To all my friends and inmates, I wish you all a Blessed and Merry Christmas! This is just a little something that fell out of my brain and into my computer as I listened to Christmas carols and kept my mom company as she created the most wonderful scents in her kitchen. I hope you enjoy.
Still and silent, the inky darkness seemed to envelope the black car speeding down the back road as though it had a memory sense of the twists and curves. The overhanging trees cast their shadows over the pavement as tendrils of fog swirled at the edges. As the night deepened, her driver realized that he would eventually need to slow enough to give a better traction when the visibility became even less clear. There was no moon to shine down and light their path, hidden as it was beneath the thick cover of clouds.
It didn’t matter though. Her driver knew where he was going.
Glancing over to the passenger seat, the driver grinned as he realized his brother had finally given up on his attempt to stay awake, to keep him company as he drove the dark roads. Hunched up against the door and window, long legs stretched as far as possible without encroaching near the driver’s side, it was only the fact that the position was one assumed on a regular basis that would save the young man from any truly strained muscles and neck aches. Oblivious to his brother’s grin, the exhausted young man slept, secure in his safety and calm in the peace still so recently restored to their only true home.
Returning his eyes to the road, in difference to his sleeping passenger, the driver lowered the volume on the pounding music streaming through the car’s speakers enough to soften, but not erase the pulsing rhythm of the bass line that was in tune with his own pulse. Thoughts of the coming day mingled with memories from similar days … some spent with their father, occasionally with their father and a friend or two, and, more times than should have been in their short lives, with simply his little brother for company. He shied away from the memories of the days that were spent alone, either in his favorite girl traveling or holed up in a motel room trying to will the day away with sleep and convenience store snacks.
A slight shift and a muffled snort from the passenger side of the car brought the driver out of his musings briefly to check whether it was an awakening or a deepening of slumber. Satisfied that his brother was still in the sound throes of sleep, he recalled their conversation at the beginning of the drive …
“Stopping for a holiday is a waste of time. If we hustle, we can be there by tomorrow night and maybe be able to stop whatever is going on.”
“It’s not a waste of time. A holiday is a time of being exempt from duty, from work. The work will still be there when the holiday is over. Besides, we celebrated last year.”
“Two things … 1) we were also WORKING last year or do you not remember being sliced and diced by the wicked version of the Kringle family? and 2) … last year was different.”
“Different? Yes … okay … it was different. We thought it would be the last one together. We’ve been given another … I’d say that’s a reason to celebrate, a reason to take a holiday. Besides … seems to me that THIS particular holiday would be one we need to …”
“To what? To go to church at midnight? To commune with angels – who are not too happy with us at the moment. To sing carols – which we suck at, by the way – …”
“No. To remember where we were last year and to be grateful for the divine intervention that did come and gave us … gave YOU … another chance. Come on, man. You know you really want to.”
Then the creep had pulled out the big guns …
“We did it last year when you really wanted to. I really want this this year.”
Darn manipulative sneaky little ...
Though the fact was, he had wanted to and eventually, taking enough time so that his little brother wouldn’t think he’d caved too quickly, especially after that last little nudge, he had given into the idea of going to their friend’s house to spend Christmas with his brother and the man who has become like a father – never replacing the drill sergeant that had loved and raised him but stepping up to offer support and guidance when necessary after the genuine article had gone and sacrificed himself. Not that he was going to slip down into THAT particular memory lane either. He had stipulated this was only to be a side trip and that the next day they had to be back on the road and working. His brother had grinned and agreed, pulling out his cell phone and calling to give the news of his victory.
Shaking his head, the driver took a drink of his cold coffee, grimaced and tightened his hands on the wheel as the night deepened further and the fog gave way to the beginnings of frost and light snow blanketing the passing fields and trees. From here on, there would be a chance of ice patches and snow drifts as they drew nearer to their destination. Not that he minded. Driving gave him a peace, reminding him that all the best of holidays he could remember included two things … his black beauty and his little brother. Despite all that had gone on in the last few years, the three of them were still together, and that meant something … something good … and he could hold onto that, even if it was only for a day.
The pulse of the music stopped as the DJ came on and announced the time with much laughing and ringing of bells.
Going with the impulsive urge, he slapped the back of his hand smartly to his brother’s chest, laughing as the younger man awoke startled, head swiveling around in all directions before his eyes were even really open, he yelled out to his brother…
“MERRY CHRISTMAS, SAMMY! Where’s the eggnog, dude?”