A fine morning with a clear sky painted in chromic blue and cool breeze rustling the leaves covering the pathway of the Thomas Street. It s winter and one can feel the temperatures nearing single digits. The street wore the perfect robe of snow in dusty white color with dried leaves making a perfect topping. The street bore its name from the chapel that stood tall amid little houses. It was a suburb that left effluent spiting industries and housed pines and maples. Houses were built in traditional style with a beautiful lawn spread across to invite butterflies and crickets.
Such a serene location was home to a young boy named Sam aged 12. He lived with his mom, Barb in a hugely furnished house in the same locality. The boy, whose blonde hair covered his ears and occasionally his brows and loves to pull back the hair that, comes in front of him; he had a perfectly chiseled face with a prominent cheek bone and small lips. He does two things without complaining, one was playing with his pet dog, Snowy. The next was hearing stories from Annie, the girl who lived next door.
He could just stare at her, while she said trivial things that took place around her. Annie loved the way Sam watched her, with his mouth open and face resting on his palms. Sam and Annie spent the evenings in the woods, collecting pebbles and chasing flies; they returned home once the sun goes hiding. During the last couple of days, the suburb had gone wary and dull due to rumors of the apocalypse. Sam felt that the evenings were awry because of Annie’s absence. His stomach churned, when he heard the gossip of some women in his neighborhood.
Tears came running down his cheeks when they told how God has decided to end the world by sending a fiery ball of fire. Imagining the fire destroying his pet Snowy, Annie and everyone sent shivers down his spine. He was afraid to ask his mom about the growing rumors. Many in the neighborhood felt, they won’t be alive to celebrate Christmas. Even Sam’s mom felt it was stupid to get a Christmas tree, decorate with bells and welcome the end of the world. Barb thought it was better to stack supplies in case of any emergency. Cans of meat, milk cartons and cereals were flooding her refrigerator.
It was vacation time and Sam was sitting in the kitchen, fiddling the sandwich. Barb wore an apple green colored apron with patches of her culinary arts. She was peeling the potatoes when Sam opened his mouth to speak.
“Is that true?? “ mumbled Sam.
“What?” asked Barb
“Annie told me that we all gonna die soon” said Sam. He never wanted to know her mom that he was eaves dropping when they gossip.
After a brief hesitation, she said, “ No”
“Then why didn’t u buy the Christmas tree and stars? Annie stopped playing with me too.” Said Sam
“It isn’t like that, I got held up with the kitchen stuffs Sam” said Barb with sad eyes.
“Stop lying mom! You’re hiding something. They say my Snowy and we all will die” cried Sam.
Barb knew she can’t console him; she bit her lower lip and came towards Sam. “Complete your breakfast son, we can watch Tin Tin show “
“Screw your breakfast! I m going out now.” Said Sam, controlling his tears and temper. He ran outside towards the Chapel.
St. Thomas Chapel
The Thomas Chapel was a solitary structure in the valley; it had been painted in white after restoration leaving behind little Italian renaissance. Its interior had been restored to the original shades by using vermilion clay for the reds and blue from indigo. Tall candle sticks adored the table inside the chapel; one can see the statue of St. Mary carved in pine log above the candle sticks. The crucifix was placed in the centre with urns painted to give a glossy finish. Services in the Chapel were held on a limited basis and regardless of one's religious leanings.
Sam was sitting alone in the empty chair, head bowed down, knuckles tightly clenched. The massive doors of the chapel opened to let an old man inside. He had a drooping walk with gloves covering his hands. He was dressed shabbily and moved slowly towards the chairs. He sat near to Sam, leaving a sigh due to exhaustion. The old man’s heavy breathing annoyed Sam’s prayer. He saw Sam was crying with his mouth muttering a prayer.
“ …. don’t like you, God. Snowy is a poor creature, how could you destroy him. At times he leaks in Aunt Rio’s place, I ll ask him not to do that again. If the world ends, many will die, even Annie too. We both will be good friends and I won’t shove her again in the mud. I swear I ll be a good boy and I ll hate you, if you’re sending a curse to our planet” said Sam.
The old man beside Sam laughed mockingly and he put his arm around the boy’s shoulder. This sudden act scared him a little. Sam saw the old man’s face flashing kindness and warmth.
“What’s troubling you son?” asked the old man
“My Snowy and Annie are gonna die! Becoz of the curse by him” Sam pointed towards the altar in the cathedral.
“oh ( half jokingly )!! Hmmmm !! How do you know that? asked the old man
“ I heard my neighbor’s gossip . Snowy is my pet dog and Annie is my best friend. I love to hear stories from her” said Sam
“Why do you think the world is going to end?” asked the old man
“Some say the calendar of the Mayans got ended, so everything has to wrap up. I m not sure, but I guess so” said Sam
“hmmm.. If that’s the case why does God spell a curse against us, sending cannon of fire??”asked the old man.
“Probably we’re not good people!!” Sam pouted
“Son, no one knows when the world is going to end and most importantly He doesn’t send curses to us” smiled the old man.
“Didn’t you hear about the global warming thing?? It’s His work, perhaps due to Nibiru coming towards us. “ said Sam
The old man laughed his heads out,” We always like to put the blame on someone, right? We fell into evil ways and succumbed to cheap pleasures. Never bothered to fell trees or and emit harmful gases. Now we find the perfect alibi for the God, Mr. Nebula”
“ oh!! You mean to say that we’re doing bad things, just like the gun shoot in Connecticut.” Said Sam
“hmmm !!! you got it right kiddo!!!” smiled the old man
“Perhaps He should punish the guilty, not everyone. What makes you say that world isn’t going to end?” asked Sam. By now, the lad was enjoying this companion.
“Okay! You remember Victoria (the teacher who hid the children from gunmen and died in the assault) right? This planet survives only because of them. Moreover the Lord believes in giving chances, rather than execution” beamed the old man.
“You gotta liking towards Him, aren’t u??” asked Sam.
The old man smiled and stroked the young boy’s hair, “Not exactly”.
“Then why do you come here? You are pretty tired and your dress isn’t nice too “ asked Sam
“I came … “ Before the old man could finish his sentence, the doors squeaked once again, this time it was the choir boys and girls dressed in turtle neck sweaters came rushing inside the Chapel.
“Ouch!! Mom ll be looking for me, I gotta go Oldie! Bye”-Sam left the chapel running as if his life hinged on it.
It was Christmas morning and Sam’s home have been flooding with peers and folks. Sam in his pajamas came walking slowly towards the living room. A huge Christmas tree decorated with stars and bells stood in the room. Everyone was busy looking for their gifts, showing least interest towards Sam. A small red box was found lying below the tree. To his surprise it was addressed to him. With creeping excitement, he tore open to find a small note.
“God is around us, like the green trees and the blue ocean. Don’t always look inside the walls of a church, sometimes He likes to change his appearance – it could be a note like this or an oldie. Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year”