The Gingerbread House- Part II

By Whitney Weatherby

Jeremy sat underneath his large pine desk playing with an army of toy soldiers. The smell of gingerbread had long since dissipated; it was nearly midnight, and his mother and sister had gone to bed hours ago. But Jeremy couldn’t sleep. He was too angry. Everybody was making such a big deal of this stupid day, but it was nothing special. Who cares about a baby and a fat guy in an ugly red suit? Jeremy certainly didn’t. He knocked over the front line of his offensive and slid backward, out from under the shelter of his desk.

Jeremy slipped into the fur-lined moccasins that his father had given him the month before for his birthday; they were just like the ones Howard wore every Sunday morning while he read the newspaper in his red terrycloth robe. He slowly turned the doorknob and nudged the door with his cheek, peering down the dim hallway. The floorboards creaked a little as he tiptoed past his sister’s bedroom. The door was ajar; he could see her carousel nightlight glowing pink in the corner.

Jeremy padded down the stairs, skipping the third from the bottom because it squeaked. He leaned around the corner and saw the beam of light from his father’s study shining out into the living room, illuminating the Christmas tree, light turning the glass ornaments into silver and gold lamps. They seemed to call Jeremy over, beacons among the family’s collection of unique ornaments; Jeremy and Sarah both had one for each Christmas.

Jeremy thought for a moment how pretty the tree was, but he caught himself. He walked boldly over to the wide, round blue spruce and began to rip handfuls of tinsel off of it, as high as he could reach. His elbow brushed a little wooden ornament, and it crashed to the floor, breaking into several pieces on the thick parquet. Jeremy gasped; it was a recreation of the manger that he had made with his father the year before. He scooped it up off the floor and threw it toward the fireplace. It hit the mantle and broke into bits on the brick in front of the embers, still glowing.

Jeremy’s eyes welled with tears. He scowled and started over to the hearth to kick the Popsicle sticks and bits of straw into the seething remnants of their roaring Christmas Eve fire. But something caught his eye.

Far across the room, on the back corner of the dining room table, the gingerbread house was glowing. It looked alive. And Jeremy thought he could almost see smoke rising from the frosting spackled chimney.

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