“A challenge should always be accepted. Last evening Author Ashlie Harris laid down the challenge to write a festive story, no matter the prompts of the day. Well I accepted and not one prompt was Christmassy! Eye-roll! Well go on – read my story and see if I succeeded!”
A Tangle with Tinsel
“Do you know how Santa’s reindeer fly around the world to deliver presents, Daddy?” Thomas asked while playing with the buckle of his safety seat in the car.
“Well, I think in Lapland they grow a very special type of grain. When the reindeer eat it, they levitate and fly wherever Santa needs them too.” Alan smiled at his son. Refocusing on the road, he indicated onto the dual carriageway. Rush-hour was fast approaching and it was already growing dusky being December.
“Do you think we’d levo-trate if we ate that grain, Daddy?”
“Lev-i-tate, son. I reckon we just might. One day, we’ll have to see if we can get some of that grain and try it, won’t we?”
“Yeah!” Thomas squealed excitedly.
“Al-raghh!” A small red van undertook the car forcing Alan to stomp on the brakes to avoid a collision. The van continued to weave through the traffic setting horns blaring. “Bloody road-hogging Bah-baboon!” Alan bit back a violent tirade leaving Thomas giggling.
“Hehe, you called him a baboon, Daddy!”
“Daddy was thinking of rude words. Baboon was really too polite for a dangerous driver like him, but I didn’t want to hurt your ears, you see.” Alan grinned as he drove on.
Ahead the red van continued to weave and force its way through traffic. Alan watched it bludgeon its way into the outer lane. In doing so something pink and silver caught the light as it tumbled off the road. The van never stopped to take the blame.
Nobody seemed to have noticed other than Alan. Concerned, he slowed down and safely moved into the outer lane himself. In doing so, he realised a cyclist had been thrown from the road and down the embankment.
Alan was the first aider at work, his training kicked in as he stopped the car on the grass verge. “Stay here, Son. I have to go and help.” Grabbing a green kit bag from under the passenger’s seat, he jumped from the car and locked it behind him.
The cyclist was already sitting up a few feet below the road. Her bike lay beside her. Its wheels and frame were badly buckled from the collision.
Alan thought he saw a pale green glow emanating from her hands as she rubbed her thigh but it vanished quickly. “Hi, I’m Alan. That was a nasty tumble you took there, thanks to that bloody idiot! Anyway, I know first aid. Let me help you.”
“Thank you, I’m Tinley.” The young lady brushed her blonde locks behind her ear, revealing it to be delicately pointed at the top. She had a tiny glittering bauble earring too. Facing Alan, she blushed a little causing a sparkle to brighten her holly-green eyes “Of course, they just call me tinsel this time of year.”
“Nice to meet you, Tinley. My dash-cam caught everything that maniac driver did. I’ll see the police get the footage and arrest him for hitting you.” Alan assured her.
“Oh, not to worry. He’ll be on the naughty list now. Trust me that’s punishment enough,” Tinley winked.
“Fair enough.” Although Alan smiled, he was still planned to make a police report. How are you feeling? Do you have any pain in your neck and back? Maybe any tingling in your limbs?”
Tinley shook her head. “No, I think I have a few bumps and bruises, but I’m okay.” She grew a little sad as she looked at her bicycle, “I’ll never make it to the airport on time now though.”
“Maybe you can if you permit me to drive you?” Alan helped her stand. It was then for the first time he noticed she was wearing a festive green and white dress beneath her equally green coat.
“Will you? That would be so nice of you.” Tinley gave the prettiest smile and hugged him.
“Sure, it’ll be a pleasure. Are you going to a Christmas party? I couldn’t help noticing your pretty dress.” Alan asked as he stowed her bike in the back of the car.
“No, not exactly.” Tinley buckled herself into the back of the car and grinned at the little boy. “Hello, Thomas. I’m Tinley. Have you been a good boy for Santa this year?” She asked.
Alan started the car and indicated back into the traffic with furrowed eyebrows. He’d never mentioned his son’s name.
“I think so?” Thomas looked to his daddy for guidance.
“Yes, I reckon you’ve been good enough for a present or two this year. That’s provided you get through the next three weeks without tantrums.” Alan passed the usual turning toward home and instead took the next exit towards the airport.
“Well done, Thomas. Santa will be pleased with you this year. He gets upset when he can’t give children their presents, you know.” Tinley said.
Thomas’s eyes grew wide as an idea struck him. “Do you know Santa, Tinley?”
“I do. He keeps me very busy. You see I’m in charge of decorating his Christmas trees. I wouldn’t mind, but every year he adds twelve more trees to our workshop. There must be four thousand for me to decorate this year.”
Alan glanced at her in the rear-view mirror. If nothing else she was a good storyteller, he thought. “Good grief! Decorating that lot could take weeks!”
“It could, but don’t worry. I have a good team of elves to help me.” Tinley replied.
“Tinley?” Thomas began hesitantly.
“If you know Santa. You know how he makes his reindeer’s fly, don’t you? Is it magical grain or something else that makes them levo-trate?”
“It’s levitate, son.” Alan corrected. He was now driving behind a bus also destined for the airport.
“I think that’s a question the whole world would like an answer to.” Tinley began, “The truth is an elven farmer called Aldon Evergreen and his family grow a special crop of golden grain. Santa adds a modicum of Christmas magic and then one bowl full is enough to make the reindeer fly for the whole of Christmas Eve.”
“What’s a modigum?” Thomas said trying the big word.
“Mod-i-cum —It means a teeny tiny bit,” Alan explained.
“It only takes a tiny bit of Christmas magic to fly, daddy!” Thomas looked amazed, “If I eat the grain, could I fly?”
Tinley beckoned him to look at her. She revealed a small silver reindeer in the palm of her hand. “So long as an object, person, or animal has some Christmas magic; they can fly. “Tinley sprinkle some rainbow glitter onto the reindeer. It shimmered and rose until it was levitating and flying around her head in a shower of rainbow sparkles.
Thomas applauded. “Look, daddy! Tinley’s magic!”
Alan had seen the reindeer levitate into view within his mirror. “So, I see. That was very clever,” He remarked while pulling into the airport car park.
“That’s nothing, you should see the magic Santa could do.” Tinley winked at Thomas. “Thank you, for bringing me to the airport. I really appreciate it.”
“Oh, it was our pleasure. Where can I take your bike for you?” Alan asked.
Tinley looked at the bent wheel behind her. “Can you leave in your back garden for me? Santa will collect on Christmas Eve.”
“Okay — sure.” Alan agreed without really believing what he just heard — who could blame him. Climbing from the car, he opened the door for Tinley. “Well, you have a safe journey and a wonderful Christmas.”
“Thanks to you, I surely will.” Tinley gave him a warm hug and waved to Thomas with the biggest smile. “Merry Christmas!” She wished before disappearing into the terminal.
Once he got home, Alan put Tinley’s bicycle by the shed in his back garden. He was sure he’d be taking it down the damp some point soon. Thomas didn’t think so, he knew Santa was coming to get it.
On Christmas morning Alan went into the back garden and was shocked to discover Tinley bicycle was gone. Back in the lounge, he turned on all the Christmas lights, causing the tree and ceiling to twinkle with festive merriment. There beneath the tree were three presents. One in red paper and two in green. He knew he and his wife hadn’t put them there last night.
“Wow! Daddy. Santa came!” Yelled Thomas bursting with excitement.
Alan grinned at him. “Indeed, he did. And weirdly so did somebody else.” He’d seen the red present was Thomas’s from Santa. The two green, one for he and Thomas, had come with messages. Alan’s read;
thank you so much for stopping to help me. Without you, I’d never have made it home to Lapland in time to sort the Christmas trees this year. Thank you also for looking after my bicycle. You are the kindest man, and I hope this gift goes some way to rewarding you.
Wishing you and your family a magical Christmas.
Love from Tinley Tinsel.
“Well, well. Tinley really is an elf from Lapland.” Alan shook his head and smiled. “I guess you never really know who’s around you. One thing’s for sure, a little help and charity makes everything that bit more special. Merry Christmas!”
Have a great day!