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The Zumbathon for Harvey

I wrote this Pantoum-mime poem in honor of the many people inside and outside of Texas who have given any aid to the victims of Hurricane Harvey. by R. L. Copple - 9/4/2017 The call goes...

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Home for Christmas–Wherever That Is
Part II

A few who read the first story wanted to find out what would happen once Sisko brought the ogre home for Christmas. I thought the story did end well enough for the original purpose, but obviously there’s more story as well! So I decided to bring on part two so you can see the consequences of Sisko inviting an ogre home for Christmas.


Sisko and Josh strolled down the street in Raul. Xilner, their newly befriended ogre, followed close on their footsteps. Citizens of the town stared at the ogre as he walked by. One man in a horse drawn cart nearly ran over a child as he stared at the bulky creature.

Josh turned down a street. “See you later. Have a good Nativity feast.” He smiled at Xilner. “And you too, my friend.”

“Thank you.” Xilner bowed.

“And Sisko…” Josh drummed his fingers on his jaw. “Good luck with your mother.”

Sisko smiled. “Have a great one yourself. I’m sure my mother will be fine, eventually.”

Josh turned and proceeded to his own house. Sisko resumed his trek toward his own.

Xilner stepped up beside Sisko. “You sure your mother will be all right with me?”

Sisko sighed. “It’ll be a shock to her, I’m sure. But you are my guest, and I think she’ll come around. She’s a very loving woman.”

“Is there anything I can do?”

“Just be your loving self.”

Xilner grunted. “An ogre? Loving isn’t usually associated with us.”

“You’ll be fine. Don’t worry.” Sisko considered the best way to break this to his mother now that the time had come. They traveled down his street until he arrived in front of the white fence to his house.

Sisko turned to Xilner. “Stay out here.”

Xilner nodded.

Sisko walked up the steps and entered the house.

“Sisko, is that you?” His mother’s voice rang from the kitchen.

“Yes, Mother.” He stepped into the kitchen.

“It’s about time. I’m busy getting ready for the Nativity service and you’re out playing around. Probably with Josh no doubt.”

“I wouldn’t say playing around. Josh and I were exchanging presents.” Sisko sat at the table.

“Oh, well that’s nice. What did he get you?”

Sisko rubbed his chin. “Well, ah…a new friend.”

She turned from her dough kneading to stare into his eyes. “Josh got you a friend for Christmas?”

“Yes, and a friend who didn’t have anywhere to go for Christmas. I hope it is all right, but I invited him to spend Christmas with us.”

She kneaded the dough two more times, slammed her hand into it, and folded it over into a wooden slab, covering it with a cloth. She wiped her hands as she gazed into Sisko’s eyes.

“You could have asked me before you invited him.”

“Well…” Sisko bit his lip. “That would have been nearly impossible since we were miles away.”

She put her hands on her hips. “Miles away? Did Josh do something crazy again?”

Sisko shrugged. “I tried to stop him, but he used a transport spell before I could react. Next thing I know, I’m in another land, who knows where. I met my new friend there. When I found out he would be alone for Christmas, I was sure you would agree I had to invite him.”

She stared at the ceiling for a moment before resting her eyes on Sisko. “You have a big heart, son. I can appreciate that. It certainly is the spirit of Christmas to help those without family. I’ll set another place at the table tomorrow and increase the size of the meal.”

Sisko jumped from his chair and hugged her. “You’re the best.” He released her. “He’s outside waiting. Would you like to meet him?”

She strolled toward the door. “Of course. Why wouldn’t I want to meet your new friend. We can’t leave him outside.” She reached for the doorknob.

Sisko put a hand on hers. “Hold on, first you should know…”

“Yes?”

Sisko breathed deep. “His name is Xilner.”

“You could have told me that when you introduced me.” She reached for the knob again.

“Wait!” He pulled her hand back.

“Sisko, do you want me to meet him or not?”

“There’s one other thing you should know about him.”

She stared at him.

Sisko tried to think of a way to break this gently, but nothing came to mind. This was as gentle as it would get.

“My friend, he’s an ogre.”

She continued staring at Sisko as if his words failed to register. She appeared frozen, but then she sucked in a breath and let it out slowly.

“Are you sure this is a good idea, Son? We’re as likely to be eaten by him as to eat with him.” She peered out the window and stopped breathing again.

“Mother, he’s really nice. If he wanted us for Christmas dinner, he had plenty of opportunity with Josh and I. I doubt I would be here right now.”

She shook her head. “I don’t know. He’s so big.”

“He’s my friend. I promised him he wouldn’t be alone this Christmas. If I need to, I’ll spend it with him out of the house.”

She pulled away from the window and faced Sisko. “I’d better send your father out to kill another calf.”

Sisko smiled. “Thank you, Mother.”

She straighten her dress. “Now can we meet him?” She put on a smile and swung the door open. “Xilner! How wonderful to meet you.”

###

The time neared for the Nativity service at Church. Xilner sat on the floor, not finding a chair big enough for his rear. “I’ve never been to a Nativity service before. What’s it like?”

Sisko pulled on a fresh pair of socks. “Very joyful and reverent. Just what you’d expect at the birth of a king.”

“You’ll have to tell me more about this king sometime.”

Screams echoed from the street outside. Then loud, deep voices gruffly arced through the night air.

Xilner’s jaw dropped open. “Not now. Not here!”

Sisko leaped to his feet and raced toward the door.

Xilner scrambled to his feet. “Wait, Sisko! Don’t go out there.”

Sisko swung the door open and stumbled outside. If anything bad was to happen, he couldn’t allow it to happen inside the house. He didn’t want to put his family in danger.

Sisko gulped as he examined four ogres holding torches in hands. Xilner exited the house and stopped on the porch.

One of the ogres spun his head around and saw Xilner. “There you are. We followed your smell from your house.”

Xilner clinched his fists. “Can’t you allow me this one luxury?”

“We told you not to leave your house. We warned you what would happen if any should help you.” He turned to Sisko. “Men, we have our Christmas dinner.”

Xilner leaped into the yard beside Sisko. “I will not let you take him.”

The ogre threw his head back and laughed. “As if you could do anything to stop me. Have you not learned anything?”

Xilner growled. “I’ve learned more from this human than I ever have from you.”

Sisko whispered toward Xilner. “Is he serious about eating me?”

Xilner nodded. “I did say some ogres do eat people.” Xilner met Sisko’s eyes. “Problem is, he’s a wizard too.”

Sisko groaned. “Naturally. Why wouldn’t an ogre be a wizard. Especially one who wants to eat me.”

Xilner stepped toward the group. “Leave us alone.”

The ogre grinned. “Good idea. Why don’t you leave us alone!” He cast his hand out and mumbled some words. A bluish light emanated from his hand and enveloped Xilner. He froze, grew bright, then dimmed until he had disappeared.

Sisko felt his gut wrench. “Where did you send him?”

“Back where he belongs. Alone, in his house.”

Sisko stepped toward them. “What gives you the right! He’s my friend.”

“Not anymore. You’re our dinner.” He spoke more words Sisko couldn’t hear and flung his hand out. Bands of silver whipped themselves around his body, immobilizing him. Sisko fell onto the ground with a thud.

The world dimmed. Sisko fought against it, but the spell pressed in upon him, overran his thoughts, numbed his fingers and toes, and then darkness rolled over him, drowning him in frightening thoughts and dreams.

###

Sisko heard gruff voices and felt rocks jabbing him in the back. He cracked his eyes open and attempted to wiggle into a more comfortable position. Tree’s lined a clearing. In the center of the clearing, a cast iron pot sat on a fire, filled with bubbling liquid. Several ogres sat around the area. Some in conversation, some napping.

Sisko found the moon in the night sky. The Nativity service would be in progress now, and his mother would be worried sick. Probably blame Xilner for carrying him away, never to be heard from again.

A foot jabbed Sisko in the back. He rolled over.

An ogre knelt beside him. “You’re a bit scrawny, but the bones are the tastiest part anyway. I think we’re about ready to chop you up and add you to the soup. Any last words before you provide us with enjoyment?”

“Yes. If I get a last request, I would that you cook me in the main steam house in Raul.”

The ogre laughed and shook his head. “You think ogres are dumb, don’t you. You think we don’t know about your steam house? When’s the last time you saw an ogre enter there?”

Sikso sighed. “Never.”

“Exactly. And for good reason. We know what would happen to us in there. Now, do you have any last words at all? Any message you want us to convey to your parents?”

Sisko didn’t want these guys going anywhere near his family. “No, but we have some calves you can have for your dinner. No need to eat me.”

The ogre grinned. “We eat cattle all the time. Humans, on the other hand, are a delicacy. Only for special occasions, like Christmas.”

Sisko shook his head. “How can you celebrate a birth with a death?”

The ogre drew out a long knife. “Who says we’re celebrating a birth? Christmas for an ogre only means two things. Giving gifts and eating good. You’re the eating good part.” He turned to the ogre manning the pot. “Is the broth ready for the meat?”

It nodded. “Good and ready.”

The ogre flipped the knife around so that the blade pointed down. “Nothing personal, you understand.”

Sisko’s mind raced. What could he do? “My name’s Sisko. What’s yours?”

The ogre sputtered. “I don’t need to know my food’s name, nor do I give mine to a meal. Hold still, I’ll make this painless.” He pulled the knife back.

That didn’t work. Sisko closed his eyes and gritted his teeth.

“Stop!” Another ogre entered the clearing. Sisko flung his eyes open to see Xilner moving toward them.

The other ogres all stopped what they did and stared. The ogre over Sisko ground his teeth. “How did you get here?”

“I’ve had a lot of time to study in my house. Some of my time I spent on learning spells.”

The ogre curled his lips. “If so, why haven’t you used them before?”

“I didn’t have a reason before. Now I do.” He stared at Sisko and smiled.

The ogre threw a hand out and said something under his breath. A flash of light blasted toward Xilner, but Xilner cast his arms up and it blasted short of its target as if hitting an invisible wall.

Xilner raced toward them.

The ogre over Sisko pulled his knife back and plunged it toward Sisko’s neck. A hand grabbed the knife’s hilt and shoved it back up, the tip missing Sisko’s neck by less than a quarter inch.

The two ogres rolled onto the ground. Xilner ended up under the other ogre. The knife pressed toward Xilner, the tip of the blade inching downward.

Sisko prayed for God to do something. He couldn’t even move his arms and feet. Only pray and hope it would be enough.

But his gut wretched when Xilner’s grip gave way, and the knife plunged into his heart. “No! Xilner!” Sisko felt his eyes tearing up.

The ogre lifted himself to his knees, and then pulled the knife from Xilner’s chest. Xilner breathed twice before his chest rose once more, fell, and then remained still.

Sisko wiggled, but his binds remained strong. The ogre knelt beside him once more. “Now his blood will be mingled with your own. We’ll still gnaw on your bones.” He raised the blade. “Time to finish this.”

He thrust the blade once more toward Sisko. But he stopped in midair as another blade shoved its way through the ogre’s chest. He exhaled a gasp, his eyes wide. Then he fell over onto the ground, revealing a bright angel holding a red sword.

The rest of the ogres scattered like cockroaches when a lamp is lit, leaving Sisko alone with the angel. The bright being waved his hands and the silver bands snapped one by one until Sisko could lift himself to his feet.

He gazed at his rescuer. “Who are you?”

“You don’t recognize me?” He cast his arms out as if allowing Sisko to get a better look.

“Sorry, not at all.”

“I’m Xilner.”

Sisko’s gasped. “Xilner! How? You don’t look anything like him.”

“This ogre put a curse on me, turning me into one of them. I denied them of a meal one other time. This ogre had cast a spell on me that locked me into an ogre’s body and required me to stay in the house where you found me.

“But there was one condition he didn’t know about. An angel told me if I were to ever give my life for another, the curse would be broken, for no greater love can one show than to give his life for another.”

Sisko smiled. “So when he killed you in your attempt to defend me, the curse died and this is the real you.”

“As God created me. Yes.”

Sisko smiled. “I always knew you were beautiful inside.”

“Thank you for being a friend. Without you, I couldn’t have been saved. I had to have someone to die for.”

Sisko had to grin. “You’re welcome.”

“Have a blessed Nativity celebration. You’ll find Raul about a mile to the east.” Xilner vanished.

Sisko didn’t waste any time grabbing a torch and jogging back home before the ogres decided to show up again. He dodged trees and brush until the village of Raul broke into view. He kicked up dirt as he shot through the streets until he reached the steps of the church.

He put out the torch in his hand and laid it by the entrance. He entered the service to hear the singing of the Nativity hymn. He slid in by his mother.

She jerked and saw Sisko beside her. She bent down and whispered, “Where were you? I thought that ogre had dragged you away.”

Sisko smiled at her. “Helping a friend to give birth, actually.”

About that time the priest raised his hand and said, “Christ is born!”

The congregation responded in unison, “Glorify Him.”

Sisko felt a warmth settle upon him. He mumbled under his breath, “Yes, it was glorious.”

THE END

About R. L. Copple
R. L. Copple enjoys a good cup of coffee and a fun story. These two realities and inspiration from the likes of Lester Del Ray, J. R. Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, among others, caused him to write his own science fiction and fantasy stories to increase the fun in the world and to share his fresh perspective.
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2 Responses to Home for Christmas–Wherever That Is
Part II

  1. Cathi H. says:

    I like this a lot! It really brings much more to the original story.

  2. R. L. Copple says:

    Thanks! Yes, this extra really took the story to a new level. I like how it turned out. I need to get the whole story published somewhere, I think.

    But for now, it’s my Christmas gift. Glad you liked it.

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