A bunch of Crooked Cat authors are filling the Christmas season with daily postings of short, festive stories, poems and Christmas articles (like a story advent calendar) which can be found on their blogs via the facebook page Christmas with Crooked Cats where you will find plenty to get you in the spirit of Christmas. This is my first outing as a Crooked Cat author; my debut novel The Adventures Of Katie Button will be released in Spring 2015. Until then, here is my festive short story for Christmas. Love Lizzie.
A Christmas wish
“Where’s your Christmas spirit? Haven’t you got anything better to do?” Daniel tried to ignore the grumbles as he slapped on the handcuffs and escorted the man to the car. Why did people think he had nothing better to do? It was Christmas Eve. He should be at home with his family. With his children, hanging up their stockings, leaving out a few mince pies. With his wife, sharing a glass of wine as they waited for the impossible task of their children falling asleep whilst intoxicated with excitement.
“Do you honestly think I’d rather be here with you than with my own family?” Daniel replied bitterly, driving past the town Christmas tree. The stench of stale alcohol and curry filled the car. “I’m here with idiots like you when all I want, more than anything, is to be at home right now with my family. So please, do me a favour and shut up.”
Daniel sighed heavily. He felt like he wasn’t making a difference at all.
“I love Christmas Eve,” Becky said, snuggled into Daniel. “Daniel?”
“Sorry . . . I . . . something at work.”
“Well, it’s Christmas so switch off. You’re all ours for the next four days. Don’t stay up too late. You know they’ll have us up at four if last year is anything to go by.”
Daniel sat in front of the TV just as the local news came on. A news report on a drunk driver wiping out a whole family on the motorway filled the screen. He watched, saddened by the tragedy as the officers spoke at the scene, officers he recognised. The news report held Daniel’s full attention now. He frowned and paused the TV, staring at the mangled wreck. The number plate. He recognised it. But that was impossible.
Unable to explain what he saw and why he recognised it, Daniel walked outside hoping the fresh night air would clear his muddled thoughts.
“Think you don’t make a difference?” A voice said from the darkness as a man appeared in front of Daniel.
“You questioned whether you made a difference, unfortunately coming to the conclusion you did not.”
“Who are you?”
“Every now and then, I and others like me show ourselves to those doubting their worth, especially at this time of year. Call it Christmas spirit, an early Christmas present.” He smiled as he sat next to a silent Daniel. “That family you saw on the news just now? They were on their way home. But they didn’t make it. A drink driver, who naturally walked away without a scratch, well staggered.”
“But I recognise the car. I remember stopping him . . . didn’t I? How do I know that car?”
“It’s a shadow of what was, what could be. But shadows move, change direction. You could have stopped him, saved that family. But you wished to be home Christmas Eve. You wanted to be with your family. You said you made no difference.”
“I don’t understand.
“It was your wish Daniel. I granted you that wish. Unfortunately, no one was there to stop that car with that man full of booze.”
“But . . . That family. . . You have to do something! It’s unfair.”
“Unfair? You’re not the one sitting in the back of a police car handcuffed!” Daniel peered in the rear view mirror, meeting the gaze of an angry drunk, as they drove past the town Christmas tree. A man stood under it, smiling broadly before fading into the night. Tears ran down Daniel’s face from his uncontrollable laughter. Stale curry and beer never smelt so good.