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A Gay Christmas Carol
by Bill W.
Chapter 1 – Snarley’s Ghost
Pat Righteous was a pious and honorable man. He was a religious leader of some renown and he did his best to ensure the word of God was spread throughout the land. He even went as far as to make certain that political leaders felt the heat from his movement, letting them know that his Righteous followers would not agree with certain things, which included the acceptance of homosexuals, granting gays equal rights, or the approval of non-traditional forms of marriage. He didn’t do this to be mean or vindictive, or at least that’s what he told those who questioned his motives, but claimed to be merely following the word of God, as written in the Holy Bible.
It was Christmas Eve, one of the most wonderful times of the year for him, and he looked forward to giving his Christmas Eve sermon. Because he lived next door in the parsonage, he was able to walk to church arm-in-arm with his wife and his two children on either side of them. Along the way, many members of the congregation passed along their seasonal greetings and expressed their admiration for all he had accomplished over the past year. Pat gratefully accepted their compliments and Christmas good wishes, and then he would pass along his own Christmas cheer, and it was a wonderful time for all.
It wasn’t long before Pat was standing before his congregation. As the choir led them in some of their favorite Christmas carols, the power of the Holy Spirit seemed to fill their small cathedral to the rafters. The evening went off as planned and Pat’s Christmas sermon was a huge success. The service concluded with the singing of a few more seasonal hymns and everyone was in a splendid mood as they left this place of worship. Pat made sure he greeted each parishioner as they made their way out, making personal comments and bestowing his own blessing upon them all. Once everybody had left, Pat made his way home with his family, ready to enjoy this special evening with those he loved. Their family room was wonderfully decorated with a Christmas tree highlighted by a magnificent Nativity spread beneath its lowest branches, with many presents stacked neatly on either side of this religious masterpiece. As they sat around the tree they marveled in the love and serenity this time of the year provided to them all and it was truly one of their most favorite days of the year. Soon it was time for them to get some rest, so Mrs. Righteous and the children went to bed, while Pat stayed behind to put the finishing touches on his next sermon.
Pat was working alone in his study when the lights began to flicker, making him wonder what was causing this to happen. But he didn’t have long to ponder this, because suddenly he heard the doorbell ring. He wondered who could possibly be visiting at this hour of the evening, thinking possibly one of his church members had a problem that required his attention. When he went to see who was there, he discovered his front stoop empty, and there was not a soul in sight. He looked about, to see if the person had moved away, but he could see no one about. Not only was there no one there, but there were also no footprints in the light dusting of snow that covered the ground. Confused, he went back to his study and began to concentrate on his work again, but once again the lights began to dim, go out, and then suddenly come back on.
Pat walked over to look out his window, to see if something similar was happening at his neighbors’ homes, when his doorbell rang again. Pat rushed to answer it, hoping to discover who was there or catch the prankster who thought disturbing him at this hour was funny. Once more there was no one on his doorstep, and once again there were no footprints to be seen. Totally bewildered by what was happening, he decided that possibly it had something to do with the power fluctuations, and he considered that the sudden surge of power as the electricity was restored was what might be causing the doorbell to chime. Thinking he had hit upon the answer to this dilemma, Pat was about ready to return to his study, when something else occurred. He could scarcely believe his eyes, and what he saw sent chills running up and down his spine, for as he began to turn, he saw a shadowy figure pass through his closed door. This shadowy form began to gain more substance as it emerged in the foyer, until Pat could finally recognize its form.
“David? David Snarley? Is that you?” he asked, shaking slightly as he beheld this apparition. It was the ghostly form of his close friend and right-hand man, who had passed from the world a few years before. David appeared to be dressed in the same attire he had been buried in, yet the garments seemed to be smoldering, as if the garments had been burning and that fire had only recently been extinguished.
“Yes, Pat. It is I,” the ghost responded, with little emotion.
“But it can’t be. You’re dead and there are no such things as ghosts!” Pat exclaimed, as he rubbed his eyes, thinking his senses must be playing tricks on him. When he realized that did nothing to change his vision, he pinched himself, to see if he were sleeping and only dreaming this unreal scene.
“Do not deny what you see and you are wrong to say that spirits do not walk this earth. Not only are you wrong about that, but you and I were wrong about many other things we held to be true.” Once again, the specter responded in a very drool tone, though making sure his meaning was quite clear. “I now suffer for the wrongs I have done and I come to spare you that same fate.”
“Suffer? But you were a holy and God-fearing man. You were my faithful assistant for many years, helping me to carry out God’s work. Why would you be suffering for that? Since the day you passed from this life, I have always believed you to be sitting at the right hand of God, reaping your rewards for a faithful and devoted life.”
“That is what I expected as well, but that was only one of my miscalculations.” The ghost hung his head, appearing to be remorseful.
“But I don’t understand,” Pat challenged. “You only preached the word of God and passed along his messages to the faithful and unbelieving.”
“What I passed along was our interpretation of God’s word, and I have since learned that my personal prejudices colored the message I spread and bastardized the meaning God had intended. I now pay for my mistakes, and you will too, if you do not repent and acknowledge the errors of your ways.” The ghost was now pointing an accusatory finger at Pat, to add emphasis to his words.
“That can’t be. I am only spreading God’s word as it is written.” Pat said, trembling, though it was uncertain if his quaking was caused by fear or from indignation at being told he was misguided in his beliefs.
“You will be given a chance to see the error of your ways, a chance I was not granted. Tonight you will be visited by three spirits, and these spirits will show you where and how we went wrong. If you learn from what they show you and heed their message, then you might still save yourself from enduring the fires of hell and the tortures I have faced since my death. Do not squander this opportunity, my friend, for it shall not be offered again.”
“Can’t you just pass the message along yourself, so I don’t have to be visited by more apparitions? You were always a good and loyal friend, David, and I would rather hear this from you.”
At that instant there was an unearthly howl, though Snarley never opened his mouth, but Pat was certain this noise emanated from him. Pat fell to his knees; completely consumed by the frigid and haunting sense of despair the wail had sent coursing throughout his entire body.
“Pat, you must accept these spirits and heed what they say,” David’s ghost wailed, “for tonight will be your only chance to learn and repent. The first spirit shall appear to you at the stroke of midnight, the second as the clock chimes one, and the final spirit at two. Do not expect to see me again and remember you need to heed my warnings.” With that said, the ghost of David Snarley began to drift across the room, and soon it moved effortlessly through the closed window, without doing any damage.
Pat summoned his courage and followed it to the window, looking out, to see where it went next. He was surprised to discover that there were numerous other spirits floating gracefully about, most likely performing the same task as his former assistant was doing. Shaken and unwilling to let his wife or children know what had happened, or at least what he THOUGHT had happened, he decided to lie down on the sofa in his study, covering himself completely with the afghan that had been folded neatly across its back. It took quite a few minutes for him to shake off the effects of the past few minutes, but eventually he began to calm down, and he even fell asleep.
. . . . . . . . . .
Based on an original story of the same name by Bill W; Copyright © 2000-2009 by BW, All Rights Reserved; used by permission; modeled after “A Christmas Carol” by Charles Dickens; Click on the following link to go to Bill's great site. http://bwsryc.gayauthors.org/agcc/index.php
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