Wednesday, December 15, 2010

A Tree Guard's First Christmas: Part Two

I WAS PROUD WHEN the adult female human chose me off the metal precipice five weeks ago – it wasn’t until she stationed me in my first tree that I became nervous. I stood between a rather taciturn gold reindeer and a star, which couldn’t talk at all, so I felt both unsure and lonely. However, each evening when the adult female human reached behind the tree and made the small white lights come on, I puffed up with pride, knowing that I was helping to keep her nest safe.

Many people came in and out during those first few weeks of The Watch, including the human’s partner, two young chicks, and an assortment of other humans that the female greeted warmly when they entered the nest. To my relief, no one attempted to break in at night, especially not that bearded, red-suited adult male.

Unfortunately, my sense of security didn’t last long – in fact, I haven’t felt secure at all since midnight December 25. Early that evening, my humans made special preparations for a big celebration the next day. They shared a large dinner together, where the two chicks spoke excitedly about the presents they would receive in the morning. Then, the pair sat under the tree for a while, shaking each one of the boxes – sometimes, quite violently – that people had placed under the tree over the course of the last few weeks.

Lastly, they set out a large platter of colorful biscuits and a glass of thick, white liquid, presumably to consume in the morning. They immediately went to bed. It was an altogether odd evening, but I don’t pretend to understand everything that humans do.

The real terror began when the clock struck twelve. My Tree Guard senses were already heightened by the amount of excitement that day, but I never expected to witness what I did. Ashes began to sprinkle down from the fireplace across the room from me. I watched in horror as the grey flakes heralded the entrance of two large, black-booted feet, followed by a body of not insignificant size.

. . . to be continued.

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