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Friday, December 21, 2012

Guardians 3: Father Christmas (#FridayFlash)

The conclusion…

The mantle clock struck midnight. As the last chime died away, a tall, thin man stood in the living room, facing the Guardians. His white hair hung shoulder-length, blending with his white beard.

Welcome, Father Christmas, said First Guardian. We have done our work this Christmas season, and now we stand ready. Judge us true.

The solemn figure nodded. “It is so. You have indeed done your work. You have guarded your people, and defended yourselves.” The guardians glowed. “And yet, there is one thing you missed.”

The guardians’ glowing wings flashed red with alarm. Tell us, Father Christmas, First Guardian prompted. What have we missed?

“The most important part of Christmas: compassion.” The guardians stood mute, their wings glowing red and yellow, waiting for him to continue. “Those men who broke in. They were not any danger to your people, who were off doing the things they do through the day. Perhaps you could have thought of a way to deter them, short of obliteration.”

The guardians hung their heads, as Father Christmas continued. “As for the elf, he meant neither you nor the people any harm. He was part of the celebration as much as are you three. Once he settled in, he may well have ceased his bluster and you could have reached an accommodation. As it was, he died a rather gruesome death.”

We are guilty, said First Guardian, not looking up. We accept your judgement and your punishment.

For the first time, Father Christmas smiled. “What I have in mind is not so much punishment, as education. This Christmas night, I will whisper a word in the ears of the parents. She will leave you here on the mantle, and he will not insist otherwise. In the year ahead, you will observe your people and their guests. You will hear their quarrels, share their joys and sorrows, and be amused at the silly things the children say and do.” His smile widened. “And you will not obliterate anyone who is not threatening your people. Understood?”

The guardians nodded. And we will not sleep the year through? asked First Guardian.

“You will not,” said Father Christmas. “You will watch and learn. Not everything your people do is good, and yet they are good people. You must learn to see them as they are, forgive their transgressions, and rejoice at the good they do. And remember that other people are much the same, even if they do not always act it.” He hefted his sack. “And now, it is time for me to fulfill my own purpose. Watch over your people, and remember that charity and goodwill are not only for Christmas.” He turned and walked down the hallway, to bless the people and whisper his word.

Compassion, said Second Guardian, her Sword of Light dim. It seems a hard lesson.

But one we can learn, First Guardian assured her. If we could not, we would be put away. Or recalled. Let us reflect on what we have heard this night. In the morning, we will hear and share the joy of the children. It is a beginning.


  1. Awww, what a cute end to the story. I hope the guardians learn their lesson. Also, I may have laughed evilly at the idea of them obliterating people.

  2. Oooh, this one is going to be tough. Compassion, mercy and restraint are a lot harder to enact that justice and righteousness.

    Nice twist.

  3. Hey they're called Guardians, they're supposed to defend people and themselves. An elf crawls through my window, I shoot first and ask questions later too! Hope they're keeping an eye on their chimney over the next few days #securitybreach

    marc nash

  4. I like the idea that Santa educates and commands an elite group of killer ornaments. It's like they were made by old testament Santa and now they've got to adapt for new testament Santa.

    (Sorry, just read John's flash, kinda got to me)

  5. A nicely sober tie-up to the trilogy. Still, I like that the Guardians don't put up with bullying, and that it's reason and fair criticism that get through to them, not more bullying still. I also like that Father Christmas is a tall thin man -- more like his older self.

  6. Patricia, it was kind of fun writing about them blasting baddies, but I have to agree with Father Christmas. A little perspective won't hurt.

    Thanks, Tony. You're right, of course.

    Marc, they've got the drop on anything or anyone coming in that way!

    Peter, that was pretty funny! I can see how John's story could stick with you on that account…

    Katherine, I've been fascinated by the tall, thin, solemn Father Christmas for a while. He seems less… commercial… somehow.

  7. Proper Father Christmas at last! I also like this vision of him better, and it fits the ending of this wonderfull trilogy perfect.

    The Guardians are tough; they will definitely be on the watch for any misbehaviour from newly arriving ornaments or intruders! But the lesson they need to learn is way tougher!

    Great twist Larry, really enjoyed the story.

  8. Also, he will leave the Christmas lights on the front porch all year long. ;-)

    I'm glad you provided some balance to the violence of the first two parts. Nicely done.

  9. Oh yes,compassion is often a lesson that people and guardians are slow to learn. Nice end, nice story for the season!

  10. I've just caught up with this mini-series Larry, I do like those guardian angels, their actions may be a little extreme, but their hearts are in the right place. The dialogue gave me a chuckle or three as well. :)

    Happy Christmas Larry, have a really good one. :)

  11. Just caught up on all three parts, Larry. Really great stuff! Lots of humour, with a cute, seasonal finish here. Nice job!

  12. Compassion truly is a hard lesson, but I hope they learn it.


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