Christmas was not much of a delightful time for everyone who inhabited the small, dreary town of Eerie County. To one, at one time, it was a holiday season filled with memories that all but been tried and failed to be eradicated from his memory. It was a lonely time of year spent agonizing, as he did much of the rest of the year, over his small makeshift tabloid newspaper. Ink stained hands and nose, bruised elbows trying to work with printing machines clearly designed for people much taller in stature than himself were his gifts of the season.
He was not truly alone though per say, along with Fang his half dog/half vampire bat, and his ever faithful yet silent friend, a walking stick figure named Sketchy, did offer some interaction within the bowls of his basement workshop. Though he cared for the two’s companionship, he rarely showed his true emotions, for reasons he never could really quite explain, not even to himself. Long term relationships with others generally amounted to disaster or disappointment, he would often tell himself, better to just save myself the agony.
It wasn’t until just recently, a little less than a year, since by some unknown force, that a small group of teenagers had literally crashed his small intimate world. Not that he minded the change of atmosphere around the place, but it also reminded him of holidays past which made for this particular year to be more agonizing than many before. The problem, he was beginning to care a lot about the teens, and they were truly taking a dangerous risk being associated with him. He had never taken issue to putting himself in harm’s way, but to put other’s at risk never really set easily on his conscience.
Glimpin sat precariously on what was left of his old easy chair as he looked over at the wall mounted clock that had, for as long as he can remember, ran ten minutes to slow. He never was quite sure why he had never fixed it. He had gotten it from an old friend, a term he used lightly in regards to this person, who ran a voodoo gift shop towards the middle of town not too far from his workshop. If his calculations were correct, Tabby and the others would be there soon.
It was going to be a difficult day for him, for today, he was going to once and for all make them leave and never come back. The fact of the matter was that things were getting too dangerous for him to keep them around. If something were to happen to any of them, he just wouldn’t be able to live with himself. It was something he had done with countless others throughout his hundreds of years of self-exile, and would probably not be the last. His mind was made up, today would be the day.
He took yet another look up at the clock, turned his head slightly, and began to think to himself. I’m tired of this clock being off, I think I’ll fix it while I’m thinking about it.
Glimpin stood up and slid the chair over to the wall where the clock had hung and climbed up to take a better look at it. It was one of those fancy clocks that showed not only the time of day, but also had dials for day, month, and even year. Turning the hands manually didn’t look to difficult, he thought as he struggled to reach for the clock, I just need to open the front glass and give the arm a little nudge.
The small gnome was still a little short for the job, but did manage to reach the bottom the clock as he began to wiggle the front the clocks glass cover open, it was stuck. “That’s just great!” Glimpin said out loud as he reached into his pocket for a small screwdriver he kept with him pretty much all the time.
After another minute or so of tinkering with out stretched hand, he finally managed to pry the glass window open exposing the arms of the clock. Much to his surprise a small gust of cool air circulated throughout the room as he did so. He instantly wrote it off and began to reach for the minute hand. He was quite literally on his tippy toes as he gave one last stretch to reach the desired arm. Suddenly, a loud snap, and his easy chair crumbled to the ground in a loud crash. During his fall, Glimpin hardly noticed the cool wind that rushed around the room, blowing papers and other bits of debris around the room.
He crashed hard on the floor and sat up quickly to dust himself off. He never really noticed just how dusty the place had gotten since he and the teens had last cleaned the place up. Guess I know what I’ll be doing for Christmas this year. He thought to himself as he stood up and finished dusting himself off.
He began inspecting what was left of his easy chair, it was a complete loss. He then looked back up at the clock, then down to his watch, then back up to the clock again. “Dag nabbit!” he grumbled as he continued to inspect the two. “Still ten minutes off, and now it’s 3 years to fast!”
He continued to complain to himself as he began to shove the broken chair out of the way, “Sketchy, can you come give me a hand with this?”
He waited several moments before he lifted his head. “Sketchy!”
Still more silence as he began to look around. There was no sign of him. He walked back into the press room, still no sign of him. Where on Earth could he have gone? The gnome thought to himself. Come to think of it, Fang is gone too. What on earth is going on here?
Suddenly, there was a pound on the door. It was as though someone was trying to break it down. Glimpin assumed it was the teens and turned to head for the door. “Hold your horses, I’ll be there in a moment!” he yelled.
Another loud thud followed quickly by another, and another, until the door splintered open. Glimpin stared at the door unbelievably as he squinted to make out who the intruder was. “I told you lug heads I was coming, what’s your damage!?”
“I’m in!” Rang a sort of familiar voice as what he saw next nearly took him to the floor. Jerry and Tabby rushed into the cloudy, dusty room, closed what was left of the door and proceeded to barricade the entrance with file cabinets and tables. Both of the two looked as though they’d aged, their cloths were tattered and ripped as though they’d been fighting. Their faces were bruised and cut, and both looked tired and weary.
“I think we’re safe for now.” Jerry observed as he stopped to take a quick breath and turned to start inspecting the area around him.
“Do you really think we will find something here? It’s been years since we have come here.” Tabby asked as she too started to sift through the mounds of papers left lying on the counter.
“He has to have something here that will tell us how to stop Corum once and for all.” Jerry replied as he continued his search.
Glimpin stared in disbelief as he witnessed the scene unfold in front of him, they had never just looked around without asking. “Hey, pea brains, I’m right here! Ever think to ask or something, hello!?” but there was no response from either of the two as they continued to look around.
Glimpin began to get irritated and walked up to Jerry to give him a quick kick in the shins, only to have his foot pass right though him as though he was a ghost. “What in blazes…”
“I can’t believe that pig-headed gnome tried to do this all by himself!” Tabby shouted as she threw a small stack of papers across the room and dropped to her knees with tears in her eyes. “Now he’s gone, and we have no idea what to do next.”
Jerry stopped for a moment and crouched down next to her, brushed away her tears, and held her. “He was only thinking of us Honey. He didn’t want us in harm’s way is all.”
“That’s not the point.” Tabby answered as she half pushed him off of her and curled up in a ball on the floor. “It was Christmas Eve when he told us to all take a hike. The one time of year when we should have been spending time with those we care about, those we lean on for support, those who we should be depending on!”
Glimpin thought for a second, trying to put the pieces together, then looked up at the clock on the wall. I should have known coming from a voodoo priest that there was something funny about that clock. I must be looking at the future, after I threw them out. But what happened around here? He thought to himself as he turned to continue following the conversation.
“Glimpin had been dealing with this for hundreds of years before we got here, maybe he thought that-“
“Maybe he thought what? That he could do it all himself? Maybe we were in danger back then, but that was our decision to make to stand by him and help, not his. He was so afraid of seeing us get hurt that he never once thought about himself, now he’s gone, and we are left to suffer. Did he not take my feelings into consideration when he gave us the heave hoe?” Tabby interrupted as she sat back up from the floor.
“It was your feelings I was trying to protect!” Glimpin yelled uselessly from the back of the room as he stomped his foot on the ground trying to get their attention to no avail. “How was I supposed to know what was going to happen, I cared enough to keep you out of harm’s way… I couldn’t live with myself if something would have happened to you!”
“Why couldn’t he depend on me?” Tabby asked Jerry as she began to cry again. Jerry once again leaned in and comfort her some more.
“It’s not that I couldn’t,” Glimpin attempted to explain again, “it’s just that-“
“Bod tings hoppin t good peebles all da time.” A familiar voice rang out from behind Glimpin as he turned around to find Hoodoo, the voodoo preist, standing in the opposite corner of the room, just below the clock. “Whas important ees we depen on each oter, an support when bod tings hoppin, an get tru it together.”
Glimpin looked down to the floor for a moment lost in his own thoughts. “But what if I’m not strong enough to stop the bad things?”
“Ya don’t haf t be,” Hoodoo went on to explain, “bot wit true friends, ya con no haft t face dem alone.”
“I guess I know where you’re coming from.” Glimpin said as he thought about it some more.
“Tis season we celebrat wit the peebles we depen on an show gratatude by given of ourselves, as god gav t us. Ya only push away an hurt, is why she now cry. Wat you do now?”
“I promise to not push you away Tabby! I’ll depend on you! I’ll appreciate you! I promise!” Glimpin yelled as he closed his eyes tightly.
A cold bitter wind encircled him again as he opened his eyes to find himself laying on the floor on top of the old easy chair which laid on the floor as well, in pieces. A cold shiver ran down his spine as he looked up at the clock, still ten minutes slow. Standing at the hallway door, the source of the cold breeze were Tabby, Jerry, and Thomas, all staring at the gnome in disbelief.
“Haven’t I warned you a hundred times now to stop using that old piece of junk as a step stool?” Tabby asked as she walked over and helped Glimpin to his feet.
“Once or twice I recall.” Glimpin answered as he dusted himself off and turned and stared at his chair.
“Well, for once I wish you would depend on someone else to help you when you need it.” Tabby said.
“Oh trust me,” Glimpin said with a smile as he reached out and gave Tabby a big hug. “I will never not depend on you ever again, and you can depend on me to be there when you guys need help too.”
“One, ‘never not’ is a double negative, and second, are you feeling ok?” Tabby asked as the others filed into the room with dinner and presents in their hands.
“Never better.” Glimpin replied. “Merry Christmas, and thank you for everything!”