Prose Header

Ghost of Christmas Past

by Fiona Lambert

Nick crept through the darkness of the living room. The Christmas tree loomed in the darkness to his right, the fairy lights still twinkling in the gloom.

Seeing the magical display reminded him of his Dad, who had loved this time of year; decorating the house with a thousand lights and giving out treats to all and sundry. Nick never really saw the appeal. He loved to spoil his own kids, giving them presents and seeing their faces on Christmas morning. He didn’t enjoy Christmas shopping, eating turkey, or gridlock because of snow.

“What’s taking you so long?”

Nick turned to see his wife, Marie, in the doorway. She was wearing a cute Santa costume, with a red and white skirt. She wore red stockings underneath and warm ankle boots.

“Nothing,” he replied. “Just thinking of Christmases past.”

As he turned back around, a glint of light in one of the tree baubles caught his eye. His father’s face reflected briefly in the shiny convex surface. Nick blinked and the image disappeared. He walked over to the fireplace, its coal-affect gas fire snuggled neatly into the wall.

Hanging around the hearth were four red stockings, one for each family member. Nick dug into the sack he was holding and pulled out a Satsuma each, and four neatly wrapped little gifts.

You’re taking far too long. Hurry up.

The voice of Nick’s Dad echoed around the room. Nick tried to follow it, turning as it bounced around the walls.

“What’s wrong, honey?” Marie whispered from by the tree. She was kneeling on the floor, pushing the children’s presents underneath the branches.

“I heard my Dad’s voice,” he replied.

“The Ghost Of Christmas Past,” she giggled back. “I bet your Dad loved this bit, and would always eat every last mince pie. I guess that’s what caused the heart attack.”

“I hate traditions,” Nick said

“This is more than just tradition, Nick, this is destiny. Your Dad said so in the Will. Anyway, I’m with you and always will be.”

“I know, thanks,” Nick said gently. Two mince pies and a glass of milk sat on the table near the hearth. He stuffed the mince pies into his pockets. They squished against the other hundred or so in there. He decanted the milk into a hip flask.

“Better save that for the reindeers,” he said. “Come on then, love, another few thousand houses left to do.”

He gently took her hand and pulled her up. She leaned in and kissed him firmly on his lips, carefully avoiding the growing white stubble that would become his beard.

“I love you, Saint Nick,” she said.

“I love you too, Marie Christmas,” he replied.

Don’t forget the laughter.

Nick sighed and mumbled a ho ho ho. I wonder how long Dad’s spirit has to stay around, he thought.

Until you get it right, came the reply.

Nick and Marie walked out the house hand-in-hand, the sound of bells guiding them back to the sleigh.

Copyright © 2011 by Fiona Lambert

Home Page