Just a lil tale before the holidays…
It was snowing heavy outside as Melanie walked to her parked car. She shoved passed the crowds of last minute shoppers on the streets. Her shoulders bumped by several people as she walked faster in an effort to get home that night.
Suddenly she walked directly into an older woman with about six bags in her hands. The lady quickly fell to the ground from Melanie’s force. But without looking back to see if she was okay, Melanie shouted, “Watch where the fuck you are going next time.”
“WAS THAT NECESSARY?” The lady shouted back as she struggled to her feet.
Melanie could care less as she reached her car. She stopped by a McDonald’s to order something to eat for the night. She didn’t feel like cooking once she got home. It had been a long day. She pulled up to the drive through but the speaker was out of order. She decided to park and walk inside instead.
As she entered the line, a tall man in his thirties dropped a few loose bills including a five from his pocket. Before he noticed, Melanie bent over to pick the five up. She then tapped the guy to let him know what happened but nonetheless did not return his money she found to him. As the man went to reach for his money, Melanie stepped forward to order her food, clearly stepping in front of where the man was.
She rolled her eyes as the man scoffed but continued to order.
“I think that guy was in front of you, lady.” the cashier stated.
“Look,” Melanie started. “No one is paying you minimum wage to think. So go on and ring me up a number five so I can go home!””
As the cashier went on to ring Melanie up, she then threw the five and some loose change onto the counter. She then snatched her bag of food from the cashier and walked out. She nearly made it home but stopped a few feet from her house. Out of the thickness of the snow came a young girl no older than 15.
“Excuse me, miss. But do you think you could help me out to get something to eat?”
“No!” Melanie mumbled out as she walked passed her.
As Melanie fumbled for her keys while continuing to walk closer to her door, she dropped her bag of fast food. She then saw that the cashier gave her the wrong order and without fries. She then looked back at the girl who was standing shivering on the corner near her house. Melanie then spotted a trash can nearby and threw the McDonald’s bag into it.
She finally reached her door and walked inside to the warmth of her house. She then threw her coat onto a nearby chair and hurried to the kitched to heat up a quick frozen dinner. She then poured a glass of vodka and orange juice before going into the living room to watch tv.
After she finished her meal, Melanie lit a cigarette and flipped through the channels. Before she knew it her drink was gone and she had already chained smoked half a pack. She was already on edge that night and slightly irritated at her tv.
“I hate this fucking time of year. Nothing on but these God-damned Christmas specials. They play the same shit every year.”
Melanie suddenly got up to go to the bathroom. After quicly returning, she decided to light another cigarette but couldn’t find her favorite lighter. She then decided to use matches instead but as she went to reach into the box of Newports Lights, the pack was empty.
“What the fuck? Now I know I’m not losing my fucking mind here. My smokes were just here. I didn’t smoke the whole damn pack.”
As Melanie looked behind the tv and under her couch. She then heard a man’s voice.
“Looking for these?” someone said from behind her.
The voice sounded so familiar but in shock she quickly stood up.
“Jared, why do you always hide my shit?” she said unconsciously.
But as she focused her eyes at the source of the voice, there stood a decomposing man. The room quickly began to fill with the odor of death. His eyes sunk so far into his head that the holes appeared black, which had a mixture of puss and blood oozing from the right side. He barely stood on his feet as he looked back at her. Melanie’s eyes began to cloud with tears as she tried to look away from what used to be her boyfriend. Around him darkness and smoke. His presence frightened her yet intrigued her.
“I keep telling you, one day these things’ll kill you!”
“WHAT THE FUCK?!? Jared you’re not supposed to be here. You’re…you’re dead.”
“I came back to tell you that you have to change your ways before it’s too late. Christmas is but a day away and after all this time, you spend your life cheating and hurting other people.”
“I’m sorry Jared but since…you…left, I gave up on it all. It’s a hack. A big waste of time to get your money.” Melanie cried as she said back to him.
“You were once so festive this time of year.” Jared said.
“No Jared!” Melanie started. “I was never festive about anything. You were the one with the lights, trees and shit. I just stood there as you did your Santa thing is all. You and your overly happy self. It was cute but annoying as hell!”
“Well baby, I am here to tell you that none of that matters and you need to change NOW!”
Melanie rolled her eyes as she walked over to him and snatched her cigarettes and lighter. She lit one and took a long drag.
“I’m going to wake up and when I do. Jared, I want you to go…rest in peace. Or whatever!”
“Trust me when I say that I am not going to be here for long. I know that the sight of me bothers you. I only came to warn you.”
“Warn me about what?” Melanie asked.
“That you don’t want to end up like me.” Jared replied.
“You were the epitome of the holidays. So maybe I’m better off.”
“No! I was selfish, Mel. I did it only to prove to the world that I could be great at it. To me Christmas wasn’t about love, kindness and good will. It was about showing off the best decorations, the best gifts. I made a mockery of Christmas and all its shallow parts.”
“Well,” Melanie started, “I don’t mock it. I just don’t celebrate it.”
“Well, you should re-evaluate some of your priorities.” Jared replied.
“Look honey,” Melanie said with sarcasm. “I don’t want to take up much of your time. The fact you came back from the dead to tell me to put up the ol’ Christmas tree is a bit absurd.”
“Typical Mel… always sarcastic.” Jared said as he laughed.
A small bit of blood spilled from his mouth as he tried to contain his laughter.
Melanie looked down and figured she had enough for one night.
“Ok, Jared it was good seeing the corpse of my ex-boyfriend. But it’s time you go back to Hell or Heaven…or wherever you came from.”
“OK OK,” Jared agreed as Melanie waved goodbye, “But there’s just one last thing.”
“And what’s that.”
“You’re going to be visited by 3 ghosts.”
“WHAT?” Melanie shouted.
“Expect the first ghost at the stroke of 12 midnight.”
“Aw shit! There are more dead people coming for me?”
“Yes and unless you want to end up like any of us. I expect you start on that change.”
Melanie sat on the couch. She began to cry.
“If it’s any consolation Mel…” Jared started
“Yes.” Melanie answered as she looked up at Jared.
“You still look hot after all this time, to be a grinch and all.”
Melanie chuckled and sat back. But as she looked up to where Jared stood, he was gone. He had vanished as quickly as he appeared.
Suddenly Melanie opened her eyes and looked around. She soon felt a sting on her hand. As she looked down, there was the cigarette burned down to the filter in her hand. I must have fell asleep after lighting it, she thought.
It was all a dream.
She looked up at her tv to see that Bill Murray was on. It was the movie Scrooged. She sighed aloud and felt relieved now knowing what inspired her little vision.
But as she looked down on the floor, she noticed a few drops of fresh blood on her carpet. Melanie suddenly widened her eyes in horror as she looked at the clock on her wall.
It read 11:45 PM.