Spacecraft Christmas by Mae Postings
Here is the second a tale brought to you by Space-y Christmas, a short-story contest that brings together two of our favorite things—space and Christmas—and celebrates amazing writing talent old and new. And check out Mae's spotlight at the end of the story. Enjoy!
Gregory grabbed the rope attached to his red wooden sled with the name "Apollo 11" painted white on its side and pulled it through the crunching snow. He could see his hot breath billow in front of him in the crisp night air. He looked up at the vast sky with the billions of scattered sparkling stars above him as he marched determinedly across the white field.
He huffed and began to sweat as he climbed the steep snow-covered hill, dragging the heavy sled behind him. He imagined his winter suit to be an astronaut’s spacesuit and the hill to be alien terrain.
“Ksh … Houston, this is Greg. I’ve nearly reached the peak. Over,” he said to himself.
“Ksh … Roger that, Greg. Over.”
"He paused for a moment and then whispered, 'Merry Christmas, Dad. Over.'”
Once he reached the top, Gregory strategically placed the sled on the highest point of the hill and plopped himself on top of it.
He pulled up his legs in front of him on the sled, grabbed the lead rope, and looked back up at the sky.
“Ksh …” He paused for a moment and then whispered, “Merry Christmas, Dad. Over.”
Then he pushed the sled with his mitt and began racing down the hill. He could feel his hot tears streaming down his face and freezing onto his eyelashes as he cut through the biting wind.
“Whoohoo!” Greg’s laugh pierced through the thick silence of the night as he imagined the sled flying through the stars, faster than light.
Tom looked out the round shuttle window at the beautiful glowing planet below. The Christmas lights blinked and lit up the room as the rest of the crew laughed and blasted Christmas music behind him. He sipped his pack of hot chocolate and closed his eyes. He could remember the smell of the gingerbread cookies Dayna made every year and the live pine tree he insisted on getting whenever he was home for the holidays. He could see her sweet smile as she leaned against the wall holding her mug, gorgeous in red-silk Christmas pajamas and her messy bun piled on top of her head.
He remembered his little boy’s face lit up as he unwrapped his model space capsule, Vostok 1. He felt the biting cold air on his face as he remembered holding his son tightly in front of him as they sped down the hill on his new sled. If he concentrated enough, he could hear his son’s squealing laugh.
Tom opened his eyes and smiled. He felt a twinge in his stomach, and he pressed his hand against the window. “Merry Christmas, Greg,” he said softly.
"He felt the biting cold air on his face as he remembered holding his son tightly in front of him as they sped down the hill on his new sled. If he concentrated enough, he could hear his son’s squealing laugh."
Tom turned around and grinned. The crew looked ridiculous as they attempted floating Christmas charades. He was grateful for his space family and their space Christmas. He knew all of them felt the same sadness and the same thankfulness he did.
“Tom, you better get in this and rescue us!” Sandy, the crew's electrical engineer, joked as Tom made his way towards them.
“Ha! No way! There’s no coming back from that,” Aaron, the space mechanic, quipped. “You guys lost your chance!”
Tom chuckled, “There’s always a way to make back what you lost. You just have to get creative and stay determined.”
Tom took the cards out of Aaron’s hands and comically got into ready position in front of the teams. He looked down at the card.
It read "Sledding."
Meet Mae Postings
Mae is a mother of two boys and wife to an adoring husband and jack-of-all-trades. She spends her time web designing, writing, and changing nappies. Mae is currently working on a fantasy novel series called Warrior Hearts.' She is also the creator of a Christian online community of support and fellowship called the Fellowship Table. Check it out at https://pommsmeaford.wixsite.com/fellowshiptable.