Authors: F. Paul Wilson,Alan M. Clark
By F. Paul Wilson
Pictures by Alan M. Clark
Text copyright © 2005-2011 by F. Paul Wilson
Illustration copyright © 2005-2011 by Alan M. Clark
Physical Book design by Alan M. Clark
eBook design by Eric M. Witchey
Originally Published by Cemetery Dance Publications in 2005
eBook Published by IFD Publishing in 2011
IFD Publishing, P.O. Box 40776, Eugene, Oregon 97404 U.S.A. (541)461-3272
Discover other titles from IFD at Smashwords.com.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or in part, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without written permission of publisher, except by a reviewer who may quote brief passages in a review.
All persons in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance that may seem to exist to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidental. This is a work of fiction.
Paper copy ISBN 1-58767-135-2
Hard cover ISBN: 1-58767-031-3
eBook ISBN: 978-1-4524-4554-0
Originally Printed in the United States of America
First eBook edition
Dedicated to Ethan Paul Bateman and Hannah Elizabeth Bowers
Alan M. Clark wishes to thank Melody Kees Clark for her assistance with Thingy’s note, and Jill Bauman for sharing her design ideas for Thingy.
A NOTE TO THE READER
THE CHRISTMAS THINGY is meant to be read aloud. So if you’re reading this to your children, or to your little brother or sister, try using different voices as you go along: Use your regular voice for Jessica; use a high-pitched British voice for Mrs. Murgatroyd; and hold your nose whenever the Thingy speaks. But most of all, have fun.
for Christmas?” Mrs. Murgatroyd says, bending to pick up the pieces of the plate she just dropped.
“A monster,” Jessica Atkins says, nibbling on her toast. “Not a big, mean monster. I want a friendly little one to play with when I come home from school, and maybe keep me company at night.”
“Don’t you wish for no monster, Miss Jessica,” Mrs. Murgatroyd says, her accent getting thicker with each word. “Not for Christmas! ’Specially not in
Jessica is sorry for upsetting the plump old housekeeper, but now she’s very curious. “What do you mean, Mrs. M.?”
“You just might get your wish!”
“Really?” Jessica claps her hands with glee. “Oh, I wish, I wish, I
“You’ll be very sorry, you will,” Mrs. Murgatroyd says in a grave tone. “Very sorry if the Christmas Thingy decides to pay you a visit.”
“‘Thingy?’” Jessica laughs. “
’ What a funny name!”
“You won’t be thinkin’ it’s so funny when you wake up Christmas morning and find out what’s ’appened to all your presents.”
Suddenly Jessica is no longer smiling. “Wh-what will happen?”
“The same thing that ’appened almost one ’undred—no, I do believe it was
one ’undred years ago.”
Jessica waits patiently as the housekeeper counts the years. Mrs. Murgatroyd sort of came with the house and has worked here forever.
“Yes. It was exactly one century ago this year that the Christmas Thingy visited this very ’ouse. The lit’le boy who lived ’ere then ’ad been wishin’ for a secret friend. Well, as Advent came, ’e got ’is wish: the Christmas Thingy arrived. It stayed right up until Christmas, it did, and then it left, because Thingies must always return to Thingyland before dawn on Christmas morning. But before it left this ’ouse a century ago, it stole some presents.”
“Oh, that’s awful!” Jessica cries.
the presents, mind you; not the ’ole family’s. Just one person’s. The ones for the lit’le boy who ’ad befriended it. The Thingy stole
the lit’le boy’s presents and took them back to Thingyland to ’oard and gloat over, because nobody
presents in Thingyland at Christmas. They
“Thingies steal,” says Mrs. Murgatroyd with a shrug. “They can’t ’elp it. Stealing is in their nature. As me Mum used to say, ‘Like a rose must bloom and a pig must squeal, a cow must moo and a thingy must steal. It simply must.’”
“But what’s a Thingy look like?”
“Ow, it’s an ’ideous lit’le creature, it is. Too ugly to describe. Let’s just ’ope you never ’as the misfortune o’ seeing the lit’le blighter!”
Jessica nods, but inside she still wants her own little monster. Then she yawns.
“You wouldn’t be tired now, would you? You just got up.”
“I keep waking up and hearing noises.”
“These old ’ouses is full o’ creaks an’ squeaks. You’ll get used to ’em after you’ve lived ’ere a while longer.”
Jessica knows that the noises come from mice in the walls—little scratchings all through the night. But she doesn’t want to tell Mrs. Murgatroyd that. The housekeeper will start setting out traps. Jessica doesn’t want to hurt the mice, she just wants them to go away.
She smiles as she realizes something: If she got a little monster for Christmas, maybe it would scare those mice away.
With that nice thought in her head, she tightens the thigh strap on her leg brace
and gets up from the table.
“Thanks for the breakfast, Mrs. M.”
The old housekeeper smiles. “You’re quite welcome, Miss Jessica. But don’t you be watchin’ any o’ those silly old movies now. You’ve already got enough strange notions in that lit’le eight-year-old ’ead as it is.”
“What else am I going to do?” Jessica whispers as she limps up the steps to her room. “I’ve got nobody to play with.”
Sometimes Jessica wishes her folks hadn’t moved here to England. The idea of living in London for a year while her parents write an important research paper seemed so exciting last summer. But they rented this big old Victorian mansion to live in, and it’s so far from where most of her classmates live that she hardly ever gets to see them.
It’s not as if no one likes me, she thinks as she enters her bedroom with its high ceiling and huge bed. It’s just that I can’t do a lot of the things they do.
Jessica knows she’s a normal little girl in every way except maybe that she likes monsters. Oh, yes...and her left leg doesn’t work. People tend to forget that because Jessica tends to forget it. Her left leg has never worked since the day she was born so she’s quite used to it. She has to wear a brace from her hip to her ankle to help hold her up. But she hardly ever thinks about it. She pulls on her brace every morning like other children pull on a sock.
But it means she can’t ride a bike or walk very well with her braced leg, and since both her parents are doing research all day, she spends a lot of time after school alone.
Not completely alone. There’s Mrs. Murgatroyd, of course, but she spends the whole day cooking and cleaning, so she’s no fun.
To pass the time between the end of school and the time her mom and dad come home, Jessica watches movies on the DVD player. She watches only fantasy, science fiction, and monster films. Everything from
The Wizard of Oz
, and back again. She loves monster films the best.