Red Light



DISCLAIMER: Story mine, Characters mine.


"Oh, I got red lights on the run. But soon there'll be a freeway"

I quickly turn off the radio in an attempt to avoid the disgustingly sentimental parts of the song. "You and me both buddy," I mumble to myself as the refrain against my will now bounces around in my head.

I sigh as I try to gather both patience and courage for the battle to come. Each year, same story. Everyone complains and rants about how much they hate Christmas. Every year there's a fight over what needs to be included when it comes to food. Then there's the perpetual disagreement as to where Christmas should be celebrated. I sigh again.

My foot subconsciously tapping the rhythm of "Burning Down the House" against the floor of my beaten down and scruffy old Mazda. My leg starts vibrating, scaring me into pressing down the gas a little too firmly. The car jumps and a horn blare next to me. "Yeah, yeah," I grumble as fish my phone out of my pocket. "'E-lo," I say as I flip it open.

"Is that you, honey?" my mother asks. She dialed my number, who else would this be?

"Yes it's me," I reply, only barely managing to avoid sighing heavily.

"Could you please pick up some milk on your way," she demands of me, the please as sincere as the nutritional value of Ramen. In the background I can hear several loud voices barking out orders along with what sounds like an infantry of running, yelling children. This time I didn't manage to suppress the sigh, which sounded suspiciously like a groan.

"Sure I will," I gladly agree. Anything that will keep me out of that house a little longer is a good thing.


Unhurriedly I saunter over to the refrigerators of the gas station, taking my time to pick a bottle of milk. In no hurry at all to throw myself into the vicious jungle of Christmas celebrations that awaits me at my mother's house. I pick up a bottle and grumble at the price. When did this happen? Milk was supposed to be cheaper than…yeah, something very cheap…a whore's perfume! My brain with the dubious intelligence added by itself. A whore, I giggled. Twenty-seven years old and I'm still as amused by that word as I was when I was twelve.

If people hadn't been so prone to staring I would have taken one step forward two steps back to get to the register, instead I merely walked really, really slowly. Thank the Holy Christmas Spirit (is there such a thing?), there's a line. With a wide smile on my face I place myself at the back, gladly letting a harried looking woman with a child on her hip slip in before me.

Damn she's got gorgeous eyes, the check-out lady that is. I never can explain why some eyes fascinate me more than others, but hers are definitely of the fascination kind. As if the eyes weren't enough she's got this really comforting smile and is all-around beautiful. She looks up at me and gives me one of her smiles, my dimple immediate start twitching, it always does when I'm nervous. Suddenly my grip on the milk becomes slippery, the condensation from the cold milk adding to the lubrication of my now sweaty palms.

After not nearly enough time of ogling the lady behind the register it's my time to pay. She gives me yet another smile and says, "Can I help you?" I can feel my ears burning a little from a blush. The dimple now twitching frenetically. A rude voice interrupts my embarrassment. "Give me all your fucking money," the voice demands, a much less nice demanding than the one my mother had recently done.

I turn around to see a man dressed in red with a rotund belly and a fake beard standing behind me. His eyes are bloodshot and his hand is shaking. There's a gun in his hand I realize slowly. Is that a real gun? I've never seen a real gun. My sweaty palms lose out against gravity and the bottle bounces on the floor with a loud thud.

Something explodes, a flash of light momentarily blinds me as something impacts with my chest. Stunned I collapse to the ground. I just got shot by Santa. He's not jolly at all.

"Whoa, that's a lot of pain," I somehow manage to say while spraying blood with each pronounced word. I giggle hysterically at the absurdity, only to be terrified by the sound of the oozing blood gurgling in my throat. I look up into her worried eyes. I smile, I can't help it, and neither could you looking into those eyes. "It's not gonna be okay," I say softly shaking my head. "But that's okay," I try to comfort her, she looks so sad.

Smooth fingers are caressing my face and something is pressed firmly against my chest, but all I can think about is that Mama won't get her milk, I won't have to brave family. I look up at the tacky red and green Christmas lights adorning the register, and start to cry.


Story by: APE
Have you thanked your Bard today?  Please Feed The Bard.


Back to the Challenge

Back to the Academy