This is my first story in a series of tales, hints "chronicles". It's about the adventures Jack Skellington and his new friend Sydney Night go on to rescue Sally. There are 7 chapters in this story that open up our adventure, but there will be several more to come.
11 Years ago
"...Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night! The end."
Sydney's mother closed the book, The Night Before Christmas, and placed it back on the shelf. 5-year-old Sydney watched her mother stretch her long adult arm to the top of the bookshelf. She was fascinated. Everything mature grown-ups did fascinated her. Especially when they did things she couldn't. Sydney was easily impressed.
Sydney's mother turned from the bookshelf and began walking back to where her daughter lay in bed. As she walked, her gown caught on the old wooden dresser. Her feet tangled and she let out a surprised cry as she toppled to the floor.
Little Sydney sprung from the bed for a belated rescue.
"Mommy's okay, sweetie," Sydney's mother reassured her as she was helped up, "but five years ago that would have killed me."
"I would have been scared to death of loosing you." And with that, she bent over and kissed Sydney's forehead. "Time for bed and prayers. We better hurry up, or Santa will pass our house, because-"
"He knows if you are sleeping. He knows if you're awake," Sydney interrupted.
She was proud to have committed so much to memory, in
such little time. And she showed it.
Then her voice turned to a whine, "But I don't want to say prayers."
"Well... the last part scares me."
Sydney's mom took her hand in hers.
"Honey, don't be afraid with your eyes or mind, face fear with your heart. If you do that, you can concur anything." Sydney's eyes glistened to her mother's beautifully, wise words. "Now face your fears, sweetie."
Sydney and her mother put their hands together and bowed their heads. Peeking through one eye, searching desperately for an excuse, Sydney noticed that her mother's nightgown had torn at the seams when it caught on the dresser.
"Mommy look," Sydney touched the torn spot, "your pajamas are ruined! You better change before moths come to eat the dead PJs, and accidentally eat you too. Hurry, I don't want you to be moth dinner!"
Sydney put on her best hyperventilation act. It was obviously fake.
"Okay honey, stop the spasm," drifted a sarcastic voice from the doorway. Sydney's father tiptoed in with a wide holiday smile. He spoke in a playful voice.
"You better hurry up and go to sleep, or Santa will pass our house. And if he doesn't come, then you will have ruined Christmas for all of us!"
He slowly shook his head and clicked his tongue at Sydney.
Her mom interrupted, with a smooth voice, "Mommy's gown will be fine. Daddy will sew it up tomorrow."
Sydney's eyes grew wide and filled with interest.
"I thought only girls could sew," slapping her hands lightly on her cheeks and her face full of surprise, "Has the world been deci...deci...deci...um...lying to me?"
Sydney was stumbling on the word deceiving.
"Yes, it is mostly women that can work a needle and thread, but only the most loyal and intelligent men can sew. And when you get a boyfriend, if he ever sews anything for you," Sydney's mother turned to look into her husband's eyes, "hold onto him."
They both smiled, then shared a soft, sweet kiss.
Sydney made a disgusted face.
"Ewww, boys are gross!"
Sydney's parents got back into a prayer position. She was confused at first, but then realized that her stalling accomplished nothing, except stall time. There was no getting out of it. Sydney put her hands together and bowed her head.
"Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray the Lord my soul to keep."
It's okay, Sydney thought to herself. They're only words. Face fear with your heart. Don't see it with your mind.
"For if I die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take."