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Marley's Holiday

by Rudi Dornemann

The darkness was a balm to Marley, hiding from him the life in which he could not participate, either to join in the happiness of the living or to ease their misery. The cold, the wind, the frost -- all of these were the most congenial companions in his wanderings.

As the days turned darker, the mass of humanity, in whose company Marley was doomed to move, all those people who could not see him and whom he could not touch, they turned their attention to one over-illuminated spectacle after another. The light burned, it pierced him like knives. First Diwali, with its colors and lights, as strange to him as Guy Fawkes, which followed soon after with its searing bonfires, was familiar. A respite then, as winter gathered, but too soon came Hannukah, with each night more piercing than the one before, and the solstice, with more fire and light. And finally Christmas, the holiday he knew from his time alive, with its lighted trees, its parades and blazing storefronts tormenting him in the waning days of December, when he wanted nothing more than to be only another aspect of winter, another sign of year’s deathlike ebb.

The clink of commerce did less to assuage him that one might have thought -- even the most mercenary of exchanges held undercurrents of fellow-feeling that stabbed at him like remorse, he, who could only watch and pass on through. There was one moment, however, toward which he looked forward expectantly.

He never knew exactly when the apparition would appear, a ghost as insubstantial as himself but with the warm glow of sunrise: Scrooge. Bearing the same gift he'd carried on this night for nearly one-hundred and fifty years: a bit of potato, still half raw.

"Happy Christmas, you old figment," said Scrooge.

For the space of a thought, the powers that would not permit any gift that might dispel Jacob Marley’s allotted suffering did relent, just enough that the old spirit knew his existence had not been entirely without consequence -- he was remembered, he had changed a life, if not his own.


This is substantial, living writing. You have a gift. (Also, it would seem, a fondness for potatoes.)

Posted by: Jeff | December 18, 2007 3:30 PM

A nice addition to the Scrooge story, and a ditto of Jeff above.

Posted by: Daniel Braum | December 18, 2007 3:44 PM

A nice addition to the Scrooge story and ditto Jeff above.

Posted by: Daniel | December 18, 2007 4:08 PM

Thanks, Jeff!

(Although I'm afraid I can't take credit for the potato, which is on loan from Mr. Dickens.)

Posted by: Rudi | December 19, 2007 11:48 AM

Which doesn't explain why you've referred to a potato in your last two stories! What ghost is in your prose?!

Posted by: Jeff | December 19, 2007 2:43 PM

You're right -- I'd forgotten about the previous story's potato.

I may be in need of some kind of tuber exorcist...

I shall endeavor to move on to another kind of starch next time :)

Posted by: Rudi | December 20, 2007 12:39 AM

Or you could go the other way. Perhaps potato is the key to some new level of knowledge or understanding?

I look forward to spotting the potatoes in your upcoming stories. :-7

Posted by: Jeff | December 20, 2007 3:50 PM

so informative, thanks to tell us.

Posted by: rorUnsado | September 26, 2010 4:07 AM

so informative, thanks to tell us.

Posted by: rorUnsado | September 30, 2010 12:17 AM

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