Well, in the spirit of Christmas, I've been working on this little story of mine. :3 Since it takes place on Christmas Eve, I figured it'd be best to wait until Christmas Eve to finish the second half. Now to just post this and get ready for family to come over... Blehh. xD Hahah, just kidding. If you aren't able to tell from the way this story ends, I love family. c: Anyways... I rated it PG-13 for violence. I don't know if it'd be considered violent, but... Whatever. Just keeping all my bases covered.
For those of you that don't know what song Carol of The Bells is/Haven't heard it before, here you go. :3 It's not my favorite version of it, but it'll do. With that out of the way, let's get this thing started. Merry Christmas everyone, and to those of you who don't celebrate it, Happy Holidays.
The Carol of The Bells
I ran down the alley, clutching the loaf of bread to my chest as I slid behind a garbage can. From the light of store windows I could see the manager of the bread stand pause at the alley entrance, glancing around to see if I'd ran this way or not. I tensed, holding my breath nervously as I willed myself not to move, not to shiver in the freezing cold. After several more moments the manager ran away down the street and I was finally home free. I gave a relieved sigh, looking at the loaf of bread and taking a large bite out of the tip of it. Food. Sweet food.
I stood up, wobbling for a second before making my way further down the alley. I'd save the rest until I got back home. It had been a long winter and the streets were colder than I'd remembered from last year. These rags that I call clothes won't be enough to keep me from freezing to death, I thought to myself with a sigh. I turned at a corner and before I knew it I was at a small strip of stores, the cobblestone streets illuminated by the light from their windows. I glanced at the couples passing by me with their children in the night, all carrying with them looks of disgust at my dirty, torn clothes and unwashed face. I scowled, a desperate attempt to hide back tears, as I reached what I was looking for.
The Little Shop of Miracles. I gazed through its window, my eyes hungrily going over the display of cakes, cookies and fudge they had stacked up along the walls. The store had always been beautiful, especially around this time of year. Christmas time. I pressed my hand against the glass, hoping I could feel the heat of the ovens in the store, hoping that it could warm my fingers. After a moment I sighed, withdrawing my hand and turning down the alley directly next to the store. I still can hardly feel anything with my fingers... I thought to myself. I... I need to find a way to warm myself up or else... I paused, unable to think of the end to that sentence.
I stopped about ten feet into the alley behind several unused garbage cans, staring at what I called a home. The dirty, tattered rags and sheets I'd been able to steal to keep me warm. I sighed, brushing off the snow from the top of my mess and burrowing myself underneath it all. I quickly peeked my head out, leaning my back against the wall of The Little Shop of Miracles as I began to slowly eat the bread I'd managed to steal. Merry Christmas, Alice. Merry Christmas.
A rushed voice knocked me out of my thinking. "Hurry, Elizabeth, come on! It's supposed to reach twelve below tonight!" I looked out of the alleyway at the man holding his wife next to him as they hustled down the street. "It's going to be the coldest Christmas eve in seven years! Can you believe it?"
"After the amount of snow we've been getting, anything's possible, Frank." The girl was too busy eyeing a tray of fudge they'd bought from a shop to care about how cold it may be. Hell, they probably had a fireplace to keep them nice and warm even if it was twenty below. I let out a loud, painful cough, clutching my chest in agony. A sixteen year old isn't supposed to be this cold. I'd originally thought being a kid on the street would be dangerous, but I realized that in this town, the only thing dangerous about it was the climate. Twelve below... Just thinking of it made me shiver, but worst of all, it made me realize just what the reality of the situation was.
I snuggled further into my blankets, the thin insulation not enough to keep my teeth from chattering as an icy wind made its way down the alley. This night... I let out another painful cough, clutching my chest and trying to hold back tears. The reality is that I won't make it through this night, will I? I gave a sob, taking another bite of the bread. I'd left so much in this world unfinished, so many regrets had filled my every waking moment.
In the distance I heard a group of carolers singing 'Carol of The Bells.' I looked at The Little Shop of Miracles yet again, remembering how my parents told me that we'd go there Christmas morning with my brother and buy some Christmas cookies. How I'd convinced them to take us Christmas eve instead, and how Jason tried so hard to get them to go the next day. I gave a faint smile, remembering my father's warm hand around mine as we made our way down the street to go to the store. He had asked us to sing the Carol of The Bells with him as we made our way to the store, but my brother and I had both refused. We didn't want to be embarrassed by singing Christmas carols with our parents.
Then I remembered seeing the car coming at us. My brother's screams, my mother's yell. I had looked behind us just in time to see that it wasn't about to stop, and my yell was what made my father push me out of the way. My yell was what saved me, yet my need for that store is what let that car kill my entire family that Christmas eve. I silently cried into my blanket, the coldness sinking into my skin, chilling me to the core. I wrapped the tattered sheets around me as my eyes began to go in and out of focus, The Little Shop of Miracles all I could see anymore. So this is death... I slowly laid down, the snow falling down on top of me like a blanket. Just go to sleep, Alice... It'll all be over soon...This life wasn't worth living anyways. You'll never have to wake up to this again.
And as the world around me slowly faded away into blackness, all that was left was The Little Shop of Miracles and the gentle carol of the bells.
I groaned, wrapping the sheets around me as a hand grabbed my shoulder, shaking me excitedly.
"What?!" I yelled, shooting up in bed and glaring at the blur of a young boy standing in front of me.
"Y'know, you think you would thank me for waking you up, but being a scrooge works, too."
I rubbed my eyes, my vision slowly coming into focus. "And just who exactly do you think you are to wake me u-" I froze in place. That chestnut hair going into the boy's brown eyes. The freckles dotted around his nose. The way his two front teeth had a gap between them... I gave a short sob of horror and surprise as I wrapped the sheets closer to me.
"Who else would it be?" He flashed a dorky smile at me as he walked towards the door of my bedroom, opening the door and stepping into the hallway... Wait. Bedroom?
I gazed around me in awe, looking at the old room of mine I'd been forced to leave after the accident and the house was taken away. The wallpaper was the same as I'd left it, the stuffed teddy bears still on a chair by my bed. This... This was my room. How did I get here?
"Hurry up, Al! Mom and Dad are going to take us to that store like you wanted! Get dressed, 'cause we're leaving soon!"
I sat in my bed in total shock, unable to say anything or even move. What's going on here...? How did I get back? This... This has to be a dream. I thought to myself. That's the only explanation. I'm asleep. That's all there is to it. I swung out of bed, wondering how long the dream would last.
Within a minute I was descending the stairs to the living room, gazing at the brightly lit Christmas tree and lights hung across the walls. This was too strange. Everything looked exactly like the morning of the accident. For a dream it felt so... So real. How is this even possible?
"Oh, Alice, you're awake!" A sweet voice cut through my thoughts like a knife, making me jump in place. I whirled around to see the source of the sound and before I could control myself, I gave out a cry of delight. My mother stood in the kitchen with a cup of hot chocolate in her hand, gazing at me lovingly.
"Mom!" I yelled out, running at her like a wild bull and wrapping myself around her waist. "Oh god, mom, it's you!" I didn't care if this was a dream or not- I couldn't control myself at the thought of wrapping my arms around my mother once more.
"Who else would it be?" She said gently, running a hand down my back. I felt the tears begin to rush to my eyes, but for the first time in what felt like years I did nothing to stop them. I began to cry in my mother's arms, her voice turning to that of worry as she asked me what's the matter. I didn't bother answering her, all I could do was hold on and hope I'd never be able to let go.
"Alice, sweetie, are you alright?" She pulled me from her waist and knelt down to look me in the eyes. "Did you have a nightmare?"
I looked at her, felt her touch, yet I still couldn't stop crying. This feels so real... I thought to myself with a sob. What if... What if it is? What if I've been given a second chance? I quickly thought up an excuse on the spot. "Y-Yes, ma, I had a nightmare," I cried, wrapping my arms around her neck. "Sometimes... It's just hard to forget that it wasn't real, you know?"
She patted my back, holding me for a few more seconds before letting go and standing up. "It'll all be fine, sweetie. Don't worry." She stroked my cheek with a finger as I slowly stopped crying. "Your dad, brother, and I are taking you to that store you wanted. Go get around and we'll go- That'll cheer you up, won't it?"
"Store...?" I stared at her blankly, rubbing the already-cried tears from my eyes. "What do you mean?"
"Oh, don't tell me you don't remember! You threw a fit all last night wanting to go to that Little Shop of Miracles today instead of on Christmas! You just couldn't wait!"
I could feel my entire body tense at those words. Dear god... No... "I... I thought about it, and I realized it would be better to go Christmas day after all. There's no point in ruining what you all wanted, right?" Please, mom... Please, don't do this to me. Don't let me go there again.
"Nonsense!" A voice boomed behind me. I whirled around on the spot to see my father standing in the doorway with a smile on his face, his hair as messy as it always was. "Go get dressed, Al. It'll be fun!" His words filled me with dread.
"Go get dressed!" He said with a grin. He was using the voice he always used when he thought he was giving me something I wanted but was too shy to take. "We don't mind going tonight whatsoever, don't worry about us. It'll be fun!"
I could feel tears begin to rush to my eyes again, but I knew my parents. Even if this was a dream, it was impossible to change their mind. I had to relive this entire experience all over again... Who on earth would make me relive such a nightmare? I quickly turned to go up the stairs leading to my room, two streams of tears falling down my face.
I finally get to see my family again, only to watch them die.
As soon as I entered my room, I slammed the door shut and began to cry uncontrollably. It just isn't fair! I began to scream in my head over and over again. Why do this to me? Why now? What did I do to deserve this?! I sat up, brushing the tears from my eyes. I needed to be strong. Somehow, I'm able to relive this day. It may be a dream, it may be a miracle, but somehow, I'm here. So what if they die again? I told myself. I went through it once, I can go through it again. I just need... To enjoy the time I have with them. That's all there is to it.
I stood up, walking over to my closet and opening it. Right in the middle of my hung clothes was the black dress I'd worn on the way to the store that day, and underneath it were the black shoes and long, white socks I'd worn as well. If I'm going to be forced to relive this, I might as well experience the entire thing all over again, right? I quickly grabbed them from the closet and began to change.
"Oh, you look just beautiful!" My mother gushed as I walked down the stairs. Blonde hair cascaded down either side of my face in spiraling waterfalls, the black dress fitting perfectly and going right to my knees. My mother always seemed to love when my hair was in two pigtails.
"Beautiful as ever, Al," My dad said with a smile. "Shall we leave?"
I gazed at them, love and pain blurring my vision. "Y-yes... Let's go." We all walked out the door as a family, heading the few blocks it took to get downtown and to the shop. I was on the outside, my father's warm hand wrapped around mine as he held my mother's hand in the other. On the opposite side of her I could see Jason daydreaming, oblivious to the world around him and occasionally tripping as my mother wrapped her spare arm around his shoulders.
They're... They're so wonderful. I thought to myself sadly. I forgot how much Jason loved to tease me, or how much mom loved her hot chocolate. How many little things like that have I forgotten or taken for granted over the years?
"Shall we sing a Christmas Carol?" My father asked with a smile, looking down at me. I returned his stare, nodding my head feverishly. I'd do anything to get my mind off of what I had to do. Anything at all to feel like I had a family again. "Alrighty, then!" He said with a cheer. "'We Wish You A Merry Christmas' it is! Ready... Set... Go!" My mother, father and I all burst out into song, walking down the streets as people turned to stare at us. Jason seemed relatively annoyed at the attention as he walked, but I couldn't be happier. These people... They see me as a girl who's happy, who's with her family. I looked at the faces staring at me, no longer filled with disgust at my clothes or judgment at the thought of my hygiene, but filled with happiness and laughter.
I... I can't do this again. I miss them too much now! I can't lose them again! As we turned the corner, The Little Shop of Miracles was in sight. Across the street a group of carolers began to sing the Carol of the Bells in harmony, making my dad whistle with delight. "Shall we join them?"
I thought for a second, then nodded my head , hoping my family didn't see the tears starting to stream down my face as we made our way towards the crosswalk down the street.
Hark! How the bells, sweet silver bells, all seem to say throw cares away.
The snow sloshed underneath our feet as we walked along the street, traffic rushing alongside us.
Christmas is here, bringing good cheer to young and old, meek and the bold.
As we slowly neared the crosswalk, our voices rising together as Jason's face reddened in embarrassment, I couldn't help but choke back tears.
Ding, Dong, Ding, Dong- That is their song with joyful ring, all caroling.
We stopped at the light, waiting for it to turn as the traffic slowly died down until not a car was in sight.
One seems to hear words of good cheer from everywhere filling the air.
The light quickly turned, and as we began to walk across the street I could hear the car approaching us, unable to stop due to the ice. I instinctively squeezed my father's hand.
Oh, how they pound- raising the sound o'er hill and dale, telling their tale!
I could feel the rivers of tears going down my face as I gazed at my family, the happy looks on their faces as they sang the song. I can't live without them!
Gaily they ring while people sing songs of good cheer, Christmas is here!
I can't lose them! Not again! I can't do this! I won't lose them!
Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!
The cars brakes began to screech, drowned out by the sound of our singing. I... I won't spend my life without them ever again! I can't let this happen! I turned to face the car as it shot towards us, my dad noticing my stare and turning to look with me. "Guys!" He screamed with terror, going to shove me out of the way of the car with his hand while the carolers kept singing.
Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!
I grasped his hand with all my force, holding on as tightly as I could. "For the love of god, I won't lose you all ever again!" I screamed, the yells of my family and the screech of the tires making it inaudible. I turned to face my father as the car slammed into the four of us, knocking us across the street.
Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!
As I felt the life slowly drain out of my body for the second time in one day, I couldn't help but smile. Once again, I could no longer feel my fingers as I shivered uncontrollably, a blanket of snow spreading over my body. Unlike last time, however, my father's warm, gentle fingers were wrapped in mine as the life slipped out of him as well. Never again will I spend a Christmas alone, I thought to myself with a smile. From now on, I'll always have my family with me... Even if it has to be in the afterlife. The yells of strangers filled the air, more cars braking to a stop to try and help in vain. Above the din, though, a sweet tune filled the air. I could barely make out the carolers still singing their song. And as the world around me slowly faded away into blackness, all that was left was my family, The Little Shop of Miracles, and the gentle carol of the bells.
Ding, Dong, Ding, Dong.
Well, there you have it. My slightly twisted version of a Christmas story. xD Hope you enjoyed it, and if you took the time to read it, feel free to leave a reply with thoughts, opinions, criticism etc. That'd be the best Christmas present for me of all hahah. c: Merry Christmas, everyone!