The Grotto (Part 2)

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We walked through a plastic curtain that was meant to be dripping icicles and entered the igloo. There was a thick patterned rug on the floor and a huge red plush throne which Santa was sat upon. There was a female elf at his side with a fake book holding loose papers. I remembered that we had been asked Willow’s name soon after we had joined the queue.

Santa looked like anyone you’d find in other shopping centres and events. He was tall and fat – though his stomach was probably padded out. His red suit was bright and the buttons shining. He had a huge white beard that looked almost real but really couldn’t be and matching long white hair. The face peering out from all of that was wrinkled and brushed with make up. Santa looked tried, but he was hiding it well behind that smile and twinkling blue eyes.

‘And who do we have here?’ Santa asked in a deep, jolly voice.

Willow walked over to him, her head and shoulders high, determined to gather more evidence for her mission. I hung back, hoping that she didn’t embarrass me.

‘Ah, Willow!’ Santa said with quick glance at the elf’s open book.

Willow stopped by his massive black boots and as if she was a toddler, Santa lifted her up and on to his knee. I had a flash thought about wondering how okay that was now a days. Willow seemed happy enough.

‘Have you been a good girl this year?’ Santa asked.

Willow nodded, ‘yes,’ she added.

The elf slide the book further down, allowing Santa to look at the pages.

‘Ah, I can see from the good list you have been! What would you like for Christmas?’ Santa asked.

‘A unicorn,’ Willow said quickly, ‘with a rainbow mane and tale, a golden horn and she has to be pink.’

Santa chuckled before saying, ‘I should be able to do that for you.’

‘Thank you,’ Willow replied then, ‘Can I ask you a few questions? It’s for a report at school.’

Santa looked a little worried and the elf’s big smile turned into a frown.

‘Go on,’ Santa said slowly, some of the jolliness gone from his voice.

‘How are you related to the real Santa? And don’t say you are ’cause I know that’s not true as the real Santa is far too busy right now.’

Santa looked thoughtful and in a whisper said, ‘I’m his cousin.’

‘Santa has a LOT of cousins,’ Willow mused.

‘He sure does but we must keep it a secret.’ Santa winked.

‘Are these elves real or just cousins too?’ Willow questioned.

‘Cousins. All the elves are needed at the moment to make all the toys.’

The elf shot me a look then give a small side nod to Willow. A clean sign she wanted me to remove my niece. I looked away, pretending I’d not seen and forcused on the glitter covered wall next to me as if I thought it was real ice. We had waited so long for this and I wasn’t about to drag Willow away…Unless she got too embarrassing.

‘But do know Santa right?’ Willow carried on talking.

‘Of course! And I’ll tell him you were asking about him,’ Santa replied.

‘What about the reindeer? Do they really fly by magic? Why doesn’t Santa get a motor, like on a speed boat?’

‘The reindeer do fly by magic dust but there is also a motor. It helps to get the sled around faster. That’s why it’s very hard to spot.’

‘What happens if things go wrong?’ Willow pressed.

The elf give a small cough and Santa glanced at her, she was tapping her empty wrist.

‘Santa has many back up plans if anything goes wrong. But everything is fully tested, so nothing ever does. Is that all? There are lots of other children waiting to see me,’ Santa explained.

Willow looked across at me then back up at Santa, ‘I guess….I’m still not closer to the truth though.’

‘The truth?’ Santa echoed.

‘Yes,’ Willow uttered as she swung her legs, ready to get down.

‘You want to know if Santa is really real don’t you?’ Santa voiced.

Willow looked startled at him and I bit my lip. It was so time to leave.

‘If you believe,’ Santa begin, ‘then he is real inside of your heart.’

Willow give a nod and slide off his knee.

‘Oh, don’t forget your present!’ the elf called and she handed Willow a gift wrapped in girly unicorn paper.

‘Is it a unicorn?’ Willow asked excitedly.

Santa laughed loudly and replied, ‘you’ll have to open it and see!’

‘Thanks for coming,’ the elf added.

Willow skipped over to me, a huge grin on her face. She showed me her present, her finger itching to open it.

‘We’ll open it at home,’ I told her.

Saying goodbye to Santa and his elf helper, we left the grotto.

To Be Continued…

Mists #writephoto

He watched the mists rolling across the field and patchy woodland from his bedroom window. He was still in his pajamas, the blue and white stripped ones that his wife had brought him last Christmas. His lower back ached and so did his upper legs, as if he been sleeping on a pebble beach instead of the well worn soft bed.

He did the morning exercises like his doctor had told him too. The bending and stretching helped a little but he’d still need some pain killers to get through the day. Perhaps, he’d take a bath later, if he remembered though he already knew it was going to be another day inside; watching TV, reading, napping, cooking then falling asleep on the sofa.

Watching the mists would entertain him for awhile and if it cleared up maybe he’d go for a walk. It didn’t though. Just like the snow and ice the other day, the mists hung around as if they were happy to be there. He didn’t really mind, it was interesting to see how the mists give everything an out of focus look.

In the evening, it was nice to see that the mists even softened the too harsh Christmas lights coming from other peoples’ houses. He looked at the small tree his daughters and grandchild had set up for him before the front window. The lights were on a timer so he didn’t have to do anything. He and his wife normally put the tree up and placed the children’s presents under for them to open on Christmas day…

This year, he’d be going to stay at his eldest daughter’s for a few days. Then his youngest daughter was bringing her family for New Year’s week. He was looking forward to seeing everyone and having the company. It was going to be just what he needed to being some brightness and colour back into his life again.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2017/12/14/thursday-photo-prompt-mists-writephoto with thanks).

Jolly

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Christmas is only two weeks away and I’m so excited! I just don’t think I can wait any more! There’s so much to do still; like wrapping presents, sorting and buying the food and getting the time table finally done. After that though, it’ll be all sorted and I can truly celebrate. I feel so full of joy that I can’t contain it. I just want to, I don’t know, dance about and sing loudly to Christmas songs, tell everyone how I feel, but that would be a bit crazy….Why should that matter? It’s CHRISTMAS!

(Inspired from; https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/jolly/ with thanks).

Letter To Santa #TwitteringTales

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Dear Santa,

I’ve been really good this year. Please can I have the pink sparkly ponies play set, Girl’s Adventure books, Craft making box and a ton of chocolate!

Also, if you can make it snow that’d be great.

Love, Megan.

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2017/12/12/twittering-tale-62-12-december-2017/ with thanks).

After The Madness

And after the madness what happens? I wondered as I stood by the sink still washing pots from yesterday. Life returns to normal and the Christmas glow disappears.  It was a true conclusion, but not the one I wanted.

Placing another plate on the drying rack, I wondered what was the conclusion I wanted. Behind me in the living room came the sounds of children at play. My two younger brothers, one sister and two step-sisters, were going through presents again. Arguments were breaking out backed by the sound of electric toys playing music and other sounds.

My parents were still slummed in bed; tried, drunk and stuffed from yesterday. They had done a great job though and it had been another Christmas to remember. Today, was their day off, but there was so much to do.

Blocking out the now loud sounding voices, I started cleaning a pan. It was easy scrubbing having been left to soak. What really was the point in this whole Christmas thing?  I thought, going down a different path to try and figure out the answer to my first question. Wasn’t once a celebration of winter and the final harvest?  Then it was religious and now it’s mix of those and consumerism. 

Finishing the pan, I shook the water off and towered it on top of the pile. I went to sweep a loose strand of blonde hair back but stopped as I caught sight of the yellow washing up gloves. I tried shaking the hair away, but it didn’t work. Sighing, I tucked it behind my hair and felt a slight wetness.

The sounds from the living room increased and one of my step-sisters burst through the door.

‘Chis just hit in the face!’ she shouted.

‘I didn’t!’ Chris called from the hallway.

I rolled my eyes and let the next pan I had grabbed sink into the soapy water. I looked at her face, there was a slight red mark on her left cheek.

‘She started it anyway!’ Chris cut back in.

Someone started crying in the background and I knew it was time to give up on the washing up again. Taking off the gloves, I left them by the sink.

‘Both of you say sorry and forget,’ I spoke.

Sweeping past them I went into the living room and saw my other siblings sitting amongst wrapping paper and cardboard boxes. It was the youngest who was crying; my other step-sister. I picked her up and all thoughts about Christmas went out of my head. Even though That madness was over, more were sure to happen in this house.

The Last Present

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It had been a struggle, but finally, Macy had brought her last Christmas present. Laying spread eagle across the sofa and catching her breath, she heard the muffled sounds of Christmas songs coming from a neighbouring apartment. She tried to guess the song and though it’s tune was familiar without the lyrics she couldn’t recall it.

Getting up, she left her shopping next to the coffee table and went into her bedroom. In a large grey plastic moving box in the far corner the rest of her presents were stored as well as wrapping paper and cards. Macy picked it up then decided to drag it into the living room.

Putting a Disney Christmas movie that she had seen countless times into the DVD player, she began wrapping up presents, labelling them and writing cards. The sound of the movie blocked out the muffled music, but Macy wasn’t watching movie anyway.

About two hours later and Macy placed the last present into the box. Sighing, she collapsed on to the sofa. She shut her eyes and dozed for a few minutes. Then stirring herself awake, she dug out a list from her pocket. Unfolding it, she went through the names, the gifts and the ticks. Everyone and every gift had been brought.

It’s really finally over, she thought, not fully believing it.

Macy looked at her small Christmas tree which was twinkling in the corner. There were a few presents under it all ready. Soon though, she’d be packing them with her clothes and other stuff to go to her parents for the Christmas weekend. She might have only moved out a few months ago, but with her new roommate gone home all ready, Macy didn’t fancy Christmas alone.

‘I should double check,’ Macy spoke aloud to herself.

Finding a pen, she went through the people and presents, making sure to double tick them off the list.

‘Yep, all done. It really is over,’ Macy said, ‘and now I can totally enjoy Christmas.’

 

Thursday photo prompt – Christmas Present – #writephoto

There’s Always Someone

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There’s always that one person you forget to buy a Christmas present for. No matter how carefully you write lists and confirm with other people, someone slips your mind. Perhaps, it’s your child’s teacher? A neighbour who’s been super kind to you this year? A long lost relative who’s appeared out of the blue?

Whoever it ends up being, it always comes to you at the last moment. You could be sat wrapping up presents and suddenly a name will pop into your head. You’ll check and see that yes, you’ve missed that person. Or you’ll be talking to someone and they will say that so and so has been in touch and suggested they would like… and you will gasp and says you’ve forgotten to get them something! Or even worse, said person will turn up at your front door, weighed down by gifts and with their family shouting, ‘happy holidays.’

There’s always that scramble, isn’t there? That rush around the house and into the cupboards to dig out something to give them. Don’t try to deny it. We all have that one place were things brought in the sales and unwanted gifts live in case that last minute present is needed. You’ll pull something out; a forgotten bathroom wash kit, a feet care set or a child’s blonde haired doll.

You’ll wrap it in a hurry and hand it over, hoping that it wasn’t actually a present they gave you last year. You’ll smile and make it seem like you’ve had that present for weeks and you didn’t forget at all. You’ll accept the gifts given to you but still you will question who you got that particular bathroom spa set or where you brought that bubble bath from.

In the Christmas madness, these thoughts will fade and vanish. You’ll be distracted trying to get the turkey lunch finished, the children crying over a wrong present, granddad snoring during the Queen’s speech. You’ll fall into the enjoyment of Christmas once more, that niggle feeling of forgetting someone gone.

Letters To Santa

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Meka sink down into the sofa, it was the first time in days she’d had some time for herself. Taking a sip from her wine glass, she placed it down and opened the two envelopes in her lap. It was the first chance she had gotten to read the letters the kids had wrote to Santa.

Starting with her son’s one, she read it quickly. He had asked for a new bike. A bright blue one. She’d got him a helmet too and the new coat he’d seen last week. Folding the paper back up and slotting it into the envelope, Meka picked up the pink one.

Pulling out and unfolding the paper, she read what her daughter wanted.

Dear Santa,

I have been really good this year. I only want one thing and that’s a unicorn! 

Love Ginny. 

‘A unicorn?’ Meka cried, ‘that wasn’t what she said. She wanted a doll’s house.’

Re-reading the letter, just to double check there had been no mistake, Meka put it back in the envelope then placed both letters on the table. Having a mouthful of wine, she grabbed her laptop and began looking for a unicorn soft toy.

Dear Diary #23

Dear Diary,

Tomorrow is my birthday and for the first time ever I’m spending it alone! Okay well, not so alone because I have the three dogs, two cats, the rabbits, the hens, chicks and the two baby lambs. It didn’t dawn until this morning when I saw the date, realized it was my birthday tomorrow and thought I’ve made no plans!

I guess though the more older you get the more birthday’s lose their excitement. When I was little birthdays and Christmas were always big and the only times of the year when you could really ask for a lot of stuff and get most of it. The parties seemed so much fun, even if they were simple and easily forgettable.

Getting older having my own money meant  could just buy whatever I wanted when I felt like it. No more waiting for my birthday and Christmas to role around! I could have it now with a click of the PC mouse and scan of a card. But I miss those special presents. The ones you hadn’t even thought to ask about but your parents and friends knew you’d love. I do kinda wish to re-live those times again.

I guess I should figure out what to do, see if anyone is around. I can’t be alone for my birthday! I don’t think anybody should be.

 

***

(Side note; with it actually being my birthday tomorrow, I thought I’d have a theme of ‘birthday’ this month. Just thought I’d announce that. Also, planning to get the first short story collection out by the end of this month! Thanks for reading and please like and share. Hayley)

Boxing Day

Casey went downstairs, tying her new dress grown closed, before she looked over her living room and saw the after Christmas mess. She stopped and sighed deeply as her migraine throbbed in her temple. She shut her eyes then opened them again, but the scene before her hadn’t changed.

Casey could hardly see the dark patterned carpet under all the brightly coloured wrapping paper. The jolly eyes of printed penguins, reindeers and snowmen bobbed before her. She looked away and to the Christmas tree in the far corner. The pine needles were already starting to drop as if the tree realised its use was over. Not even the pretty decorations could make it look happy again.

She went down and staying close to the panelled staircase, went to the kitchen door. She kicked wrapping paper out of the way with her slippered feet and smelt a mixture of bad things. She paused and looked sadly around the room, trying to figure out where the smell of old farts, leftover food and pee was coming from.

A soft crying got her attention and she walked into the kitchen and found her daughter’s Christmas present from Uncle Ron. Casey opened the crate and let the tiny puppy out. The fluffy white ball jumped at her hand and smeared it’s tongue over her hands. She picked the puppy up and went over to the back door.

Letting the new pet out, Casey searched the kitchen for some pain killers. Finding and taking them, she made herself a cup of tea whilst looking around the kitchen. Dirty pots were stacked in the sink and the tap was dripping water over them. All the surfaces, including the old buckling table were covered in the remains of Christmas food and random party items.

Casey let the puppy back in then breaking her rule from yesterday, took it upstairs with the mug of tea. She went back into her bedroom, placed the puppy and mug down, then got back into her bed next to her husband. He was snoring heavily, dead to the world. She snuggled the puppy and drink her tea.

The migraine cleared a little and she could not help but smile as she reflected on a good Christmas day. The clean-up still wasn’t going to be fun though.