The whole thing is a bit over six thousand words, which is too long for a blog post. BUT! The entire story is available for free in all the online stores if you want to download it after you catch the beginning here. I've also put it on my website so you can read it without downloading. The links are at the bottom so you can go straight to it.
Have a wonderful holiday season, however you celebrate, and may next year be filled with joy, laughter, good fortune, and love!
by R.L. Naquin
While I’d been busy at work helping a bride who’d gone over budget, the ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Future had vomited themselves across my living room. The mess left me nowhere to step without crunching a glass ball underfoot. My head spun from a sensory overload of color, sound, and texture.
I stood on the threshold, wondering if I should go around back and enter through the kitchen door instead. Or maybe get a hotel until Christmas was over and Maurice, my closet-monster roommate, put everything away.
Maurice leaped out of a mound of lights, and the grin on his face was so large it took up half his head, dwarfing his big yellow eyes. “You’re home early! I wanted to surprise you!”
“Surprise.” I gave him a half-hearted smile. “I could leave and come back later.”
Brenda Lee belted from Maurice’s iPod, insisting that everyone should be rocking around the Christmas tree.
He shook his head, and several loops of colored lights slipped to his shoulders. “The tree will be here in a few minutes. You can help me decorate it.” Shuffling his legs through the piles of decorations so he didn’t step on anything, Maurice reached the chair closest to me and cleared it of boxes. “Sit, sit, sit. I’ll get you something to drink.”
I waved my hand at the mess around us. “I’m fine. The living room isn’t. I’m not going to dehydrate and blow away.”
As it stood, I couldn’t imagine where the hell a tree was supposed to go.
The floor had no path to the kitchen or to the hallway. My options were few. Or rather, two—leave through the front door or have a seat. I stepped around a three-foot tall nutcracker in a Santa hat and sank into the chair, clutching my purse to me as if it were a shield.
A strand of tinsel puffed into the air and floated past my head.
“Maurice, where did you get all of this?” My eyes and face felt as if they’d stretched into an expression of shell-shocked horror. I did my best to force the muscles to relax.
But there was so much of it. Piles of gold and silver and red garland. Boxes of ornaments in individual compartments. Three electric angels sat side by side on the mantle, their wings squeaking open and closed in tandem. Nutcrackers in all sorts of designs and sizes. I counted six nativity scenes around the room in various materials—cornhusk dolls, ceramics, carved wood, and even LEGO bricks. A stack of wreaths covered the coffee table, and the sofa was a mass of tree skirts, stockings, Christmas-themed throws and pillows, and no less than five stuffed Rudolphs.
Maurice, looking satisfied with his haul, put his hands on his hips and winked at me. “I got it all out of the closet.” He flipped a wall switch and the lights trailing around the room all went on at once, nearly blinding me.
Multicolored lights, white lights, strands of all blue, all green, and all yellow. Tube lights. Neon lights. Dripping icicle lights. Old-fashioned outdoor lights with enormous bulbs. Glowing, flashing, twinkling, chasing in every pattern possible. A family of lawn-ornament deer in the far corner came to life, their heads nodding, white lights glowing from their wire frames.
I groaned and closed my eyes. My eyelids were far too thin to block out the bombardment.
My resident closet monster had gone on a closet raid.
“You stole all this stuff?”
Maurice puffed out his chest in indignation. “Borrowed. Only from people who won’t need it this year. I’ll put it back.”
I opened my eyes in alarm and regretted it. “Oh my God, Maurice. Turn those off. Please?”
He flipped the switch, leaving us in blessed early-evening light. “You okay? You don’t look so good.”
“It’s just a lot.” I smoothed my fingertips over the crease that appeared between my eyebrows. “I think I need some air.”
Maurice’s grin downgraded to a bewildered smile. “Yeah. Okay. Go take a walk.” His smile grew an inch. “Iris will be here with the tree soon, and Molly and the kids are coming over to help decorate. We’ll have it all fixed up by the time you get back.”
I pulled myself to my feet. A motion-activated snowman ensemble rang tiny bells and sang Frosty the Snowman. “I’m sorry, Maurice. I don’t mean to bring down the merriment. Christmas hasn’t really been my thing for a long time. I’m a little overwhelmed.”
He reached across the coffee table, knocking a few wreaths aside, and grabbed my hand. “I understand. We’ll save you a few ornaments to hang when you get back.”
To read the rest of the story, you can find it on my website here: Hidden Holidays
She believes in pixie dust, the power of love, good cheese, lucky socks and putting things off until the last minute. Her home is Disneyland, despite her current location in Kansas. Rachel has one husband, two grown kids and a crazy-catlady starter kit.
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