Friday, December 31, 2010

Farewell, 2010!



If you're thinking you've seen this post and that picture, then you're right. It was my Scarlet Blog End of the Year post that I managed to throw together for this morning. Of course, I've added some new things this time around, just because I couldn't possibly repeat the same thing twice in the same day. I can see how this might seem to be an example of pure laziness, but in my own defense, I've been wrestling with this blog template for half the day and quite frankly, at the rate I'm going, it could be awhile. Distraction is what I call the uncontrollable urge to finish my Christmas stories rather than sitting down and working through some of the techy issues.

I think I've done almost everything that needs to be done, so let me know what you think about it. Also, there will be a poll in the side bar asking your opinion about what you'd like to see in the coming 2011, so don't forget to cast your vote. It counts, trust me on that one!

The major suggestion I had throughout 2010 was to revamp my blog in terms of easier navigation through older posts, better fonts/colors to be easier on the eyes and some different sharing capabilities. I hope this will be an improvement--it's been fun and ridiculous. ^_^

Anyway, onto the original post! (and hush, it's only a few hours old, it's not that bad)
[NOTE: I'm having trouble with page breaks in this new blog format, so click on the post title/header to view the entire post, thanks! ]

Annual Review (BBT)

btt button
What’s the best book you read this year?
Worst?
Favorite?

Best--My Utmost for His Highest--Oswald Chambers

Worst--Hmm, it's so bad I can't recall.  ~_^

Favorite--Eats, Shoots and Leaves. ^_^

Happy New Year from Fiction Fusion--thank you for your support and comments in this past year, it has meant quite a bit to me! 

The End of the Year (2010)



Well, I've been putting it off.

I've been watching, reading and enjoying the traditional year-end posts of my fellow bloggers and friends. I've also been dragging my feet in taking a moment to crank out my own version. Why? Well, I'm not quite sure, maybe it was a pretty decent year and I'm a bit reluctant to see it go. Maybe the year ahead is still a bit of a looming blur and I'd like to smooth it out before I make any definite remarks in regards to what could be coming.

Or maybe I'm just procrastinating as usual. I'm apt to think it is option three. ^_^

This past year has been an excellent rollercoaster ride--from ups and downs, drama and no-drama, I have to say it has been enlightening. I have tried new things, traveled to new places and found a few more pieces of myself. Granted, I can't explain all of it, or even begin to put it into words, but I can feel hope in this new year.



I can feel it coming in the way we say that we believe in things. We believe it because it is there in front of us and we have faith that our beliefs are legitimate because they have been tried and tested. Yes. Maybe. But what if you take that belief and that faith and set it on fire. Watch it burn away all the junk and ridiculousness and then scoop up what is left.

That's a whole different kind of purity.

That's what I am seeing for 2011.

I've also been making a few decisions in regards to my various blogs and the recent lack of information/posts. I have always managed to find the time to do what really matters to me, so upping a few things on my priority list is merely a green light for making other things happen.

But as much as I ramble and drabble about random things, I am ultimately writing for a reason, a purpose and even an audience. I did this last year for my fiction blog and I figured I would cover it with a poll again, to see what everyone would like to read in the upcoming year.

I have my new theme all ready to go and a great deal of exciting things happening, that I cannot wait to share. Of course, seeing as it is the holiday break, I know once the semester begins, I will be budgeting time more than anything else, so the perfectionist side of me is trying to hammer down a few specifics here. I'd like to make blogging a part of my new to-do list in 2011.

For my readers, I know this will be a bit of a give-and-take, in that I will not be churning out the usual amount of new content on a weekly basis. I will be taking the time to revise, edit and tweak some of my writings before presenting them, in an effort to post a higher quality of work. Everyone has been wonderful in putting up with my sleep-deprived student mistakes, handfuls of typos/grammar bloopers and whatnot, I appreciate it--and hope to show my appreciation by learning from those moments and improving from there. 

I've been thinking about a 2011 theme and wondering about it as I stared at the little badge I made for 2010. I was starting to think that I hadn't done much of anything at all in connecting dots, until I tried to prove that I hadn't. That was more of a joke on me, for all the resolutions I can make for the year and the best of intentions were faded when I tried to strangle my 2010 theme. It didn't flop or flunk, it worked just perfectly. Maybe it was subconscious, but it has shown up all through this past year.

Connecting the dots--consistently, persistently and continuing on through the rest of life and reality while the dots are slowly coming together. I'm amazed.

Personally, I'd like to thank everyone who read, commented and shared my blog this year. You have made this year even more special for me and I'd like you to know much I appreciate it--Thank you a thousand times over and I wish you a Happy New Year 2011.

Blessings in His love and light,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Fiction : Day 5

Author's Ramblings: Well, it's been a wonderful Christmas for me. I've enjoyed the time with family and friends, especially those still visiting and whatnot. For that reason, I have held off on my posts a bit to get ready for the new year and spend some time with those I do see often enough. I've also had a request for "changing" my Christmas stories from fantasy to non-fantasy versions. It isn't really a bad idea--or a hard one, but it might take some time. They might not show up right away, but if you found these fantasy pieces to be a bit too much, then keep an eye out for the others that will eventually appear here. ^_^ Also, please note, I am no longer taking any more song title requests-I have more than enough to work with--thank you, everyone! On a happy note, this one today is an episode from a favorite pair of characters, cousins Lana and Jackie. You can read about one of their first adventures together here.

This lovely painting was done by Liz Lemon Swindle


To find out more about the Christmas Fiction Challenge or to read past entries, 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: Lana's Christmas Adventure


Lana stomped into her bedroom, slamming the door as hard as she could “This Christmas is so stupid!” She glared at the shut door, struggling to resist the urge to kick it. Doing so would only result in a stubbed toe and possibly a scuffed sandal.

Dropping onto her desk chair, she reached down to yank off the strappy sandals. “It’s just a minidress and stupid shoes! Ugh, why do-”

“Merry Christmas, Lana.” Jackie spoke from the corner by the window where she’d been sitting, half-hidden by the burgundy curtains.

“Aie!” Lana yelped, stumbling to her feet and then sinking back into the chair, with her glare now directed to her crazy sister-like cousin. “Jackie!” She huffed, turning away, still fiddling with the sandal. “What are you doing here?”

“You wouldn’t take my calls and you kept telling your mom to tell me that you weren’t here.” She shrugged, rising to her feet. “Your charm was offline too, I was worried so I came over. Your dad let me in.”

“Worried? You just wanted to drag me along on another one of your crazy adventures!” Lana successfully removed the slipper and tossed it beneath the desk. “What do you want now?”

“They aren’t crazy adventures, they’re experiences that help to-”

“Yeah, well I didn’t ask you to do that for me!”

“I didn’t give you the option to refuse.”

“What?” Lana was on her feet, hands clenched at her side. “Excuse me, what did you just say?”

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

My warmest Christmas wishes to all my readers, family and friends. May the holiday season be filled with wonderful, awe-inspiring moments now and in the year ahead. 



Merry Christmas!

~Sara

Friday, December 24, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Fiction : Day 6

Author's Ramblings: It took me a while to get this one finished--and as promised, there isn't anything 'fantasy' about it. ^_^ It is a bit short, but I think the length suits the piece. I can't believe today is Christmas Eve--I guess that means I ought to write faster, eh? If you have a song you'd like me to storify, please mention it in the comments, on my facebook page or via email. I will still finish the 12 days, regardless of whether Christmas arrives first. Happy reading and Merry Christmas! 
This painting was done by the talented Brian Jekel.

To find out more about the Christmas Fiction Challenge or to read past entries, 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: Beside The Manger


Away in a manger,
No crib for His bed
The little Lord Jesus
Laid down His sweet head

Joseph crept through the stable, searching for the little fire he’d left and his very pregnant wife. He had worried, but she had assured him that all was well, to see about some hot water and such from the inn. “Mary?”

“Joseph.” Her voice was quieter, fainter.

He moved towards it, smiling when he saw her face and then staring in amazement as he realized she was cradling something in her arms. Shock registered so briefly, he only felt the wonderment slipping into him as he drew near. “Mary.” He breathed.

A happy tear slid down one flushed cheek as she smiled up at him. “Isn’t He beautiful?”

“W-we need a crib.” He stammered.

She smiled. “Shall I leave that to you?”

He managed to mirror the smile back. Taking a quick look around the stable, he discovered an empty feed trough, a wooden manger. He brushed it out as best as he could and dragged it over to where the mother and baby sat close to the little fire. “How’s this?” He ran a hand through his beard. “Some clean hay will help, I can get some from here.” He disappeared again, reappearing with an armful of fresh, yellow straw.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

12 Days of Christmas Fiction : Day 7

Author's Ramblings: My apologies again! I really am getting behind in keeping up with these. I thought I'd be on schedule today, but things are simply too hectic on my end. This particular piece wanted to keep on running and I nearly had to strangle it to tie it down to a reasonable length. I also have a few questions/answers to add, so I won't be babbling for long, except to say this is inspired by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra's "The Ghosts of Christmas Eve". In answering the recent questions via email-to Britney, yes, I will probably write a sequel to Thom's Toy Soldiers sometime after the holiday-I really had too much fun with the story and I didn't want it to end the way it did, so keep checking back. Something will appear soon. To Angie--Yes, I know some of these have been pretty crazy with the sci-fi/fantasy twists I've been meshing them with, but to make up for it, the next one, "Away In A Manger" is going to be as normal as I can make it. I'll do my best. ^_^  To Ethan--Thank you for the kind words. Theodore McGinty (Christmas 2008) goes quite a way back, I'm thrilled to know someone still remembers it. As for a sequel, w-e-l-l--stay tuned! ~_^  If you have a song you'd like me to storify, please let me know in the comments below, post on my facebook page or send me an email--as long as it is a valid Christmas song, I'll see what I can write for it. Merry Christmas and happy reading! 

To find out more about the Christmas Fiction Challenge or to read past entries, 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: Mysterious Meeka


In this room where shadows live
And ghosts that failed, learn time forgives
Welcome, friends, please stay awhile
Our story starts with one small child

“Meeka!” Sharon couldn’t keep the edge from her voice as she edged around her younger cousin. The darkened attitude of the sullen teen was beginning to wear on her. “If you’re not going to help and you can’t make yourself useful, then please stay out of the way!” She hurriedly thrust the armful of sparkling tinsel and extra light strands. “Take these over the living room and-”

“And give it to Uncle Jack. I know.” Meeka glared at her, turning away, her darkened expression the perfect opposite to the festive decorations in her hands. “He’s like, the only one over there decorating.”  Her footsteps were more like shuffles on the wooden laminate floor as she disappeared around the corner.

Sharon watched her go, biting her lip. “Hey Mom?” She tugged her ponytail tighter, hurrying over to the kitchen where the women and older cousins were helping out with the holiday baking. “What’s up with Meeka?”

The grey-haired, spectacled woman didn’t even pause as she floured two cake pans at the same time. “I don’t know what’s up with her, hon. Laura was hoping you could help out.” Her mother gestured towards the woman in the pink polka-dotted apron. “Meeka’s been like that since summertime. No one really knows what…uh, could you help me here for a moment?”

“Sweater. Flour.” Sharon gestured towards her clothes.

“Use a towel.” Her mother threw back. “Tuck it ‘round the collar like a bib and then just stand here.”

“Mo-om!”

“Sharon, you’re twenty-five, not five. Just hold it here and be quiet. You know we’re short-handed!”

“You’ve never been short-handed before.” Sharon mumbled, leaning away from the tiny puffs of flour and sugar. “Besides, what changed this year? Everyone else is still here!”

Both her mother and her Aunt Laura paused in their movements. Then Aunt Laura spoke, a touch of too much sweetness in her voice. “Meeka, actually. She’s a whiz in the kitchen.”

“You’re kidding.” Sharon bit her lip. “That goth chick?”

“I’ll thank you to speak kindly of your cousins.” Aunt Laura scolded, but she said it with a weary smile. “Don’t stress over anything. She’s changed a lot in the past few months and I…I don’t know. She won’t do anything strange, but she’ll probably make you feel miserable if you’re trying to bug her.”

“I didn’t bug her!”

“No, but you did give her the good Christmas decorations to carry.”

“Huh?”

“If you leave her alone, she’ll leave you alone. I meant that sending her with the good Christmas decorations probably wasn’t such a wonderful idea if you didn’t want something to break or-”

“Wow. Thanks, Mom.” Meeka was standing in the kitchen entrance, her arms full with cardboard. “I always wondered how stupidity got started.” She dropped the stack of flattened boxes on the floor. “Uncle Jack said to give this to Aunt Marcy.” She turned on her heel.

Aunt Laura’s face flared a bright red. “Meeka!” She hurriedly wiped her hands on the apron hurrying over. “Wait, I didn’t mean that-!” Her hands went to her hips, the pleading tone disappearing along with her patience. “Don’t you dare walk away from me when I’m speaking to you, young lady!”

“I’ll walk away when I feel like it!” Meeka shot back. “Quit trying to push me into some perfect mold all the time! I hate this place!”

“You hate everything!”

“You’re right, I do. I hate you. I hate all this fuss about nothing and I hate Christmas!” Meeka stomped off.

There was an awkward silence in the kitchen and Sharon gingerly set down the pans she’d been holding and tugged off the towel her mother had tucked into her sweater collar. “Aunt Laura?” She stepped forward, one hand outstretched.

Aunt Laura only pulled away, a half-smile on her face. “I-I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to disturb everyone. I should be more careful.” She wiped a stray tear off of her face. “Don’t worry. I’ll try to keep the family drama to a minimum, in fact, I’ll see if I can find Laci to come and-”

Sharon was caught gently by the shoulder and moved to the side as her mother came forward. “Laura, are you alright, hon?” Somehow Sharon was jostled out of the kitchen and into the hallway, with her arms full of the cardboard boxes Meeka had brought with her.

For a moment, she was tempted to return, but realized that she didn’t really want to be involved with the entire mess of Christmas baking. Chewing on her lower lip, Sharon toted the boxes outside to the back porch and tossed them in the giant plastic bin for garbage.  

As she turned back to the house, she was surprised to see a sudden flash of something silver and black. Stepping inside and closing the door behind her, she hurried after the movement to find Meeka opening up the narrow door beside the mudroom in the back, heading up into the attic.

She almost called out to her, but thought better of it and instead gingerly inched her way up the old, tiny staircase to see what was going on. To her surprise, Meeka simply walked to the center of the room and dropped to her knees, before curling up on the ground.

Sharon stared for a long time and then the strength slowly ebbed out of her legs and she found herself sitting on the floor with a hard thump.

Who spends this night in attics dark
Where dreams are stored like sleeping hearts
And so it's here that they must wait
Till someone wishes them awake

Meeka rolled over to the side, turning to see who had come. There was no readable expression on her face in the shadowy light. “Oh. It’s you.”

Sharon blushed. “A-are you okay?”

“Perfectly peachy. Need something?”

“No.”

“Then go away.”

“Do I have to?”

“What?”

“Do I have to go away? I’m not doing anything to you. I’m just sitting here.”

There was silence for a moment and then Meeka shifted to look away. “Whatever. See if I care.”

“Why are you up here?”

“So you do want something.”

“I don’t want anything!”

“Then why are you asking questions as if you want me to answer?”

“Because-!”

“Because what? Can’t you just sit quietly? You’re going to ruin everything!”

For somewhere on this night of nights
She's looking to believe
Here among the ghosts on Christmas eve

At first, there wasn’t anything unusual visible and then Sharon began to see the faint, white wisps slipping up through the floorboards. She thought she was seeing things until the white wisps began to slink along the floor and curl around Meek’s feet.

“Meeka-!”

The white wisps dived for the wall corners and Meeka sat up abruptly. “Would you be quiet already?”

“W-what was that?”

“Ugh. You’re worse than my mother!” Meeka jerked unsteadily to her feet, crossing over to glare down at her older cousin. “You can either be quiet and stay or just go away before I push you down those stairs.”

“Rude!” Sharon retorted, tackling her to the ground. “Apologize!”

“Ow! No way! Get off me!” Meeka struggled for a moment and then she twisted away to the side and suddenly went limp.

“Meeka?” Sharon tried to look at her, but when she straightened, the scream that left her lips had everything to do with the ghastly, disembodied face that stared mournfully down at her, shrouded in greys and whites. “Aieeeeee!”

Meeka rolled over and shoved her backwards. “Don’t! Don’t!” She lunged forward, trying to cover Sharon’s mouth. “Don’t scare it!”

“Scare it? What about me?” Sharon shrieked, scrambling for the stairs. She was halfway down them when she realized that Meeka wasn’t following her. She stifled a groan and turned back on the steps. “Meeka!”

She froze, standing in the doorway in shock. Meeka was sitting on the floor, surrounded by various spirit-like vapors with varied expressions on their strange, round faces. She was petting one in her lap that strangely resembled a kitten. The others seemed to transform under her touch as she played and spoke to them, a soft white glow beginning to appear around her.

“M-meeka?”

The darkened head barely turned. “Shh! Don’t scare them. They need me.” She played and cooed to them until the strange, scary creatures turned into white, adorable representations of various baby animals. They were content to run around her, crawl on her and mewl in quiet voices.

“What are they?” Sharon found herself drawing closer and sitting just a few feet away, watching the strange spectacle. “What are you doing to them?”

“They’re dreams.” Meeka said, quietly. She rose to her feet and the white creatures assembled around her.

“Dreams?”

“Not mine. Other people’s dreams.” There was a sigh as Meeka wiped her forehead and the light surrounding her swelled to illuminate the entire attic space. “Definitely not mine. I couldn’t possibly dream such wonderful things.”

Sharon winced. “Whoa. Bright.”

“Sorry. I can’t really control that yet.”

“Yet? Wait a sec, exactly what are you doing and how long have you been doing it?”

“I’m saving other people’s dreams and I’ve been doing it since summer started. They just started appearing and I couldn’t help it. I can see them everywhere. You even screamed at yours. That was rude.”

Sharon blinked. “W-what?” She sputtered. “Back up here!”

“I don’t want to.” Meeka wrinkled her nose. “You’re noisy and you’re clueless. If you don’t know what I’m talking about then it’s pointless to explain to you.”

“O-kay.”

Meeka sighed. “Just watch already would you? Yours are really twisted up. What did you do to them? And quit with the freaking out, it’s really scaring them.” She extended a hand, waiting until a fox-shaped creature came to nibble at her fingers. A bird-shaped whiteness fluttered over to her shoulders and Meeka began to explore the attic.

“What are you doing?”

“Grams used to have a trunk up here.” Meeka grunted, tugging at a stack of storage boxes. “Could you at least pretend to help?”

“Why are we looking for a trunk?”

“Because I feel like it.”

Sharon bopped her lightly on the head, before bending to help her cousin move the stack of boxes. “Right. Is there something in particular that’s-?”

“Remember the one with all the really old stuff?”

“We probably shouldn’t be playing with that.”

“I’m not playing with it.” Meeka rolled her eyes. “The dreams want to see it.”
“The dreams?” Sharon repeated. “Okay, now you’re officially freaking me out.”

“Stop trash-talking them!”

And there near an old looking glass
There was a trunk from Christmas past
That she had somehow missed before
But now decides she will explore

“Hey Sharon, over here!” Meeka kicked a square with her foot. There was a slight shower of dust and she coughed, covering her mouth with one sleeve. “I think I found it.”

“Seriously? Are you kidding me?” Sharon made her way over to help haul out the trunk. “Whoa! I remember this. It’s pretty old.”

“Older than you?”

“Were you born with that kind of-”

“Reflex. Sorry.”

“What kind of a reflex is that?”

“The kind that comes with your natural survival instinct.”

“Funny. Mine doesn’t seem to be so snarky.”

“Maybe you’ve forgotten how to use it.”

“Har de har har..”

“Is that supposed to be a laugh?”

“You tell me. There’s a lock on this thing, do you have the key or something-?”

The question was pointless, for Meeka quickly backed up two steps and then pointed to the lock on the dusty trunk and gave a tilt of her head to the white creatures surrounding her. “They’ll get it, stand back.”

“Get it? They? Why are we standing back? That’s a really old trunk you know!”

“Good grief, do you always complain this much? You used to be more fun, you know!”

The trunk lid popped open.

Both girls turned to stare. Meeka held out one hand for a high-five. A white blob happily complied. “Nicely done guys!”

'Twas filled with toys and one old wreath
And several letters underneath
So as the evening hours leave
The child sat down and started to read


Sharon gave a quiet gasp as the soft glow from Meeka lit up the contents of the old trunk. “Wow!” She breathed, dropping to her knees beside the old trunk. “This is really old. I don’t think that this is the usual trunk that Grams used to let us-”

“It’s the same one.” Meeka said, dully, moving to sit beside her and beginning to root through the contents. She was careful, her hands making soft movements as she dug through the chest. “It’s got to be here somewhere-ugh!”

Sharon sat back to watch her for a moment. “Hey Meeka…are you alright?”

There was a scoffing sound, but her cousin didn’t turn around, instead intent on finding whatever was buried inside the old wooden chest. Sharon watched her until she realized that no definite answer was coming.

That was one of the last points of her temper. “Meeka!” Still no answer. “Do you want me to-!”

“What?”

“What? Don’t give me what? What is going on with you? I’m trying to be nice here.”

“I’m sick of people being nice to me. What part of ‘go away’ is so hard to understand?”

“The beginning and the end.”  

“Ha. Funny!”

“I’m not even trying. Meeka, talk to me.”

“Why?” She jerked around from the chest, angry tears beginning to streak down her face. “You don’t really care! You just want to know why I flip-flopped from a goody-two-shoes to this! You think I’m weird. You probably even think I’m creepy right now. You’ll walk downstairs and convince yourself that all this weirdness is some kind of odd side effect and then you’ll act like nothing was right or wrong. You’ll tell yourself it was a dream. You’ll say you drank too much eggnog.”

“Eggnog?” Sharon stifled a shudder. “Blech. Don’t remind me. Aunt Rhonda made it this year.”

Meeka almost laughed. “That bad?”

“Worse.” Sharon stuck out her tongue and waved a hand. “It’s way too strong in the wrong way.”

“She doesn’t have an electric mixer.”

“Then I’ll give her one for Christmas.”

“She won’t use it.”

“True.”

The silence refilled.

Meeka looked away, wiping her face with one shirt sleeve.

“Hey Meeka? I wouldn’t ask you if I wasn’t…you know, worried. You’re right. I don’t know what to think and it is a little creepy so it makes sense that I’m probably having a weird dream right now, but still-”

“What did Mom tell you?”

“Huh?”

“They’re all talking about me. Everyone. As if I’m some sort of strange creature that’s being paraded in front of them.”

“It’s not like that—they’re just trying to…adjust.”

“You’re a terrible liar.”

“I wasn’t trying to be perfect.” Sharon ran a hand through her hair. “Look, uh, what were you going to do with that chest?”

“Huh? Oh.” Meeka turned, absently. “Remember we used to write Christmas memories for Grams and she’d tie them up in a ribbon and stick them somewhere?”

“You still do that?”

“You don’t?”

Sharon blushed.

“She said that she kept all the old ones together and only the newer ones she saves upstairs. I figured the old ones would be up here.”

“What do you need them for?”

“To remind me that Christmas is real.”

“Huh?”

“I hate it, Sharon.” The tears began to appear once more. “I really do. I should be happy right now. I should be excited. Even if it has zip to do with presents, I should be happy. I should be thinking of a holiday dress and new pajamas or something. I should be happy!” The last word was flung out. “And I’m so miserable right now you can’t begin to imagine how much it hurts.” She hiccupped. “I wouldn’t wish this on my worst enemy and I-”

Sharon found herself hugging the younger girl and biting her own lip to keep her tears at bay. “There’s nothing that says you have to be happy all the time.”

“It’s Christmas.”

“So? I mean, sure, some neat stuff happens on Christmas, but that doesn’t always mean its ribbons and bows. Things happen. People change. People die. Parties go bad. Gifts in poor taste appear by the dozens and people stop fumbling for spare change when they shouldn’t. Christmas isn’t all that. It’s…it’s…”

“It’s what? Tell me what it is?” Meeka pulled away. “Tell me what’s wrong with me?”

“Nothing’s wrong with you-”

“I was fine! I was perfectly fine until summer started. I didn’t do anything out of the ordinary. I just went to sleep and I woke up and then I realized that nothing changed.” She buried her face in her hands. “Nothing changed at all. I prayed and I asked God to please fix my life that I’d do whatever it is that He wanted as long as He just kept up His end of the bargain-”

“Oh sweetie, you don’t bargain with God.”

“Not that way!” Meeka sniffled. “I just said that I was tired of the way things were. Seeing shadows all the time and being so good even when I really wanted to rip someone’s head off for being such a-”

“Shhh.”

“And then I woke up and I realized that I was seeing them again.”

“Again?”

“You can see them, can’t you?”

“Er, well.”

“They’re real. Just like how I always wanted to be a librarian and-”

“You? A librarian?” Sharon dissolved in laughter. “Seriously? Oh good grief girl! You are kidding me! No way!”

A hurt face stared back at her, freezing the laugher in mid-volume. “I’m serious.” Meeka cast a quick glance around her and then pursed her lips giving a soft whistle.

“What are you doing?”

“Finding the dream you just squashed.”

“What?”

“That was a legitimate dream. I love to read. I love books. I’d hate to be teacher. I’d be a horrible teacher. But a librarian? I think I could do that. It’d probably be fun for awhile.” A crumpled white mass dropped into Meeka’s lap with a faint whimper.

Sharon swallowed. She watched as Meeka picked it up, cradled it in her arms and began to pat and stroke its head as if it were a cat. Within a minute or two, it had taken on the shape of a cat from a white blob to something a little more likeable, sitting comfortably in Meeka’s lap.

“How long have you been able to do that?”

“I don’t know.” Meeka held it up and waited as it fluttered off. “I’ve been doing it as long as I can remember.”

“Why am I seeing them too?” A faint trickle of panic began to set in.

Meeka rolled her eyes. “Because you’re around me, duh. Whenever people are around me, they see them, as long as I see them.”

“Huh?”

“Mom used to freak out all the time. So I’d try my best not to see them anywhere. Not to look for them, not to talk to them, none of that craziness.”

“Ah. I see.”

“No you don’t. I’m always being considerate of everyone, of her, of you, and whoever else, everyone but me.” The darkened edge was returning to her voice. “Everyone else even before myself. You what I heard her say when I got out of school? I was so happy. I was excited! I couldn’t wait to be home, Saron. I walked in the living room just as she was telling that lady next door what a perfect daughter I was and how she never had to do anything around the house and life, because I did it all. It was just taken for granted! That I just do them because I like it!” Meeka muffled a scream in her elbow. “How stupid can she be? I never did that. I never did any of it. I would just—I would have them help out.” She waved a hand to fluttering whiteness behind her. “I’d get them to help when she wasn’t looking, but then she was always treating me like I was some precious commodity that-”

“Want some candy?”

“What?”

“You’re kind of uh,” Sharon dug into her jeans pocket and produced two peppermint candies. “Here.”

Meeka looked from her to it and then took the candy. “Thanks.”

“No prob. So your mom freaked out and you retaliated by flipping out?”

“No.”

“Uh, Meeka. News flash. Goth is so last decade.”

“It isn’t goth.” Meeka sighed. “I can just…I can keep track of them better if I’m wearing black. It’s less distracting.”

“What?”

“And if I look like someone you won’t want to bother, then the chances of you seeing these poor guys and scaring the wits outta them is pretty slim, isn’t it? And if Mom is always fawning over me for stuff I didn’t do, she’d see them too and I—I can’t give them up.  I don’t know. I can’t help it, it’s like I see them and I have to do something about it. I don’t get it. I feel like such a freak!”

“You’re not a freak.”

“Yeah, well, tell me that when you get down those stairs and start checking over your shoulder to see if there’s any mini-ghosts or something following you.”

“Hey!”

“That’s the truth, Sharon. I’m going to all this trouble to-”

“To play the martyr and turn yourself into a jerk just because you think it will protect the ones you care about.” Sharon smacked her forehead. “Meeka, grow up! Stuff like this is a normal part of life.” Meeka perked a brow. “Okay, some it. I don’t know—maybe you’re an exception to something, okay? My point is, it’s not so bad once you know what’s going on and anyone who tried to be one-hundred percent nice and perfect all the time would probably snap. You’ve lasted awhile on your own. It’s fine to share to with some people sometimes.”

“I’ve tried!”

“Then pray about it!”

“Praying got me in this mess in the first place!”

“How!”

“Because-!”

“Don’t blame God for giving you an answer.”

“What?”

“You wanted an answer right? What if this is your answer?”

Meeka blinked, her head tilted forward until her chin touched her chest. “I didn’t think about that.” She admitted, slowly. “I can’t think about anything lately and it really makes me-”

“That’s because your head is probably all screwed up with whatever negative junk you stashed in there. Seriously. You have a family, girl. People care about you. I care about you. You were my favorite little cousin, okay? I don’t mean you have to be Pollyana all the time, but you can still be yourself and be happy from the inside out. We love you for who you are. Not who you pretend to be or try to be or for who you’ll be in the future. You’re only human. We know that. So are we. Just be yourself.”

“What if I don’t know who I am?”

“Then pray about that. Don’t pray about deals and whatever. Talk to God. Talk to Him like He’s your best friend—not some sugardaddy for when you want a freebie or two. He’ll answer you somehow, you just have to be ready. Don’t go looking for love in the wrong places, girl.”

“I’m not-!”

“Then why are you up here on Christmas Eve in a dark attic, looking through a dusty trunk?”

“That’s—that’s because I wanted to-”

“You wanted to what?”

“What is Christmas?”

“Hmm?”

“What is Christmas? I can’t remember. I used to know. I used to be happy. I used to understand what you’re talking about and now it’s a jumbled mess in my head. I hate it, Sharon. I hate it!”

“You don’t hate. Some things you just intensely dislike.” Sharon sighed. “Christmas huh? It’s love, isn’t it?

“It’s what?”

“It’s love. In the most obvious form possible. He didn’t have to give us a Baby Jesus. He didn’t have to show us all these wonderful and miraculous things. Good grief, He didn’t even have to give us a way out after we’re the ones who messed up, but He did. I don’t know what you’ve been thinking or what’s been going on with you, but Meeka—the only thing I can do is tell you about this. Tell you about Him. Tell you now. Try to make you understand.” She bit her lip. “That’s why you’re looking for those letters, aren’t you?”

Meeka looked away.

“I used to embarrassed hearing you read some of yours. It always seemed like such a fairytale. I used to think I could never write a letter like that—much less read it out loud.”

“The letters weren’t for you.”

“I know.”

“You should try writing one again.”

“What?”

“There’s a little dream on your shoulder.” Meeka turned back to the chest and rummaged through it again. “You know you want to write a letter. Go ahead. If there is someone who deserves to hear from you at Christmastime, it’s God, not old Saint Nick. I know I shouldn’t be the one to speak, but—like I said, there’s a dream on your shoulder. It’s kind of cute.” Her head disappeared into the depths of the trunk. “ Aha! Got it!” She sat back down with pile of dusty paper in her hand, tied together with a red and gold ribbon.

For somewhere on this night of nights
She's looking to believe
Here among the ghosts on Christmas Eve

On Christmas Eve
On Christmas Eve
 

Tears fell in a watery symphony. Meeka sat, alone in the attic, holding the old letters to her chest. The tears that streamed down her cheeks weren’t the blackened, angry ones of before, but tiny witnesses of healing.

She’d been looking for proof, even when she hadn’t needed any. “Dear God, thank you. You sent me proof…very real, talking and smart proof. I guess I have a lot of people to apologize to—but you’re first. I’m sorry…”

~*~*~*~*~

In a quiet corner of the den, Sharon sat curled up beside the desk and between the box of recycled paper. She was chewing on the end of an old ballpoint pen and the thoughts in her head were jumbling together as she began to write a letter several years overdue.

A dream on my shoulder, eh?

Sharon cast a half-glance towards her shoulder. For a moment, she thought she saw a shadow move, but when she strained to see better, it was nothing more than a wrinkle in her shirt. She bit her lip and tried to focus on the paper in front of her again.

“Easier said than done, right?” She mumbled, beginning to write the first lines.

Dear God, Merry Christmas! Thank you for a gift that you didn’t really have to give us—a kind of gift that will never stop giving…


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.