbbing ache presented itself in the left corner of her head as Rippy flopped on the sofa, scowling up at the ceiling. She could see the perfectly  hung lights around the room and the warm glow from the various candles did little to warm her.

It was all ready. It was all perfect.

The only thing that was missing was the one person she had dared to hope could actually come through.

“I do this every year.” She told the empty room, rolling over to grab a pillow and hug it tight. It had been three Christmases since she’d last shared a holiday with the man legally identified as her husband.

It was beginning to leave a very sour feeling behind.

“In name but not in spirit?” She mumbled into the pillow. “I hate this! I really hate this!”

A slight twinge of discomfort registered in her stomach and her scowl turned to a pout. “I’m not whining.” She told the room. “I’m really not, I just wish that he would forget his stupid work and stop treating me as if I were-” Her hand lingered on her stomach. He'd been home a few months ago, she just wished those few months were now.

I’ll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams.

Two solitary tears leaked out of her eyes, dribbling down her cheeks and to the fat pillow clutched tight against her chest.

Ellis…why do I love you?

~*~*~*~*~

By the time he’d managed to calm them down and acquire the necessary information, Ellis felt he had aged several years to his name. It was an inner battle to keep a calm mask that he didn’t really feel was right.

The duo had been en route to their home, having taken an automated flight capsule from their boarding school, with their home as the final destination. Something had gone wrong and the coordinates had reversed and the malfunctions had continued until they’d come too close to the ground and a Sand Creature had sprung up to snatch them out of the sky.

Sand creatures…just what I need.

Ellis rubbed his forehead. It wasn’t a big problem, just a troublesome one. He turned back to the children huddled at his feet. “Oi, Didi, you and Steven get ready to do exactly as I tell you, okay? I’m going to have you play a little game, alright?”

“A game?” She rubbed her stomach and winced.

“And please stop doing that, the healing I gave you is temporary. I can’t tell if you have any deeper injuries, because that’s not my job. I don’t want to heal something that shouldn’t be healed or needs to be set. You’ll be fine for now, but when we get back, I have some healer friends who will help you, okay? What you’re going to do is run to the giant blue circle on the ground when I tell you to, got it?”

Two heads bobbed in sync.

“Good. Now on my mark, remember?”

“What’s going to happen?” Steven struggled to his feet. “Are we’re going to be okay?”

“We’re going to be fine.”

“You’re not a healer.” Didi sniffled.

Ellis took a deep breath and slowly let it out. “I’m not a healer, Didi, but I am a Warpmaster. I can handle a sand creature or two. It's part of we do.”

“I-I think there were more than two.” Steven looked at his feet. 
“More than two?” Ellis repeated.

“Y-yes.” He cringed, waiting.

Ellis sighed. “I see. Thank you, that is helpful to know.”

The boy stared at him in surprise.

It took a touch of effort, but Ellis found himself able to smile. “Don’t worry. I’ll still be able to handle it. Now remember, no matter how it seems or what I say, once I tell you to run, unless I say stop, you must run okay?”

“Run. Okay.”

“Good boy. Take care of your sister too, alright? If I say stop, freeze where you are, then keep running when I tell you to. Don’t turn back, don’t look back and don’t try to come help me, for whatever reason, okay?”

“Okay.”

~*~*~*~*~*~

Christmas Eve will find me
Where the love light beams
I'll be home for Christmas
If only in my dreams
If only in my dreams

Rippy sighed, blowing her nose into another tissue and dumping it in the growing pile beside her on the sofa. 

Only in my dreams, Ellis? You’ve always been just out of reach. You’re always so far away. I try to search for you and yet, it’s as if I always come up empty. She scoffed. I had to ask you to marry me, you wouldn’t even ask me the question.

Another flood of tears poured out and Rippy shook the now-empty tissue box. That was simply too much. Her brow furrowed together and she suddenly threw the box across the room, glowering when one of the ornaments fell from the tree.

~*~*~*~*~

“Run!” Ellis shouted, whirling out from their hiding place and holding his staff out to the wind. In the distance, a giant, swirling blue circle flickered to life on the desert floor. He held his ground as the children streaked past and the first, rumbling moans came to life.

The sandy winds began to pick up, but Ellis focused his attention on keeping the protective bubbles around the brother-sister duo, rushing to their freedom. One giant, tan-colored hand snatched him up from the ground. 
His grip on the staff did not waver even as the searing grains of sand seemed to burn through him in every possible way.

Steven was right.

There were three sand creatures and one beast he had never seen before. His senses were mostly intact, as he reasoned out the beast as the one ordering the other three around. A sickening feeling registered in his stomach as Ellis realized the creatures were not content with having caught him.

They were going after the children.

That absolutely could not happen.

The staff in his hand burned to life, even as the sand tried to swallow him whole. He slowly poured himself into the energies that were begging to be set free. In a burst of white light, the first creature was obliterated, scattered into its own vicious wind.

“No you don’t!” He roared, from the glowing staff, he drew a clear circle in the air and it hummed to a golden life. “Warp circle, Dynasty’s fire, open!”

Several large ovals sprang up over the ground and in the sky, as pillars of fire formed from the flames spilling out and into each other. One creature dissolved into a melted muddle on the sanded ground, with a horrible shriek of agony.

“Dissolve!” Ellis recalled the warps, sprinting through the falling sands and fading flames. “Warp circle, Shoren’s Majesty!” A series of stacked green triangles opened on the third creature and with an agonized groan, before the triangles squeezed tight and it exploded, blowing away in the wind, a giant, tempered mass of sand.

There was a soft pull in the back of his head and Ellis smiled. The children had made it safely to the warp. That was good.

He started towards the blue circle himself.

The strange beast suddenly leapt before him, snarling and snapping, a creature several dozen times his size. Shaggy, wolf-like hair decorated its lithe body, with fierce blue eyes and lolling pink tongue. There were cracked and aged tusks all along its long snout, with darker tufts of hair on each paw and a furiously twitching tail.

Ellis dodged to the right as the creature lunged for him. There was an audible snap as he rolled away to safety and the creature nimbly darted closer. Dodging became troublesome as he tried to outwit the creature only to find its incensed temper proving to be a headache.

A rumbling roar from behind prompted an annoyed scowl and Ellis held the staff up, pointing behind him as he approached the return warp.

“Warp open, Innocent Fury!”

He dived for the blue circle even as he heard the howls erupting behind him. There was no need to kill the creature, but if it insisted on pursuing him, then that would bring about its death. He smiled as the light blue light streamed around him.

The tunnel was brilliantly lit and he could see the two children exiting on the far end. That was nice to know. They were all fine and it had been a decent day’s work.

He stepped out into the hallway and punched in the correct buttons to log in his time and the outcome of the mission. To his surprise, a ticket printed in the corner and the screen went blank. Taking the scrap of paper, he turned it over and stood, frozen for a moment.

Merry Christmas.

It was all the permission he needed.

~*~*~*~*~

“Warp open, Christmas Vein!”

Rippy hurriedly scrubbed at her face with one sweater sleeve as the voice boomed through her festively decorated living room. Panic set in as she tried to straighten her hair, her outfit and then to throw away the pile of used tissues.

She was stuck somewhere between the three of them when she heard his chuckle from behind. She whirled around and straight into the arms she’d craved. “Ellis! Oh Ellis!” She cried into capable shoulders, barely feeling the hands rubbing her shoulders and back. “I missed you! I really missed you!”

“Rippy.” He murmured, pressing a kiss to the top of her head. “Merry Christmas.”

“You idiot!” She pulled away, giving him a half-hearted push, but the tears were refusing to stop.

He only smiled, reaching up with one hand to wipe away the tears. “Shh. I’m here.”

She hiccupped. “I didn’t think you would come this year either.”

He pulled her back into his arms. She felt him stiffen as he held up one hand. “What happened to your ring?”

Her face burned and she hid her face in the soft fabric of his shirt. The muffled answer was barely decipherable. He sighed and traced the finger with one of his own. “Warp open, Rippy. Close delivery.”

She was frozen in his arms as something cold enveloped her ring finger and faded almost as quickly, leaving behind a heavier weight. She twisted around to see a new ring, with sparkling green stones.

“Oh Ellis!” She flung her arms around his neck. Now the tears would most definitely be streaming. “You didn’t have to-”

“You’re making a guy feel really rotten with all those tears, babe.”

"Happy tears." She tried to wipe her face, but the happy tears would not be stopped. She smiled as brightly up at him as she could. “I’m glad you’re home.” She bit her lip. “I’m really glad you’re home.”

“What, no present for me?”

“Meanie.” She hooked one arm around his neck. “I’ve got just the present for you! Merry Christmas…Daddy.” She kissed him, softly.

He pulled away to hold her at arm’s length when the truth of her statement registered. His gaze darting from her face to her stomach and then back again. “Seriously?”

She began to giggle, nodding.

He shook his head, as if it wasn’t quite settled in his head. “Seriously?”

“Somehow, I had a feeling you were going to say that.” She grinned. “Merry Christmas, Ellis.” This time, he kissed her and there wasn't a shred of ice left in her heart.
 
Disclaimer and rights. © Sara Harricharan. I do not own the lyrics, the song or anything of the sort, only the original characters I have created and the plot, which are solely my own creation and any resemblance to an actual event, person or place, is entirely coincidental as this is a work of fiction.

3 comments:

Catrina Bradley... said...

This is a GREAT story, Sara! A Christmas romance slash sci-fi spectacular. Well done! :)

Sharlyn Guthrie said...

I always enjoy your creativity, Sara! Great job.

Yvonne Blake said...

Love the ending!