Twelve Days of Fiction, Day One. The Longest Night.

Shared publicly — 2014–12–25

Twelve Days of Fiction, Day One. The Longest Night.
—-

It’s the longest night of the year.

Well, no, it really is not. The solstice is actually two or three days before, but to us? To us it is. And it lasts one full day.

I am the Second in Command, and you already know it, because if you’re reading this, you’re my successor. It’s strange: I once asked the Keeper of Records when should I write my letter to you, and as it so often happens here, she told me that I’d feel when. And it is so, because I felt it tonight of all nights, and here I am. But don’t feel forced by my decisions, and by all means ask her yourself, when your time comes. She’ll love it. And most possibly will give you the same answer.

The Boss is out there right now. I’d tell you not to worry when he’s at work, but it would be useless, because you will. It’s happened to all of us and my guess is that it will always do. What people fail to understand is that what we feel is beyond worry. It’s concern, it’s angst, and it’s guilt. And the worst of it all is that only the humans are to blame. In a sense, they’ve made us all. Not really, no, but they’ve given us shape, and that includes everything we feel. We are a reflection of their hopes and their love, but also of their fears and shortcomings. Such is life for us.

You know, only one of them nearly got it right. That British writer, what’s his name. Jerry or Perry something. He almost nailed it in that book of his, though I’ll never know where did he got the pigs from. Small wonder they made him a knight, with such an insight into the real workings of the world. I think you’ll love his books, but you’ll have to ask the Librarian about them; I’ve always been quite useless with human names.

And now the Boss is almost back. Some say our job is too hard, because we manage everything. There was even a rebellion once, you know. But it was short-lived. Still, yes, we do most of the work, but tell you what: would you like to die every time you go to work? Because, frankly, I would not. That’s what the Boss has to endure. That’s what humans have always failed to grasp: it’s about Belief, and when he sets out, he’s full of it. But at the end of the night, he’s exhausted himself. You will have to watch it every time, but he’ll have to live through it. Or die through it.

He’s coming in. You know, I’m quite modern-thinking. I still don’t know who you’ll be, so I’ won’t try to influence your character, but I’ve tried to make him change some things. I mean, a sleigh and reindeers? That’s outrageous. Any automatic system would do, but he’s a sticker for traditions, even though deep inside we know they’re all invented, and traditions are created anew everyday. Anyway, here he comes.

He’s wasted, emaciated. The Chief Medical has her stethoscope out -of course he’ll never allow anything else. I don’t know why we check: she signals “no” to me, as expected.

*

I stopped writing, of course. And went down, and took him with me. We went into the Box. I tried to have the name changed to the Chamber, but you don’t need me to tell you that he didn’t want to hear anything about it. After all, Boxing Day is Boxing Day, even if nobody remembers why it’s called that. Chief Medical and I stayed until he passed away. Just like that: all strength gone, no life force left. He just shrinks and shrinks before your eyes.

And all you can do is close the Box and wait. You never know how long it will take. I recall one year when he was back in September, but that’s not the norm. He’ll usually take longer, and you’ll keep wondering. Until one day, among a cloud of mist, the Box will open and the Boss will be there, his usual self once more.

But what if one day he doesn’t come back?

*

There, here’s my first story. It’s not at all what I expected to write, but it’s what I got. Today it’s Christmas day, and when I asked a couple of friends for themes to write about, one of them replied “Merry Christmas”… and so here it is. My Christmas tale with a twist.

#TwelveDaysOfFiction #AmWriting

Vicente L Ruiz’s photos


Originally published at plus.google.com.

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