'Flash!' Winter 2017

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: The Imaginarium

A short story inspired by the December Picture Prompt 3, written by Imaginarium House member, Sue Harris https://www.booksie.com/users/sue-harris-189638

Chapter 32 (v.1) - Noel

Submitted: December 18, 2017

Reads: 87

Comments: 1

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Submitted: December 18, 2017



NOEL written by Sue Harris.

I am cold and soaking wet as I clamber up the muddy bank, leaving the dank, stagnant water behind me. My brothers and sisters have all drowned, but I somehow managed to scratch my way out of the sack we found ourselves in, after being plunged into the freezing cold, stinking water.

At the top of the bank there is a path beyond which is a hedgerow of bushes. I pause to catch my breath realising I am not only saturated, but weak with hunger. I hunker down in the grass close to the hedgerow, and look around me. A fox darts by on its nightly prowl for food; luckily it doesn’t notice me and soon disappears into the darkness. I heave a sigh of relief.

Through a gap in the hedgerow I notice a glimmer of light and, with no other options available to me, decide to make my way towards it
In the distance, I can now see a row of houses, where the glow of welcoming lights shine through draped windows. I imagine cosy fires, lucky pets curled up inside comfy beds, snoring contentedly with their bellies full, courtesy of their caring owners. I feel a rush of envy… maybe my brothers and sisters were the lucky ones, at least their end was quick.
I shake off feelings of self-pity and, with a mighty effort, continue on my journey. As I get near to the houses, I manage to scramble to the top of a high fence and then hop on to a handy shed roof in the garden of one of the houses.

Sneaking over to the garbage bin, I search for scraps of food, but find nothing. My tummy growls… oh what I would give for a nice bowl of creamy milk. From my hiding place among the shrubs, I spot some scraps of bread intended for the birds and, although not ideal, help myself to the discarded crusts.

I must have fallen to sleep, because I suddenly become aware of someone shouting Ho, Ho, Ho. I look up to see a fat guy with a long white beard dressed up in a red suit, a white heaving sack over his shoulder. He was acting kind of strange, shaking some sort of white powder all over the ground and making a determined effort to leave a clear trail of imprints from his big black boots, before going through a back door and into the house.

The door was slightly ajar so, feeling intrigued, I follow him inside. I watched as he gulped down a small measure of amber liquid from a glass on the kitchen counter, then bit into a small solitary pie left on a plate beside the glass.

I hear a whispered female voice. “If you’re all done I’ll take a photo before we go up.”
I hear some hushed laughter, before the main light is extinguished. “Did you lock the utility door?” the whispered voice asks
“You better check,” says the fat guy in the red suit.

I crouch down behind a basket piled high with clothes, and watch as the fat guy’s accomplice locks the door.

Grasping the opportunity I dart into a room off the hallway where I see the strangest sight… a tree growing in the corner of the room, glass balls the colour of vivid flowers, hanging from its branches. I find the warmth of the room inviting, so I hide myself amongst the thick foliage of the tree where I can dry out unnoticed until first morning light, when I will be on my way.

I am woken from my slumber to cries of… “he’s been, he’s been.” The childish exclamations are coming from an upstairs room.

“Chloe, go back to sleep, its four thirty,” Came an annoyed reply.

“But he’s been, and I want to open my presents.”

“Just go back to bed, it too early.”

All goes quiet, so I curl up again, luxuriating in the comfort of my tree house. About an hour later, a little girl peers round the door holding a teddy bear in one hand and a doll in the other. Her yawning parents slump down on a settee, their hands wrapped around steaming mugs.

Suddenly the tree I am hiding in lights up in a blaze of colour. I blink, dazzled by the fluorescence.

The child stands gazing up at me. “Look Daddy, Santa left me a kitten as well. He hid it in the Christmas tree as a surprise and it’s really cute.”

Two sets of curious eyes suddenly meet mine.

“What the Fu..”

“Adam, watch your language,” the child’s mother interrupts. I find myself being carefully lifted out of the tree. “I wonder how it got in,” she says, her kind eyes curious. I purr and snuggle into her warm, soft lap.

“What are we going to call it?” the child asks.

“Chloe, I’m sorry but there’s no way…”

“Adam stop, just look at it… no him… he’s such a beautiful kitten. Chloe’s right, Santa left him for us as a special family Christmas present,” the child’s mother insists. I notice how she winks at the child’s father, as if in some sort of conspiracy. I also notice a look of defeat and acceptance in his eyes.

“Can I hold him?” the child asks.

“Yes, but be very gentle with him.”

As the child hugs me to her, burying her small face in my fur, I realise in that instant I’ve had the good fortune to find my forever home.

A few moments later, the child’s mother places a dish of creamy milk on the floor. “As he was given to us as a Christmas present, I think we should call him Noel.”

As I lap up the warm milk, a feeling of great happiness and sense of belonging courses through me.

“I am home!”



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