A Crashing Surprise

24 Dec 2021  C. chou  8 mins read.

Bang! She jumped awake, startled by the crash downstairs. Rubbing her eyes and looking around, it was barely morning. The sky was still dark outside, and she could barely make out anything other than the numbers that were distinctly displayed on her alarm clock. It was only 5:30am. On Christmas Eve?

Rubbing her eyes, she yawned, as she slipped on her slippers. Stretching, she stepped out of her room to investigate. Though she slept on the upper floor of her family’s two floor home, her room was close enough to the stairs that the first floor was only a few steps away. At the bottom of the stairs, she was greeted by the usual sight. Since December rolled around, a large plastic Christmas tree stood at the bottom of the steps, practically obstructing anything nearby out of view. Still yawning, she peered her head around the corner of the wall, dividing the stairs and the rest of the room around her.

There wasn’t much to see. She should’ve realized. In this sort of darkness, anything beyond the range of the Christmas tree’s small colored LEDs was a sheet of darkness. She sighed, walking over to adjacent wall and feeling it for the light switch. Whoever designed the placement of switches in this house definitely didn’t have convenience in mind.

Lights now on, she scanned the room. Nothing to be seen. She wasn’t one that was a fan of surprises, but since moving in with her roommates, nothing really surprised her anymore, not to mention faze her. Those three always had the weirdest ideas on what was entertaining. She wouldn’t be surprised if they had something going on at night too.

Sitting herself on the couch, she stretched again, yawning. Given that she often ignored their antics, and chose to stay out of whatever they had planned, she was always a sort of outsider to them. That suited her just fine. It meant that they weren’t entirely comfortable in doing certain things in front of her. Leaning back against a pillow, she relaxed against the cushions. It looked like she’d be sleeping here for the rest of the morning. She valued her sleep. With her physically present in the room, she doubted that they would continue their disturbances.

Crash! The noise came again. She peeled her eyes open, slightly annoyed. It clearly came from the kitchen behind her this time. Picking herself up, she walked over, wholly prepared to tell at them for making such a ruckus. Turning the wall, she crashed into something that wasn’t quite a person.

Tall and hairy, it stood at least five feet above her.

”The freak?” She whispered, as she looked up, trying to figure out, just what it was that blocked her access to the kitchen. As if it only realized her presence, the creature finally turned and looked down at her, with a snort that was strong enough to make her stumble. Seriously? Her roommates, especially the ones that thought bringing such a mammoth into the house, were not going to get an end from her. This creature, from the looks of it, would easily tear apart the building just by trying to leave.

“Who’s magnificent idea was it this time?” She shouted over the creature.

No response. Seriously? Were they going to stay silent this time until she caught them in the act? Huffing in annoyance, she gave the creature a shove. Her efforts seemed to have little effect on it, not even moving it over in the slightest.

Well…they asked for it. She took a breath, closing her eyes. When she opened them again, what she saw was hardly what she expected. Though the creature no longer obstructed her vision, her roommates were no where in sight. What?

She turned her attention to the upstairs, but they weren’t there either. With the aid of her abilities, she could see any place that she’s been to within her lifetime from an aerial perspective. The ability normally worked on demand, and given that this is normally a sleeping hour, she had little qualms about looking in on what she would expect to be a sleeping body. If they weren’t here or in their rooms, where could they be?

Inspecting each of the rooms of the house, she found that it was totally empty. Then what was that crash just now? And why exactly is there a beast of this size inside their home?

Though her abilities rarely failed her, they weren’t exactly predictable either. There were certainly times where the environment or other outside forces affected her ability to see properly. With a blast of wind, she pushed the creature aside, just far enough for her to see what was happening in the kitchen.

There. Her roommates stood, along with two other figures that she couldn’t quite make out in the low-lighting. The image in her mind became clear just then. She fell against hte ground, stunned by what she saw. It couldn’t have been.

She shook her head, staring despite the gap that would now allow her to see. Her roommates turned, and stepped aside, revealing the figures that were previously obstructed in her physical vision.

“We could never seem to make you happy over Christmas, and although this was supposed to be a surprise, this was the only thing that we could think of to make you happy.” One of them said, speaking for the group, as the rest of her roommates nodded.

Somehow, they had figured out her abilities. Somehow, they had figured out how to bug it. It could only be them. They must’ve told them. They must’ve shared. She looked up, tears welling her eyes, at the figures that her enhanced vision had already revealed to her. Her parents. The ginormous reindeer should have already made that clear. But it was so unfathomable that she hadn’t expected it. Her father stood there, dressed in the reds that he wore every winter, at least during these times of the year. Shouldn’t he be delivering gifts?

Passing a hand through his white beard, he walked up to her.

“Well.” He said with a chuckle. “Don’t be like the mortals that just seen us for the first time. I’d expected a calmer response from someone that grew up seeing us on a regular basis, Miss Claus.”

She couldn’t hold back the tears that spilled from her eyes then. She looked from her roommates, that grinned in response, to her mother that stood by them, to her father that stood before her. He put out a hand toward her. Since leaving the North Pole, she had thought that she’d never see them again. As one of their children, among the many other elves that they birthed over the years, she couldn’t have imagined them making a special visit just for her. Especially not at such a busy point in the year.

She gratefully took the hand that her father offered, placing hers into his and letting him pull her up. Contrary to the fairytales that told of hundreds of elves tinkering away, her parents only had a couple dozen children, and the ones that did most of the work in gift production and preparation were her parents. They were always so busy at this time of the year, not only delivering the gifts, but actually participating in the entire process, making sure that they were produced, organized, and delivered all within an expected time frame.

They did all of this. All of it — without any intent to gain anything. All of it — just to see the smiles on everyone’s faces. But though they tried to satisfy everyone, they couldn’t read what their own children wanted. Years and years of waiting in the North Pole, they hardly spared a glance toward her. Finally, she left. Diappointed, but understanding.

Yet today, they appeared before her. Appeared, despite their schedules. Appeared, despite her belief that she’d never see them again. Appeared, just because of her roommates. They’d sacrificed what would be their Christmas gift to inform her parents of her wish. Sacrificing things that could be theirs for nothing but two crashes that would grant them nothing special to keep for themselves.

“Thank you.” She whispered, truly grateful. They probably would never know what it meant to her. But this was the first time that she had ever known anyone to put her desires before theirs. This was the first time that anyone put any effort to make her happy. “Thank you so much!” She said, as she pulled the group of them into a hug.

As annoying as her roommates could be, she couldn’t help but feel warmed. At last, she had a family. And it took her whole two crashes to realize. Finally, she had a family she could call hers, in spite of their ups and downs. A family that could understand her without needing to look into her with magical abiltiies. A family that could see her, despite their own lack of actual superhuman abilities. A family that chose to put up with her as much as she put up with them, over the past years. A family that truly saw and valued her as one of their own. A family that was truly capable of granting her a Merry Christmas. ❄️🎄

This story was inspired by a writing prompt from the “Promptly Written” Publication.

It’s Christmas Eve. You are awakened by a crash downstairs. You go to investigate. Write a scene or a complete story. You may write a Christmas Eve poem on your choice of topic. Any form, any length. Restriction — Santa Clause?

C. Chou
C. Chou

A writer that loves cabbages and bamboo, but also enjoys writing and sharing fiction (particularly the fantasy genre). Find me on Medium at: https://chouxherbe.medium.com/