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No Gifts This Year

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When I woke up this morning, I found the house to be empty. It was strange. I seriously doubt that my family would leave for my aunt's house without me on Christmas morning. Something wasn't right. All the miscellaneously placed pictures of me that were on the walls and hearth were gone. All other photos were still in place. Another thing that struck me as odd was the fact that there were no gifts that, just last night, were meticulously put under the tree this morning.

What the hell? I thought to myself. Everything is gone, even the shit I left for my parents!

Just then I heard a low, guttural growl that made me practically jump out of my skin. I quickly turned my head to see my dog baring her teeth. In a semi-defensive position, she stared at me with a terrified look in her eyes as she growled. I took a step toward her and she ran into the other room as fast as she could. She did leave a nice piss stain in the carpet though.

"Shit," I muttered under my breath. "Something definitely isn't right."

I walked through the house and everything was a mess. Tables and chairs were turned over, and lamps were smashed. It looked as if a tornado went through the place. I felt like shit... I guess a good analogy would be I felt as the house looked. I felt as if a cement truck had just punched me in the gut. I went upstairs to go to the bathroom and wash myself. The smell of cigarette smoke and cheap booze filled the air. I wondered what was going on. In the bathroom I looked in the mirror and I must say I looked like a picture of the living dead. I was as white as friggin' sour cream. My pupils were dilated to a size I never knew was natural. It was almost as if my eyes themselves were black. Quite disconcerted, I walked through the house at a slow pace taking my time. I noticed that my father's black suit and tie were missing. That shouldn't be anything disturbing to me. But for some reason I couldn't shake the bad feeling that was coming from deep within my gut.

As I walked down the stairs I looked out the window and noticed that my dad's black Cadillac Converj was missing from the driveway. So was my mum's Chrysler 300c. I was pissed that they just left me alone like this. Whatever, it was only three miles to my aunt's house.

I put on my jacket. I walked out the door quietly, being careful to not scare my dog more than she already was. It was a cold day, which was to be expected on a late-December day in Capitol Hill, Boston, Massachusetts. There was a mass of people congregated around the junction around three blocks away from my house. I couldn't make out any details but I could see the outline of a black car. It had hit the side of a two family house. The front half of the car was inside the damn living room.

I had a natural aversion to things like that, so, despite being worried about the driver and potential passengers, I kept moving. Nothing else seemed out of the ordinary on my walk. Just your typical Bostonian “good morning,” which is a bump in the shoulder and any of the several established cusses.

I arrived at my aunt's house about two hours after setting off. Yes, I took my sweet time. Looking in the window, I could see several family members, nuclear family included, huddled around the table. I was mad as hell but then I took a good, hard look at everyone inside. All of them had a somber look on their faces for such a joyous holiday. Each person also had a black suit or dress on. By then my anger had faded and I quietly walked through the door as opposed to bursting through it which is what I wanted to do at first.

As soon as my foot crossed the threshold, a bright light enveloped me. I felt like I was drowning in light and then everything went dark.

When I came to, I walked out of my room and there was still nothing under the tree. Both cars were still gone. I was more confused than when I woke up this morning. There was no way my parents would have brought me home and left me there to go back to my aunt's house. I decided to go back.

Once again, I put my jacket on and left the house. I remembered that about three blocks away there was an accident and I figured I wouldn't be a pussy this time and check it out. The crowd was gone and there were only two squad cars. One was on the corner and the other was right next to the crashed car. I walked right up to the car and was disturbed by the fact that the cop, eating a donut and reading the Boston Globe, did not take notice of my presence despite the fact that I walked right by them. I dreaded looking inside the car and I hesitated for a few minutes. I wasn't going to let myself just walk away... even though I felt like I was going to throw up. I bent over and was horrified to see a bloody pulp-of-a-man that looked just like me pinned into his seat by the dashboard. Blood continued to roll down his forehead. His hands still clutched the steering wheel, white-knuckled, and a look of horror was still spread across his face. Rigor mortis is a beautiful thing.

In the distance, I saw an ambulance cruising towards the car with lights flashing and the speakers occasionally letting out a beep or two. In a state of disbelief, I rushed around to the back of the car, only to be greeted by the Cadillac insignia. I rushed to the squad car and started yelling at the cop hoping to get a response. None came. I ran to a nearby driveway and picked up pebbles and started throwing them at the cop's window. He suddenly sat up alert and he turned his head in my direction. With a quizzical look on his face, he turned his head away as if he didn't see me and went back to his donuts and the morning paper. I ran as fast as I could but I only got a few feet away when I tripped on something. As I hit the ground and lay there as a bright white light, exactly like the one from before, came over me again.

It all came back to me in a flash. Pulling out of the driveway. Running through the red light, worried that I would be late. Getting t-boned by the damn Kia. Shielding my face with my hands from the shattered glass. Trying desperately to gain control of the car again. Going through the wall of the two family. Being pinned to my seat by the dashboard. And finally choking on my own blood as it welled up in my lungs.

When I woke up this afternoon, I found the house to be empty. It was strange. I seriously doubted my family would leave me asleep while they went to my aunt's house on Christmas Day. Something wasn't right. All the miscellaneously placed pictures of me were off the walls and hearth were gone. All other photos were still in place. Another thing that struck me as odd was the fact that there were no gifts that, just last night, were meticulously put under the tree this morning.

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