The Christmas casualty

Roncalli Central High
Port Saunders, Newfoundland

By Hope S. (Grade 12)

I couldn't believe it. There it was. Christmas Eve and I was too sick to get out of bed. I'd been that way for three days, since the night they'd brought the tree home. Bringing the tree home was something we had done as a family for all my seven years, and the tradition was broken as I had been too feverish to go with them and cut the tree.

I had heard their laughter downstairs as they decorated, sipping eggnog while I sipped flat ginger ale to settle my stomach. That was the first day of my illness.

On the second day my brothers and sisters had gone shopping for last minute Christmas gifts while I slipped in and out of consciousness.

Christmas Eve was no better. I was delirious with fever and they were delirious with expectation. As I lay prostrate on my bed, I happened to hear snatches of my parent's conversation, "... been sick for days now.... must be dying....don't want to upset the other children.... unless, anyway.... too sick to keep....small enough to put in a bag and put out with the garbage."

Panic rose in my throat. No, wait, that was vomit. Well, in any case, I just didn't know what to do. I knew they'd have to wait until the other kids were asleep to get rid of me. They'd probably wait until just before sunrise when they could be sure no one would witness their horrible crime. Even Santa would be back home tucked in bed.

I waited until they had gone to bed themselves, my two plotting homicidal parents. Then, still blind with fever, I crawled to the living room fumbling to the couch in front of our picture window. It was a last ditch effort, a cry of hope. Upstairs, they could have wrapped me up like an old carpet and stuffed me in a bag but there was no way I was going to make it easy for them. By being downstairs there was a threat that the neighbours might see them. The over-exertion of moving downstairs was just too much for me and as I felt myself drifting I noticed, for the first time, the glow of lights in the corner of the room.

I awoke suddenly, not realizing immediately that I had been asleep, just happy that it was day. Oh and what a day! I was alive! Moments later my little brother tore around the corner. "Merry Christmas sis!" he yelled, crawling up next to me. "Look at the tree sissy. Isn't it funny looking? Daddy says its sick. That's why all the needles fell off of it so we've got to throw it out. Pretty useless, hey?"

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