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Santa’s Wizardly Christmas

Just when you think you know all of your neighbours?

By Frank TalaberPublished 4 years ago 12 min read
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Santa’s Wizardly Christmas

I came from salt water and will return there one day, dreaming of past lives as the oceans move in their mysterious ways. Other lives, other worlds away.

Thomas woke up and shook his head; the same nightmare. Again. Of a place he no longer was and never will be. Ever again.

Thomas Andrews, no longer the Great Magix of Magixes of Cramadran, got out of his warm bed. Splattering water on his face, he closed his eyes and lent his tears to the waters of the faucet before him. This house on Earth so cold and so very alone.

A shrill scream and several growls rent the air.

In his head, he saw the young lad from two doors down, Dayne, in trouble. The neighbor’s dogs, they’d gotten loose.

Thomas grabbed the five-foot hardened shaft he’d spent many a night carving some years ago. Flinging his front door open he tore down the street as fast as his elderly legs could propel him. I shouldn’t be doing this.

The two black dogs barking viciously, he knew, were Dobermans, about to attack the child again, one on either side of him. Blood streamed from his pant leg as the lad tried to protect himself.

One dog growled as the old man ran to them, twirling his shaft before him with the agility of a cheerleader, mesmerizing the animal. It lunged towards him, ready to assault the new foe, only Thomas yelled a war cry from his former days and struck the canine three times before it knew what hit it. The dog fell to the ground. Thomas hammered the end of his shaft in the middle of the beast’s skull. A crack resounded. The other, wanting to defend its mate, ran towards Thomas with jaws slavering. Thomas stopped and let out a bellow that would have graced most lions of Africa with humility.

The canine stopped, unsure. Thomas bellowed again with the rage of a bull elephant in heat. The animal sensing its master beat a hasty retreat. Thomas slumped to one knee gasping for air. Man, I gotta remember I’m nearly two hundred years old, not a young nobleman anymore.

Dayne grabbed at his leg. “He bit me! That was amazing! How did you do that?”

“Just my military training from the days of my upbringing.” Thomas inhaled deeply several times. “It takes a lot out me though. I haven’t much energy these days.”

“That is from no army that I know of. My dad was an ex-marine. You are a wizard and a warrior.”

“I do not lie young Dayne of the Smiths.”

“How do you know my name?”

“There is much I know about you. For you are correct I am indeed a former wizard. You must not let anyone else know this.”

Dayne nodded in agreement. He knew the old man lived alone and kept to himself. Dad said some people were like that. A harmless recluse he called him.

The old man smiled as if he could read his mind. “Now let me take you to my house. I can fix your leg, but not here in public view.” He gently picked the lad up and carried him home.

“My mom says I shouldn’t talk to strangers.”

“Your mother is very smart. But I am not a stranger and I saved your life.”

Thomas closed the door behind them and deposited the lad on the carpet. “Now let me see your leg. If you go home like this your mother will not let you near me again.”

With that he clapped his hands together three times. Sparks flew between them. Dayne watched as he held them to either side of his leg; instantly the pain stopped as sparkles transferred between his palms. The blood ceased flowing, skin began to heal over. “You must never tell anyone I use Reiki on you.”

“That isn’t Reiki. I saw it on a movie once. The Karate Kid.”

“Okay, call it magic. But you must never tell anyone. If you did I would have to leave this town. It has happened to me before.”

Dayne nodded in agreement.

“Now, the magic. Watch.”

Dayne stared in disbelief as the ripped threads wove themselves into each other and all too soon the pant leg was whole again.”

“Wow! How?”

“It is a little of what I once was. But I must go now, my energy is weak. I will need much sleep to recuperate.” With that the man rose, staggered to his couch and fell asleep.

Dayne blinked, picked himself up. His leg felt normal, he stared at the man, who’d already slumped into unconsciousness. He glanced around the room. Little soldiers walked, patrolling the grounds of the lintel over the man’s fireplace. As he stared, they walked to the edge, lifted a leg, turned and went back in the other direction.

“Cool.”

Dayne opened the front door, “Thank you, mister.”

He walked towards home. Already the fat balding man from across the street was yelling into a phone about his dead dog to the police.

Dayne walked up, “I saw it happen. Your dog ran across the street, got hit by a car.”

His mother came running up to see what was going on. “My husband told you last year to keep them vicious dogs of yours on stronger leashes.” With that the two walked away.

Later, Dayne lay in bed staring into the ceiling. How do I explain this? What had I just seen? He’s either not of this world or a magician. Wow! I’ve a great wizard living next door to me. Just like the Potters. Cool. So freaking cool.

Dayne returned the next day to visit the old man, taking some of his mom’s homemade cookies.

“You really a wizard?”

Thomas nodded. “Once was. Not now.”

“Yeah? What can you do then?”

“Well, small wizardy things.”

“Are you kidding me? So do you, like, transform lead into gold, make ugly frogs into princes or blast holes through time and space?”

Sadness streamed over his face. “I wish. That’s how I got here. Look, forget I said anything.” He walked off, a sad look on his face. “That’s what got me here, being cocky and boastful. I thought I was powerful beyond belief. I lived in a large castle near our equator on the seashore. My sworn enemy was Hanus the merciless, also a Grand Magix Inquisitor of Cramadran.”

“The what? Sounds like a character from one of the old Saturday morning cartoon shows.”

Thomas sat quietly for a moment. “If you keep interrupting me I’ll zip your lips shut and turn you into an aardvark or something. Could spend the rest of your life licking up ants. Well, could have. If I still had the power.”

“That’s an anteater.”

“Whatever. Anyways, before I got interrupted, I was going to say I had been on my guard knowing he would try a trick of some sort to best me. Only I didn’t have any fail-safes in my washroom. When I sat down on my toilet seat it triggered a dimensional spell and next thing I knew I was here.”

“Caught with your pants down.” Dayne smiled.

“Literally. Very humiliating as well. Only we don’t wear pants back on my world and since in this world magic is very weak, I’ve no way of finding my home-world or generating the kind of energy I need to open a dimensional portal in order to return.”

“You are kidding me, aren’t you?”

He looked sadly down. “I wish. I’ve been here for nearly two hundred years and judging by my slow aging, probably will get nearly three hundred more before I pass away. He knew my aging would be slow on this world and obviously wanted to prolong my torture. Everyone I knew is now deceased and with the billions of realities and dimensional time shifts, there’s no way of returning, and even if I did, everyone I knew would be gone.”

“Well, that really sucks,” he said, trying to cheer him up. “At least you ended up on a planet where the air isn’t poisonous and there aren’t nothing but dinosaurs running around.”

“I guess there’s that. Just annoying neighbour kids. Probably better than being chased by hungry T-rex, I suppose, like I was once as a kid.”

“Really? So cool.”

The little plastic soldiers marching back and forth on the mantle caught his eye again. He walked up and reached out to pick one of them up; it waited, leg raised, and fell to the ground.

“What the …” He picked up the toy soldier and looked closely at it. No sign of any place to put a battery or a wind up slot. It looked for all the world like a cheap one-piece molded toy. “How do you do this? His legs can’t possibly move.”

The old man reached over, put it on the mantle and snapped his fingers. The soldier winked at the lad and began to patrol once more. Only this time it lifted its gun and moved it to each shoulder as it did and saluted him. “How, I mean, what the …?”

The old pendulum clock chimed five times. “Oh! I’ve gotta go. Would you like to come over tomorrow? Have dinner, meet my parents? We’re going to have a Harry Potter movie night.”

“A movie of a pot of hairs? Even I know on this world that doesn’t grow in clay. Potted or not.”

“No I think you’ll like it. It’s about a world where magicians exist along with humans.”

Thomas scratched his chin. “I have no one or nothing in this world. Somehow I believe you are indeed sincere. I shall go with you young Dayne of the Smiths.”

“Okay, no wonder you haven’t many friends. It is Dayne Smith. We shorten everything here. I can help you fit in better.”

“A young escort into the workings of your planet. Agreed.”

“Man, you are a strange dude, Thomas. I’m almost beginning to believe your story.”

“What is that TV series where at the beginning they say… Oh, yes, ‘The Truth Is Out

There’.”

“X-files.”

“A lot of truth in those shows. I enjoy them. The female is quite strong and attractive.”

“She’s a girl. Yuck!”

“You shall change your views on the opposite sex soon, my young man. My betrothed had manes of crimson hair. All curls. I loved running my hand through as I kissed her.” He sighed deeply.

After the movies Dayne asked if he could walk him home.

“Sure. But be back in time for bed. Get it?”

“Yes, mom,” he said with a groan.

They put on their jackets and slipped into the night. “Mom is so controlling.”

“Your mother loves you and is protective, it is what mothers do.”

“I can look after myself.”

“You think so. I was also a cocky youth. Grew to be a most powerful man. Now look at me. Only a housebound old man too afraid to go into the world.”

They walked the four houses down to his place. Thomas snapped his fingers and his front door opened as they strode up the steps. “I thank you, my noble knight of protection.”

“You are a most weird man, Thomas of Cramadonut.”

“No, of Cramadron. Oh, it’s okay I’ll never be there again. Just call me Thomas.”

“You know with that grey hair you’d make a good Santa Claus in the mall. My dad works there and says they are looking for someone as the last guy just quit.”

“A saint of good will and helping others?” He ran his fingers through his hair. “I have been here too long alone. I agree, I shall do your bidding.”

“Goody. I’ll let Dad know.”

“I have begun to like your company, young Dayne of the... Smith, Dayne Smith.” He laughed deeply for the first time in many years.

Thomas shut his door, lent his head back and shuddered. It was so hard to be out there in the fresh air. All these years of being shut inside sent shivers of terror through him. How did I become a scared old man, when I had a kingdom, legions of trained soldiers at my fingers?

Two weeks later Dayne smiled as Thomas sat on the plush red chair. A line of kids waited to tell Santa their desires and wishes. Behind the fake beard Thomas smiled at the lad. He’d spent many an afternoon with the old man listening to his tales of his home-world. Of the woman he loved and would never hold again. Of the men he battled and slayed.

Oh man, I’ve my own Harry P. living next to me. This is the neatest. Only he’s so lonely, I hope he can help Heather’s mom, Anne.

“That is one of my best friends, Heather, in the lineup. Her mother is alone, the husband left her years ago and she is battling cancer.” Thomas stared at the older woman in her mid-forties. Her red hair hung loose over her shoulders. She leaned on a cane trying to stand, but in obvious pain.

The little girl sat crying on his lap when her turn came up. Her only wish was to have her ailing mother healthy. He stared at her, their eyes locked. He saw her pupils widen, as did his. Dayne watched as Thomas gritted his teeth not taking his eyes off her. “Bring her here to me. I shall try to grant you your wish.”

“Tell the others to come back later. My time today is done, but I will talk to Heather’s mother alone.”

The two went behind the paper decoration ice castle. ”You cannot help me. I haven’t told my daughter that I am dying. I have cancer throughout my body.”

“I know, I see its claws eating and digging through you.” Her eyes so reminded him of Elouise

“This will be the last Christmas I shall have her.”

He stared at the two children joking and playing with each other just outside.

Thomas closed his eyes. “You shall live a longer life than you know. Will you trust me? If this is to work you must believe in what I am about to do.”

Anne looked deep into his eyes. “There is someone more saintlier than Santa inside there. I don’t know why, but I trust you.”

“Good. Now, set aside the cane and stand still.”

Thomas clapped his hands together three times. A blue glow issued from between his palms.

“What?”

“Do not ask, just trust the process. I call it a deep form of Reiki. This will hurt briefly. The demon will not take lightly to being pulled from its life giving host.” He thrust his hands on either side of her body. Anne cried in pain. Thomas ran his hands over her stomach. “Gotcha.”

”Mom?” Heather yelled.

“I’m okay, darling.” Anne gasped back.

Very quickly Thomas pulled a hideous serpentine beast with slavering jaws from her. It spit and twisted in his grasp trying to return to the meal it relished. Thomas sneered at the vile beast. “Destroyer of life and goodness I commit thee to the depths of hell.”

With that he grabbed it by the throat and twisted hard. A crack resonated and the creature went limp. Thomas flung it to the ground and crushed it with his foot. It exploded into blue mist and vanished.

“MOM! Mom, you okay?” Heather and Dayne ran to them. Anne stood up, flexed her body, smiled and breathed deeply. “It’s gone, I mean I’m …. Good. I’m so very good.”

She straightened herself and hugged her daughter. She turned to the old man struggling to stay on his feet, his body trembling. The ordeal too much for him.

Anne, without thinking, put her arm around him and pulled him up as he slumped into near unconsciousness. “Help me with him, we must get him home to rest.”

“Mom, how is this possible? You can’t even lift me?”

“I don’t know darling, but we must get Mr. Claus home. He will need to rest after working this miracle.”

They all pulled Thomas, struggling to stay conscious, to her car. Once seated she put on his seatbelt. She held his hand. Sparks danced in her eyes. Her hand warm, the connection instant. The knowing of what could be.

The drove silently for a while, then she ventured, “Are you single? I don’t even know your name.”

“Thomas. And yes.”

As they lay Thomas down on his couch, Anne looked around. “You two go outside and play. I think I will stay and look after my man, er savior.” She smiled and stroked his forehead. The touch ringing familiarity inside, tissues longing to be together, and dreams of Christmas future.

On the floor of the shopping mall a forgotten cane lay. Unneeded. Victim to the magic of Christmas past.

“Thank you.” Anne leaned over and placed a gentle kiss on his forehead, “this is for Christmas present.”

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About the Creator

Frank Talaber

I believe in whacking a reader upside the head, toss them screaming into the book, and just when they think they are starting to figure things out toss a curveball. they say that you don't have to be mad to be a writer, but it sure helps.

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