Kristina Furey

A modern day holiday carol

This is a short story.  My own modern twist, on Oliver Twist's, Authors, other story.  ;-)

And this story begins with YOU…  

It was a chilly evening, evidence that a cold front was on it’s way and a sure sign that winter was coming.  You briefly consider the events in the news, the women coming out in droves, the Tax Reform Bill… and then your mind turns to the latest tweets, click bates and briefly, you consider if you should post something but stop, just short of doing so, as the evening news pulls you in.  Your mind keeps pushing back that thought about that family, you know the one with the sick child as you consider what might happen if things like CHIP go away    Then you remember, you wanted to check out some new tech products online as the desire to have the latest greatest, begins to fill you with a rush of dopamine that begins to erase all worries and cares…  

You have no recollection of the time that has passed, you only realize that you somehow lost it there on your computer.  Then suddenly, your computer seems to come to life, typing out  words before you eyes.  It appears to be some sort of warning.  It says you will be visited by various entities tonight.  You look at the beverage that has accompanied you on your computer surfing, expedition and decide it might be best you go to bed now.

The sound of a child and the feeling of an earthquake yank you from your sleep as you wake to find a child jumping on your bed.  You realize, it is a playmate from your youth that appears to not to have aged since childhood.   They jump off the bed and begin running around your room reminding you of the games you played as a child with them and some of the adventures you went on together.  They say, “Do you remember what that was like?”  They remind you of TV shows and movies and about that crush you had and then they ask you, “Do you remember what you used to say you would be when you were an adult?”  They remind you of times you spent with your group of friends.  Then they get this sad look on their face as they recall how you went your separate ways and their voice trails off as you find yourself abruptly awoken by yet another presence in your bedroom.   You rub your eyes, confused, you could have sworn that dream you just had was real.  You hear noises and see something lurking in the dark.  You stare into the darkness and call out, “Who’s there?”   The presence moves closer and you find yourself, face to face, with yourself.  Your image being reflected in a mirror that has made it’s way to your bedside.  There is just you and the mirror in the room, yet you also hear a voice you do not recognize as your own, in your head.  You hear words you once read in Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”  “Come in and know me better”.    Ever so quietly in the distance you think you hear something that sounds like U2, it’s “One”.  You look around and with your vision now a little better in the dark, you try to locate where the music is coming from.  Could it be coming from inside the mirror you wonder?  You hear words in your head again, “I have had more than 18 hundred brothers.”  Again, you somehow recall those were words in that Dicken’s book… “Why would I know that?” you wonder…

The mirror starts to behave like a TV showing you various scenes of places and people around the world and the voice tells you “This is happening right now.”  You see family and friends going about their lives.  You see strangers.  Some are just going about their lives and some you realize, are really struggling with things.  Then you see a child spying on their parents and hear what the child is hearing.  The parents are discussing bills and how they will afford Christmas gifts for their children.  They are discussing what might happen if the Children’s Health Insurance Program is not funded.  They can barely afford the health insurance costs they have and feel like they are dangling over bankruptcy as it is…  “Those politicians have sold us down the river.”  “That’s why business and government should be kept separated, like church and state.”  “I have to work overtime tomorrow.”  “I thought you were taking Tim to his appointment? I guess Martha and Belinda will have to walk home from school, while I take him.”  “Belinda’s had such a terrible cough.  Seems like it’s been going on a month now…  She seems healthy otherwise, right?”  “Kids get colds, she’ll be okay.  Make sure they remember to take their hats and mittens.”  “I was really counting on a bonus this Christmas but I heard today that won’t be happening.”  Well you have your job and that’s something to be thankful for…”  “So I was thinking, in lieu of personal gifts this year, why don’t we just get something like a jigsaw puzzle and a new deck of cards…  you know, family gifts…  and then I can make some play dough to put in the kids stockings…  We can spend the day together playing and putting the puzzle together…  it will be a good opportunity to spend some time together as a family.  I told you I have to work News Years right?”  The child spying from behind the door says a little prayer but you can’t hear them.  You hear more words from that Dicken’s novel.  “If these shadows remain unaltered by the future the child will die.”  And so will many more.  

The child in the mirror is replaced by You, reflecting back at you and to each side of you, there are two emaciated children without faces.  Where their faces would be there are words.  One one child bares the word “Ignorance” and the other child the word “want”.   The mirror now gets closer and closer to you, until your breath begins to fog the mirror, blurring the images.  A ghostly finger seems to be writing in the fog, first a “D” then an “O” another “O” followed by the letter “M”.  “Will you erase it?” The voice asks.  Only as you try, the mirror begins to pull back away from you.  You scramble to reach it but it continues to pull back and pull back and pull back…  The voice says,  “You are the present but the present only takes place in the moment.  You must act in the moment or lose the moment and seal it’s fate.”  The voice seems to be coming from somewhere up above as you feel yourself slipping and falling and falling and falling.  You wake up with a jolt, as if you just caught yourself from falling.  

You stare into the quiet darkness as you catch your breath.  There is no one there.  No one but you.  You lay in bed considering the strange dreams and occurrences of the night as you try to ease your way back to sleep.  Eventually, you do fall back to sleep.

You wake up cold and hungry.  You look around to find, you are not in your home.  You are on a street somewhere.  It doesn’t appear to be the United States.  The people around you are emaciated and their clothing is very worn looking.  But you feel like you have been here before.  It’s like you recognize the street you are on and yet you don’t.  As you look down the street, you see what appears to be zombies, slowly, ambling their way towards you.  You see people looking as confused as to their whereabouts, as you feel.  You begin to head towards one of them but before you get to them a quick moving, shadowy figure, ascends upon them and you watch in horror as the that person seems to be drained of their life, right before your eyes.  They fall to the ground for a moment, recover but they are now surrounded by the zombies who have come to collect them.  

You run, not knowing where you’re going.  Quick around that corner!  Ah, here.  There’s no one here.  You can stay here for now.

A piece of paper blows over and lands on your foot.  You pick it up and read.  It’s a flyer that says, “DON’T BE EXPENDABLE!!  You are a natural resource!  When you are gone, you are gone.  Don’t waste your precious time and energy.  Don’t sacrifice your children.  Guard them, their health and yours.  Don’t be fooled.  Money can not buy these things.”  You look around trying to make sense of it all when you once again spot the zombies and a shadowy figure that is quickly moving your way.  You  run!  You trip and you find yourself in a hole that is about 6 feet deep but you’ve landed on a cushion of sorts.  No, you realize, you’ve landed in a coffin and it shuts.  You hear voices above you.  “Such the profit we’ve made of this one.”  “Sent them through the ringer we did.”  “I wonder… whatever will we do when we run out of them?”  “I suppose we will become cannibals.”  “Last one standing wins.”  “Wins?  Wins what?”

As you struggle to let out your last breath and you see the mirror again, with the word “Doom” now illuminated by the condensation of your breath.  You’re not sure but you think you hear the song, “Man In The Mirror” softly playing in the distance as you quickly run your sleeve over the mirror clearing from it, the word “Doom”.  You awake again to hear the song, as a radio blasts out through a car window and the sun, rises.  

 

 

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