Sunday, 12 December 2010


Ellie Garrat is hosting a Christmas Tales' Blogfest. I love a tale at Christmas time: this got my creative juices... wagging ;)


Bent was surly. Even well-oiled by the bottle he carried in his inside pocket, he was morose. Every tentative smile, each polite greeting: he met civility with a range of expressions designed to keep the world at bay. The most common of these were his scowl or a sneer.

Twilight on Christmas Eve, the sky was still pink streaked, the sandstone buildings glowed warm orange. Bent saw no beauty in the sunset, he leaned low over his silver-topped cane. His constitution though was sound, his health was robust, so no helpful mucus dripped from the downturned end of his hook-nose preventing the scent of early roast dinners from teasing his senses or reminding him that in his old house the only odours ready to greet him were dampness sprinkled temptingly over mildew. 

The melted snow had changed the pavements from damp to blackly dangerous. Bent glared at the children who hurried past and slid their races home. The days when he could hurry were long gone. He placed each careful footstep, willing fractured ankles, heads or coccyx to the lot of them. 

He wished no such thing to the young lovers whose lips were glued while they danced a side-stepping, merry-tangled tango towards him. His finger itched upon the cane. Sliding it on the glistening pavement he aimed to bring about a painful separation as divorce was beyond his grasp of space or time.

The slick puddle got there first. Thin heels picked the surface, loafers thought to lie. The hero twisted to protect his sweetheart who would have been broken, when his feet shot backwards. The injury doubled, if her soft form cushioned his on the impervious path. His shame turned to joy when the hand and stick proved close enough to save more than his face.
“Bless you, Sir. What a hero.” Both kissed his cheek and shook his hand and mistook his rosy glow for modesty. “Merry Christmas to you sir. We owe you more than gratitude. “

Bent shook his head, unsure how his intention had been so misconstrued.

“No, Sir. We will not embarrass you further. We will show our kindness to a stranger, as you did. We will spread this Christmas lesson.” 

A pearl flake landed soft upon Bent’s dark coat. The chill air trapped it there. Bent’s anger made him pat the offending droplet, but too hard. His agitation disturbed the bottle of rum that had fortified his reluctant journey home. He staggered a few more steps: jiggled the bottle, joggled it, until it fell into the hand he'd wormed inside his overcoat.

The drinkers crammed against the window of the disco pub, where jolly tunes thumped haunting scenes and ghosts of Christmases past, watched Bent struggle with his daemon drink. Saw him tug it from his coat, admired him when he let it fall and scraped together the shards of glass littering the path. 

The air around Bent warmed. Encircled by many whose outfits would not keep a summer breeze at bay, Bent’s confusion won, not sympathy but devotion from the throng - and visions of delightful thongs - when the bevy of beauties bent to help him up. His view was more hilly but no less welcome to Old Bent. He remained completely befuddled when they kissed him.

“You're right, Sir. Drink is no answer.” 

Pushed around the circle in a way Bent remembered from party games when he was small, they  hugged and kissed him until Bent hardly know which way lead to home.

“We wish everyone could have seen you refuse to give in to temptation. Truly, you are a saint.”

Pearls of snowy white descended with a flurry, as the group rushed to spread news of Bent’s good deeds to all. The sight of so much good will, put Bent into a spin. He staggered into the street, forgetting caution, unaware of danger. He saw the light, but too late.

He gazed into a white sky: fearless, weightless, but not alone. No matter how he struggled, no matter what he said, they pulled him up towards the light... to glory. He had died in such a state of grace that he was allowed only one destination. 

Bent cursed, “Oh Mary! Sweet mother of God!”

Every doubt his angelic guardians had dissipated. They dragged the old Sinner upwards, to his just deserts. 

What the Dickens?!  It turned into a right-moral Christmas story. ;)
Do you think Charles had a plan - had any idea where the initial character would take him, when he started his story?   I created Bent from his name, I had no idea - in the first paragraph - where Bent's journey was going to take him. 


  1. Great irony at work! Out of the ordinary, great job!

  2. Hi Words Crafter
    Welcome to Wordsmithing ;)

    The Christmas turned out to be a Smith/Dickens of a hybrid :)

  3. I love it how a story takes you where it wants to go. Things feel so fresh then! I loved this! Great tale, Elaine.

  4. This is a wonderful story! So unusual, well done.

  5. Hello L'Aussie
    It was quite a journey. It is much-in-the-spirit of Charles Dickens at Christmas - Gawd Bless us! Every one! ;)

    Hi Margo
    Thank you. I don't normally write short stories either. It's amazing how my 'necessary' word count is falling. ;)

  6. Wonderful story and character name. I loved the way you wrote the story from his name! I often start a story having no real idea where it will end up and it can be such fun writing that way.

    Thank you for taking part in my blogfest.

  7. Hi Ellie
    Thank you.
    As a compulsive planner, I found writing the story last pretty hair raising ;) Fun. But scary too.