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Next Christmas - A short story by Heather Davies

Once, upon a long time ago, lived a little boy - Tom. He didn't have any shoes, but he had a Mum who loved him and a sister - Lucy, who thought him the bestus brother ever. They all lived in a room above the bakers. If they were very lucky, the baker would give them some left over bread. Once, he gave them a whole pie with meat and carrot in.

When his Mum went to work Tom felt very big - being six meant he could look after four-year-old Lucy. She wasn't much trouble just needed a cuddle now and again. In the summer it had been fine, they played on the cobbles outside the bakery - sometimes, if they smiled well, one of the customers gave them a biscuit - each. But, as they days grew colder and darker, they stopped playing outside and stayed in their room. Their one bed became a ship that sailed the seas. A castle as they fought battles and a shop where Lucy sold everything. The days became shorter and colder and it became harder for Tom to keep Lucy warm. Lucy popped her thumb into her mouth and held tight to Tom as they sat through the twilight and into the darkness of a December evening.

Christmas was just three sleeps away, and Lucy was so excited. She could just remember Christmas from last year, when their Dad had been with them. She recalled red streamers running across the room and Father Christmas leaving presents. But, in her little four-year old heart she knew Christmas would not be the same.

Mum had said so, and what Mum said happened. Christmas morning came, and Lucy peeped beyond her mother's coat, placed over their meagre blanket to keep them warm. A note had been pushed through the letter box.

They all scrambled out of bed, and their Mum read the note:- "PLEASE OPEN THE DOOR, I COULDN'T FIND THE CHIMNEY."

They giggled, Father Christmas hadn't been able to get in. Tom opened the door, the three of them looked out. There was a tiny Christmas tree, with two presents and a basket. They opened them laughing - a doll for Lucy and a pair of shoes for Tom. Their Mum picked up the basket lifting the lid. In the basket was some cooked chicken, potatoes, carrot and sprouts….eeeesprouts. A little Christmas pudding and three biscuits.

Tom, being a very wise six-year old, recognised the biscuits and smiled.

He thought he would pop downstairs and ask the friendly baker to join them for their surprise Christmas dinner.

And, who knows perhaps next year they might all be able to get a turkey.

© Copyright | Heather Davies 2017

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