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Here is my last minute entry to the Bekindrewite Inspiration Monday challenge. The inspiration came, more from a friend’s current predicament rather than the prompts. So, here it is, wishing you all a Merry Christmas, or a wicked Winter Solstice, and a healthy and happy new year, whenever that falls for you. Peace, Man!

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“Ah, Christmas Eve. I look forward to sharing this evening with you every year, Nicholas. Mine is usually such a lonely task, but shared, the night’s work is less of a burden.”

The reindeer swooped low over thatched roofs and brought the sleigh to rest near the tall brick chimney of the first house in the village.

“I shall be here for a while, Michael, there are many children in this place. Keep the reindeer calm while I’m away.” Nicholas stepped on to the roof, checked the label on the sack and disappeared down the chimney.

Michael leaned back on the seat and put his feet on the dashboard. He made comforting clicking noises to the reindeer, but they weren’t convinced. He is used to waiting. He waited.

Nicholas was soon back on board, and the sleigh got underway. Just a few houses along and they stopped again. As Nicholas was about to get out, Michael put his hand on his shoulder. “No Nick, this one’s mine.”

Michael faded from view. Below, in the bedroom, next to grandma, the hooded form stood and watched .

“There’s a draught in here,” her frail voice barely a whisper. She opened her eyes. “Oh, it’s you.”

“Hello, Molly.” he said. “It’s time.” He reached out his hand, and she took it.

“I’m ready.” she tried to smile, and as she did a small, wispy breath rose from her mouth, and faded towards the window.

The door opened behind him. “Oh, no. Granny …”

Back in the sleigh, he said, “Job done, Nicholas.”

“On! Rudolf!” Santa flicked the reins, “A strange gift, Michael.”

“Perhaps,” said Death, “but eternal peace comes to us all – eventually.”

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© 2014, K Patrick Moody