prose, short story

Christmas Spirit

It was the night before Christmas. The kid got out of the house impatiently, looking directly at the sky, almost as if he was expecting something to happen or someone to appear suddenly. Nothing happened, a dog barked, someone somewhere yelled. There was still a day to go he thought, less than a day actually, simply a few hours. However old he was, when that particular period of the year came, he always came back to being a kid. In some sense, he never stopped believing in Santa and the whole Saint Nicholas spirit – of course, he knew Santa was no real person, but the symbol was real. As long as you keep it close to your heart, he believed, it existed. So every year, he was the one inspiring the christmas spirit to everyone around : he got the trees each time, gathered the family, got all the presents months before it was even time to start thinking about it, and was probably the most excited about everything. He deeply hoped to influence people, but he was mostly tiring them. It was hard for them to keep up with the kid, Christmas meant presents which in turn meant no money, it meant huge family meetings with other people that you don’t really want to see, and everlasting meals that get you even fatter. Nope, Christmas was not really something to rejoice about, but children love it. The kid’s family was trying hard to keep up with his spirit, and desperately working hard to resist the urge of hitting him in the skull with the damn cooked turkey roasted with figs.
On the day, the phone rang, and surprisingly nobody picked it up. It rang a second time, and then another time, and then silence came back again. No one in the family had noticed it, they were laying there in the middle of a great quietness that was so different from their usual December mornings. Indeed, the kid would always be there to do everything. He usually woke up at 6h, eyes wide open, brain working full-steam, ready to take a quick shower, to comb his hair, dress in his Christmas cooking clothes, and even more ready to start cooking dinner. It took the family thirty five minutes to notice the kid was not up : there was no turkey smell, no figs on the ground, chocolates were still in the boxes and lights were off. The cat seemed happy, though a bit hungry; it meowed as a goodbye and left the kitchen, where the family stood absent-mindedly. Suddenly, there was a knock on the front door, how funny would it be if it had been the cat knocking, thought little Timmy. It was the neighbour, who usually brought presents on the day. He himself was surprised not to see the kid around, and asked about his whereabouts. No one in the family could tell, and they offered him to sit down and poured him a cup of eggnog. One could really feel the rhum, it was not too much though. Quickly, everyone felt good and warm and a bit dizzy, and everyone enjoyed themselves. The phone rang again, nobody picked it up. It rang again and again, until the phone was unplugged. The family laughed hard and drank.
It was Christmas and they liked it. The kid had been ran over by a car. Everyone was happy.


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