Collette hated Christmas music. She had ever since she was a teenager, working through the holidays at the mall. She didn’t have that one exception. She didn’t like them for a while but then get sick of them. She didn’t just think they were played too early in the year. She hated each and every Christmas song that had ever been written.
Unfortunately for her, it was Christmas Eve, and she hadn’t been able to escape the damn music all day. Everyone at the restaurant had insisted that it play over the happy families coming in for a Christmas Eve meal. Most of her fellow servers had gone so far as to sing along with their favorites, usually badly.
She drove home with her radio off at the end of her shift, with nothing to look forward to the next day but a day off. She hadn’t even bothered with putting up a tree. What was the point? It was just her and Baxter, her moppy looking mutt. He sure didn’t care if there was a tree or not.
Collette pulled up in front of her house, a rundown looking place in a row of rundown looking places.
There were little boot prints all through the snow in her tiny front yard.
Knowing what this likely meant, Collette got out of the car. She walked carefully along the walkway between her place and her neighbor’s that lead to their joint backyards.
There were boot prints all over the backyard too, and a lopsided snowman in the middle.
“Damn it!” Collette cried. She marched back through the walkway, right to her neighbor’s front door. She could hear Christmas music before she even started hammering.
It took Sean several minutes to answer. Collette thought he must know it was her. She didn’t know how. His little brats were such a pain in the ass, she couldn’t be the only one in the neighborhood that bitched about them.
When he finally answered, he looked irritated. “What now?” he asked, leaning against the doorframe.
“I think you know what now,” Collette snapped. “I have told you I don’t even know how many times to keep your kids out of my yard. Why can’t you control them?”
“Hey, I don’t want to hear it,” Sean snapped, waving a finger at her. “You don’t like my kids in your yard, put up a fence. Or, maybe, you could keep your damn dog quiet so he’s not waking us all up at every hour of the night?”
“My dog is not that loud,” Collette said, “Stop deflecting. Your kids aren’t allowed in my yard, it’s trespassing. And I’m gonna call the police if you can’t keep them under control!”
From the end of the street came the sound of singing. Sean started to say something, but then stopped to look towards the sound.
“Who is that?” he asked.
“I don’t know,” Collette snapped. They were singing a Christmas carol, of course. Couldn’t anyone give it a rest?
It was a woman’s voice, high and clear. They were singing as though they wanted the whole street to hear them, and Collette was sure that they were succeeding.
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come. Let Earth receive her king!”
“Can she be any louder?” Sean muttered.
Collette turned back to him. There were bags under his eyes, she realized, and a worn look at the corners of his mouth. She’d never seen a woman around, now that she thought of it. Just him and the two little girls.
“Look,” Collette said, “don’t worry about it. Just, I don’t know, ask them to not leave their toys there, okay? I don’t want to run over something in the spring when I start mowing.”
“Yeah,” Sean sighed, “That’s fair. They just, they’re here by themselves before I get off work, and sometimes they don’t want to listen to me, you know?”
“I get it,” Collette said. “It’s cool. Merry Christmas.”
“Yeah, you too,” Sean said, giving her a nod.
Collette went back to her own house to let Baxter out. After he’d done his business, she knelt to pet him. “Why don’t we go to the store, and get you some Christmas presents, huh?” she asked. “And maybe we’ll get a little tree. Just a little one? I guess I could use a little bit of holiday decoration.”
At the end of the street, the singer continued her song. She smiled. This particular spell almost always worked. And she thought those two at the top of the street could use a little peace on Christmas Eve. It might even last awhile.
Copyright © 2017 by Nicole C. Luttrell
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