This Christmas-themed snap fiction story (what’s that?) took flight when I snapped a picture of two storks on a grassy field, looking for… something.
Sybil & Sebastian
A restless impatience was growing in Mr. Stork about the Yuletide package. He was going to be late.
“Sybil, are you absolutely sure you didn’t file the address in the usual birch-tree hollow?”
His wife looked up momentarily and made up her mind not to be cross.
“Yes, darling, we both went back to check. Twice.”
Questions, once answered, need not to be asked again, as far as she was concerned.
“I’m going to be late.”
“Obviously. That’s why we’re looking to see where you dropped the card.”
“I didn’t—” But Mr. Stork knew better.
Mrs. Stork made a sing-songy “Mmmm” sound that was halfway between her usual thinking hum and the melody to I‑told-you-so.
The baby, Mr. Stork knew, was a Christmas baby. It was meant to be a Christmas baby. If he didn’t find the address, it would become a Boxing Day baby and that—well, that just wouldn’t do.
Then he felt something under his left foot and heard an ever-so-slight crunch. He froze, as casually as he could, and felt his heart beat in sudden relief. He was sure Sybil hadn’t noticed.
“Sebastian, isn’t it time you got going, darling?”
It’s rather difficult to sigh in an endearing way, but Mr. Stork managed to pull it off.
“Our lineage is a rather proud one, you see? Your forebears delivered Isaac Newton on Christmas day, and Humphrey Bogart too. It simply won’t do to have you idling now. Off you go!”
Mr. Stork picked up the card and collected the package. He had a quick peek inside. “They do look remarkably like worms,” he thought to himself, “but this one seems to have turned out rather nicely.”
He gave his wife a quick peck on the cheek and braced himself for the long journey. It would be an evening delivery, but still in time for Santa.
“You do know that I’m inordinately proud of you, don’t you Sebastian?”
“What would I do without you?” he smiled. “Merry Christmas, Sybil.”
“Chop chop, no time for pleasantries.”
“I love you too.”
• • •