It was Christmas Eve 1998 and the first Christmas in our new house, well new to us anyway. After a lovely family evening together I was the last to go to bed and lingered by the fire, enjoying its warmth. Suddenly the aroma of gingerbread filled the room. It was a wonderful smell but where was it coming from? Puzzled, I made to switch on the lights but froze when I heard a noise behind me.
Turning around, I saw the shadow of a little boy. He was in the old wooden rocking chair by the fire eating the gingerbread cookies we had left on the hearth for Santa. My heart missed a beat as the child turned and looked directly at me whilst sliding off the chair. As he walked in my direction I realized he was not looking at me at all. His gaze was fixed on the Christmas Tree and passed right through me to reach it. It was a strange feeling, but not unpleasant.
He sat on the floor for a while mesmerized by the tree. Smiling, he reached out and touched the ornaments one by one, making them jingle like sleigh bells.
Then, in the blink of an eye, he was gone. Had I imagined it? I was pretty tired. Maybe wine mixed with tiredness allowed my imagination to play tricks on me? I lingered for a while, but there was nothing to see.
“Mummy, MUMMY! Come on get up its CHRISTMAS!” It was my daughter Louise shouting excitedly from downstairs. I washed quickly and grabbed my robe. “Oh mummy look at all of these presents, Santa must think I’m nice this year”.
I smiled at her excitement. Les walked sleepily downstairs. “Daddy, Santa left things for you too” Louise proceeded to open her gifts, throwing paper over her shoulder as she did so. Les followed me into the kitchen and grabbed some orange juice while I put the kettle on to make a cup of tea.
“I’m glad you remembered to eat the cookies last night. I forgot about them and our smart little girl would be suspicious if the cookies were still there” Les said as he walked back to the Christmas tree.
I looked across at the hearth, and the empty plate that had once held three gingerbread cookies. “It wasn’t me, or Santa this year” I said to no-one
My first short story ‘Girl on the Beach’ is currently available on Amazon. My upcoming novel ‘Dead of July’ is currently in the capable hands of my editor, Amy Eye. It will be released in March 2013.