The next morning dawned brightly through the thickly frosted windows. Clarisse sat up in her booth and looked around. The restaurant was completely empty except for the dozing family in one corner. The businessmen and the choir must have left earlier, she thought. A movement in the kitchen caught her eye. Sheila was fiddling with random appliances in the kitchen. Whether it was just for something to do, or if she was legitimately checking the equipment, Clarisse couldn’t tell, but the longer she watched, she noticed that Sheila seemed distracted. Clarisse got out of the booth and stretched. As she gingerly made her way to the kitchen, Sheila looked up. For once, she didn’t say anything.
“Did they leave?” Clarisse asked, referring to the choir and businessmen.
“No one’s come in or out since last night,” Sheila replied.
“Look.” Sheila handed her a slip of paper folded in half. It shimmered faintly as Clarisse opened it up. Written in elegant cursive in gold ink was one simple sentence: “Thank you and Merry Christmas.”
* * *
It would later be discovered that other residents of the town, who had also lost power, reported similar experiences: carolers knocking at the doors of the dark houses, an entire choir at the nursing home and the hospital. All of the mysterious visitors hailed from Emery Gettings High School. After several curious and grateful citizens attempted to contact the high school, they found that it did not even exist. The only proof that any of the events ever happened was the residents’ word and the identical notes, written in gold ink on shimmering paper, received by all the witnesses.
A note about the story
Once again, I apologize for my procrastination on this story, partially due to writer's block but also due to other distractions. A few details: As some may know, Balthazar was the name of one of the three Magi who visited and gave gifts to Jesus after he was born. The name Natalie (the name of the little girl), fittingly means "Christmas." "Emery Gettings High School, IN" is an anagram of "Come, sing glory in the highest." Draw your own conclusions about the choir: maybe Natalie was right.