Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas everyone! Wrote this bit of flash fic for all y'all. Fair warning, this was written on a plane and barely double checked. Enjoy!

The Task of Proving Chris Kringle
The NikMacPattyWak

‘Twas the night before Christmas in the Meinminger house, and nothing was stirring, not even Matty-Mouse.
     Demitra was leaned against the banister of the hollow doorway that connected the den to the kitchen. In the den, underneath the tree, bright presents of red and green and white lay in quaint little clumsy piles. The tree, while maybe not the most grand thing any eye ever beheld, looked inviting with its stringed lights casting a soft glow throughout the room. The smell of gingerbread cookies and hot chocolate hovered over the hardwood floors. It was a by-the-books Christmas, exactly the kind the Meinmingers enjoyed.
     Matty, her endearing younger brother (or so she repeatedly told herself) was lying belly done on the floor of the den. He had constructed something of a barricade out of a menagerie of blankets and pillows and stared intently at the fireplace, waiting for the man that would never show.
     “You saw me wrapping one of your gifts.” Demitra said, exasperated.
     “He’s real I tell you!” Matty exclaimed.
     “Enough of that.” Demitra dragged herself to towards Matty, slipping her hands around his waist. “Time for bed, buddy.”
     Matty squirmed against his older sister’s touch, wriggling away from her. Once he was out of her grasp he went straight for the foam nerf sword (awarded to him by Sir Uncle Hank late last October for surviving this perilous world for six years) and held it up to his adversary in a most bold and threatening way. Demitra narrowed her eyes and folded her arms, tapping her foot to a beat that resembled a war drum far too closely for Matty’s comfort.
     Matty flinched, but held his ground, true to his cause.
     “He’s real.” He said, his voice shaking ever-so-slightly. “I can prove it! I promise.”
     Demitra did not release Matty of her vile gaze, not at first, but at the sight of his resolve crumbled to his whims.
     She let her arms drop and dismissively waved a hand in Matty’s direction.
     “Knock yourself out then.” She said, slinking to her room. She had to work in four hours and didn’t have the energy to wrangle the kid back to his room. Rather than playing Mom tonight she decided she’d let Uncle Hank play Dad tomorrow.
     Once the door shut behind her, Matty (basking in the glow of his victory) resumed his post. He studied the fireplace with a mighty intensity, he dared not even blink in fear that the Jolly Saint would sneak past him with his tricksy magic.
It was true, he had witnessed his sister wrapping presents and sticking them under the tree. But she should be grateful he was the only one. Were someone else to encroach on Santa’s most sacred territory, they would be branded an imposter (and quite possibly, in Demitra’s case, a witch). But Matty had grace and understanding that went beyond others. He knew that Demitra had lost her magic sometime ago, sapped away by the dreaded depths of “the Walmart Warehouse”. That’s why she had taken Santa’s place, because she could no longer see the truth. She thought she must do the job of who she believed to be a ghost in his place, to appease Matty. And so, since he loved his sister so, he forgave her her transgressions. More than that, he took upon himself a task most formidable. Reminding her who she really was. He was sure that Santa could help. If she could just meet him, that would be a start.
     So he waited. And waited. And waited. Minutes turned to hours turned to what seemed like days (Matty could no longer tell). And Matty found himself face to face with the true challenge of his Quest, fighting his own eyelids. They drooped over his eyes, weighted down by some evil, unknown sorcery. He tried to overcome this fatal flaw of his. Slapping himself on the cheeks, taping his eyelids open, shaking his head as fast as he could.
     Alas, it was all for not. This was a battle Matty could not win. Sleep overcame him slowly, in a torturous fashion. And as he slid into that cursed land of slumber that dared steal him from his task, he swore that next year, he would finish his Quest. He would meet Santa, and save Demitra.
     As soon as Matty was fast asleep, there was a soft knocking on the roof above his head. Something like the sound of hooves.
     Then there was a thud at the bottom of the chimney.
     And the munching of some gingerbread cookies.
     And the organizing of some presents.
     But, of course, all this was lost on poor Matty.
     A jolly old man in a big round red suit stood above the boy for a moment, looking at his face in contemplation. Wiping crumbs from his beard, he quickly scribbled something on a piece of stationary left on the table next to a now vacant plate, stuffed it under the boy’s hand, and went on his way.

     Better luck next year, Sir Matty.

          -Merry Christmas