Beep. Beep. Beep.
Exton cracked an eye open and glanced at the muddled red numbers on the face of the clock. He sighed, fumbling for the Snooze button and then stared at the alabaster ceiling.
White light flooded through a single window and small shadows swept downwards on the floor. Exton grabbed his glasses of the bedstand and looked at the time, glancing out the window. Then he remembered what today was—Christmas.
Pushing the sheets away, he got to his feet and drifted into the kitchen. His hand brushed the green pine needles of the runt-sized tree in the corner and went to pour himself some coffee. He sipped the hot brew and glanced at the calendar.
Hand-written notes covered almost all of the page, save for December 25th. He flipped through a magazine, the dating back to August and then dumped it in the recycling bin, revealing a sealed envelope.
Exton paused, his gaze snapping to the letter. He took it up in one hand and frowned. How long had he written that? He didn’t bother trying to figure it out as he stared at the receiver’s address, skipping over the name:
2400 Robert F Miller Dr
Lewisburg, PA 17837
How many times had he meant to send that letter? Ages ago, he thought, and the envelope hovered over the bin. He should’ve just discarded it—yet, maybe one day he would actually send it.
Exton opened the drawer in the bedstand and tossed the letter in, pressing it into the other items while sliding the drawer in.
The morning swept on, like the snow drifts that were excited in by the wind in the streets. Exton opened several gifts from some co-workers and then proceeded to finish up some research he had been doing for the Incantum Research Committee.
Exton walked over to the door and peered through the hole, spotting a rake-thin man with wispy brown hair and a pointy nose that almost seemed to droop. As he opened the door, his brow drew downwards as he a previous memory of the man surfaced in his head.
“You, Exton?” The man asked.
“Yes, how can I help you?”
“I have something for you.” The man withdrew an envelope and held it out.
As soon as Exton spotted the sender’s address, his suspicions were confirmed, and he shook his head. “I don’t want it, and you can stop delivering these letters.”
Surprise flashed across the man’s face, as though he hadn’t realized that someone had known. He shifted, glancing down the corridor and then offered it again. “Look, just take it already.”
“Are you still working with him? Is he having you do errands?” Exton crossed his arms, “I thought he was done with people like you.”
“He is, but I’m repaying an old debt.”
Exton paused, the door hanging halfway closed. “Fine, but this has to stop.”
“If you say so,” the man handed over the letter, remaining a moment and almost opening his mouth. However, he inclined his head and then scuttled off down the hall.
With a half-sigh, Exton closed the door, went to the closet, and grabbed a cardboard box. Opening the lid, he dropped the letter onto a pile of its relatives and replaced the top before pushing the box back into the closet.
Another to add to the collection.
As the day drew to an end, Exton switched on the Christmas lights on the tree and the string of them that hung on the mantle over the fireplace. Warm, gold light twinkled, and Exton sat down in a chair, glancing at the wrinkled, faded photos sitting on the mantle.
He relaxed against the cushion, closing his eyes, thinking: Merry Christmas, Matt. Merry Christmas, Mom.
– A small short on my MC Exton, who is from “Mediuus”