Scrooge recognized all of it – every tree, every fence post, every rock in the wall. He might have had a spring in his step had he not been more frightened at what he would see inside that old farmhouse. As he had not thought about it for so long, so he longed to relive it now.
Crystals spread across the windows of the house, somehow making it to be more appealing. As the abode rose before him, Scrooge trembled. Chickens clucked and clawed at the dirt near the front door.
Inside, the smell of bread noodles and cranberry pie attacked the olfactory of anyone who entered. To Ebenezer, the smell was too much to bear. Sobbing, he walked up to the ladies in the small kitchen.
“M-mama,” he muttered, and then remembered she could not hear him. Scrooge turned to the ghost. “She is my mother, spirit. And there at the table…” A young girl kneaded dough, flattening it, then rolling it into spheres for biscuits.
Scrooge could scarcely his emotion. His shoulders heaved with hiccoughing sobs.
“Who is she?” asked the ghost.
“My my sweet, ornery sister Fan. Look at her – so delicate, yet stronger than any of my schoolmates. Those hands move so fluidly.” Tears streams in rivulets down his dirty cheeks.
The ghost feigned ignorance at this. Why, he wondered, did fluid hands cause this reaction?
“She died, spirit,” explained the old clerk. “Surely you can see the dead in your realm!”
“But she lived to be an adult…”
“Aye, but she died in childbirth.”
“With your nephew Fred…”
“Yes, blast you, with Fred.”
“But Fred is a fine young gentleman – an effective legacy for your sister.”
Scrooge shook his head. “Oh, spirit, I should not wonder that you do not understand, for certainly, you are the spirit of a temporal activity and not the spirit of a man. Fred cannot be a legacy to my sister, and leastwise not to her name. He bears the Christian name of her husband.”
The ghost began to respond, but Scrooge cut him off.
“Why do you force me to look upon this house?”
“Nostalgia be hanged! I choose not to see it. Take it away!” Scrooge was a basket case of emotions. He yearned to return to the past permanently, and yet as he thought of his own family, and especially of Tiny Tim, Scrooge was only reminded of his own fatherly failure.
“These were happier times, man,” said the ghost. “I should think you would smile at their appearance.”
“I could not smile, sir. These things no longer exist. These people are forever gone. When my father passed from life, I rested upon me to be the man of the house…” Voice fading into silence, Scrooge sat with his head in his dry hands. “I lost it all,” he said finally. “My family, our farm…everything. These scenes are merely a reminder of my own… I know you mean well, spirit, but seeing Fan and Mama only saddens me for my own wife and offspring. What will scenes of their ‘Christmases Past’ look like? No bread noodles, no rides into the snowy woods. No chestnuts. Not even a biscuit. Instead, they starve and they freeze. It is all on my damnable shoulders, spirit. You are not a ghost; you are a demon! I would rather you take me back to Hades with you than to stay within the boundaries of this farm for one iota longer!”
"You are a strange cookie, Mr. Scrooge. Always able to see the worst of a situation.”
“Not true! Times have changed! England has changed. What was then quaint and nostalgia has become poverty and despair.”
“Perhaps we shall also change, Ebenezer. Let us find another Christmas for you to recall.”