Monday, December 4, 2023

Merry Christmas, Everyone!

Hello Everyone,

This short story is based upon a writing prompt I was given for last week called "The Package" and I thought it made a good story for Christmas. Feel free to leave any feedback and let me know what you think!

"Packages for Lilly"

There it sat, beneath the tall sparkling green tree that Lilly’s parents had erected just a few weeks ago. It was a beautiful box, long and rectangular, wrapped up inside that shiny, glistening paper.  The box rested on top of another, much larger package and had several large glass ornaments hanging down around it. Yet, neither the larger package nor the ornaments could grab Lilly’s attention at all. The smaller box was the only one she cared about.

This box was magical. Lilly knew it was meant just for her. There could be no doubt about that because of the bow. It was a large bow made from blue lace, sporting multiple long trailers, which dangled over the edge of the box beneath it.  Something that neat had to be meant just for her. There they hung, waiting for her!

Lilly inched toward the package as if it were a siren calling her name. There was something alluring about it. She didn’t know what was lurking inside the box, below the surface of the wrapping paper. Nevertheless, she knew she wanted the box. Even more, she wanted the bow. She wanted to touch that beautiful blue lace.

She moved closer to the package. 

“Lilly, no!” Her mother’s voice called.

With a swiftness, which caught Lilly off-guard, her mother snatched her from the floor and away from the shiny box. Lilly gave a loud whine of dismay. She also gave a small wiggle, trying to get out of her mother’s arms. But it was a half-hearted effort at best.

Lilly knew any attempts to escape would be pointless. As such, the initial struggle quickly gave way to simply hanging limp from her mother's grip as Lilly was lugged unceremoniously to the other side of the room. There, her mother deposited her gently onto the couch before turning away again.

Without another word, Lilly’s mother went back to the dining room and resumed doing whatever it was she was doing before. Lilly didn’t have the slightest clue what it might be.

As best Lilly could tell, her mother was holding some long cylindrical plastic stick with a point at the end. She kept using it to scribble something onto a bunch of strange square-shaped papers. Then, she would lick some small object and press it onto the corner of the paper.

Under other circumstances, Lilly might have found this activity to be interesting. At the present moment, though, Lilly found herself unable to focus on anything except the tantalizing little box sitting under the tree.

            Lilly had to have it! Why couldn’t her mother understand?

Lilly gave another loud whine of indignation which her mother ignored. This was so not fair! How could her mother do this to her?

Without warning, the sun broke through the hazy layer of clouds outside, temporarily casting its rays through the open window nearby the tree. The rays fell directly upon the package, which sparkled afresh in gentle morning light. Once again, Lilly found herself unable to look away.  

With careful, measured movements, Lilly slunk off the couch, her eyes still transfixed by the hypnotic twinkle of the gleaming package. She took a quick glance in the direction of her mother. As she did so, her mother rose from the table, walking toward her.

For a moment, Lilly hesitated, thinking her mother was coming for her again. Instead, her mother walked right past her and headed into the nearby bedroom. A loud rustling and shifting and opening of drawers soon ensued. Her mother was looking for something.

This was Lilly’s chance. Creeping stealthily over to the package, she examined the string hanging down from the bow. There was something mesmerizing about the way it hung there. It seemed to hang there just for her.

With a fierce swipe, Lilly swung her hand at one of the trailers dangling from the lace bow. It swung away and then returned back to its original location. That was kind of fun. Lilly struck it again, entertained by its swinging.

This was neat but it got old pretty fast. Lilly wanted to try something new. On a whim, she leaned forward and tried to bite the lace. When she did, she discovered she was having a hard time hanging on. No sooner did her teeth latch down on the trailer than it slid from her jaws.

Reaching out, she grabbed it, trying to make it stay still so she could get a better grip with her teeth. No sooner had her hand gripped the cord, though, then, to her horror, the cord seized her.

With a surprising strength, the lacy trailer latched to her hand, refusing to let go. Lilly couldn’t get it off. She gave a cry of alarm and began to thrash her hand wildly about, trying to get the cord to release her, yet its grip was firm. With a yank, she pulled her hand backward, causing the package to fall off of the larger package it was on.

A loud tinkling sound like cracking glass greeted her ears as the package smashed against the floor. Still, the lace trailer clung to her, refusing to let go.

Lilly gave a strangled cry of agitation, struggling more fiercely. Yet, the relentless cord refused to release her from its clutches. Spinning, writhing and leaping around in dismay, Lilly swung, twisted, and flung her hand in all sorts of directions, trying to free herself from the lace’s clutches.

As she did so, her body collided with the ornaments dangling from the tree. These also fell to the floor, with loud cracking noises. The struggle was becoming more intense as Lilly’s panic grew. Still, the trailer refused to cede its grip, clutching more tightly to her hand.

Lilly screamed furiously. She didn’t know what was happening. She only knew she had to get away from this package. Somehow, she had to escape.

“Lilly!” Her mother’s scream of alarm rang through the room.

As if in answer to some unspoken prayer, Lilly felt her mother’s arms seize her, interrupting the battle. Lilly called to her mother for help, relaxing slightly in the woman’s strong grip. Without a word, her mother reached down and seized the lace trailer. Slowly and carefully, Lilly’s mother detached the troublesome trailer from Lilly’s claw.

“Lilly, look what you’ve done!” her mother said angrily, gesturing at the cracked ornaments and fallen Christmas present.

The cat could have cared less. Freed from the attacking package, she raced across the room and hid beneath the coffee table. From her new post, Lilly watched as her mother examined the box and the fallen decorations. After a moment, her mother picked them up and headed for the kitchen.

Lilly turned her attention back to the presents, glaring angrily at the packages which had dared to attack her. They were dangerous. There was no way she was going to go anywhere near those things again!

As this thought passed through her mind, she noticed another package sitting on top of a large box. It was a sparkly package with a bow on top. From the bow, dangled a long green lace trailer.

It seemed to call to Lilly. She knew it was meant just for her. Lilly wasn’t sure if it was as dangerous as the last package. Still, it couldn’t hurt to investigate. Slowly, Lilly inched toward the package, as though it were a siren calling her name. 

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