Friday, December 16, 2011

Friday Fiction for December 16, 2011

The talented Sara H. is hosting Friday Fiction this week, over at Fiction Fusion. Don’t miss the terrific stories posted for your enjoyment this weekend!

As promised, this week is the conclusion of the Clockwork Deacon Christmas chapter. Enjoy, and come back next week for the 2011 Pod Holiday Story.

Clockwork Deacon

Chapter 6 – A Clockwork Christmas, Pt. 4

Jacob awoke first in the morning, and ran to the window. The Sun was barely up, but it was no longer night. It was Christmas. He jumped onto his brother’s bed. “Isaac! Wake up! It’s Christmas morning!”

Isaac’s eyes popped open, and he sat up immediately. “Are Pa and Ma up yet?”

The door opened slightly, and their mother peeked in. “Yes, we are up, and you boys know that you must be properly dressed and groomed before you come downstairs. Don’t dawdle – we have much to do today.”

They hurried to change from their pajamas to the nice clothes they had been told to wear for the day, and gave as fast a combing to their hair as they could get away with. With the kind of enthusiasm that was never exhibited for either school or church, they fairly flew down the stairs, and were met at the door of the living room by their mother.

“I declare, boys,” she said, fussing over their clothes and hair as though they were to meet President Roosevelt himself. “One would think you two had never dressed yourselves before. Santa Claus has already been here, and the gifts beneath the tree aren’t going to disappear if you take the time to get ready the proper way.”

“Yes’m,” they both said, trying to see around her to the tree and its waiting treasures.

“Tch, and your hair. Isaac, did you bother to comb it at all?”

“Yes’m, I did,” he said.

“With what? A stable rake?”

“I used a comb, Ma!”

“Well, after breakfast you are to comb it again the right way. I won’t have you going out looking like you’ve been standing in a whirlwind, you hear?”


“Now, you two are to walk CALMLY to the tree, is that clear?”


She stepped out of their way, and immediately reminded them to WALK.

They dropped to their knees beside the tree, and began to search beneath it.

Pa walked in from the entryway, carrying two small boxes. “Odd,” he said. “There were two boxes on the front step, one with Isaac’s name on it, and one with Jacob’s. Who do you suppose left these here?”

Both boys bit back a laugh. “Pa,” Isaac said. “Shouldn’t we bring Deacon in for the gifts, too?”

“Deacon?” He gave Isaac a quizzical look. “We’ve never worried about including Deacon in our Christmas Morning before. Why this year?”

“Well, Deacon’s part of the family, too, ain’t he?”

“Isaac, what have I told you about ‘ain’t’?” Ma interjected.

“Deacon’s part of the family, too, isn’t he?” Isaac corrected his question.

“Not in the same way you boys are, or your mother and I,” Pa answered.

Isaac’s eyes cut momentarily to the two boxes in Pa’s hands. “Please, Pa?”

The glance did not go unnoticed. “Does Deacon have something to do with these gifts?”

“You’ll see when we open ‘em, Pa. Deacon should be here, though. Please, Pa? Ma?” He gave them both a pleading look. “I’m not gonna open any presents ‘till Deacon is in here, too.”

Pa fixed him with a searching look. “You would really delay opening your gifts, to wait for Deacon?”

“Yes, sir, I would.”

Jacob stepped forward. “Me, too, Pa. I want Deacon in here, too.”

His expression softened. “Mrs. Randolph, I believe our sons are becoming fine young men.” He handed them their respective boxes from the porch, and then went back to the door. “Deacon,” he called outside. “Deacon? Would you come in here?”

A couple of minutes later, Deacon rolled through the door, still wearing the Santa accessories from the night before. He stopped just inside the room, and waited for instructions.

“Deacon, Isaac and Jacob request the pleasure of your company for our Christmas Morning celebration. Would you care to join us?”

Deacon processed the question, then gave his single nod. He moved to a position out of the way, and settled into his quiet waiting mode.

“Now,” Pa said. “Since you boys seem to know something about these mystery gifts, why don’t you go ahead and open them, and then you can enlighten your mother and me.”

Isaac opened his, and unwrapped the paper from around the miniature Automaton toy. He turned the key on the back, and then set it on the wooden floor. The tiny Airship Mechanic Automaton moved about the floor, its arms swinging a tiny wrench in one hand, and an oil can in the other.

“Well, I’ll be,” Pa said.

Jacob likewise wound his, and released it to run about the floor.

“I take it that Deacon had something to do with these,” Pa said.

“Yes, sir,” Isaac said. “Deacon, and Syl, the man with the wooden leg. Syl gathered all the metal, and Deacon made them. There’s one for every boy an’ girl in town.”

“And just how long have you two known about this?”

“Since last night, Pa. We went to see if Deacon was in the shed, and he was workin’ on the last ones. We helped Syl with wrappin’ ‘em, and he asked us to not tell anyone. Well, he did say we could tell you and Ma, but he asked we not do so ‘till this mornin’.”

The Reverend looked towards the Automaton. “I assume you have been working on this for a while, Deacon?”

Deacon nodded.

“Deacon delivered all of ‘em last night, just like he delivered ours,” Jacob said. “He went around, just like Santa Claus.”

“Do you boys know why Mr. MacKenzie and Deacon did this?”

“Syl said he thought every child should receive a toy for Christmas, and he said that Deacon had been so helpful when he was learnin’ to walk again, that he thought everyone should have a Deacon,” Isaac said.

“I see,” Pa finally said. “Well, I suppose that I’ll need to speak with Mr. MacKenzie myself later today, and hear what he has to say for himself on this.”

“You ain’t mad at him, are you, Pa?”

“Isaac,” Ma said.

“You aren’t mad at him, are you, Pa?”

Pa smiled. “Do you think I should be, Isaac?”

“No, sir. I think what he did was a good thing.”

He tousled the boy’s hair, earning him a disapproving look from his wife. “I am inclined to agree. I just want to hear the story behind this directly from him.” He cut his eyes at the Automaton. “I’ll certainly not get it from Deacon, that’s for sure.” He picked up one of the toys from the floor, and looked it over carefully. “At the moment, I rather wish I were a child in this town, so that I were getting one of these, too.”

“You got the real Deacon,” Jacob said.

“I sometimes wonder, if we really have Deacon, or whether he simply stays around because it suits him,” Pa said. “Now, I believe the real Santa Claus left something for each of you under the tree, and I am just dying of curiosity to see what you might have received.”

The boys turned back towards the tree, just as Deacon rolled up to Pa. He held out one of his mechanical hands to the Reverend, palm down and fingers closed. Pa held one hand, palm up and open below the mechanical hand, and Deacon opened his fingers.

Something small, shiny, and copper dropped into the waiting hand, and Pa brought it close to his face.

“What is it, Pa?” Isaac asked.

Pa lowered it so the boys could see.

“I didn’t see any like that last night,” Jacob said.

Isaac could not remember a time when his father had been at a loss for words, and even years later, he would remember this as one of the few times it ever happened. Pa would later tell him that it hadn’t been the little model of Deacon that had left him so awed that he couldn’t speak.

It had been the tiny Bible held in Deacon’s hands.


BethL said...

I know I'm coming in on the middle of your story, but I could feel the eager anticipation of the young boys on Christmas morning. The way you created suspense toward the end was very effective. I enjoyed reading this.

Sara Harricharan said...

Ohhh, that last bit was just PERFECT! I absolutely loved it. Glad I didn't miss out on such a lovely holiday piece. I love the boys getting ready for Christmas and Deacon and his gifts and the whole little quirk of "ain't". What a fun, delightful read! ^_^ Best writing wishes in the new year to come, Hoomi!