Saturday, November 19, 2011

Friday Fiction for November 18, 2011

Friday Fiction is hosted this week by Joanne, over at An Open Book. More NaNoWriMo excerpts to enjoy! Huzzah!

Speaking of which, with the Holiday season rushing towards us, I thought this excerpt from my NaNoWriMo project, Clockwork Deacon, would be fun. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have been!

Chapter 6
A Clockwork Christmas

Loma Roja grew cold in the winter, but snow was just an occasional occurrence, and when it did fall, it rarely stayed on the ground for more than a day or so. A day or so before Christmas, a few of the men of the town would take a couple of wagons to the higher elevations of the Chiracahua mountains, and bring back enough trees for each family that wanted one, to have a Christmas tree.

A particularly tall tree stood at the front of the church sanctuary, ready to be decorated by the congregation on Christmas Eve. As was the custom in the town, the church would be open on Christmas Day, and dinner would be served to anyone who wished to come by for the Holiday.

Deacon went about his normal chores around the church, looking a bit silly with the red and white Santa Claus hat that someone had slipped atop his smooth metal head. An hour later, and someone else had tied a fake white beard around the bottom of his face, keeping it from slipping with some sticky wax.

Isaac nudged his brother, and tried to cover his laughter as he watched the reactions of the various folks that came by the church, bringing preparations for the Christmas Eve service, and food for the cooking of Christmas Dinner.

“The coat,” Jacob said. “We gotta get the coat on him.”

“I don’t think it’ll go over his boiler,” Isaac said.

“I bet we could tie the bag over his shoulder, though.”

They’d found the old Santa suit in one of the storage closets of the church, and Abe Kelly had said that the old pastor used to dress as Santa and give presents to the poor children in town every Christmas.

When the boys had broached the idea with their father, the Reverend had smiled at the suggestion, but said he didn’t look like Santa any more than Deacon did. That was all it had taken to plant the thought in their heads, and it became their mission to covertly transform the Automaton into Father Christmas himself.

The next time Deacon came into the anteroom, the boys finagled a way to tie the gift sack over Deacon’s shoulder, having first dropped just enough empty boxes into it to give it the appearance of substance.

As he went about sweeping the church floor, hat and beard on his head, and sack over his back, the boys went through fits of laughter.

Their mother entered the sanctuary. She took one look at Deacon, and also laughed. “I declare, Deacon,” she said. “If you don’t look more festive than I’ve ever seen you look.” She hung a freshly woven wreath on the front of the podium, and went back to the house.

“Too bad he can’t wear the boots,” Isaac said.

Jacob lifted a wide-buckled, black leather belt. “I’ll bet he can wear the belt, though. Hey, Deacon!”

He stopped sweeping, and turned to face them.

They ran out while the sanctuary was deserted, and quickly fastened the belt around the metal torso. It took a little work to feed it under the lower part of the boiler on his back, but in the end, that worked out for the best, anyway. There were a pair of bolts fastening the boiler to the back at the bottom of the gap, and these served well to keep the belt from slipping down the smooth metal to the legs.

There was little more of the suit that they could fit onto Deacon, but through the rest of the day, they tried different things to further the festive appearance of the Automaton.

They were certain that either their father or mother would insist on all of it being removed before the Christmas Eve service, but when the boys returned to the sanctuary that evening, wearing their Sunday Best clothes, Deacon stood in his customary place at the back of the church, looking like a mechanical Santa.

Folks showed up for the service, and without fail, the costumed appearance of the copper man made them smile. More than a few actually wished Deacon a merry Christmas.

To be continued...

1 comment:

Sara Harricharan said...

Heehee! I like the image of Deacon all dressed up as Santa Claus for Christmas, it really made me smile today. The descriptions fit this whole 'holiday' period too--very lovely writing for a Nano excerpt! ^_^