Santa Dressed In Black

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Mystery and Crime  |  House: Booksie Classic
Daniel had saved up to make this a good Christmas for his kids. Why was he always such a failure?

Submitted: December 03, 2016

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Submitted: December 03, 2016

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Santa Dressed In Black

 

Daniel Roberts was a failure. That was the thought that kept revolving around in his head along with the vast quantity of alcohol he had just consumed. $500, he had saved, to get his kids some nice Christmas presents. He’d be lucky if he had $1.50 left.

 

Every year he got to listen to resentful complaints from Ben, Ryan and Sophie. Back at school after the Christmas holidays they would hear what their friends and their classmates had received. Every year he heard them talking to each other about how they lied about their own gifts, not wanting any of the others to know how little in comparison they had been given. Not this year, he’d promised them. Now he had gone and blown the lot and they’d again have to make do with the small presents their mother bought out of saved up house-keeping money.

 

And then he’d met George. They’d been mates for years and Daniel had felt it would have been rude to turn down his invitation for a pint at their local. And that had been what he’d intended, just a pint or maybe two. There’d have been plenty of money left. But one thing had led to another, one drink had led to another, and when the betting had begun Daniel had been feeling lucky. He could easily make back what he had spent and more.

 

However, luck decided otherwise and turned her back on him. At least that was what Daniel felt, as bet after bet had gone against him and left him virtually skint. He couldn’t even afford to buy his kids a bar of chocolate each. He’d have to do something and he’d have to do it quickly.

 

The house on the corner seemed to beckoning him. House! More like a mansion -- four times the size of their humble abode, at least. And it was all lit up, curtains left wide open to show off their giant of a Christmas tree with wrapped packages scattered all around it. The tree was beautiful; all lights, and baubles and Christmas figurines. It looked just like one of those you saw on the TV, not a tiny little chain-store one with a few sub-standard decorations sparsely scattered around it’s branches.

 

And in his inebriated state Daniel began to come up with a plan. He’d break in and help himself to a few of the packages. There were plenty there, a few would not be missed. And he’d pocket some of those classy decorations too, while he was at it. They’d not even notice that any were missing.

 

He was dressed all in black. Jacket, jog pants, even his sweater was black. For a moment it struck him as funny, him being kitted out as a burglar when that had never been his intent. No point in loitering though. Hesitation only led to doubt and he had to do something before he went home.

 

Daniel had some experience of breaking in to houses, a product of his misspent youth, but he’d never been a regular criminal, had never been involved in anything big. He’d be able to get in there somehow, he was sure. He’d just take a quick glance around, make sure no one’s actually watching him.

 

All clear so now he could get to work on the entrance. Up the path, well, up the path and the garden as the path seemed to keep moving. The step at the end leading up to the door almost caught him out but he managed to steady himself at the last minute. Now to fiddle with the lock. Think, he’d told himself. All locks, at least those on houses, could be opened without the proper keys. He just needed to steady his hands.

 

So Daniel set to fiddling. One thing after another he tried, fumbling as much as anything else. It had to be empty, no one could be in or they’d have heard him by now. And then the door clicked, swung open, and he found himself stumbling inside.

 

The hallway had three closed doors leading from it, and a staircase. Daniel could forget the stairs. All he had to do was work out what door led to the room with the tree in it. A simple thing really, to anyone that was sober; but Daniel was finding it almost impossible to get his bearings even with the door right behind him.

 

He made his way slowly to the first door, and turned the handle. The door swung inwards and he staggered forward into a room that appeared to be spinning around. The tree was there, swaying backwards and forwards, so at least he’d managed to pick the right door. The multi-colored lights made everything look strange – beautiful but decidedly odd.

 

It wasn’t until he reached the tree that Daniel realised he did not have a bag with him. He rummaged through his pockets just in case he’d stuffed a carrier bag in one of them some time. Again, luck had turned her back on him. Cursing loudly, then quietly when he remembered that he was somewhere he should not be, Daniel made his way drunkenly towards the pile of presents.

 

There seemed to be quite a few small packages along with the big ones. That was good. If he chose carefully, he’d be able to fit a few in his pockets and hope they contained suitable gifts like iphones and stuff – things the kids would be pleased to receive. And he could always carry a few more of the bigger ones.

 

One, two, three small packages made their way into his pocket. Daniel just wished the room would slow down with its revolving; it was beginning to make him feel quite sick.

Not long now and he’d be able to crash out on his bed, sleep for a few hours and straighten his head out before facing the big day itself. Now he’d just help himself to a couple of the decorations hanging there if they’d just stay still....

 

Daniel was so engrossed in his reaching out that he did not hear someone walk past the door. He did not notice how the color of the flashing lights had changed to being more of a blue color than anything else. He stretched up after a particularly spectacular looking star but the tree moved away from him, leaving him unsupported and unable to stay on his feet.

As the tree toppled, so did Daniel.

 

The first clue he got to his true predicament was the two pairs of shiny black boots he could see when he opened his eyes. Dancing boots? No, the floor was moving not the boots. Daniel felt his stomach heave, lurch, and vomit sprayed across those boots. He found himself being pretty roughly hauled up on to his feet, handcuffs being fitted around his wrists. His pockets were emptied, the contents passed to a woman in a dressing gown who he had not noticed until then.

 

The woman held a mobile phone in one hand. Why had he never considered that? Daniel silently cursed himself for being the fool he so obviously was. His kids were not only going to go without decent presents, but they’d have to live with the consequences of his actions too. A failure! That’s what he was. No doubt about that at all.

 

In the hallway, two young children sat side-by-side on the stairs. As Daniel was being led towards the door he couldn’t help but hear their words.

 

I thought Santa always wore red. Why is he wearing black?” the girl asked.

 

There’s red there, too, Jen,” her brother replied. “Just look at that big red face!”

 

Can we open our presents now, Mom?”

 

Daniel did not hear the woman’s reply. The door closed and he was escorted quite forcefully to the car, lights still flashing, that stood waiting by the kerb.


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