This is my entry for the Merry Minion Christmas Anthology - a 1,000 word short fantasy story. I'm sorry it's so short, but those were the rules. It could have easily been longer. In fact, I had serious doubts I would get in under 1,000 words! I hope you enjoy it~
Title: Spell Spinner Christmas
Author: Lisa T. Cresswell
Lindy slipped on the icy pavement and crashed headlong into the cobblestones. The boys surrounded her, still panting from the chase. They waited for Ticker to catch up, unsure what to do with her. Lindy really didn’t want to wait around for him. She tried to ignore the stars clouding her vision and the overwhelming pain in her temple. Struggling to stand, Lindy saw the world whirling around her; the wharf, the dirty alley, and the curious collection of ugly street urchins. Ugliest of all, Ticker stepped up and grabbed her by the coat.
“Where’s my money, thief?” he shouted, loud enough to hurt Lindy’s ears.
“I never took your stupid money!”
Ticker rifled through the pockets of Lindy’s jacket.
“Ha! That’s a laugh. You’ve been a thief since the day you were born. What’s this?” he said, pulling a long golden chain out of Lindy’s blouse. A large pendant dangled on the end of the necklace.
“No!” she cried, as he yanked the chain hard enough to break it. He threw the bauble on the pavement and smashed it beneath the heel of his boot.
“Maybe you’ll think before you steal from me again, wench,” spat Ticker.
A fiery rocket screamed by Ticker’s head and exploded with a loud pop behind them. Fireworks. Lindy had seen them once at the fair. High above them, another fuse was lit. Lindy gazed up at the Chinese airjunk moored at the dock. Someone on the junk, a black-haired Asian boy about Lindy’s age, released another rocket. It zipped through the pack of boys, scattering them like rats.
“What are you doing, you crazy Chinaman?” demanded Ticker.
The boy on the junk leaned over the railing, waving another lit rocket.
“I’m blind as a bat so you’d better shove off!”
“He’s bleeding bonkers!” yelled Ticker as he dodged another explosion and ran off after his friends.
The boy on the junk cocked his head, listening to the sound of their fading footfalls. He grabbed a rope and swung down to the wharf where Lindy was picking up the pieces of the crushed pendant.
“Ruined…it’s all ruined,” she muttered, searching the cracks in the cobbles for all the bits.
“Me mum’s spell spinner. She needs it. I dunno where I’m gonna find a new one.”
“Maybe I can fix it?”
“But, you said you were blind?”
The boy laughed.
“I’m blind, not completely useless. Let me have it.”
He stripped off his fingerless gloves and held out his hands, waiting. His almond-shaped eyes stared off into nothing.
“It’s pretty bad,” she said, looking at the crushed metal bits in her hand.
“You’re in luck. I specialize in ‘pretty bad’. C’mon.”
Lindy poured the remnants into his outstretched hands. He felt each piece carefully, assessing the damage.
“It’s supposed to go together like this,” said Lindy, showing him how the pieces fit in his hand.
“That part is certainly broken, but I have something we can use instead. Come aboard and I’ll fix it.”
“Um,” Lindy hesitated. “We haven’t properly met. I’m Lindy Wainswright from Piccadilly.”
“Chang Peko from the South China Sea. Call me Peko.”
“Nobody comes from the sea, except fish and mermaids,” teased Lindy.
“Don’t tell my uncle that. We’re traders. We’ve traveled all over. Are you coming?” Peko climbed the rope ladder onto the junk, the spinner parts clutched tight in his fist.
“I’m not sure if I should.”
“Are you really a thief?”
“I prefer the term ‘wealth liberator’,” said Lindy as she cleaned the mud off her leggings and straightened her jacket. Peko smiled.
“Well, come back tomorrow and I’ll have it ready for you.”
“All right,” said Lindy, already feeling a little remorseful she hadn’t climbed aboard. “See you tomorrow…Peko?”
“Thanks for helping me out, with Ticker and all.”
“It was my pleasure,” said Peko with a bow.
Lindy hurried home as tiny flakes of snow started to fall. Tomorrow was Christmas. She hoped her mother wouldn’t notice the missing spinner.
The next day Lindy returned to the wharf to see Peko helping several other men loading cargo on the junk. She snuck up behind him and waited until he was alone. She thought she had fooled him, but he spoke first.
“Hello, Lindy. I’ve got your spinner fixed.”
“How did you know it was me?”
“Your footsteps are hesitant, like a bird about to flee,” he said. “Oh, Merry Christmas.”
Peko had rethreaded the spinner on its chain and now wore it around his neck. He lifted it over his head and handed it to her. She looked it over.
“It’s perfect,” murmured Lindy in wonder.
“What’s it for?”
“It makes magic. Want to see?” she said before she caught herself.
“Yes,” he said, looking toward her without focusing on her face.
“I brought you something to say ‘thank you’.”
“What is it?”
“I nicked it from the Professor,” she said, digging a small box out of her rucksack.
“Lindy, you really shouldn’t ...”
“I know Peko, but I wanted you to see London just once. I’ll take them back when you’re done.”
“What are they?” he asked, as she opened the box.
“Spectacles. Put them on.”
Lindy handed him a contraption consisting of several lenses on what appeared to be a pair of eye-sized telescopes.
“Spectacles don’t work for me.”
“Shh, just do as I say.” Lindy twisted the spinner and let it fly into the air over Peko’s head where it hovered, showering him with a golden light.
“When you help others, your dreams will always come true,” she whispered to Peko. The lenses on the spectacles began moving and rearranging themselves, trying one combination, then another. Suddenly, Peko caught his breath in shock.
“I can see! I see you!” he gasped.
Tears leaked from Peko’s eyes behind the spectacles, down his cheeks.
“C’mon, Peko. Let’s go see London,” said Lindy, taking his hand with a smile. “Merry Christmas.”