A/N: Here’s your Christmas special everyone!
Rather than updating something on Friday, it seemed more appropriate for Christmas. Enjoy!
Oscar Matthew had always loved Christmas.
The way the lights twinkled so friendly from the tree. The way the snow fell so softly, covering the world in a white blanket. The way the house smelled of cinnamon. The presents.
Oscar Matthews loved everything there was to love about Christmas.
He was the type of person who started preparing in November. He bought his presents, decorated the house, sang carols long before December had even begone. It drove his girlfriend insane, but Oscar merely grinned when she complained and kissed her.
Oscar Matthews loved Christmas like a little child, so when he got to bed on the twenty-fourth, he could hardly fall asleep for sheer excitement.
He must have fallen asleep eventually though, for when he woke up, he was met with the queerest sight. A sight so odd that he was certain that he surely was still asleep.
The thing in front of him could hardly be called human. It glowed with an ethereal light, as if the creature was made out of pure energy. It appeared androgynous, neither male or female, but some harmonious balance between. Somehow Oscar got the feeling that it was looking at him in reproach.
“Oscar Matthew,” it said to him in a voice, which sounded like harp strings and a bass playing in harmony. “I am the ghost of Christmas Past.”
“The what now?”
“I have come here to show you the errors of your ways.”
“Wait, what? What errors?”
The creature gave off an atmosphere of pity. “You truly need our help if you do not even see how wrong you are. But fear not. We will help you.”
With what?, Oscar wanted to ask, but before he’d had a chance to do so, he suddenly felt as if a fishing hook had attached itself to his naval, and the fisherman in the other end was pulling with all his might. Oscar was dragged along with the invisible string, and the messy bedroom around him blurred into an array of colours, before he was finally released.
“What the shenanigan was that?!”
“I have taken you with me to the past, so you can remember how you once were.”
Oscar wanted to say something, ask something, anything really, but his head seemed as empty as the marshmallows he put in his hot chocolate, and so he merely followed the creature in silence.
It was snowing. How odd. It was supposed to be the warmest Christmas in half a century. Oscar frowned. What more was that he recognized this place. This was the town he grew up in. A quaint little place, he‘d loved when he was a child. There had, however, not been many opportunities if you wanted to continue your education. Then he’d met Elise, and she’d been reason enough not to go back.
Oscar followed the creature all the way to his old apartment, where he had to climb the fire escape in order to make his way to their old balcony. The creature gestured towards the window, and Oscar looked inside.
It was smaller than he remembered. His parents had always struggled financially, and Oscar’s fully paid scholarship had made his mother spent many nights on her knees; thanking God.
But despite the smaller size, there was the same old cheer he remembered from his childhood Christmases. His grandmother was quietly singing carols to herself as she was looking after him and his two sisters, while his mother was folding laundry, humming along whatever melody grandmother was singing, and his father was baking in the kitchen, filling the entire room with the tempting scent of chocolate and cinnamon.
Oscar smiled at the sight. They’d been happy, money or not.
The creature turned towards him.
“This was what used to be,” it told him.
Oscar waited politely for the point.
“And what has become of your Christmases? Of you?”
Oscar frowned, confused.
“Are you upset that I won’t be spending my Christmas with my family this year?” he asked slowly. It wasn’t like he didn’t want to spent time with them, but Elise had offered that he spent Christmas with her and her family, and he really wanted to create a good relationship with the people, who would hopefully one day become his in-laws.
“Look at them,” the creature told him as it gestured towards the playing children. “You adored your sisters, and they worshipped the ground you walked on. And now? How long hasn’t it been since you last heard their voices?”
Oscar thought back. “Well, I talked with Sophie last night on the phone, and Jane and I had dinner last week. You think that’s too long?”
“And are you truly happy with – what?” The creature cut itself off, suddenly radiating confusion. “You’re still talking with your sisters?”
“Of course! They’re my sisters! I love them. Even if Sophie can be exhausting.”
“But… but…” The creature faltered. “You weren’t supposed to have a good relationship with them.”
Oscar felt a flare of annoyance. “I won’t apologize for having a good relationship with my sisters,” he said, stubbornly. “I don’t care what you think I was or wasn’t supposed to.”
“No,” the creature said. “I mean, it’s good. It’s very good. Just unexpected.” It seemed to quickly consider its options. “What about your relationship with your mother?”
“She has trouble understanding that I’m not a little child anymore, and I wish she’d stop coming unannounced, but I like our weekly conversations over the phone. A couple of days ago she even sent me cookies.”
“Baked the cookies.”
“Grandmother?” The creature sounded almost desperate.
The creature sighed. ”Then to be completely honest I‘m not quite sure what I’m supposed to show you. I was supposed to point out the good relationship you had with people back then and compare it to your loneliness now, but something has clearly gone wrong.” It made a frustrated sound. “How am I supposed to do my work like this?”
“Um, well, I’m sorry for any inconvenience my good relations with my family has brought you, I suppose. Except not really.”
The creature gave a shrug. “It’s not your fault. I’ll take you back in a moment. My brother should be right with you. Maybe he can make sense of you.”
And with these words Oscar was back in his bedroom, wondering what that had all been about. If anything else, it has certainly been the most realistic dream he’d ever had. His fingers still felt slightly stiff from the cold, and tried to blow some warm into them as he tried to make sense of the dream.
Except that he didn’t have time to do so, before the next creature was there. Unlike the first, this one was obviously male.
Tall and muscular the creature almost appeared human if one disregarded his manic grin, and the insane glow in his eyes. Eyes, which he was currently turning towards Oscar.
”I am the ghost of Christmas Present!” It told him in a voice, which was huge chucks of rocks falling down a mountain side.
”I‘m Oscar,” Oscar presented himself, mostly because it seemed like the correct thing to do.
“Look!” thundered the ghost of Christmas Present. “Look at the other side of your bed! Look how empty it is, how cold, how – oh.” He cut himself off as he caught sight of Elise.
“Who’s that?” he asked.
“That’s my girlfriend.” Oscar couldn’t keep the pride out of his voice. Not that he bothered to even try.
“Your girlfriend?” the ghost repeated dumbly. “But you weren’t supposed to have a girlfriend. You were supposed to be alone. Unless!” His eyes lit up. “Perhaps she’s only with you for your money?”
“She has more money than I have.”
“I don’t have any.”
“She’s in love with your brother?”
“I don’t have one.”
“But then I don’t understand!” The ghost of Christmas Present sounded like a little child, whose toy had been taken away, and who didn’t understand why. “You were supposed to be lonely. But perhaps she’s the only one you have?” he added, hopefully. “Family?”
“Parents, two sisters and my grandmother. And all my cousins of course.”
“A few good one, and otherwise just acquaintances.”
“I was considering to get a dog.”
“Well, then what the hell am I supposed to do here?! I’m supposed to show you how lonely an existence you had.”
“I apologize for any inconvenience,” Oscar stated sarcastically.
The ghost of Christmas Present gave an annoyed snort. “How the hell am I supposed to do my job with these kind of conditions?! My sister can deal with you! I certainly don’t wanna bother!”
And with a last snort of annoyance, he disappeared, leaving Oscar alone in the room if one didn’t count the sleeping girl next to him.
The next time he was disturbed, Oscar really just wanted to go back to sleep. Or, more accurately, to have another, less seemingly realistic dream.
The creature this time was clearly female. A beautiful, glowing female with a flowing dress made out of blue light. Her face seemed merely suggested, like she was a painting, and the artist had been too lazy to do more than a quick sketch.
Oscar shuddered at the overwhelming feeling she seemed to radiate, of a mixture between a burning hope, and horrifying fear.
”I am the Future of Christmas,” she told him in a voice, which was a violin simultaneously playing every great componist, which had ever lived, and would ever live.
”I‘m Oscar,” Oscar told her, gaping.
“I am here to show you your future,” the spirit told him, and with these words the bedroom around them disappeared in a swirl of colour, and they were standing in a graveyard.
“Where are we?” Oscar asked the spirit.
“Not exactly a happy occasion, is it?”
Oscar looked. He wasn’t quite sure what he was supposed to see. Plenty of people had met up, many of which he didn’t even know. Several were crying, and everywhere around him Oscar saw faces full of sorrow.
“Is that… Elise?” he finally asked. The woman was far, far older than Elise, but still there was something in her face, something in the way she held herself, which reminded Oscar of his girlfriend, still lying home in their bed.
He never found out whether or not the spirit had planned to answer as the woman got up in front of the crowd and started to speak. It was a memorial speech, Oscar realised. For him.
They’d gotten married, apparently, and the thought filled him with a warm tingle. Even stranger to learn was it, however, when he found out they’d gotten two children on their own, and had, furthermore, also adopted two foster children. Children, which had grown up, and had children on their own, which later had children of their own. He was a great-grandfather. It was bizarre.
He’d gotten a large family just like he’d always wanted, and even at his own funeral, Oscar couldn’t help the broad grin spreading on his face. Dead or not, he seemed to have had a pretty great life.
Finally he looked up at the spirit. “Why are you showing me this?” he asked softly. “I mean, it’s nice to know everything works out and all, but I’d still wish I had the surprises in life.”
“I don’t understand,” the spirit said, a composition of confusion. “No one was supposed to come to your funeral.”
“That’s a bit harsh.”
“No, you don’t understand. You were supposed to be lonely. Bitter. Hate Christmas.”
“Hate Christmas?! How could anyone hate Christmas?! What’s not to love about Christmas?!”
She looked at him in wonder. “You’re Oscar Matthew, born 1991, aren’t you?”
“No, I was born in ’92.”
A groan met him, somehow still sounded like violins playing. “We have the wrong guy,” she said, clearly exasperated. “I can’t believe this. Why didn’t the others see this? The night is almost over, and we haven’t saved the right guy yet.” She sighed. “I suppose there’s nothing to do except call in the others, and work overtime.” She sounded frustrated. “And I won’t even begin to think about all the extra paperworks this is going to include!”
“Paperwork?” Oscar repeated, uncomprehending, but the spirit was already gone, leaving Oscar alone in the middle of his own funeral. Shortly hereafter the graveyard disappeared as well, and Oscar found himself back in his bedroom with the sound of his girlfriend’s soft breathing next to him.
He smiled at the sound. “What an odd dream,” he whispered into her hair, before closing his eyes and falling asleep.
The next morning Oscar woke up the 25th as the exact same man he’d been on the 24th as the three ghosts of Christmas had had absolutely no influence on his life whatsoever.