Christmas may be over and we're already into 2020, but this doesn't mean we can't completely forget about the yuletide season yet! Heck, if supermarkets are already stocking Easter items when we're barely into the new year, think of this as adopting the capitalistic festive spirit and pretend we're already celebrating Christmas 2020!
But in all seriousness, I would like to offer my deepest gratitude and thanks for the entries we do have for this event. It's undoubtedly been a challenge, particularly when you're working with a theme and during a holiday period as busy as that of Christmas and New Year.
Obviously try not to vote for your own entries, but since I know who the authors are, I trust none of them will disobey me. Right?
#1 - 'A Blitzball Carol' (aka if the party went to Luca during Yevonmas instead of the Blitzball League)
Jecht was dead: to begin with.
Tidus had no doubt about that. His father had vanished ten years ago during a training exercise at sea. While only recently had Tidus learned about his father’s other life in this weird land, here too he was now decidedly deceased.
Tidus was acutely aware that he had a good measure of his father’s cockiness within him. Arriving in Luca during the holy festival of Yevonmas did much to rekindle the playful menace residing in his soul. To think, Tidus could have participated in the Blitzball League had he and his party timed their arrival differently. Instead, blitzballs were now decorated with greenery, tinsel and glitter.
The streets were abuzz with blitzball mania. Balls were cherished at every corner and in the middle of every street, but none were to be used during a match. As Tidus pranced past blitzball-themed foodstalls, the sweet smell of bubble-gum and popcorn flowed into Tidus’ nostrils and tugged at the mischievous side of his soul. The sweating temptation to kick a ball became unbearable.
Sensing this shift in Tidus, Lulu nudged him hard in the ribs.
“You have to get control of yourself if you are to be a good guardian for Yuna.”
“Yuna gave me this moment. This is my story! What right have you to be so loose of tongue? You have belts enough!”
“What right have you to be infantile? You’re old enough.”
Tidus broke away from Lulu and focused his vision on a well-worn blitzball positively begging to be kicked. As he aimed his shot, two kids confronted him.
“Please don’t! These balls belong here!” cried the eldest.
“Are there no gyms? No ball houses?” retorted Tidus.
“It’s Yevonmas! Some of us would rather they burst than go there!”
“Ahhhh. Well if they’re gonna burst then they’d better do it! And deflate the surplus blitzball population.”
Onlookers gasped as Tidus kicked the ball hard, then he headed to his temporary accommodation in a meandering little street in Luca.
At the door he swore he saw his doorknob contort into the grotesque face of Sin: the selfsame eldritch horror which had transported him to this strange place and terrorised everyone here.
“Ah-ha-ha, humbug!” responded Tidus before entering.
The incident at the door made Tidus wary. He sat alone in his apartment and attempted to unwind. Suddenly, there was darkness! The only source of light now being an illuminated fish tank in the corner of the room. From this emerged the rude appearance of a phantom wearing the visage of Jecht. The being leapt out of the tank doing the famous Sphere Shot blitzball maneuver before splash-landing in front of Tidus. Tidus held his now wet jaw, astonished.
“You don't believe in me. Why do you doubt your senses?” observed Jecht.
“Because,” said Tidus, “a little thing affects them. A little goof in the tummy makes them fibbers! You may be an undigested bit of chocobo, a blob of flan, a leaf of ochu, a fragment of an underdone mandragora. There's more of coffee than of coffin about you, whatever you are!”
“Well… We are a bit dreamy. Ah, you’ll find out later. I’m here to whip you into shape, boy! I’ll send three blitzball spirits to you. That should do it!”
“W-what do you mean, Dad? I didn’t ask for any of this!”
“Don’t cry! My sins in life surround me like blubber! You wear such a layer yourself! Expect the first ball when the bell tolls one!”
With a splash, Jecht was gone and the lights flickered back to life.
These words from his late father haunted Tidus as he tentatively retired to bed. Sure enough, as he attempted to sleep Tidus was stirred by a blinding light. He was startled by a noise resembling something being lobbed through the open window and bouncing along the floor.
Tidus peeked at the object at the foot of his bed.
It likely was a blitzball… once. Now, Tidus scrutinised the entity and attempted to look through the bright light emanating from it. At times he caught a fleeting glimpse of a Zanarkandian child’s face, but he was forced to look away lest his retinas were burned out.
“Are you the spirit my old man warned me about?” asked Tidus.
“I am the Blitzball of Yevonmas Past” replied the spirit.
“What do you want?”
“Your salvation. Come with me.” The spirit headed for the window and gestured towards the sparkly firmament of the night sky outside.
“But, spirit! I am mortal and likely to fall.”
“Bear but a touch of my bump and you shall fly!” assured the spirit.
This was no idle promise. Verily they did fly! Tidus was whisked away to a happier time, a time which seems now as a dream. Tidus found himself back in Zanarkand, bearing witness to a young boy he knew very well indeed. He saw his younger self being taught how to kick a blitzball by his father. Jecht was very harsh to him when he missed, yet Tidus remembered the moment fondly. He could tell his father cared in his own way, and it was bliss to remember.
“There is another moment about this gentlemen, some years later…” said the spirit.
Like a wave, the former scene rolled into another. Jecht was gone: vanished. Tidus’ mother was crying inconsolably with a bottle in her hand. The boy Tidus’ only companion was a blitzball his father had bought him as a present. The young lad kicked it into the sea in frustration and screamed.
“Show me no more, spirit!” begged Tidus.
The scene faded in a smooth, dreamy haze and Tidus found himself back in his bed.
Tidus knew the second ghost was due to appear but this time there was no blinding light to signal its arrival - only a loud, booming voice.
"Ho ho ho! Come in and kick me better, man!" said a blitzball with the voice and face of a very familiar Besaidian.
“Wakka, is that you?” quizzed Tidus as he followed the voice into an adjacent room.
“Nah… I’m the Blitzball of Yevonmas Present, ya know?!”
This spirit showed Tidus the bustling streets of Luca in the present day. He had a long look at the people of Spira. Beneath their jovial expressions it was apparent that they had been living in fear their entire lives, and yet they allowed themselves to be happy. Tidus could see how much Spirans needed their help, how much they relied upon Yuna completing her journey.
Then the spirit showed Tidus Yuna and her guardians. They too were exhausted already, yet they were smiling and keeping each other’s morale up, all appreciating each other’s company.
“Yevon bless you, furry one!” Yuna said softly.
“Wakk- Err.. Spirit? Yuna has been good to me letting me have my fun here. Though she hides it well, your powers reveal to me that she is fit to drop. Will she be okay?”
“I only deal with the present, ya. However, I see a wand without an owner. If things carry on as they are, Yunie will die, ya know?”
“That’s not fair!” Tidus gasped.
But the blitzball was beginning to deflate.
“Oh! Are spirits’ lives so short?” Tidus asked.
“*Pppppffffttt*! My *pfpfft* time on this plane is very *Pppppffffttt* brief, ya know! My job is done *Pppppffffttt* and now you’ll meet the *Pppppffffttt* Blitzball of the Future!” said the spirit with his last breath.
Tidus was left alone as the sky turned dark. Tidus was drawn towards the harbourfront by little more than an eerie feeling. He witnessed a clump of plastic riding a wave onto shore. A blitzball was balanced on top and as the wave broke on the shore it rolled up to Tidus’ trembling toes.
This spirit’s appearance did nothing to settle Tidus’ apprehension. It was tattered and faded. The shark bites scratched into its surface were outperformed by ill-placed fishhooks tangled up in single-use plastics. There was no hint of a friendly face on this one.
“I fear you more than any fiend I’ve met so far” quivered Tidus.
The spirit was silent.
“Lead on, spirit, but let me see some joy and compassion again or I’ll be spooked forever.”
The spirit transported Tidus to the home of his heart in Spira.
“Ah! Besaid Island! Yuna’s home! Thanks!” Tidus cried out with joy. “But, wait… It’s so quiet here…”
The Blitzball of Yevonmas Future led Tidus towards a crater in the sand. Using a lone, plastic straw sticking out from a bump on its surface, the spirit was able to point towards a disembodied skull at the centre of the crater.
Tidus feared he knew who this unhappy person might be.
“There’s something else I must know. That right?”
The spirit pointed its straw with renewed impatience.
“Are these the visions of things that are certain, or only guesses?” Tidus asked.
Tidus noticed jewellery next to the skull and he began to brush away the sand with his shaking hands.
“These events can be made right!”
The sand gone, the familiar J-shaped necklace attached to the skull was plain to see. Tidus cried as he read the tiny writing etched on its back.
“Tidus, son of Jecht”
Tidus lost his strength and dropped it as he collapsed in front of the ball.
“I promise, spirit, I shan’t kick the ball needlessly in the past, present and the future. I will kick only when appropriate!”
The silent spirit did nothing as Tidus pleaded. The very sand he stood on appeared to swallow him up as his clung to the ghost, begging for salvation.
Tidus awoke, his feet tangled in his bedsheets and his hands clasping the fish tank. A few silent moments passed as Tidus digested everything he had been through. Then, he sprang to life with a new purpose.
“It’s over! I’m as giddy as a moogle! I’m as light as a chocobo feather!”
The experience had changed Tidus, certainly. He brought the ball back to the kids he’d teased earlier and gave them a pat of encouragement on the head. Then, he rushed immediately to Yuna and gave her a hug, laughing at her shocked expression as he lifted her from the ground.
“Let’s continue our story” he said.
#2 - 'Yuletide Hot Dogs'
Adrenaline is a potent drug. Just when it seemed like his legs were encroaching past their physical limit, compounded by lungs at the verge of outright expiring, the cafeteria was finally in sight. He had been bested countless times before, but not today. Naturally, bailing early from a class on Junctioning was bound to see him reprimanded in front of Headmaster Cid later, but he couldn’t care less. His sole motivation right now was to attain a cafeteria yuletide special hot dog while stock lasted.
Nearly collapsing from sheer physical breakpoint and panting profusely, the unwanted son of Mike Tyson breathlessly requested a plate’s worth of yuletide hot dogs from the exasperated cafeteria lady.
“Sorry, dear,” she said softly, “but I’m afraid all the yuletide hot dogs are sold out…”
Zell’s cranium bolted upwards on the spot and his eyes fixated upon hers, as if that of a ravenous predator duped by its prey.
“What do you mean they’re all sold out?! It’s literally not even lunchtime yet!”
Before he could receive his answer, a chorus of rancid cackling sounded to his left – a sound that caused even the hardiest of stomachs to churn violently. Zell turned to investigate the source of the raucous laughter and was met by the sight of Seifer and his two goons. The sight of Seifer alone would ordinarily be worth a trip to the infirmary on the grounds of mental distress, but what truly tipped Zell over the edge was the sight of mountains’ worth of special cafeteria hot dogs decorated with every yuletide condiment imaginable, all clustered on the table reserved only for the disciplinary committee.
Seifer evidently lavished the situation. He seized one hot dog and aggressively tore into it, chewing voraciously with his mouth open and deliberately ensuring the chicken wuss could see every piece of bread and sausage meat pulverised by his incisors. To Zell, this was like witnessing a war crime occurring before his very eyes, and his instinct was to seize Seifer by the collar. He had no memory of what transpired next. He was definitely lying on the cafeteria floor at one point, later an infirmary bed. Besides the jeering laughter, Zell recalled only one verbal word from Fujin: “DUMBASS”.
That evening, Seifer retreated to his dormitory. His spirits were high and his belly was full. The chicken wuss’s reaction to his stunt was absolutely legendary, and surpassed even his expectations. He was content to simply reside in his room and avoid Balamb Garden’s yuletide ball that night, as such bashes were ordinarily only frivolous performative pageantry to stoke the worst forms of public vanity.
As he admired his visage in the mirror and proceeded to wash his face, his reflection morphed into that of a purple-lipped woman with a plunging neckline and an otherworldly headpiece. Shocked, Seifer stumbled back.
“WHAT THE FIRAGA IS THIS?!”
“Seifer Almasy,” the “reflection” spoke, “your belligerence and natural ability to antagonise your lesser peers is admirable. I wish to appoint you my personal knight. For that, you will need to be tested. Tonight, you will encounter three creatures of my choosing. They will visit you individually and assess you to determine whether or not you are truly worthy of your blade.”
With those words, the sorceress’s visage dissipated, replaced once again by Seifer’s reflection – only this reflection was now of him with his back against the wall and all colour drained from his cheeks. Either this phantasmal message was an ambiguous harbinger of doom to come, or this was his meal ticket out of a soul-draining SeeD system governed by fools unable to recognise his natural leadership and martial abilities. Or perhaps there were potent hallucinogens laced in those hot dogs. Whatever the reasoning, Seifer required only twenty minutes before drifting off to a peaceful sleep.
When he awoke, Seifer was astonished to find he was standing upright within the confines of…the orphanage from his childhood? Convinced that he had finally mastered the art of lucid dreaming, Seifer could only chuckle at what must have been a visual manifestation of pure nostalgia. At least it would have been genuine nostalgia, but Seifer was mostly convinced that he had barely any memories of his time at the orphanage.
“Oh good, you finally woke up!” came an ear-piercing screeching voice from his rear. Alarmed, Seifer turned and was met with the sight of a floating magenta imp. Its eyes were giant orange marbles and its dilated irises resembled a pair of black holes. Its fangs were unkempt skewers and its tail looked like it had already pierced a man’s heart. So in short, it looked reasonably trustworthy.
“Feast your eyes on the orphanage where you were raised with the other children!” it squeaked.
“I…don’t actually have much of a memory of the orphanage for some reason,” Seifer replied, albeit incredibly subdued a response for once in his life.
“Look at you when you were small. You were also bullying that little boy!” the imp cast its flesh-piercing tail at the direction of a lounge area where an unmistakable young, pompous blonde kid cackled gleefully at the sight of a somewhat familiar but sobbing boy. The blonde kid – such an alpha specimen – had no reservations about going straight in on the verbal torments appropriate for a seven-year old.
The adult Seifer stared at the imp with visible confusion.
“That chicken-wuss? Are you saying I grew up with HIM?” he said incredulously.
“Oh, absolutely,” the imp cackled, “I daresay you’ve barely changed. You’re still the same horrible little child who was intent on bullying his weaker peers and lavishing with malevolent glee whenever the victim was left in a state of tears! Ha! Emotionally abusing people is so much fun. I like you, boy! The fact that you don’t find this past memory to be anything worth being ashamed of means you pass my test. Congratulations!”
Just like that, blinding white light enveloped Seifer’s field of vision. Gone were the imp and the orphanage. It was now replaced by the sight of revelry, and of sounds of waltz music, excited chatter and the clinking of wine glasses. So this was the pageantry for the vane: the Balamb Garden yuletide ball. There were students and other distinguished guests decked out in their finest garments, and couples waltzing along to music – at least a third of them had two distinct left feet and had absolutely no sense of rhythm or coordination to their movements. Suffice to say, a good number of more competent dancers could scarcely conceal their discomfort with their inept dance partners.
The most arresting sight for Seifer however, was that of a girl whom he used to date. There was no doubt about it; this was the raven-haired girl who was always enamoured with his career choice of being with SeeD. Suffice to say, she asked way too many questions about the organisation, but Seifer scarcely ever paid attention to anything about her. She would drone on about owls and fighting a resistance, as if those two nouns bore any relation to each other. To see Rinoa Heartilly at this party was one thing, but to see her dance with Squall Leonhart (or was it Squal Lionhard?) – seemingly not against her will either – was a Gunblade through his heart. The only thing preventing him from giving Squall a thoughtful yuletide present of a few more permanent facial scars was the awareness that this was simply a phantasmal projection.
Someone must have turned the phantasmal projector off, because time seemed to spontaneously pause after five agonising minutes. All music ceased, as did all dancing. The “Rinoa” that had been waltzing to the best of her abilities in spite of Squall’s infelicitous complete lack of dancing prowess was the only moving creature in the room. She turned to smile at her guest, before morphing into what could only be described as a giant skull protruding from the dance room floor – yellow orbs occupying what were otherwise hollowed eye sockets gazed intently at him.
“The name is Vysage,” it spoke with a distinctively deep, baroque tone, “that you were overcome with rabid, toxic jealousy to the extent that you contemplated physically attacking an innocent man to keep him away from a woman you believe to be yours is…absolutely admirable. This, young Seifer Almasy, is a reflection of your present, and what a glorious one it is. Your future will be all the brighter.”
Once again, blinding white light enveloped every one of Seifer’s senses until he experienced nothing but formless, weightless ether. When his sight and hearing returned, he was like an ethereal owl, serenely hovering over a bustling parade of noise emanating from below. He gazed down to witness an ocean of crowd-goers congregating in such a way as to leave open a wide avenue running through for an encroaching parade float to pass on by. Anyone would think this was a crowd gathering to see the return of triumphant soldiers from freshly fought frontlines.
No, this was a parade in Deling City of unprecedented size and scope. The attendees appeared to chant and cheer as if in unison – their faces, individual body shapes and articles of clothing just blending into each other amidst the crowds. When Seifer glanced up, the ominous full moon was flanked by what could only be described as a winged devil, albeit a very familiar winged devil.
“You’re…Diablos,” said Seifer, “weren’t you defeated and force into a lamp? Why are you one of the creatures sent to test me?”
The creature simply spat with disgust in response.
“A proud messenger of darkness such as I can never be truly contained in any magical instruments. The moment some fool releases me from the lamp, I will make my revenge as long and painful as possible.
“But enough about that. The question right now, is this the future waiting for you?”
Diablos aimed a blood-red finger at the grandest float of the entire parade thus far. Atop it was the woman in the mirror. By her side was none other than a corporeal version of Seifer himself, gazing outward with an expression that combined unlikeable smugness and barely concealed triumph with a sense of incredulity – that even this Seifer could not countenance how he got here.
In spite of the overexcited crowd, the woman magnified her voice over the sounds of their enthused chatter and cheers. It bore all the classic marks of a messianic saviour having graciously come down to offer deliverance to a downtrodden people.
“FOOLISH FOOLS,” declared the woman, evidently jettisoning to the side every basic rule of political speechmaking, “YOU ARE NAUGHT BUT CATTLE. YOUR MEANINGLESS LIVES ARE MERELY FODDER TO FACILITATE MY AMBITIONS. IT IS NOW TIME FOR A NEW REIGN OF TERROR. I, YOUR SORCERESS, AM NOW RULER OF GALBADIA AND SOON, OF ALL.”
It finally clicked. Seifer knew what had to be done. As he glanced up to catch Diablos’ glare, the demon merely nodded silently in understanding. White light engulfed everything for the last time.
He could always count on Fujin and Raijin to meet with him every morning, if only for the three-man disciplinary committee to invent fresh methods to freely abuse their powers of authority. This time however, the pair could evidently sense something somewhat amiss with Seifer.
“Seifer, has something happened?” inquired Raijin.
“I have changed,” Seifer replied curtly.
“EXPLAIN.” Said Fujin.
“It’s simple, my posse,” sneered Seifer, barely able to contain his newfound, revelatory glee, “you see, I am no longer a man content with just buying up all the hot dogs on credit and tormenting people like that chicken wuss.
“I’m a changed man. I am now more determined than ever to turn my back on these helpless fools and be a KNIGHT to a despotic, dictatorial sorceress. I will be an instrumental figure behind the rise of a fascist regime and no force in the world can stop us. I finally have a PURPOSE.
“Merry Yuletide and have a tyrannical New Year...”
#3 - 'FFF Christmas Carol'
It was a cold winter morning, so cold that the winter breeze crept into your bones and made you feel cold and dead on the inside. Yet everyone tried to keep warm the best they could by either wearing extra clothes or keeping their fireplaces going, however there was one man that would not have Ebennezer McGee, the most cold hearted man in town. He would scowl at you walking down the street, sneer and growl at you for saying good morning and hated the holidays, especially Christmas. None felt this impact more than anyone else then a specific Bob Espurr, Espurr was a humble soul you see he worked to feed his family which consisted of his wife, daughter, and two sons of which poor Tiny Cabroot was quite sick, sick enough that he might not make it next years end. Espurr sat shivering in the cold rubbing his arms on his jacket however the cold made it feel like he was rubbing sandpaper on himself. Looking over to his boss with ice crystals dripping from his eyes he stuttered as he spoke, “Ssssiirr, d d do you t t think we cou llddd us use the fireplace”, with an almost immediate reply and scorn in voice that could make even the most pious of the church feel contempt for him McGee shouted, “No, what do you think this is, a charity? Burning wood costs money since we would need to buy the wood to replace it, we are in the business of making money not spending it Espurr.”
Espurr did his best to deal with the cold and managed to ask McGee “Sir it’s Christmas tomorrow, do you think I could have the day off with pay to spend time with my family?” The anger that filled the room and tone that McGee replied in felt like it warmed the room itself and that it was a hot summer afternoon instead of this cold bone chilling winter day. “Pay! Tomorrow, Christmas, BAH-HUMBUG why should I?” Espurr taken aback by the sudden shift in tone managed to squeak something out, “Sir everyone else but the butcher is closed and off with pay tomorrow though, why not us?” Mcgee let out a disgruntled tick “Humbug Christmas, I’ll let you off early tomorrow instead I still want you here bright and early tomorrow, you’ll get no pay from me for any work not being done.” Espurr let out a small sigh and continued working for the rest of his day, and like that the day started to end and as both McGee and Espurr were getting ready to head their respective ways home and McGee was locking up the office a charity worker walked up to them. This worker must have been new in town or otherwise not involved in the normal social circles for then she might have known who she was speaking with and how he would act. With the best effort possible and most cheery voice that could be offered in the cold drap she spoke, “Excuse me sirs, do you think you could spare some money for the displaced and homeless orphan funds?” McGee let out such a haughty laugh that people walking down the street would have started in horror at the sight of the cranky old man showing some form of joy, but this wasn’t the typical sense of tone one would associate with joy, it was more sinister and cold. “Donate! Money! Why should I, best let them rot and suffer from hunger, so that they don’t eat up valuable money or other people's time by having them waste it with you asking for donations.”
With that McGee walked away leaving a speechless Espurr and the charity worker stunned and silenced. McGee walked to his home with everyone in the street avoiding him in the street as he did so, there were even some quite hushed whispers being spoken by people standing on the side or corners. You couldn’t hear what they were saying but by their bowed heads and how closely some stood together, not to mention they turned their heads as McGee walked past them you could only guess at who they were talking about as he passed by. As he is about to reach his home he is stopped by his nephew Ribbit. Ribbit was hurrying up rubbing his gloved hands together to try and keep warm and a small smile escaped his lips as he saw his uncle and he almost beamed with cheerfulness that was practically contagious, but this was McGee and such merriment escaped him. “Uncle it’s good to see you, I know this may be of short notice but I was hoping you would join me and some friends tomorrow for a Christmas party, I would also like you to meet the woman I'm engaged to.” McGee took a small huff “Inconvenience indeed, what use do I have to frolic with people in any merry making when that time could be best spent otherwise. No I do not think I will be attending at all, you best rethink your future and spend your time wisely instead of wasting it on frivolous parties.” With that McGee slammed the door shut on Rabbit's slightly crestfallen face, Ribbit taken aback by his uncles rude behavior. McGee was now soundly asleep the old grandfather clock in him room ticking away the time for the next day yet as the clock struck 11 at night something quite strange happened. Chains could be heard rattling slowly in the distance echoing in the halls making them seem numerous, each rattle brought a shiver of dread and fear up McGee’s spine as he sat wide-eyed in fear, dreading what was to come. The chains stopped and McGee let out a breath of relief not noticing the wisps of his breath could be seen, getting ready to close his eyes and lay back down did suddenly a ghostly figure wrapped in chains appear before McGee and one he knew all too well in fact. Surprised at the figure he saw he could only say, “Jacob Belazor my old partner, you’re supposed to be dead!”
Jacob Belazor spoke coldly with such daunting tone McGee felt already as if the chains were wrapping around him. “McGee you have been most unkind and you’re greed is great. For you show no care to anyone but yourself and money, having this sort of greed will lead you to be bound to chains like these.” Belazor began to shake hs chains to emphasize his point, and McGee shot up in his bed in surprise, “Though McGee due to your selfish behavior and lack of kind heart along with your obsession with money your greed will cause you to bear much heavier chains upon your death.” McGee let out a painful cry “What do you mean?” Belazor ignored this comment and continued. “However three spirits will visit you tonight once your clock strikes 12O, listen to them well.” McGee could only choke out the word “three” to which Belazor rattled his chains with more vigor “Three and at midnight.” With that Belazor let out an evil laugh and flew threw the walls and into the night sky. McGee on the other hand sat terrified in bed sheets clutched in hand and now nervously watching the clock, his eyes darting around the room on a constant fevor as if expecting to jump out at him. McGee could not rest the fear in his heart keeping him awake, his eyes darting around nervously even more as he saw the clock strike 12:00. At first nothing seemed to happen and McGee thought it was all but a dream but then a glow started coming from his window and he felt the fear once again, A ball of light passed through his window and from it appeared a woman robbed in white, and she introduced herself with a warm and inviting tone. “Greeting McGee I am Linnaete of Christmas past and I am the first to see you tonight, now come take my hand and we will be off.” Linnaete just held out her hand waiting for McGee to grab it. McGee lightly grabbed Linnaete’s hand as she spirited the two through his wall and they started flying off into the night sky. McGee could only let out a yell as he started flying through the wall and saw the ground beneath him expecting to fall, he started to grip Linnaete’s arm and tightly for worry that if he loosened but a bit he would surely meet his end. Linnaete flew them off into the clouds and McGee once again closed his eyes in freight it wasn’t until his feet felt solid ground he dared to open his eyes.
The sight that greeted him was a shock to him he couldn’t quite understand it, before him was the old boarding home he used to attend and what prelexed him more was a boy sitting at a table he could see through a window, this boy was none other them a younger version of himself. McGee turned to the spirit and shouted “Spirit explain yourself how is it that we are here, and at this place?” Linnaete smiled warmly and spoke softly “We are seeing your past and the boy you used to be, one that was still joyful and filled with wonder and not the man you are now.” Soon the scenery in the window changed McGee was a bit little bit older and a woman was standing next to him, it was his sister Six who was asking him to come home. “Please McGee won’t you come home, even father wishes to see you for the holidays?” McGee only replied with, “No dear there is too much bad blood between us, besides if he wished to see me how come he could not come and say so himself?” The rest of the conversation turned into a blur as the scenery changed this time to a more business setting, many people were seen in dresses or shirts and ties, a notable older McGee appearing to be a man in his 20’s was merrily seeing laughing. McGee even has a woman who has her arms wrapped around his one arm laughing away at the events as well. An older jolly man walked up to the two of them with him wrapping his arm around McGee’s head as he laughed. The McGee watching could only stare and reply, “I remember this, I had just started working for Mr.FizzySly and I recently got engaged to Shelby, she was the love of my life.” Linnaete let a small frown show on her face as she grew a little sad and replied, “But not more than money it seems.” With that, she waved her hand again and the view in the window faded away to be replaced anew by McGee and Shelby talking on a bench with snow falling, Shelby seemed to be sad as she spoke and could be heard, “McGee it seems there’s no room in your heart now for all but money, not even for me, I can’t be with you anymore.” Shelby turned away head bowed down and crying as she walked away leaving McGee in silence. Linnaete spoke calmly and asked McGee “Why did you do nothing to stop her?” McGee could only reply “I couldn’t, I had nothing to say. I realized at that time what she said was true and couldn’t bring myself to stop her.”
Linnaete waved her hand again and a new scene unfolded, this time it went to an older Shelby who seemed happy, she was surrounded by what appeared to be her family enjoying a nice Christmas dinner. Confused McGee asked Linnaete why he brought him here and she just waved a hand. As McGee listened in he could here they were talking about him, and as it turned out in an unfavorable way, one of the men asked Shelby what she thought of McGee and as she went on about how he was a changed man now only crude, rude, and uncaring and only cared about money and no on else pain crossed over McGee’s face and he turned back to the spirit and shouted, “Enough, I had enough of this take me back to my room, I don’t want to see more of this.” Linnaete just bowed her head and with a wave of her hand the scene before them disappeared and McGee found himself back in his room with Linnaete nowhere to be found. McGee still in disbelief at what happened walked to his bed and tried to lay down, but couldn’t the events that passed kept him up that he didn’t notice time passing until the clock struck 1:00. That’s when he noticed a glow coming from under the door in his room and going in he found himself in front of a feast. It had almost any food imaginable from turkey at the center to various types of potatoes, pies, and puddings, and anything else you might think would be served at a Christmas dinner.
The man let out a jolly laugh as he saw McGee and introduced himself as Dionysos of Christmas Present. McGee could only stare at the feast before him before asking what he would be showing him. Dionysos laughed as he stood up revealing he was dressed with an elaborate giant red robe and green shirt and pants beneath it. With one hand on his belly and the other opening his robe he wrapped McGee in it only for them to vanish into gold dust. When next they came to McGee realized almost immediately where they were and he almost yelled “That’s my nephew Ribbit he invited me to a party this year.” “Indeed he did and you turned him down quite coldly.” replied Dionysos, more jovial behavior continued and McGee spoke again “He should be focusing on his future not wasting time goofing off as such.” Dionysos just snorted but not of annoyance more of shock and pity and replied again “Ahh but wasn’t there a time even you enjoyed such a time as this?” McGee grew silent the reply going to waste on his tongue as he watched everyone present laughing and having a good time, soon even McGee soon started to smile. “Yes I suppose once I did, but I found that working and keeping myself busy were more important.” Dionysos just looked down in sadness before saying it was a shame then opened his cloak once more and beckoned while telling McGee they had one more place to visit. They disappeared into gold dust again emerging upon the seen of Espurr and his family. It was a humble scene and McGee noticed how, that though the family barely had nothing they still seemed happy, but oddly enough what stuck his heart more was the sight of Tiny Cabroot. Small and frail he seemed and had trouble getting around and when McGee questioned this Dionysos gave him a bewildered look and even questiongly asked why McGee seemed to care for this one child, he also told him that Tiny Cabroot would not make it till next year if events don’t change. McGee could only be silent in return and at the end Dionysos returned him to his room and told him “You have one more spirit to visit you, he will be Soulcorruptor of Christmas yet to come and he will be the last spirit that you see tonight.” With that Dionysos himself vanished.
The clock struck 2:00 and McGee sat in anticipation for the final spirit,Soulcorruptor of Christmas Yet to Come. He watched and watched and nothing seemed to come when suddenly a robed figure just seemed to appear walking through his door. McGee feeling tired of what he was being shown asked the spirit if he was the one he was wasting for only to be greeted by silence. Feeling annoyed he kept pestering the spirit with questions only to be answered by the cloaked figure to raise an arm and point and silence. What McGee first saw was some people he remembered like his Charwoman and the undertaker as they looked to be stealing some persons possessions. Soulcorruptor continued to point as McGee asked for question and was lead to Espurr’s house where it showed that Tiny Cabroot had passed away. McGee dropped to his knees and began sobbing in despair and asked to see some happiness from this other personas death. Soulcorruptor took him to an elderly couple who were rejoicing that they had more time to get their affairs in order and pay off their debt with the passing of this person. Soon it began to weigh on McGee who exactly died and why there was so little remorse, when he asked Soulcorruptor to show him exactly who died they were transported to a graveyard. Confused McGee asked again who died only once again to be greeted by silence and Soulcorruptor just pointing to a grave. McGee slowly made his way practically crawling to see the tombstone, and when he saw it the color drained from his face his skin going a ghostly white as his eyes widened in shock and fear, for he saw his own name on the tombstone. McGee then began wailing asking if this was events to come, or what may be. He asked if there was a way to change the events he had seen and vowed he was a changed man, that he would embrace the Christmas spirit and share it with all those around. He screamed as the ground swallowed him up and darkness surrounded him and he continued to scream as he felt no end to his fall.
Suddenly McGee woke up the familiar sight of his room filling his eyes as mourning light filled it. He was surprised to find it morning and that the spirits did all this in one night, he was then interrupted by something hitting his window. When he went to it he opened it as a snowball hit his face, the culprit a boy about to run away but stopped when he heard McGee laugh. The boy looked confused and even more so when McGee asked what day it was. When the boy told him it was Christmas he asked if the turkey the big one as almost round as the boy was still in the butcher the boy said yes. What surprised him most was when McGee threw a money pouch down at him asking him to buy the turkey and have it delivered to Espurr’s house and the boy could keep the change. McGee was laughing to himself now still saying how surprised of the past night's events and how he would show all especially Espurr he was a changed man. Making his way to work he was there early, of course and when he saw Espurr come in he yelled at the man asking what he was doing here. Espurr of course replied he was here because McGee told him to be but was surprised at what came next. Not only did McGee tell him to leave since it was Christmas but he was also getting a raise. Espurr stood in silence as McGee left the establishment patting him on the shoulder and asking him to lock up. McGee soon found the charity worker who visited him the day before, she was shocked to see him smiling and laughing as he was walking towards her, even more as he wished her a merry Christmas and if she was still collecting donations. She was left speechless as he reached for his coin purse and gave her it’s entire contents, when she realised how much was in it she cried tears of joy and yelled out a merry Christmas to McGee as he walked down the street. McGee then went to pay his nephew a visit and all were surprised to see how he was acting, some even doubting if this was the same man they have all heard about. McGee however was not done for now that it was night he paid a visit to Espurr’s house and apologized for never introducing himself before to the man’s family. Another surprise was in store for Espurr when McGee mentioned they would be equal business partners from now on, instead of Espurr being just an employee. Even further surprised was whenhow he acted towards Tiny Cabroot, yes true to his word toward the spirits McGe was indeed a changed man. He became a second father to McGee and word spread quickly around town that no one could find a better friend, a better man than Ebennezer McGee.