Rebecca gasped as she sat up. She glanced around. She grunted when she realized it was all a dream. Too bad it happened to be but a memory as well. Before getting out of bed, she sighed nervously. Rebeccaheaded to the living room.
She saw the Christmas tree. It had everything; all the ornaments and decorations had practically every color of the rainbow, and then some. Rebecca rolled her eyes before glancing at her brother. Gregory was still fixing the player.
“That player’s still not working?” she grumbled.
“Relax, Becky. You’ll get to watch your show soon,” he said. He eyed her. “I’m a pro, remember.” He raised a brow. Rebecca grunted and looked away. Gregory sighed as he went back to work. He had to get used to that since her high school years.
During that time, she avoided everyone but Nolan. They became almost inseparable. She caused trouble to anyone who sent disrespect on any level she could see. Throughout the four years, she had been injured, received few broken bones, sent to the principal’s office, and even received physical and verbal threats.
She wasn’t one to back down. Rebecca only had one true friend, Nolan. Despite knowing him, she grew bitter over the years. Her brothers and sisters eventually became accustomed to her attitude. She couldn’t help wondering why they bothered visiting her – and staying with her.
“I’m gonna find Brittany,” Rebecca mumbled.
She stood and walked down the hall. Rebecca figured her housekeeper would be cleaning one of the other bedrooms in her family’s house. She still couldn’t believe two of her nephews lived with her. At least they had shelter and knew not to annoy her. Rebecca found Brittany in the last bedroom. She rapped lightly on the door.
“Miss Rebecca, is there something you need?” she wondered. Rebecca thought for a moment.
“Make a count of heads soon. I want to know how many of my nieces and nephews are here,” she said. Brittany nodded. “Do so after you’re finished with Josh and Brian’s rooms. I’m sure he wants it clean for his next experiment.” She then left the housekeeper to her work. She sighed a bit peevishly. “Why he won’t just use his imagination instead of inventing like his father… ugh, too bad that’s what got my brother killed,” Rebecca muttered.
She walked off and decided to see what was going on in the family room. She found both her younger sisters there, along with their daughters. Tammy turned her head. She used her hearing skills instead of her glassy eyes. She had lost the ability to see before she had her children.
“Welcome back, Becky. We were just talking about you,” she said with a gentle smile. “I was recalling the time when you and I used to climb the trees in our backyard. Remember when I got scraped by the trunk?”
“Yes, and you tore your favorite dress. I told you to wear those capris.”
“Oh, Becky,” she sighed. She turned toward Heather. “Heather, would you mind getting The Creature’s Tale for me?”
“Not at all, mama,” she said, making that voice to sound younger than her age. She giggled as she gave her the book. “Read us the part where he goes crazy over the snowman. I love that part.”
Tammy opened the book and rubbed over the many little bumps called Braille. Knowing what the bumps stood for, she could read with her fingers. She turned pages to find the particular part. Tammy smiled when she found it.
“Jordan and Daniel became bored with their snowball fight. Jordan tossed a small snowball to Seamus. He caught it with one hand since he was still holding the camera, recording everything going on.
“’Ah, I caught it,’ Seamus said. He saw Daniel and aimed the camera at him. Daniel threw as hard as he could. A snowball flew across their yard and over the fence. ‘And there it goes. Home run!’
“They goofed off a bit with their snowman they made. Too bad it was too much work to make a head. Jordan placed his head behind the snowman. Seamus laughed as Daniel pushed him into it. Jordan pretended to choke before he stood. He pumped his fists playfully.
“’Dan, this guy is trouble. This guy is trouble. We gotta take him out,’ he said.
“‘How are you gonna take him out?’ Seamus asked. His friend made fake punches. ‘Tackle him. Just tackle him. Full force spear him.’
“’I’m gonna tackle him,’ he said as he walked away.
“’Yeah, gotta get a running start here,’ Seamus said.
“‘But he has to say something mean.’
“’He said the Cardinals suck,’ Seamus told him.
“‘The Cardinals suck, huh?’ Jordan repeated. He ran toward the snowman and jumped full force, decapitating the top half.
“’If only there was a head on it,’ Daniel said.
“’And thus ending Gary the Indiana Snowman’s life,’ Seamus announced.” Tammy paused. “And that ends my reading. I do believe my throat is getting dry.”
“I’ll get you a drink, aunt Tammy,” Alexis said. She stood and went to the kitchen. Rebecca was surprisingly interested in the story. She liked it when the young man decided to destroy the snowman. She glanced at her youngest sister.
“Brenda, how is lunch coming?” she asked.
“Relax, would you?” Tammy said.
“Everything is prepped. I just – we need to cook it all,” Brenda answered. Brittany the housekeeper came in;she cleared her throat to get attention. Rebecca turned toward her. She nodded.
“All of your nephews and nieces are accounted for, Miss Rebecca,” she said.
“Alright then,” she sighed. “You can go back to work.” She couldn’t believe all nine of them were there, in that small of a house. Rebecca left the family room and walked to the living room. “Why couldn’t we have the tree in the family room?”
“Because with all the stuff in there, it wouldn’t fit,” another of her nephews spoke. She looked at him.
“Ugh, what are you doing, Sean?” she asked.
“She asked with full annoyance in her voice,” Andrea whispered as she wrote in her notebook. She loved writing; she was always writing something. Andrea often wrote what happened around her. She wanted to be an author. Publishing a novel definitely became a life goal for her.
“I’m helping uncle Gregory fix the player. It seems there are a few pieces permanently damaged. And it’s not because of the glitter,” he said. Rebecca groaned and turned to leave.
“The humanitarian works out the kinks. But the Scrooge of our Christmas walks out the room as she figures out what to do next,” Andrea whispered as she wrote that in her notebook. She softly giggled.
With her last attempt at getting what she wanted, Rebecca entered the kitchen. She saw Brian, another nephew, helping Brittany with the festivities in their house.
“What are you two doing?” she asked.
“I’m helping Brit with our Christmas cookies,” he said. He turned and remembered something. “Oh, make sure the oven is turned on. The dough is almost ready.” He looked at his aunt. “Aunt Becky, if you’re not going to do anything, perhaps check on my mother. I know she’ll need some help somehow.”
“Please, Brian, I can do this by myself,” the housekeeper spoke up to him once more. “You know I work best alone.” Rebecca grunted. She turned around.
“That’s it,” she mumbled. “I’ll be back, Brittany. Be sure everything’s ready by then,” she said aloud. As she left, her nephew winced. She put her downy coat and scarf on before walking out the door.
The whistling winds died down but it was still snowing. She did love how the weather made all the buildings and trees white when they really weren’t. Rebecca admired it. As she trudged on in the crunching snow, she looked around. She admitted it became harder to see.
Visibility through the snow had to be at least two feet past her nose. The buildings around her looked like smudges. It didn’t take long for the snow to stop, though. She glanced around. Rebeccawidened her eyes at what she saw.
Snow-covered trees stood right in front of her. All of them happened to be in rows and looked identical. In front of the trees, she saw a sign. It read, “Have no fear. You’re not lost; you’re here.” It had an arrow pointing to her right. She followed the sign. After many rows of trees, she came across a busy town.
She wasn’t sure what to expect, but this definitely wasn’t what she expected. Everyone looked different: the height, the skin color, and even their faces. The one thing they had in common was the pointy ears, but she didn’t notice. The pointy ears happened to be Bluetooth walkie-talkies, so they could communicate with one another from distances away. She saw one person that stuck out more than anyone.
What seemed to be an average Caucasian woman was actually a cheery one, with rosy cheeks, rounded glasses, and a bright red cloak. Underneath that cloak, everything she wore had white and red colors. Rebecca wished she knew what was going on. She walked around aimlessly and confused. The cheery woman – Mrs. Claus – saw her; she came up to her.
“Hello, dear. You look lost,” she said.
“Where am I?” she asked.
“Why, you’re in the Christmas dimension. This must be your first time,” Mrs. Claus said. “Come, follow me.” She lightly grabbed Rebecca’s arm. She reluctantly followed the cheery woman. “Tell me your name, dear. How is the modern world doing?”
“Um… I’m Rebecca Matthews,” she uttered. “I don’t really know how the world is doing. I don’t follow the news much.”
“Rebecca Matthews…” she whispered. She suddenly remembered. “Ah, Rebecca Ellen Matthews – stopped believing before kindergarten. Not because your parents didn’t tell you, but because you matured faster than average children.”
“How did you know that?” she asked with surprise and admiration.
“Why, dear, I and my husband know a lot more than you think. In fact…” Mrs. Claus looked around before leaning to Rebecca’s ear. “I know why you preferred college than marrying Nolan.” Rebecca gasped and pulled away. “Oh, don’t worry. Santa and I keep everything confidential. No one but we and you know what happened in your life.”
“Thank you,” she said with strain. She covered her mouth quickly. Though she was glad to say it, she had promised herself not to use good manners for anyone since high school. She looked away as they continued walking. Mrs. Claus smiled gently.
“No need to thank, dear. Confidentiality has been important since the day our Christmas dimension appeared,” she explained.
“Dimension?” Rebecca repeated. “That doesn’t... I don’t... wait; how is this a dimension? I thought the North Pole was Santa’s home.”
“It was. It is,” she replied. “Over the centuries, a bit of the Pole came here. All laws, natural and man, do not exist here. We are in the past, present, and future.” Rebecca’s brows narrowed. “What was, what is, what could’ve been, what should’ve been... and what if - all of it exists here.”
“What?” She shook her head; her hands rubbed her forehead. “Oh, that’s so confusing.” Mrs. Claus chuckled.
“Not everyone understands how it works, dear. Now, tell me. What is it you wish for Christmas this year?” she wondered. She watched Rebecca think.
“I… I don’t know,” she said. She never thought about it. Rebecca didn’t even like the idea of hosting the holiday for her family, though she had been doing it for five years. She cleared her throat. “Wouldn’t I be on the naughty list?”
“Oh, you are, dear. You have been since that day in high school.”
“Then what am I doing here?” she squeaked. “This is a cheery and bright place. It’s not my style and I’ve never liked it.”
“Yes, you have, Rebecca. People similar to you come here after admiring a snow storm. Each person, though, has a different adventure,” she said.
“An adventure? Here? How’s that possible?” she asked skeptically.
“Ah, here we are.” They stopped walking. Rebecca looked around. Her brows narrowed when she saw an empty plot of snow.
“Here? It’s just snow,” she said.
“Close your eyes, dear, and walk in. You’ll be surprised of what you see.”
“Like I already haven’t?” she said with sarcasm.
“Go on, Rebecca,” Mrs. Claus insisted. “Open them when you take your steps.” Rebecca sighed. She closed her eyes and took a few steps forward. After taking a few more steps, she opened her eyes.
“What is…?” she gaped. She was inside her house. Everything had been darkened. No light turned on; no ornaments on the tree; no bright color could be in sight, and her family in the living room with their heads bowed down. She smiled. “It’s a dream come true,” she whispered. Rebecca walked toward them. Her youngest sister, Brenda, saw her.
“No, don’t hit me!” she whispered. “I did everything you said. Every light is off.” Rebecca was slightly offended.
“Why would I hit you?” she said.
“You’ve hit me plenty times, Rebecca. You’ve hit us many times.”
She blinked. She looked at her family again. They seemed scared of her and yet miserable at the same time. Even Andrea stared at her. She wasn’t scribbling in her notebook; in fact, her notebook couldn’t be seen anywhere. Rebecca couldn’t help admire their reactions.
Oh, this is delicious, she thought. What more could I ask for?
“Can we open presents now?” Christina asked. Rebecca looked at her. She whimpered. “May we? Please?”
“Did you ask that? Did you really just ask that?” She gave her niece an offended expression. Christina cowered against Brenda. That’s when Rebecca glanced around once more. Her brows narrowed in confusion. “Where’s Tammy?” she asked. Her family glanced at each other, wondering if she became daft. That’s when she got scared. They gave more than that look; she saw crazy and fear on their faces. “What? What’s going on? Where is she?”
Before anyone could respond, everything disappeared. First, the tree faded away, then the house, and then her family. She looked around. Rebecca was staring at the same door with the red wreath and green ribbons.