Friday, December 9, 2016

Good Things Will Come Tomorrow--a short story, part 1

Jacob knew what he wanted for Christmas. He'd tried all year to be the best he could be, even though he didn't always succeed.  His family’s well-being depended on it.

Second grade was tough enough, and Santa should know how hard it was. Yes, he'd pulled Brittany's hair, but her desk was in front of his and her long ponytail always got in his way. And yes, he'd hit Dean, his older 10-year-old brother, but Dean had hit him first. Their mom didn't see that part, but just saw Jacob hitting back. He'd paid the price while Dean just laughed. Jacob guessed the dishes needed to be dried, so it all worked out, even if that was his punishment.

This year, though, Jacob wasn't about to fold. His Christmas list was made up two weeks before they saw Santa at the mall. His mom was worried they weren't dressed well enough to meet with Jolly Old St. Nick, but this was a tough year for them all. His dad had died overseas, and everything was a mess at home. Since their mom worked two jobs to make ends meet, Dean was in charge. Lucky Jacob. He hated mean old Dean.

So, Santa had to listen to the list.  This was Jacob’s only chance to make a difference in all their lives.  He’d dreamed big, too.  Nothing was out of bounds, because Santa could do anything.

They were now on their way to see the man in the red suit, all bundled up in their old car, making their way through traffic in the snow.  Jacob’s mom was stressed, screaming every time the car slid.  But Jacob knew they could make it.  They had to.  Santa needed to hear his list.

They finally parked as close as they could to the stores, but the door still seemed to be a mile away.  Cars were everywhere, so Dean, Jacob, and his six-year-old sister, Gwen, all linked hands and went with their mom toward the door.  That’s the way they did everything these days, because their mom was worried she’d lose a kid.

Once inside, the place was packed with angry-looking shoppers.  None of them wore a smile, but Jacob did.  He knew his goal would be met with success.

The group of four made their way to the center of the mall.  Santa sat on what looked like a throne while four big elves scurried about taking pictures, helping kids sit on Santa’s lap, and handing out candy canes. 

The line was long, so their mom pulled them all to the end of the line and leaned down close.  “Dean,” she said.  “Watch over them.  I’ll be right back.  No roughhousing and you all stay here.  Dean, promise me.”

“Yes, mom,” he said, but he didn’t care.  It was obvious to Jacob.  Once again, it was Jacob’s job to watch Gwen.  She had a tendency to wander off, because she had some sort of special needs.  Jacob forgot what it was called, but she was in her own little world.

They stood in line while one of the elves entertained the crowd.  He did magic tricks and made balloon animals, while Gwen watched.  Jacob didn’t care.  His goal was to see Santa.

They moved up in the line.  Dean held onto Gwen’s hand.  Suddenly, one of his friends from school walked by.  He dropped Gwen’s hand and walked away, toward his friend.  Before Jacob could take Gwen’s hand, she took off toward the Christmas tree in the center of the mall, grabbing at the lights.

Jacob had to make a quick decision.  Should he stay in line or rescue Gwen from pulling the tree down on herself?  He glanced over.  She pulled at a light and laughed.  He had to save her.

Jacob ran to the nearest elf.  “Save my spot.  My sister’s in trouble.”  Before the elf said a word, he took off for Gwen.  The tree tottered and she laughed as it began to tilt toward her.

Jacob grabbed it but Gwen just laughed, still pulling at the light.

“No, Gwen.”  He pulled the light from her and pushed on the giant tree.  But he couldn’t handle it.  It was too heavy. 

He held onto the tree and turned his head.  “Help?” he yelled as loudly as he could.

No one seemed to hear him.  It was up to him to save everyone near the tree, but he wasn’t big enough.  What should he do now?


Stay tuned for part 2 of 3, next Friday!

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