It’s Okay To Recognize Christmas Now…

November 27, 2010

So I just rigged up this blog so you can share it through five or six different methods.  This way, you can share anything I write that you find truly spectactular.  Further incentive to start posting more stuff I guess.  Anyway, I wrote this awhile back and have posted it at various places, but figured I’d post it here again. 

  

Everybody called her Foxtrot Carrie. She had been born was officially known Caroline Granders, but her actions tended to give her the other name. A natural athlete, the petite raven-haired woman was an expert in a wide variety of dances before she was twenty–only happening on her professional life concerned with ballet by a matter of chance. Her profession was one that rarely stopped her from frequenting the various dance clubs wherever the company happened to be at the time.

It was Christmas Eve and Carrie was out dancing with her friends. The group was dressed for the club, wearing loose fitting party clothes and heels–although Carrie wore sneakers and stood out as a result. They were in London, their company putting on a production of the Nutcracker at one of the theaters. Carrie and her fellow dancer Melanie were usually the only two to go out on these sojourns, but a handful of the other dancers were bored and away from their families, so they came along too. Not that Carrie minded.

Once they reached the club, they spread out and began to move to the beat. Carrie smiled as they began a remix of her favorite Christmas song, “Christmas All Over Again” by Tom Petty. Although the club was crowded that night, Carrie gained a special amount of attention. Her skills at moving her body to the music were impressing many people there–most of the male persuation. Several guys tried to dance with her, but she just picked up the pace and they moved on, realizing they would not be able to keep up.

She was about to request that the DJ play the Tom Petty remix again when a man in a delivery man suit came up to her.

Caroline Granders?” he asked.

Yeah?” she replied.

Package for you.”

You deliver packages in a dance club?”

Special request of the sender, ma’am. Normally we don’t, but I was given special instructions to give this to you here, tonight.”

Are you for real?”

Ma’am, could you just sign for the package?”

Who’s it from?”

My receipt says its from Stanislava Fedorova, out of Minsk, Russia.”

I have no idea who that is.”

You’re Caroline Granders of the Tiber Company, right?”

Yes.”

Then just sign and take the package.”

Carrie reluctantly signed and the delivery man handed her a package, roughly the size of a large shoe box. He walked away as Carrie turned the box over in her hands. It felt heavy–a bit surprisingly so. Abandoning the plan to request a song, she made her way to the cloak room to get her coat and head back to the hotel with her package. Melanie stopped her as she was about to leave. Carrie quickly explained what had happened.

How the hell did he know you were here?” she asked.

I don’t know,” Carrie said. “Look, I’m going to head to bed now. I’ll catch up with you guys later.”

Alright. Later gator.”

Arriving in the hotel, Carrie grabbed a pair of scissors and cut the tape on the package. Opening it, she found a large wooden doll. It looked like an old soldier, carved to look like it was dressed in a blue uniform with a white beard and a large blue hat. It held a rifle at attention in its right arm. The mouth hung open and–after a quick inspection–closed when a lever on its back was moved.

Carrie laughed a sardonic and bemused laugh.

A nutcracker doll,” she said. “You’ve got to be kidding me.”

#

The company stayed in London for the rest of the week, finishing off their run at the theater before they would begin a long break. Carrie packed away the doll, all but forgetting about it, until she had arrived back home in Boston. She groaned when she saw it, putting it back in the original packaging. The package then went into the back of a closet, to be forgotten.

#

It was two months later when Carrie first began to hear the noises. Scratching from within the walls. She thought it was mice, but the landlord and the exterminators were unable to discern a cause for it. They found no sign to prove it. The exterminator left her some traps to ease her mind, but he honestly didn’t think there was anything to worry about.

#

A few weeks later, Carrie was asleep when her clock fell from the wall–revealing an opening in the wall behind. Two figures walked out, tiny at first, but quickly growing to a more human proportion. One was a tall and lanky figure, dressed in what looked like a finely tailored suit. His brown hair was spikey around his lean and sharp face. His face sparkled in the dim light coming through the window.

The other was considerably wider and shorter, a fur covered figure—a large rat-like creature. He wore black, with a sword and scabbard.

Where is she?” the Mouse asked.

Patience,” the man said. “You know we have to do things a certain way, we’re bound by the rules of the game.”

I’m sick of games. And who are you to tell me what to do? I’m a King, just as you are. Who gave you the right to boss me around?”

We are both Kings in our own right, that is true. But I have a subtlety which you’ve lacked in the past. That’s why you came to me.”

Give me my bride.”

Alright. Come with me then, we have to rouse her.”

They went through the living room towards the bedroom, where Carrie was sleeping. The Mouse King looked at her, greed and lust growing in his eyes. The man just smiled as he looked the girl. He calmly bent over and spoke into her ear.

Time to wake up my sweet,” he whispered.

As he moved away, Carrie woke up to see the Rat King and the man standing there. She jumped back on the bed in surprise and shock.

What the hell?” she asked.

Good evening my sweet,” the man said. “I apologize for waking you in such a manner. Unfortunately, my associate and I have business with you that we must attend to now.”

What are you talking about?”

You’re to be my bride,” the Mouse King hissed.

Carrie looked at him in fear.

What?” Carrie gasped.

The man looked at the Mouse King in annoyance.

See what I mean about subtlety?” he chided. He returned his attention to Carrie. “Allow me to explain. Tonight you are to become a bride in the Court of the Mouse King. The Wheels of Fate have shown this to be truth. I am here to facilitate the arrangements.”

What?” Carrie asked. “How? Why? What?”

A shame the humans chose to ignore the magics,” the man said. “Regardless, you are now hereby betrothed to the Mouse King. You will be married once his Court his held again.”

No.”

You don’t have a choice,” the Mouse King said. He reached towards her. In reflex, Carrie slapped his hand away and cringed away from him. “You shouldn’t have done that.”

He leapt at her, crashing onto the bed as she slid away. Diving for the closet, Carrie reached for the baseball bat there. A rough hand grabbing her ankle stopped her progress, causing her arm to knock the boxes over. As one box fell, it opened, causing the Nutcracker to tumble out. A desperate hand took a hold of the doll, and she struck the Mouse King’s head with it.

He stumbled back, bleeding from an open wound. Anger filled his eyes.

Carrie’s attention, however, shifted to the doll in her hand. It began to glow, turning white hot. She let it go it as got brighter, filling the room with light. Once the light faded, there stood a young man stood there, dressed in a soldier’s uniform and holding a sword. White-haired, his focus was on the Mouse King.

Not him!” the Rat King shrieked.

Without a word, the soldier cut the down the Mouse King. With a long shriek, the Mouse King fell. The soldier turned to Carrie. He extended a hand to her.

Are you alright?” he asked. His voice was calm and soothing. She nodded as she took his hand and got to her feet. Then they turned to the other man.

Don’t worry my sweet,” the man said. “My part is done. Fate’s Wheel is satisfied.”

What do you mean?” Carrie asked. “You mean all the ‘to become a bride in the Court of the Mouse King’ stuff? I never went to his Court.”

Technically, anywhere a King does the business of state is his court,” the man replied. “Pursuit of a bride and death fall under both. And I think you and the soldier here will have some good times.”

Why did you help him?” Carrie asked.

I have my reasons. Mostly boredom. But also, because you remind me of the babe.”

Without another word, the man left, fading away as he walked, leaving Carrie alone with the soldier.

So I’m Carrie,” she said. “What’s your name?”

I’m called Fritz,” he replied.

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