Holly by Ailsa Abraham
We don’t do Christmas in our house. I know what it is because I see it on the box. When the cold weather comes I see gorgeous food and happy people and it makes me sad. Sometimes my mouth fills with water and I dribble which makes Mum smack me and call me a cretin. She hits me often. Last year I got obsessed by Christmas so when she was drunk and reeling around, trying to find a reason to beat me up again, I slipped out of the open door, out into the night.
It was cold. Snow was falling but I just ran until I was in a street I didn’t know. I peered through a window and spotted it – Christmas, just like on the TV! ! I rattled the letter-box. This would be tricky. I can’t speak, you see, which makes people think I can’t hear or understand: they’re wrong. A woman opened the door and immediately squeaked.
“Oh you poor thing. You must be frozen. Look at you!” I gave her my most pathetic look and sniffed hard. She bent forward and dusted some snow off my coat and then invited me in.
The room was lovely with a massive table seating three generations. A place was made for me between the two children. I could sense that the little girl was like me. I couldn’t speak and she couldn’t see. I knew that by the way she felt my face and ears before saying
“Oh how beautiful you are!” So I put her hand on my neck and hoped she’d leave it there.
There was crunchy turkey skin and sausage. I was in heaven. The little boy waved a paper thing telling me to pull. I grabbed it and we both pulled. He told me to make a wish so I wished I could live with a nice family like them. There was a bang that made me jump. Everyone laughed and the boy put a funny hat on my head. I squinted up at it and they laughed some more. I didn’t care. I was having my very first Christmas dinner and these kind folk didn’t mind at all. The very old lady at the end kept passing things down to the kids saying “Give this to our guest.” There were some horrid hard green balls but I flicked them across the table. They didn’t taste nice.
Suddenly all the family went over to the tree in the corner which was covered in shiny stuff and started sharing out packages. The little girl kept me by her side and showed me her treasures. I grinned, nudging her to show my approval and she giggled, hugging me. The old lady said,
“There’s a present left over. No name on it. Must be from Santa! Shall I open it?” They all roared their agreement so she peeled off the paper revealing a beautiful chain with a round pendant. “Oh it says “Holly” on it. Must be for our guest. She didn’t have a present!”
I sat there, proud as punch with my new collar on. From then on I was Holly…wishes do come true sometimes, especially at Christmas, even for unwanted dogs.