Haunted Christmas: The Tale of Arthur Williams

Drip, drip, drip.

"ARTHUR! I thought you promised to fix that leak days ago. We have a foot of snow on the roof, what do you think you're doing? Blazes, it's Christmas tomorrow!"

Arthur sighed, I guess I have procrastinated this for a while. Staring at the dingy wood wall in front of him, the thought ran through his head that was only too common nowadays. Why did I ever agree to move to this uncivilized country where the roofs don't even work?

His thoughts lingered on past Christmas memories at his old home in London. A proper Christmas dinner with friends and a big bowl of punch, that is what I need. Here all I seem to do is work, work, work.

Arthur jolted awake from his daydream and replied, "Don't worry, I'll go fix it right now." Eyes rolling, he threw on his scratchy wool coat and large black muffler. Just one lousy wooden shingle, this shouldn't take too long. A freezing gust of wind almost knocked him over as he walked outside to grab the ladder.

Safely leaning it against the roof was rather hard, due to the snow on the ground. By jumping on the first rung over and over, his heavy winter boots knocked the ladder into place. Once he was at the top, the job got harder. Brushing off the snow from the roof, trying to find the crack, was nearly impossible. The boards creaked and shuddered underneath his weight.

Brushing snow from out of his hair, Arthur looked up and saw the local church. People gathered there in order to attend Christmas Eve services. Bright, mismatched colors dotted the scene as they all used whatever they had to keep warm.

Suddenly, the loud bells rang, startling Arthur. Slipping on the icy roof, he tumbled down. Trying to stop, he caught himself on the ledge, but his fingers slipped. The fall wasn't very long, but Arthur still somehow made time to think about how this was all America's fault.

This same thought ran through Arthur's head as he again found himself climbing to the roof. He had waited 365 days for this night, suffering in this wretched country. Of all places to be stuck, why here?

Tonight, though, was his night. Being a ghost had its perks, one being revenge.

He smiled in glee as he hoisted his weightless body over the ledge of the first roof. The snow crunched as Arthur stomped down. Snapping his fingers, eerie bell sounds chimed all around him.

Small snowflakes were illuminated as the shutters of the house opened, and frightened voices rang out. This only seemed to encourage Arthur's madness as he stomped and snapped all the louder.

As soon as a head appeared out of the window, Arthur disappeared, though he kept the ruckus going. The man appeared again amid crying children, but this time with a ladder, his mind made up to end the clatter.

Though Arthur loved the mayhem, he also knew when enough was enough. When he saw the man looking so angry, he thought, Good, my job here is done. It's time for the next house.

Mrs. Williams was surprised the next morning. The town seemed to be in an uproar. Slouchy figures were seen gossiping about the previous night's horrible events. Many could barely keep the falling snow out of their baggy eyes.

The following Christmas eve, Arthur again found himself climbing up his trusty ladder. One needs to have fun as a ghost, there is so much moaning and groaning going on around. A bit of haunting is the only way to keep one in this condition sane.

As his head reached the roof, a loud "stomp" crashed in the snow, right above him! Jittery as ever, Arthur and his ladder slowly tipped backwards, and he crashed into the snow.

Seething with anger, Arthur hastily propped up his ladder again to see who was invading his territory. After all, every ghost in the area knew that this was his night.

Seeing a big man ride off in a big sleigh, Arthur only became saltier. He had always been jealous of ghosts who could fly-it's a rare gift.

Investigating the roof, Arthur was surprised to see real footprints and sleigh marks!

Intrigued, Arthur bent down looking closely and following the tracks. His boots crunched as he walked slowly.

Well, this is quite odd indeed, thought Arthur. I'd might as well continue though, he reasoned, since nothing seemed wrong. The mad stomping and bell ringing started as Arthur tried to wake up the inhabitants.

With horror, Arthur heard laughter and cheering! What in the world is this? he thought. Have these Americans started to enjoy being haunted?

A loud, "Merry Christmas!" shook Arthur to the bone as he lowered himself to look through a nearby window. Inside, all he could see was a huge Christmas tree along with neatly wrapped presents.

Raising his head, he became even more angry as he noticed the sleigh landing on the faulty roof where he had met his demise. Jumping off of the roof and grabbing the ladder, Arthur hesitated. He hadn't visited his wife's house since his death. Every time he'd tried, the memories had become too painful.

This, however, was a time for immediate action. He couldn't let this fool enter his house!

As Arthur hurriedly propped up the ladder on the very spot where he had climbed to his death, he was disappointed to see the sleigh flying away. I will just take a second, though, and make sure she is all right, Arthur decided. His heart fluttered as he peeked through the window.

Scanning the room, he saw his wife with a huge smile on her face. The room was not decorated with many brightly colored presents or candles. Instead, in the corner stood a small tree with nothing other than a portrait of him underneath! Arthur did have to admit; the portrait was rather well done-he looked as dashing as always. A small ghostly tear formed in the corner of his eye as he gazed at the joyful expression on his wife's face.

Intrigued by this odd present-giving man, Arthur made it his purpose to look through the corner of every window. In every house, he observed people opening their gifts. Some were large and expensive, some were small and simple. Yet he found one thing in common with each one of them. They touched the heart of the receiver.

Somehow, his own heart was changed that night, by watching the kindness of others. For the first time ever, he felt happy for the people in his town. While quickly taking a look into his wife's window, he seemed to melt away.

Arthur showed more excitement for Christmas than ever before. In fact, he became quite a novelty among the ghost crowd. They had never seen one of their kind so happy before! For the rest of his haunting days, Arthur continued to stomp on people's roofs and ring bells.

He did this not to spread fear, but instead because he realized the big red man was never noticed or thanked by anyone. Sometimes, if he made just enough noise at the right time, people would look out their windows and see a streak of red flying through the sky. The excitement on their faces would make Arthur's night.