Stave VI: Immaculate Reception
A noise downstairs roused me from sleep, "What's that?" I asked as I slowly rose. I phased through the floor and spotted Æternus reading the book in the corner. A smile crossed my lips, Observants are notoriously single minded and once on a task will devote themselves to it. I looked around to see if I could find what caused the ruckus.
"I wouldn't do that if I were you?" the Observant said seeing me head toward the tree, "you're uncle wants you to wait till Christmas Morning," I hissed saying that he always makes time so slow on Christmas Eve. "You know he has to help Nicholas deliver presents on earth," I asked the Observants why you allowed it. "It was a mandate from an authority higher than us," was the answer. He said since I am up that I listen to the rest of the story, "It will help go to sleep," he said turning the page.
"The Fentons?" I asked the spirit curiously, why did the ghost take me here. The tall specter pointed up the stairs with his scythe. I walked up the steps and saw Jack Fenton kneeling in a room. Before I could ask I felt the spirit's cold presence behind me.
"Is there anything I can get….you…Danielle?" Jack asked his voice breaking up. The girl nodded asking if he could sing the King's lullaby to her. "You got it honey," he began to sing like I have never heard anyone sing before. The girl smiled briefly before a coughing fit seized her. The man pulled a tray close to him and took a needle filled with some liquid. "Don't be afraid my little girl," he said trying not to cry as he injected her. She smiled at him and closed her eyes breathing her last. Finally Jack could take no more and collapsed on the bed sobbing.
I wanted to walk into the room and console my friend but before I could the ghost transported us away. Absolute dread filled me as we arrived at our new environment. We were in an old cemetery with unkempt graves. It reminded me of the graveyard that buried Curly in. "Spirit, our parting moment is at hand. I know not how but I feel it," I asked him to tell me who was the man we saw laying on the bed. A single hand shot out from the robe and pointed towards an old stone, "Before I draw near answer me this are these the shadows of things that must be or those that might be only," no answer was given. "Certain courses lead to certain ends that is a given but if the courses changes the ends must change with them?" again nothing. I crawled toward the stone gasped in horror as I read the inscription:
Requiescat in Pace
"NO SPIRIT NO!" I screamed in terror realizing that I was one who all celebrated that died. I grabbed the spirit's robe and pleaded that I was not the man I once was, "why the show this to me if it is hopeless for me to repent?" I asked as the spirit raised his scythe and tore the ground open. "No spirit, please hear me I will honor Christmas in my heart and keep it all the year," I pleaded him holding on for my life. The ghost looked at down at me and pulled back his hood revealing a skull with a beard. "NOOOOO!" I shouted as the robe ripped and I fell to my doom.
"He always a light sleeper," I told Æternus seeing Aeon awake again. I picked up the present and handed it to my cousin. "Merry Christmas, Aeon," the child ripped open the box revealing a stopwatch. I explained to him that it is a special watch that you can point at anything it will tell you how long it will last. He smiled and pointed at me; the child looked confused as I looked and saw the lamniscate- the symbol of infinity- I told not to worry and point it the table in front of him.
"Wow," he said, "2700 years that is some powerful wood," I smiled turning to Æternus handing me a gift. He looked at me in disbelief. I told him the Christmas is not a time for feuds and rivalries and I wanted to set a good example for my cousin. The old ghost thanked me and opened the box and saw a new cape. If Observants could smile he would have.
"Thank you Chronos," I nodded and told him to continue the story before Aeon falls asleep again. "Vlad fell down for what seemed forever until he hit the ground. He found himself in a strange place.," Aeon hung onto every word as his imagination took over.
"What the devil happened," I moaned as a searing heat forced my eyes open. I appeared to be in a cave of sorts. "Hello?" I called out but all the replied was an echo. A strange darkness permeated the whole cave sending a chill up my spine. "Hell…," I began to say when I heard a faint whisper say hello back. I demanded to know who was there. "Show yourself!" I demanded as a shadow appeared out of nowhere. This was no mere shadow as it seemed to be intelligent, "Who are you?" the shadow laughed at my question.
"I thought you would know me Vlad, after all the hard work you've done for me," it hissed like a snake. I looked blankly saying that I have never met it before. "You're wrong, I was there from the first time you held a coin in your hand and led you to your destiny," terror struck me at those words realizing whom I stood before. "I have been waiting a long time for you Vladimir," it cackled snapping his fingers making a scale appear. He said he was going to try me by the deeds I have done; I told him that it hardly seemed like a fair way of putting me on trial. "Fair? Was it fair that I was expelled from Heaven? That I who once shone with brightness of the morning sun reduced to shadow?" a force threw me to the ground.
"Forgive me, if I have been impertinent," the shadow laughed saying that it was he is sorry. A tendril of shadow wrapped around me and placed me on the scale. It waved his hand as I saw my life before my eyes. I watched in terror as I saw the evils that I have done. I felt my side of the scale rise up as a smile appeared on the shadow. It said the verdict was in and that I was guilty of gross avarice. "You don't seem to understand, that I was only do…," a chain wrapped around my throat cutting off my word and forced me to the ground. I tried to get up but a heavy weight kept me down. I looked at my arms and saw chains wrapped around them. The same chains that bound Curly now were mine, "Please, please…," I called out before I succumbed to the weight and blacked out.
Once again I don't how long I was out but I feared to my open my eyes. I felt no heat this time and slowly opened one eye, "I'm in room?" I asked astonished opening my eyes with relief. I was alive and not in Hell wrapped in chains but alive. "I'm alive, I'm alive," I shouted jumping out of bed happily. I was given a second chance to set things right but I wasn't sure how long I had been with the spirits. I rushed to my window and threw open with a force I didn't know I had. I felt the cool air hit my face and made me want to sing with joy.
Standing near my window was a young boy making a snowman. I asked him what today is, "Today, it's Christmas Day," it was Christmas I hadn't missed the spirits had done it all in one night. They can do whatever they like. I asked the boy if he knew the butchers down the street, "I should hope I do," he said oh what intelligent boy he was. I told him if he knew if the prize turkey was hanging there, "the one as big as me?" he asked as I nodded and told him to go buy it but he laughed. "I am serious, go buy it for me and I will give you 20 dollars," his eyes lit up, "be back with it in five minutes and I'll give 200 hundred dollars," the lad took off like a shot. "I will send it to Jack's house, he won't who sent him a turkey twice the size of Danielle," I said laughing; oh I have so much planned today.
"Once he was dressed the first people he met was the charity workers he had thrown out the other day," Æternus explained saying that he apologized to them and told him he would donate a million dollars to their charity. "The two had never seen such generosity before and asked Vlad how they could thank him," I gently tugged on his robe asking why these spirits were allowed to intervene as the council generally forbids it. "You see Aeon, Curly had appealed to someone or something akin to our Ghost Council and was allowed to intervene," I looked at my uncle who nodded with a smile.
The clocks on the wall struck midnight and I felt my eyes close, "Epoch won't let me live it down if you're still sleeping when comes tomorrow," Uncle Clockwork said taking me in his arms and phasing up to mu room. "Now go to sleep Aeon," I asked to continue the story. He chuckled and told me what happened the next day.
"11:00am, this is so perfect," I said to myself looking at my watch. I heard Jack open the door slightly and walked in as quietly as possible. "Fen…ton, I….wou…ld….like….to…speak…with you," I tried my best not laugh but the feeling was strong like a raging river. Jack came in the room and apologized for being late saying he was making rather merry yesterday and it won't be repeated. "You…'re right my friend it won't…," I bit my tongue trying not to laugh as watched the expression on Jack's face. "I won't…stand for it…and so i…am… going to RAISE YOUR SALARY!" I shouted as he looked at me confused. "Yes, Jack I will raise your salary and help your family in every way possible," he stared at me for some time, "yes we will discuss it over lunch today Jack but first turn up that heat it's as cold as ice in here," I said to him dancing around singing Merry Christmas to him all the time.
"Yes, Vlad did it all and more. It was said of him that if anyone knew how to keep Christmas it was him. He was a good a man; good a boss, and as good a master as the good old town of Amity Park had seen or any town in the country nay the world had ever seen," I said to him as the young ghost was starting to fall asleep. He asked me if Danielle lived, "she did and Vlad became like a second father to her. May we all learn from Vlad's example and as Danielle said 'God bless us everyone,'" before the last syllable was uttered Aeon finally drifted back to sleep. "Good night Aeon," I said leaning over to kiss him before tucking him in for bed.
I phased back down to the living room; Æternus was sound asleep too the book still in his hands. I placed a blanket over him and sat down on my chair relaxing for a bit before I had to go to work again. Soon Nicholas will be back from his journey and I will have start time up again but for now I think a long winter's nap was in order as I closed my eyes and dreamed of Christmases past present and future.