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The Card by D.B.Adams

Almost Midnight on Christmas Eve and this damn indigestion is keeping me awake, in the dark my mind flits from one thing to another when I remember the card.
It arrived on Monday. One of those cheap cards you see in Woolworth's in boxes of fifty for £2.99, you know the type. A gaudily painted winter scene, a robin on a holly bush in the foreground, a snow covered churchyard, a quaint country church. The message printed inside read simply Merry Christmas, hand-written underneath in red ink was "See you on the 25th. D."

The envelope was addressed to me, although for the life of me I could not think who D might be or remember arranging to meet anyone on Christmas Day. Nevertheless I put it on the mantelpiece with my other two Christmas cards, one from my brother in New Zealand and one from "Your paperboy".

On Wednesday I had just sat down with some beans on toast when I noticed the card again. It was funny because I thought that I remembered a robin on it but I must have been mistaken, holly bush with bright red berries in the foreground, snow covered churchyard with a few crosses in it and the church beyond, just as I remembered it, almost.

This morning I picked up the card once more, wondering who the devil could have sent it and thinking there was something peculiar about one of the crosses in the churchyard. On closer inspection it was not a cross at all but the handle of a shovel stuck in a pile of earth, as if a grave had been newly dug. "Merry Christmas!" I thought, shoving it back on the mantelpiece.

Now I am thinking of that bloody card again, lying here in the dark, with this indigestion sitting heavy on my chest, feeling as if it were crushing my ribs. I sense a presence in the room, an extra shadow amongst the shadows.

"Is there somebody there"! I can't turn my head, the pain in my chest ripples out from me like a spiders web, up into my neck and down to the very tips of my fingers. "Who's there, who…"
And the darkness which is darker than the dark whispers to me "You received my card".

Copyright D.B.Adams 1998


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