I had a dream last night and this story came about from that dream. It was a strange dream, but for me strange dreams are the normal. So I made a short story out of it. I have no idea where this came from. Hope you enjoy my story.
The Christmas Tree
“Is everyone here?” Mika asked. He was the oldest so he tried his best to be a leader. But, when you are only fourteen years old, sometimes it’s a hard thing to do.
“I don’t see Linda” said little Todd.
“Here I am!” cried Linda as she ran up to the rag tail group.
“What kept you?” Mika asked.
“I was talkin’ to Old Meg in town” Linda told him as she caught her breath. She knew she was late so she ran all the way from town. She loved talking to her friend Old Meg. She always found out what was going on because Meg was a fountain of information.
“We need to get movin’. We don’t want to be out here when the sun sets” Mika said to the group. He started walking up a slight incline toward the mountains. It was always safer not to be out at night. That’s when the patrols were the most active.
There were eight of them. Young all of them. Mika being the oldest at fourteen. Todd being the youngest at six years old. Mike was the newest member of the group. He was ten and quiet. He hardly spoke at all. Mika thought if he went through what Mike had gone through he wouldn’t talk either. Then there was John, Rachel, Sara, and Nick.
They were children of the post Big War. They had no family left and if they didn’t want to be put on work farms they hid in the hills at night. They had found a cave, well hidden unless you knew where to look. That’s where they camped at night, during the day they snuck into town one by one. They gathered food and medicine or anything they thought might make things easier for their little group.
They avoided most adults, unless they knew for sure that they could be trusted. After the Big War ended hundreds of years ago, there wasn’t much left of the world. All the major countries played their part in destroying the world as it was back then. In the year 2013 every country thought they were the most important. They all built nuclear bombs and bombed each other out. The world pretty much had to start over from scratch for the few survivors that were left. Things became lawless in many parts.
The world never did recover from that final war. Most living things were killed. Two hundred years after the war, life could be hard. The children who had no family to take them in were put to work on farms to work the fields. A lot of them ran away and lived in the mountains in small groups like Mika’s. If they lived to be adults, they moved into one of the towns, where it was finally safe for them or stayed in the mountains.
As they made their way to the cave Linda asked Mika, “Have you ever heard of Christmas Trees?”
“Christmas Trees? No.”
“Meg was telling me about a thing called Christmas that used to be celebrated years and years ago.”
“Not much to celebrate these days.”
“She said she heard it from her mother, who heard it from her mother, and down through the family.”
“So it’s a story and not real.”
“Used to be real.”
“You can’t believe everything old Meg says.”
“She told me about Christmas trees.”
“Never heard of no trees called Christmas.”
“Meg said people would cut down a tree and put it in their house!”
“Now ain’t that the silliest thing I ever heard! Why would they do a thing like that?”
“They would decorate them.”
“Yup, with balls and lights and shiny silver string.”
“They would cut down a tree and kill it, put it in their house and put balls on them?”
“That’s what Meg told me.”
“Now why would someone do a stupid thing like that?”
“To celebrate Christmas.”
“Why did people celebrate this Christmas?”
“I asked Meg that too.”
“So what did she say?”
“It was confusing. She said some did it for religious reasons. Some did it because it made them happy.”
“It made people happy to kill a tree?”
“I told you it was confusing.”
“You sure Meg wasn’t drinkin again?”
Mika shook his head at the crazy idea of Christmas trees. Didn’t make any sense to him. Trees were hard to come by, he couldn’t see someone chopping it down just to put it up again in a house. Old Meg knew a lot of old stories, passed on from her family. This one though was just strange. Not sure he would believe it.