Winter's Wrath

Tuesday, 23rd December, 1980

Marty McFly rolled down the street on his skateboard, pushing it along with his foot to make it go faster. In his hands he held a wrapped box that was to be his friend Verne's Christmas present. Since that chance meeting in July, the budding teenager and frail elderly man had become very close, despite Verne's severe case of autism, which already made it hard to build up relationships. So for their first Christmas as friends, Marty wanted to do something special. He'd saved almost every milk carton to make a miniature time machine, which was the subject of Verne's obsession. He hoped he'd like it; it had taken him weeks to make and Linda had almost thrown it away by accident. As Marty crept closer to the nursing home where his friend lived, he imagined what his reaction would be like when he opens the box and sees the model inside. Verne's happy face would make his day. Finally, when he reached the home's entrance, he picked up the skateboard and went inside. When he first arrived, the home frightened him. But now, it didn't bother him at all.

" Hi, Annabelle," he said to the receptionist behind the desk.

The woman looked up with an alarmed and somewhat sympathetic expression on her face. " Marty," she murmured. " Verne…"

" Yeah, where is he? I have a Christmas present I'd like to give him," he replied.

" Marty…" Annabelle whispered again. " Verne died this morning."

" Died?" the boy repeated, astonished. " How could he have died? He was fine last week."

" He was very old, Marty, you must remember that. He'd just turned ninety two."

" Yeah, I know, I was there!" he snapped. He was angry though he couldn't understand why. He felt sick to his stomach and he wanted to scream out and cry, but there was something stopping him, like a wall in his heart.

" He wasn't going to live forever you know," the woman said in a soft but straightforward tone of voice. After a pause, she could see the boy's pain, so she went on to say, " He didn't have anyone in his life, except you. No family, no friends. I know you made a difference. When you weren't around, he was chattering away about you like something crazy. He never said it, but I know he adored you."

Marty shrugged and angrily kicked the ground. Miserably, he hung his head and turned on his heels out of the door. In a matter of moments, the winter had arrived. Sleet and snow was starting to fall down from the darkened grey sky. The boy looked up to the Heavens, sheltering his face from the ice, and he released a blood-curdling shriek of pain. Mounting his skateboard, he made his descent home, literally choking on his tears. Ten minutes later, he reached the McFly household, where the family was preparing for the arrival of George's sister and her family. He burst through the door which caught attention of his mother.

" Oh, Marty, you're back! How did it go? Did that old man like his present?" she asked him. To her surprise, her son erupted into tears, slid down the door and buried his face in his knees. " Oh, sweetheart! What happened?" She rushed to give him a comforting hug, which he rejected. With empathy, she watched him run up to his bedroom, undoubtedly to sulk.