Christmas Future - Maureen
“What are they doing now?” he asked, hopping from foot to foot and not quite reaching the porthole.
“I can’t see. Keep still, you’re jostling me.”
The taller boy rubbed the misty glass and looked once again out into the green-blue light. “Yes, they’re there. I can see them coming” he breathed. “Now keep quiet because they’re coming this way.”
A pause and then a scraping sound as the younger child dragged a trunk across the metal floor and stood on it to peer out of the brass framed circle of glass.
“Yes,” he whispered, “It is them and they’re much nearer. Have they seen us?”
“No. It’s like the other times. We can see them but they can’t see us.”
“What if they bump into us? They’re going everso fast.”
“They never have before, have they?”
“No they haven’t, I know. It is odd isn’t it.”
“The whole thing is odd.”
And then they were both silent because here was the moment they had been waiting for. The motorised sleigh coasted to a gentle halt in clear view of the two spell-bound boys. And they could now clearly see the intricately carved white body of the vehicle above its long steel runners, the leather reins plaited with small round silver bells, still jingling, the mountainous sack bulging with unknown delights. And best of all, the bright blue eyes and pure white beard and curly hair of the man dressed in red, as he called to the reindeer. “Stay now, Prancer. Whoa Blitzten.”
Suddenly a bell rang. A repetitive mechanical clanging, followed by the chattering of a machine.
“Have a look.” Rapped the older boy. “It might be the order.”
“But we haven’t seen him properly yet,” complained his brother as he hopped down and tore a sheet of paper from the printer.
“Darn it. It is the order. It’s Commodore Debrett and he says return immediately. Oh bother, it’s so unfair.”
“Rotten timing,” his sibling agreed. “But we have no choice. We have seen him though haven’t we and he is like the pictures, and he is here in Lapland in the snow and ice with the sleigh and the reindeer and the presents and all.”
And they both smiled as they left the window and buckled the leather straps across their chests and thighs secure in their padded seats.
“Set the timer to 1885, 24th December 5pm.”
“Counting down 10, 9…..”
As the count reached one and zero the boys in their brass riveted carriage slowly shimmered as if in a heat haze and disappeared.
“Did you hear a noise?” Queried the assistant.
“No, but I felt a vibration,” replied the director. “The effect of the cold I expect. Anyway the next load of tourists have just arrived so get the shop open and start the music. Father Christmas in Lapland time again.”