|Photo by KL Caley|
Participating in the weekly #WritePhoto blog hop at KL Caley's New2Writing blog.
I'm a little late with this--expect more of the same this week, and next, but I'll put up a post when I think about it :) Meanwhile, everyone enjoy the holidays of your choice (me, I'm a little inclined to choose them all, especially any with food associated).
Today, in 530 words, we have a little Christmas story for you.
“Careful how you stow those things.” The order wasn’t necessary, but he gave it anyway.
“Are you sure this is going to work?” That was Crocus, always questioning his judgement. Questioning everyone’s judgement, to be fair. Crocus couldn’t take anything as a given, which he supposed wasn’t all bad.
“I’ve tested the horses. They’ll do.”
“Why can’t the reindeer—” Crocus started to ask.
“They need snow. The bare stones and pavements hurt their feet. Hooves,” he corrected himself. This business of having to find a new way to get around was nuts. He’d been using a basic sleigh since the beginning, and now they come along and tell him that there wasn’t enough snow most places to run on, and he needed to find something else.
He’d always had to work around the places that didn’t have snow, of course. You couldn’t count on every single person living where there was snow on Christmas Eve. There was the whole Palm Springs thing, for example. But this was a whole other matter, hardly any snow anywhere in his delivery area.
Of course, his brother who handled the Southern Hemisphere had never bothered with a sleigh. Christmas at mid-summer let that right out. He thought Kris used kangaroos or some such, and probably a two-wheeled cart.
He wasn’t going to do that.
This elegant carriage would be just the ticket, if only the horses—a team of six perfectly matched white horses that had taken a lot of hunting to round up, believe me—if only the horses would really do their stuff.
He was hanged if he’d tell Crocus, but the horses didn’t much care for flying. He could make them do it, but they griped. It wasn’t like Dasher and Dancer and the rest, who’d been as happy to fly as a flock of seagulls. These guys were more like Dopey and Grumpy and that lot. He was going to have to give them names that children could get excited about, though. Would you believe it, every one of the six horses had said its name was Whitey? What was wrong with people, anyway?
Maybe they could be… let’s see… drat, he’d used all the best names for the reindeer. He’d thought about calling the horses by the same names, just for this one night anyway, but Dasher put his foot down about that.
“They aren’t us, and you can’t steal our names. They’re ours. Call these guys,” the large ungulate tilted his head back so he could look down his nose at the much taller horses. “Call them… Hoofer, Roofer, Lightlegs, Racer, Pacer, and, um, Twinkletoes.”
Well, it wouldn’t have the same ring, but Santa settled himself atop the carriage in the driver’s seat, above the toy-packed interior.
“Come, Hoofer and Roofer, Racer and Pacer. Up, Lightlegs! On, Twinkletoes!” He reinforced the command with a good bit of his special magic, and the carriage began to move, then to rise.
“Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night,” he called back over his shoulder at the cluster of elves who had loaded the carriage and remained to see him off.
This just might work.
Enjoy the story? Did you know that I have a collection of winter-holiday stories, as well as a special Pismawallops PTA novella, each just 99 cents for the ebook? Click on the images to visit Smashwords and purchase (you can also buy from Amazon and all the other ebook vendors. But here's a little secret worth knowing: I get the best royalties from Smashwords).
Finally, don't forget that the Smashwords Year-End Sale is still going on! Many of my books are on sale, with a new book on extra-deep discounts each week. For a few more days you can get Death By Trombone for 50% off. Check back later in the week to see what's up next!