“That’s just great. Now my flashlight doesn’t work!” I said, looking down the attic opening.
Jed looked up at me and smirked. Why did I always have to come up here? The Christmas decorations are his but I always get stuck pulling them down from the dusty attic. He definitely was good at manipulating me into doing things. He disappeared for a minute and returned, shining the bright light into my dark adjusted eyes.
“Very funny,” I said. “Climb up the ladder and bring it to me.”
The light bounced up and down. Something was not right. Normally, Jed would be talking my ear off but he did not say a word as he made his way up the ladder. I crawled back into the darkness to give him space to come through the opening in the attic floor. The light hovered above the opening; its brightness made the shadows of the rafters stretch in impossible angles around me.
“You’ve been a naughty, naughty boy,” he said, but it was not quite Jed’s voice.
What the hell? Was he trying to do impressions now?
“Give me the flashlight,” I snapped and reached my hand toward the light.
“You need to pay for what you have done.”
“Oh aren’t you just the comedian,” I said getting perturbed with the game Jed played. “Just give me the damn flashlight.”
I crawled closer to the attic opening. I was going to punch him. He’s the one who wanted the Christmas decorations but I had to be the one to get them down. I glanced down through the opening and saw the top of the ladder. Jed did not stand on it, no one stood on it. I think I squeaked like a girl because I do not think whatever held the light made the sound.
I tried to scoot away from the light but before I knew it I rushed forward into the Electronics Store with the mob of shoppers. I pushed and swung my arms from side to side, that thing-a-ma-bob was mine. I did not care who I hurt, I had to have it. I had to be the first in line.
“See what you did?” the voice said.
I flung my head to the right. The light bounced in the air next to me.
“I got it fair and square,” I defended. “They could wait until after the Christmas rush.”
“But the child it was to go to would not get to enjoy the simple pleasure of it, as he died the day after Christmas last year.”
I swallowed hard and tried to rationalize it in my mind. Whatever retort I came up with sounded flat.
“Really, he died?”
“Nah,” Jed said through bits of laughter. “You’re really a sucker sometimes.” He handed me the flashlight and I noticed that he stood on the rafters in the floor. “Don’t forget Rudolph this year,” he continued. “I’ll make you come back up if you do.”