Christmas: A Carol Betwixt (A Christmas Carol Part Two)


Ever since I was a child, I have loved Charles Dickens’ story – A Christmas Carol. The passing of years has done nothing to diminish my love of this story. It was with that story in mind that I wrote this one; a tale that ensues alongside the original. I call it Christmas: A Carol Betwixt. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I did when writing it.


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2. Here lies the body of Jacob Marley

Later that evening, on their way to Pimlico, trying to find Tommy’s uncle and aunt, the gentlemen digressed temporarily from their route. Stepping into the graveyard where Marley lay buried, Mr Fosdyke and Mr Hartwell searched for his grave.
“I say,” Mr Fosdyke whispered, “Is this really necessary, visiting such a dreary place – and on so cold an evening?”
Pointing the way forward, to the low corner of the graveyard, Mr Hartwell said, “I’ll wager you a shilling that Mr Marley is buried, there, in the paupers’ lot. Come; let us inspect it.”
Stepping into the low corner of the graveyard, avoiding a newly excavated grave alongside it entrance, Mr Fosdyke swathed his collar around his face, covering his nose. “This is an abysmal place,” he bemoaned. “It is so rank with the stench of death, I wonder if the corpses lying here are covered at all.”
Pointing to one of the headstones, Mr Hartwell said, “There; that is Marley’s grave.”
“That one,” Mr Fosdyke incredulously replied, “the grave with the smallest headstone of them all? Surely Mr Scrooge would not bury him in so miserly a manner.”
Approaching the grave, the gentlemen inspected its diminutive headstone. It read: Here lies the body of Jacob Marley. Born 1785 Died 1836.
“Oh, that he was alive again,” Mr Hartwell said, patting the cold stone. “I am sure he would see things, namely money, in a new light.”
“You told me that when we got here, to this wretched man’s grave, I would understand how to make Christmas both better and easier,” Mr Fosdyke grumbled, “but I am none the wiser. I am as perplexed as before we set off from our base.”
Coming clean, Mr Hartwell admitted, “I am sorry, it was a smokescreen, a ruse to get you here. You see, I had a hunch, a gut feeling, the instant Mr Scrooge told us his partner was dead, that we had come here.”
Removing his hat, Mr Fosdyke scratched his head thoughtfully through his thinning, red hair. Donning his hat, he said, “If I had just met you, I would have thought you a candidate ripe for Bedlam, saying such a queer thing. But since I know you – and for a considerable time at that – I will give you the benefit of the doubt. Pray tell me some more.”
Coughing awkwardly, Mr Hartwell said, “That’s about it, old chap. Whatever it is, be it intuition, sixth sense or an insight into a realm of creation I know precious little about, I was driven to come here, this evening. I thought it would become clear once we arrived.”
“All that I know,” Mr Fosdyke grumbled, while nervously looking about, “is that we are sitting ducks, ripe for the picking, secreted at the back of this graveyard. Vagabonds pay no heed to goodwill at Christmas, you know.”
Suddenly, there was a sound, like someone stepping on dried leaves. Pointing to the nearest tree, Mr Hartwell whispered, “Hush!”
What the gentlemen saw next was scarier by far than mere vagabonds...
 

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