The Little Ghost of Christmas

Baby in the hayHad I put too much Rum in the Apple Cider? I rubbed my eye and peered at the shiny bauble. The footsteps had disappeared of course, and my distorted face looked back at me once again.

“What are you looking at?”

“Oh nothing, just thinking about my Grandma!” I said as I turned around.

The TV show had finished and Les sat with the remote in his hand and a look of hesitation on his face. “Did you say something about going out for a drink?” he asked.

“I thought it might be a good idea, but don’t worry, it’s started snowing again, lets stay home.”

The look of relief on his face was obvious. Les wasn’t a socialite and preferred the company of the television. He immediately began looking for something else to watch. “Anything you fancy watching?” he asked.

“No, I’m going outside to take photos of the Christmas lights.” I answered putting on my coat.

“It’s freezing! Why would you do that?” I didn’t answer because I knew he wasn’t listening. He’d found a Karate Cop movie and was already distracted.

I stepped out onto the porch, wondering if he’d even notice I didn’t bring my camera. It was bitterly cold, but beautiful. Huge snowflakes fell slowly from the heavens, turning the world into a silent white wonderland. Christmas lights glittered like jewels on the pine trees. Fairly lights, when I was a kid I called them fairly lights.

I pulled my hat down over my ears and walked purposefully along the drive way to the dirt road. Why I wanted to go back to the barn I wasn’t sure, but I was drawn there. There were only a couple of houses along the half mile that let to the barn so I switched on my flashlight to make sure any passing cars saw me. I needn’t have worried, none passed by. When the moon wasn’t hidden behind snow clouds, it shone brightly, guiding my path, showing me the way. There were no footprints in the snow, but I didn’t need them. I knew where I was going.

After climbing to the top of the hill I paused for a moment to catch my breath. I looked towards the barn. Dim light shone through ill-fitting door. Some one was in there. What am I doing? Why am I here. Why didn’t I tell Les where I was going?

I crossed the virgin snow and stood silently outside for a while, contemplating what to do next. This is a bad idea. Shall I turn back.

Thats when I heard it. The sweet sound of a lullaby. A mother singing to reassure her child, lulling her to sleep. It was enchanting, hypnotizing.

I enjoyed it for a minute or so, until it was replaced by deep heartbreaking sobs. I gently opened the barn door, just a crack and peered inside.

A baby lay sleeping, snuggled tightly on blankets in the hay.

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