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- WINNING ENTRY
 

Margaret Murphy promotional image“Emily Boyle's A Modern Christmas Carol is an entertaining read. I loved the choice of name for her main character - Grimson could be a character straight out of Dickens, and in true Dickensian tradition he lives up to his name. Emily has made good use of simile, coming up with some unusual associations - I particularly liked the description of the roof of the house, 'as pointy as the tip of your pencil.' A well-deserved winner.”

Margaret Murphy (Best selling author of the Merseyside-based Crime novel, Now You See Me and Writing Workshop host for BBC Radio Merseyside). www.margaretmurphy.co.uk


A Modern Day Christmas Carol

   

The mild winters never brought any snow. Not like the old days. The Christmas sales had already started and it was only Christmas Eve! Grimson walked down the high street, past the shops that were filled with shoppers looking for last minute presents. A young lady with an arm full of presents bumped into Grimson on the pavement.
“Look where you are going!” growled Grimson.
“Sorry,” said the young women, “where is your festive cheer?”
“Bah, Christmas –I hate it. Crackers!”
Grimson hated Christmas. And Easter. In fact any celebration that stopped him earning money.


Grimson was 54 years old. He had lived in Belfast all his life. He was a manager of a bank. It was the most famous of banks in the whole of Belfast. Grimson had long greasy untidy hair. The colour of his hair was dark brown with odd grey hairs lurking about. As for his beard well that was probably the worst part of all. It his most of his face with last nights mash potato and gravy stuck in it. He was about 6ft tall but quite broad. He had very bony fingers along with very bony arms. He walked with a sort of rhythm as his feet touched the ground. When he walked it was like he was walking in slow motion. He had a voice like no other. It was deep but yet soft, high but yet low. Every time Grimson spoke it was a surprise to hear what tone of voice he would speak in. He wore a white shirt; a dark green tie; a dark green sleeveless cardigan with old black trousers. Grimson didn’t just put people down with his moodiness it was also the dark colour of the clothes he wore.

Grimson’s house was at the very end of the alley where most people used to cut through to the High Street. His house was very tall and the roof was as pointy as the tip of your pencil. On each window were bars like on a prison cell and the gutters were half hanging off. There was a bucket that was already overflowing from the water coming from the gutter. Inside the house was filthy. Thick layers of dust built up on almost everything. In the sink were piles and piles of cups and plates, which had, grew mould on them. The front door had a very unusual doorknocker on it. All the paint had all been chipped off to make it a very untidy place to visit.

Grimson had just sat down to his morning paper when there was a sudden knock at the door. He put down his paper until a second knock. He went to open the door but only a quarter of the way because he was so surprised that he even had a visitor. It was Phillip his nephew. Grimson just walked back to his newspaper and left Phillip standing in the doorway.
“Bah, Phillip,” said Grimson.
“Can I come in uncle?” asked Phillip.
“Bah crackers,” shouted Grimson. Phillip shrugged his shoulders and came in anyway.
“Uncle mum said would you like to come for dinner tomorrow?” said Phillip
“Christmas Bah crackers!” shouted Grimson
“So you don’t want to come then uncle?” asked Phillip again.
“If you think that I’m coming to celebrate a time were people are joyful and merry over a time that isn’t joyful or merry and doesn’t bring joy to me or to any other normal people you can think again!” he roared.
Grimson went back to his paper once again and that’s when Phillip decided enough is enough and then he left. After Grimson finished his paper he made himself a nice hot cup of coffee and took himself to bed.

That very same night something very strange happened to Grimson. He was fast asleep when a gust of wind suddenly woke him. Grimson woke up and was surprised to see a white figure standing in front of him.
“Who are you? “ asked Grimson looking rather frightened.
“Why I am the ghost of Christmas past and future. You have been a very selfish man Mr Grimson and its time I taught you a lesson. Lets go back to the last ten years Grimson.” Said the spirit. Grimson just stood there in shock as the spirit took him back to the 90’s to show him what a fool he’d been the last 10 years. The spirit brought Grimson to the year 2000 were everyone was so happy about the New Year, but from Grimson the same old man, there was no change - the same old grumpy man he always was. Then he brought him to more disappointing years until the spirit took Grimson to the cemetery to a gravestone that read Mr Grimson 1948-2006.
“Please spirit tell me this isn’t true?” wailed Grimson.
“Oh this is all true because we all die in the end but if you learn to be good and try to be happy always then you will get a lot more out of your life and maybe even live longer.” said the spirit, “Oh and one more thing please make the most of your Christmas and all of the rest to come,” the spirit added.
“Don’t worry I will be the most jolly and happy man alive,” said Grimson staring round at the rest of the cemetery.
Grimson turned round and the spirit disappeared but Grimson also disappeared and found himself in his dressing down dancing in the middle of the street. He danced until dawn and by that time he had all the people out dancing with him. Then everyone went inside to spend Christmas with each other and unwrapping presents and so did Grimson. He got out his best clothes combed his hair so it was very neat and then he walked up and down the street listening to the squeals of children tearing of paper and finding toys and allsorts of gifts. Grimson was walking with his head held high and he was no longer hunched over he walked with his shoulders back and with a huge smile on his face.
Grimson went to Phillip’s house and asked, “Is that invitation still open for dinner today?”
“Of course,” said Phillip, “why don’t you join us now?”
“Sure,” he answered. Inside was a gift waiting for him.
“Open it,” said Phillip.
“I can’t,” said Grimson.
“Why not?” asked Phillip.
“Well I never bought you anything so that’s a bit unfair isn’t it?” answered Grimson.
“Uncle just seeing you like this, you’re a changed man that’s a good enough gift to me,” said Phillip.
Then Grimson began to tear off the paper and inside was a red woolly scarf, which Grimson was never seen without it. They all enjoyed Christmas day with a lovely Christmas dinner. From that day on Grimson was a changed man he was never narky and he always wore his red scarf and every year shared a great Christmas with Phillip.

By Emily Boyle 6MM

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