Write about now

December 21, 2012

Flash Fiction Challenge: The War on Christmas

Filed under: flash fiction challenge — Tags: — Eva Therese @ 1:54 pm

Link to Flash Fiction Challenge.

Marcus looked over his shoulder one last time, to check that he hadn’t been followed, before knocking on the battered door.
Almost immediately, he heard a voice ask: “What’s the password?”
“Down with the Red Menace,” said Marcus.
He heard clangs of bolts being shot back, then the door opened just a crack. The light coming from inside meant that the person peering out could see Marcus, while he couldn’t make out anything except an outline and a pair of eyes reflecting the dim red and green searchlights from the blimps high above them.
The outline reached out a hand, grabbed Marcus’ arm and yanked him inside. Probably not a moment too soon. Before the door slammed shut behind him, he thought he heard the sound of sleigh bells.

He found himself in a small room, at least as battered at the door had been. He noticed that there were no windows and as far as he could see, only one door. The room was lit by multiple oil lamps made of clay, which gave off a lot of smoke. Silent figures, sitting or leaning against a wall, looked at him darkly. No one said anything.
The doorkeeper was a blond woman with a fierce look, at least a foot lower than him, but if her grip on his arm had been anything to go by, he shouldn’t underestimate her strength.
She looked him up and down, then walked once around him. Finally she beckoned for him to bend forward. When he did, she grabbed his ears and ran her fingers all over them, checking for surgical scars.
“His ears are ok,” she said, letting go of him. Her voice, when not heard through a door, was soft.
“Don’t you think I’m a bit too tall to be an elf, anyway,” he asked in a joking voice.
From the scalding look the small woman sent him, he knew at once that it had been the wrong joke to make.
“Sorry,” he muttered.
One of the persons along the wall, an elderly man, got up slowly. “Don’t look at him like that, Sara,” he said. “You’ll scare the young man right out of here and it’s not safe right now.”
He looked at Marcus, a twinkle in his eyes, and extended his hand. “I’m Jeremy,” he said.
“Marcus,” said Marcus, feeling relieved. “I heard about you … I mean, I want to join. The war. I want to join the war against Christmas.”
Jeremy nodded. “Good lad. But one thing at a time. Come meet the others.” He gestured towards the small, blond door keeper. “This is my granddaughter Sara.”
Sara reached out a hand and he shook it. He tried to impress her with firm grip, but he doubted if he succeeded.
One by one, the rest of the people at the wall came forward to shake his hand and mutter their names. A few were too weak to stand and he went round and greeted them lastly.

“Now,” said Jeremy, rubbing his hands together with a satisfied look, “let me tell you about our plan for tonight. Perhaps you would care to join.”
“No,” Sara broke in. “You can’t just let people walk in through the door and then start to tell them all about what we do. It’s bad enough that he knows where we hide. Even if he’s not an elf, he could be a spy.”
Jeremy gave her a serious look. “Sara, I’ve told you time and again, when I’m gone and you’re the leader, you get to make the calls. But right now, I’m in charge and I trust this young man.”
Sara didn’t answer, but her lips tightened.
Her grandfather continued: “You have your ways of checking people and I have mine.” He turned back to Marcus. “I am sorry about this. Sara just wants to keep us all safe. It has nothing to do with you personally.”
Marcus ventured a glance at Sara’s disapproving look and wondered if the old man was right about the last part.

A table was placed in the middle of the room and a map of the city laid out on it. It was an old map, edited by hand to show how the city had changed.
A woman, Marcus thought she had introduced herself as Lily, started placing pins in map to show what areas were taken over by the Reds and Marcus followed this with interest. About two thirds of the city was taken over by the enemy. The third that was left consisted mostly of empty buildings and bomb craters. Their hideout was right on the border of the enemy territory.
Jeremy pointed. “We strike tonight and we strike here,” he said and pointed.
Marcus looked at the place he marked and gasped.
Jeremy nodded. “We strike at the very heart of them. I won’t lie to you or anyone else. It is a very risky operation, with a slim chance of success.” He sighed and suddenly seemed weighed down with worries. “But for the last years, we have barely been more than an annoyance to them. Killing an elf here, blowing up a toy making factory there. And far too many of us have become zombies and now roam the streets, moaning and jingling.”
There was a sad mutter of agreement from the rest of the group.
“The price has been too high and the result has been almost invisible,” continued Jeremy. “But maybe we are lucky and our feeble resistance has convinced the Reds that we are no threat. If that is the case, we have a real chance of taking them by surprise. And out target will not be the hordes of zombies or lowly elves.” He stood up straight, seeming younger and stronger than before. “We will take out Santa himself and put an end to Christmas, once and for all.”

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