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Flash Fiction – Humbug December 24, 2009

Posted by techtigger in flash fiction.
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The regular story will pick up again next week.  Happy Holidays! 
( Click Here to read the story from the beginning. )


Nox leaned back against Grimm’s side, a puzzled look on her face.  “I get the presents.  But who is this Christmas spirit they keep talking about?  Anyone you know?”

Grimm shook his head. “No.  But then, I’ve spent most of the past 2000 years in a graveyard, so that’s not too surprising.” 

Nox studied the packaging of the latest DeeVeeDee she had bartered for, which had ‘A Christmas Carol’ printed on it.  Her brows knit together.  “The guy gets tortured by three revenants, then dances around like an idiot and buys a goose.  Either things have changed drastically since my mother lived in that dimension, or we got sold a fake.” 

I believe it’s called a ‘humbug’, if this play is right.”

“Bah!” Nox said, and they both laughed.

“Well, I like the eating part of the ritual.”

“Hey, don’t drool on the couch!” she teased.

“I never drool.” Grimm said, playfully thwapping her with his tail. “Want to try this Christmas thing?  Maybe the spirit they keep talking about will show up.”

Nox grinned and pushed his tail away.  “Are you cruising for a date?”

“I somehow doubt the spirit is a dog.”

“Never know till we try.”  

“I suppose we could ask your mother about it.”

They looked at each other for a long moment, then spoke in unison. ”Nah.”

Nox sifted through the pile of discs.  “We’ve got at least three more of these stories to watch. I’m sure we can figure it out.”

“Or fake it. Shall we get dinner first?”

Nox scooted off the couch, out of reach of his tail.  “Sure, if you promise to keep the couch dry, oh mighty drool-monster.”

“Keep that up and I won’t get you any presents.”

Her face was a study in innocence. “But the Christmas spirit likes people who give things. You wouldn’t want to offend your date.”

“I think I’ll tell Loki about the mistletoe and kissing thing. He’ll be all over you like cheap cologne!”

She laughed and held up her hands. “Okay, okay, truce! 

“We should probably invite him anyway, he’s a very good cook. I still can’t figure out why you’re so bad at it. It’s chemistry. You’re a scientist. It should be easy for you.”

“I’m a gears, wires and energy field sort of scientist.  Besides, cooking is more of a soft science.”

“We’re definitely inviting Loki.”

Nox spent the next week carefully researching the Christmas ritual.  Like any summoning, she had to make sure that all of the conditions had been properly met.  The workshop had been completely transformed, all of the usual clutter tucked under the workbenches.  In its place were automaton birds that sang lovely melodies when activated, and crystals strung on silver wires were hung about the room, which Loki had filled with sparks of elemental fire. Nox had bartered with a forest sprite for a living pine tree that was now growing out of the floor, and she had covered it with snow and icicles and more of the crystal lights. 

Wonderful smells wafted out of the kitchen, and since Loki had banished the food-filching hound, Grimm was now helping Nox arrange the gifts.  He stayed motionless while she stood on his back, tacking fireproof stockings to the metal chimney of the pot-bellied stove she had acquired.  She hopped down to the floor to check her work.  “Stockings hung, check. Though how a big man in a red fur suit is going to get down that pipe I can’t imagine.”

“It’s a ghost, short-stuff.”

“I hope you’re right, or we’re going to have to find the hacksaw and crowbar to pry it out.” She said. “And I’m not short, I’m petite, dammit. Puh-Teet!”

Loki poked his head out of the kitchen. “Fight nice children, or this spirit will never arrive.  It seems to have a thing for good behavior.”

Nox gave a theatrical sigh. “We’re doomed.”  

Grimm just snickered, and nudged the gifts into a more pleasing arrangement.

They were just sitting down to eat when the doorbell rang.  Nox hopped up to check the security monitor, and was appalled to see her mother on the doorstep.  “Oh no…”

She opened the door and plastered a false, bright smile on her face.  “Hello mother, come in, we were just about to have dinner.”

Serenna swept past her. “I was in the area shopping for Kel’s wedding, and thought I’d,” she paused, and looked around.  “stop in?”

Grimm and Loki stood up and bowed respectfully, and Nox quickly poured her mother a drink. “Don’t worry mother, the summoning didn’t work, so no harm done.  I think the Christmas spirit only shows up for full humans anyway.”

Her mother turned completely around to view all of the decorations.  “You thought you were summoning a ghost?”  She covered her mouth, and then, much to everyone’s shock and surprise, started laughing.  “Oh, dear, the next time you want to know something about humans, you can just ask me.” 

Serenna smiled at Loki. “I do hope you didn’t let my daughter cook. I’d hate to have one of my healing spells wasted on something as mundane as food poisoning.”  

Loki gave her an elaborate bow. “The feast was all my doing.  And just as well, I’ve seen Nox ruin toast.”

“Hey! I haven’t done that in weeks!” Nox said.

Her mother patted her on the cheek.  “Well, I’ll just leave you to your party. I wouldn’t want all of his hard work to go to waste.  Joyeux Noel.”  She gave her daughter a hug, nodded to the others, and with one last amused look at the decorations, she left.

Grimm shook his head.  “Serenna smiled. She even laughed!  This Christmas thing really does work miracles!”

Nox sat back down at the table. “Well, at least all of our work had some positive results.”  She raised her glass in a toast. “To the holiday spirit, wherever or whomever it may be.”

“To the spirit.” 

“To Christmas.”


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Comments»

1. Deanna Schrayer - December 24, 2009

Lovely story. You do such a great job with dialogue and interaction.
Merry Christmas!

2. Marisa Birns - December 24, 2009

Wonderful dialogue, wonderful humor, just simply wonderful story! 🙂

A toast to you for more goods things in 2010!

3. Julie (Okami) - December 24, 2009

Wonderful!! What a great interlude and addition to the story.

4. ganymeder - December 24, 2009

Nice. I was waiting for my weekly fix of Nox and Grimm. Glad you didn’t disappoint, but that would never happen. Excellent storytelling, as always!

Merry Christmas!

5. Sam - December 24, 2009

Brilliant! This story has made my Christmas Eve. 🙂

Merry Christmas!!

6. Laura Eno - December 24, 2009

Egads! Her mother was in a good mood! Wonderful story as always.

7. soesposito - December 25, 2009

Thanks for sharing a Nox and Grimm Christmas moment with us! So delightfully innocent, made me smile. And fireproof stockings! What a great idea…lol. May the spirit of Christmas not get stuck in your chimney! he he Have a great holiday!

8. Kim Batchelor - December 25, 2009

I’ve somehow missed Nox and Grimm before tonight. The story reminds me of one I might read in Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things. This is a great story and an interesting twist on the holiday.

9. Olivia Tejeda - December 26, 2009

To Christmas, indeed. Having a different perspective on these characters rounds them out even more. “He’ll be all over you like cheap cologne.” That was really funny, and even though it’s a old line it worked perfectly right there. Merry Christmas, Angie, and all best for 2010. ~Olivia

10. CafeNirvana - December 26, 2009

Missed this 🙂 Love it! Merry Christmas and a happy new year! 🙂

11. Louise Dragon - December 26, 2009

Nice take on the holiday spirits. Wonderfully told story!

12. Anne Tyler Lord - December 28, 2009

I thought I already commented, but don’t see it, I’m losing my mind.

This story was so entertaining! It was a pleasure to read your fun dialogue – many small details popped out to add to the fun!

“The guy gets tortured by three revenants, then dances around like an idiot and buys a goose.”

Ha, great description of Scrooge!

techtigger - December 28, 2009

nope, no comment before on this one – thanks for checking in! And happy holidays to you! 🙂

it’s always fun to imagine what a complete stranger would make of a foreign culture. Like an archaelogist trying to recreate ancient practices (but with more goofing around *lol* )

13. ~Tim - December 29, 2009

Very cute. Looks like they found the spirit after all.

14. Once in a Blue Moon New Year’s Eve Party!! | Don't Fence Me In - January 10, 2010

[…] at that! Angie brought…ah…something really Grimm with her!” Olivia said, backing […]

15. Walt - August 20, 2010

Another excellent addition to the story. Christmas must seem so strange to those that haven’t experienced it. The scientific take on it was great.

16. Xanto - September 3, 2010

I like the idea that they thought they were summoning the Christmas spirit. It chilled me that Serenna laughed.


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