December the 26th

Bob paced the floor of his small home. It was a rare occasion to be alone in the two bedroom flat and while he usually would enjoy such a time he was dreading the talk he was about to have with his youngest son.

Finally, he heard his three sons enter with laughter and a song in their voices which made Bob’s heart sink.

“Did you enjoy your lunch with Mr. Scrooge,” asked Bob.

“Oh, yes father,” said the boys.

“Good, good. Peter, Matthew, here is a few p. Would you be so kind to as to visit the woodman and get us a few faggots for the dinner tonight? There’s a lad. Thank you.”

The two older boys left and Bob and Tim could hear them singing down the lane. Tim’s face fell grim as he looked as his father. Bob could barely look at his son.

“Tim,” he said eventually, “we haven’t had a chance to talk since Christmas, have we?”

“No sir.”

“It’s certainly been an eventful few days, hasn’t it?”

“Yessir. I suppose it has.”

There was a long pause. Bob slowly turned, sat down and looked his son in his eyes.

“Tim, we spoke about using your… abilities without my permission. I.. I don’t know what to do!”

Tim, stood, as best as he could, and said defiantly, “We were dying, Father. I was dying. And he sat up there like a spider hoarding gold!”

dec09carola“That doesn’t’ make it right, Tim! We can’t go mucking about people’s heads! Now, when your… special abilities first came about we all thought it was a bit of lark… we were able to share dreams and images in our minds! It made living here,” Bob swung his arms about the small hovel, “almost bearable. But, this… this.. Timothy. I don’t know….. I just don’t know…”

Tim took a stutter-step and put his hand on his father’s shoulder. “I know it feels strange now, father, but I didn’t do anything to change his actual mind.. he changed it all by himself, he did. I just… showed him things he already knew and he made up his own mind.”

“I know you meant well. I know you mean well. But, it feels wrong, don’t you feel it, Tim? It feels like stealing somehow.”

Tim sighed. “I know. Well, let us not be thieves then. You and mother don’t have to work yourselves to the bone anymore. Martha won’t have to work at the milliners twenty hours a day. And to be perfectly honest, father, I won’t have to die. We can afford a doctor and maybe a bigger house. That’d be nice, won’t it?”

Bob stood and exclaimed, “Don’t you see? That’s exactly what I mean! This ‘gift’ of yours, shouldn’t be used like this… not for profit! Not for US! It’s a crime! It’s witchcraft, Tim! Witchcraft!”

The last he uttered in a whisper. Fear and dread etched across his face.

Tim closed his eyes. To Bob, he looked peaceful, almost like he did when he was a child before the sickness that robbed him of his legs and opened his mind.

Tim’s soft voice came, “I’m sorry, Father.”

“Don’t be sorry, my lad. I hope — ick.”

There was a drop of blood crawling down the right nostril of Tim’s nose. He had never used his ability in this manner before. To actually change someone’s mind… never before. Oh, he had suggested things, made this family feel warmer than they were, fuller than they were, but this, this was something different.  Tim swiftly wiped his nose with a kerchief.

Bob’s voice said happily, “Don’t be sorry, my lad! We should be glad Mr. Scrooge’s spirits helped him become so much happier! Oh, look at the time! We should be setting the house for his arrival! Your mother and sisters will be home soon as well.”

“Yes father!”

And father and son hummed a carol as they cleaned.

Tim was good as his word. He never again used his abilities to change someone’s mind. He grew to be a good man, wise beyond his years and if he sometimes seemed to know what you were about to ask or if he finished your sentence for you, well you would just assume he knew you so well as a good friend does. And so, as Tiny Tim observed, God bless Us, Every One!

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