I struggled to write this because I couldn’t decide WHAT to write. Should I share about my own family Christmases? Should I give an excerpt from a favorite story? Or – should I share with y’all a Christmas with one of the characters that (so far) lives only in my head?
Well, I decided to share with you a character from my soon-to-be published short story “Simulated Perfection.” The thing is, I wrote this in a few hours. If I were to really publish it (and who knows, I might) it would become longer and edited and everything. But here’s a short visit with Eric and his two moms – Carrie and Susanna. This is set in 2202, ten years prior to the events of my short story, and Eric is just 6 years old. Unlike the short story, this is told from the perspective of Carrie. I hope you enjoy it 🙂
A Genetically Perfect Christmas
Carrie watched on contentedly as Eric tried to scrape a bit more syrup off the plate Susanna was pulling away from their son. That boy just loved his pancakes and would drink syrup if they’d let him.
“Are you excited about meeting Santa today Eric?” Carrie asked, trying to pull his attention away from the stolen plate. Eric’s eyes lit up and Carrie knew she’d been successful.
“I’ve been good!” Eric announced proudly. His look dared them to disagree. Carrie laughed, nodding her head. He really had been good, not that it was a surprise. Eric had never really misbehaved and that was typical for kids nowadays. There were little things, like crying when he had to go to bed or not wanting to clean his room. But Eric had never had an infamous temper tantrum. Kids just didn’t act like that anymore.
Eric squealed with laughter, bringing Carrie back to the present. Susanna had snuck up behind him and they were now rolling around on the ground having a tickle fest. Eric’s laughter merged melodiously with Susanna’s as they wriggled across the floor, knocking into the table.
“Alright you two,” Carrie said with a mock-serious voice. They both looked up at Carrie, Eric breathing heavily with a worried expression on his face. Carrie winked at Susanna, who sat behind him on the floor a mischievous grin on her face. “I don’t know if Santa would approve,” Carrie continued, stepping closer and kneeling beside Eric.
“But-” Eric protested, his bottom lip pertruding in a pout that melted her heart.
“Ah, ah, ah,” Susanna interrupted, shaking her pointer finger. “Do we argue with mom?”
Eric bent his head to the ground, shaking it in a slow no. Carrie chose that moment to tackle. She lifted Eric in her arms and Susanna jumped to tickle the squirming, laughing boy. “Tickle punishment!” Carrie and Susanna exclaimed as Eric pleaded for them to stop between squeals of delighted laughter.
* * * * *
Four hours later, Carrie and Susanna sat back on their own sofa, Eric draped across their laps asleep. They’d just come back from Santa’s Workshop at the local mall and Carrie was filled with the same irritation she always felt after an excurison to the mall. Why, when they could recreate any location that they wanted to, did the techs think simulating the mall was a good idea? They’d left the simulation 15 minutes ago and still the noises and smells overpowered her. She just wanting to clear it all from her mind.
“That bad?” Susanna asked, pulling Carrie from her pity party.
Carrie groaned. “I just don’t get the attraction. It’s so loud and crowded and the smells!”
Susanna laughed softly, as she stroked the hair on Eric’s temple. “All the laughing kids though. And the Christmas music! Oh and the gingerbread cookies! Is it really so bad? It feels like we’re all connected this time of year, despite how isolated we really are.” Her voice held a tint of melancholy and Carrie instantly regretted being a scrooge.
Susanna was an artist and had a true artist’s soul – delicate, sweet, and tormented because of eyes that perceived too much and a heart that felt too much. “No Suze, it’s not so bad. I just don’t feel isolated. I have you,” Carrie reached over and gently ran her thumb down Susanna’s jaw. “And I have Eric,” She said, softly patting the leg draped across her lap. “What more could I want?”
Susanna tried to smile, but Carrie saw the doubt in her eyes. “To live in a world where you weren’t forced to marry me. Where you could chose your life, your love…” She let out a breath. “Just… don’t you ever wonder about her?”
Carrie felt her heart squeeze with old pain. She used to wonder. She used to be so angry. She was so certain she’d been real, that what she’d felt for her… what they’d felt for each other had been real. But now she accepted the truth. She wasn’t real. She’d been a simulated test and Carrie had failed.
She lifted her eyes to meet Susanna’s. Dear, sweet, patient Susanna. Her punishment by The Administration. A lowly musician, when she should have been mated with a scientist or tech. It hadn’t felt like a punishment for so, so long.
Carrie maneuvered Eric’s legs onto the couch and out of her lap so she could stand and reached to pull Susanna up. Susanna awkwardly stood, carefully placing Eric’s head onto a throw pillow.
“Computer, play Christmas Melody 24,” Carrie announced to the air. She would normally have to search through the records, but she’d recently been listening to this one. It was an oldie, by a singer before the ozone layer collapsed and before The Administration’s rule. But it expressed everything she felt.
Carrie pulled Susanna into a tight embrace as the music started and they began to sway around their living room. As the chorus began, Carrie whispered into Susanna’s ear, “It’s how I feel you know.”
Susanna pulled back and met Carrie’s eyes with her own, filled with unshed tears. “How’s that?”
“Oh Suze, All I want for Christmas – all I ever want – is you.”
The End! For More of Carrie, Susanna, and Eric’s story check out “Simulated Perfection” coming in the Welcome to the Future Anthology.
I hope you enjoyed this little story – I’m not exactly sure on the release date of the short story, but you can be sure I’ll share it with y’all when it’s time. It’s actually really different from this, since it’s YA and told from Eric’s perspective – but this gives you a feel for that world and the characters.
I have to say I feel as lucky as Carrie does right now and I don’t really feel like I need anything for Christmas this year. I’m so thankful for my family and friends and all of you that I’ve gotten to know through the the blog. But, if we’re going for our wishlist – All I Want For Christmas is A KINDLE (not picky about the model).
Be sure to visit the other blogs in this scavenger hunt giveaway and read their Christmas Stories. We’ve put together a little Christmas giveaway for two winners, just follow the links in the giveaway to find the answers or visit:
Nikita @ Njkinny’s World of Books & Stuff
Laura @ Trips down imagination road
Lexxie @ (Un) Conventional Book Views
Kai @ Fiction State of Mind
Stormi @ Movies, Books, Reviews. Oh My!
Kathy @ My Nook, Books & More
Happy Holidays from Fantasy is More Fun!