Steering my truck with my knees, I played with the radio with one hand while flicking the ash from my cigarette out the window with the other. All the DJ's wanted to talk about was the impending storm, which was looking to be at least a Manitoba Mauler and could possibly end up as a Saskatchewan Screamer. The boiling black clouds on the northern horizon seemed to smugly say that the forecasters were being ridiculously optimistic.
In anticipation of the foul weather, the vast emptiness of the west-river side of South Dakota was even emptier than usual, as all the ranchers had taken their precious cattle to cover. They had good reason; even the hardiest of cows had trouble enduring the extreme temperatures that accompanied even a relatively weak Alberta Clipper.
Snuffing out my smoke, I placed both hands on the wheel, struggling to keep the shaking pickup truck on the road as the wind started to rise. I was a few miles from home when, through the rapidly dimming light, I saw a slight figure walking along the road, staggering from the force of the wind's attack. I tried to recall if there had been a broken down vehicle somewhere behind me, as that was the only way to explain a pedestrian in this remote area. I came up empty.
There was no question of simply passing by. Other than my house, the closest ranch was miles away and this was not an evening to be walking outside alone. I brought the truck to a stop next to the unfortunate soul and thumbed the button to lower the passenger side window. My intent was merely to ask if the person needed help or wanted me to call someone.
To my great surprise, the tiny, heavily bundled figure opened the door and unabashedly climbed in next to me.
"Whew!" said a piping feminine voice. "What took you so long, Greg? I was starting to think that I was going to freeze to death waiting for you to get here."
I gaped at the girl in astonishment. While my name was indeed Greg, I would have wagered everything I owned that I didn't know her. The simple fact of the matter was that I didn't know anyone in the area unless one counted the passing acquaintance I had with the few ranchers to whom I leased the bulk of my property for use as grazing land. For the past few years, I hadn't been exactly what you could call outgoing.
Before I could say a word, she continued, "Well, step on it. My father will be coming to pick me up in a bit, so we don't have much time."
"Uh, where do you want me to take you?" I asked numbly.
She turned to face me. All I could make out were her bright blue eyes twinkling merrily at me from the depths of her hood. "To your house, of course."
The situation was so surreal that the suggestion of taking a complete stranger to my residence actually seemed rational. With a grunt of assent, I shifted the truck into gear and continued down the road. Surely things would start to make sense once I had my hands wrapped around a steaming hot cup of coffee.
As soon as we started moving, she searched through the channels on the radio until she found a station that was playing Christmas carols. Bouncing in her seat, she happily sang along. Entranced by her lilting, melodious voice, I remained silent.
When we entered my split level, she moved through the first few rooms like a whirlwind, peering at this and examining that. There really wasn't much to look at in my sparsely decorated abode. When I had moved here after the death of my wife of thirty years, most of our belongings went into storage in the attic. Too many of them spawned memories that were too much of a grim reminder of just how much I had lost.
As she skipped from place to place, she shed layer after layer of clothing, tossing each item carelessly to the floor. Bemused, I followed after her, picking up the over-garments and folding each neatly over the back of my couch.
When the last of the bulky clothing had been discarded, leaving only a bright green jumpsuit with red trim, the tiny figure of a young girl, maybe ten years old at most, was revealed. Shaking her long blond hair loose from beneath a wool cap, she again turned to face me.
The sight of her took my breath away. She had an ethereal, otherworldly beauty that is impossible to describe in words. Beneath the bright blue eyes was the tiniest button of a nose. Her cheeks were bright red, and her ears somehow managed to be both exceptionally large and dainty at the same time. Oddly enough, they also seemed to be slightly pointed.
She stood and let me look for a moment, preening under my admiring gaze. Finally, with a sad little pout, she broke my reverie by asking, "Not even a Christmas tree, Greg?"
"It's just me here, so I didn't see the point of going through the effort of putting one up," I explained dazedly. Taking a deep breath and tearing my eyes from her, I tried to gain some measure of control over the situation. "Look young lady, you're welcome to weather out the storm here, but I think you must have me confused with someone else. If I had met you, I certainly would remember..."
Her eyes widened slightly as she hopped over to stand directly in front of me. Presenting her hand with a flourish, she interrupted, "I'm sorry. How very rude of me not to introduce myself. I'm Evie."
Reflexively, I took her soft, warm hand in mine. "Nice to meet you, Evie. Now, about..."
Again she blithely interrupted me, "And this isn't a case of mistaken identity. I came here to see you."
Not relinquishing my hand from her astonishingly strong grip, she led me over to the couch and pushed me down onto it. She immediately climbed onto my lap facing me. The feel of her slight body on top of mine was delightful. So long deprived of companionship, I could feel myself responding against my will.
"Uh, Evie," I protested, "this isn't a very good idea. How about if you let me up and I'll go make us some dinner?"
"I'm not hungry. Besides, as I said before, we don't have a whole lot of time. My father will be picking me up shortly."
As if to belie her statement, the wind howled outside, pelting snow and ice against the window. Looking in that direction, I could see that the snow was now falling so hard that I couldn't even make out my truck in the driveway.
"I hate to say it, Evie, but I don't think anyone will be driving through this storm."
"He'll be here," she replied confidently. A cheeky grin spread across her face as she switched subjects. "I'm not intruding on any Christmas Eve plans, am I?"
Still off-balance, I gestured toward a well-thumbed Asimov novel on the coffee table. "Uh, no. I was just planning on curling up on the couch with a good book."
She shook her head sadly. "That's no way to spend Yule. Let's see if I can bring you some Christmas cheer," she said softly as she leaned down to kiss me. Her lips tasted of cinnamon. Her tongue flicked against my lips, seeking entry. I granted the request eagerly. Completely intoxicated by everything about her, I have no idea how long that wonderful kiss went on.
Finally, though, my conscience stopped merely nagging me and started shouting, as consciences have a way of doing. Although it was the hardest thing I've ever done, I took her shoulders in my hands and pushed her gently back. She resisted for a moment before relenting. Meeting my eyes, she tilted her head to the side with an amused smile on her face. A perfect eyebrow rose in query.
After taking a moment to catch my breath, I reached up to brush the backs of my fingers over the incredibly soft skin of her cheek and stammered, "Thank you, Evie. You've made an old man very happy, but we shouldn't be doing this. You're so young..."
She cut me off with a torrent of bubbling laughter. Even her laugh was perfect, having a musical quality that somehow made me think of sleigh bells. "You just turned fifty-three this past August, Greg. That hardly makes you an old man. As for me, I'm ... older than I look." For some reason this statement brought on another bout of giggles. When her mirth faded, she continued, "A lot older. Besides, I know you've always felt an attraction toward young girls. It's one of the reasons that I decided to pay you a visit."
My jaw fell open in shock at the sound of my deepest, darkest secret being so casually announced. It was something I had never admitted to anyone, although I imagine that my wife must have suspected at times.
Seeing my expression, she smiled gently and twined her fingers around the back of my neck. "Relax, Greg. Your secret is safe with me. You've never acted on the feelings that cause you so much shame or hurt anyone in your life. My Christmas gift to you is to let you live your fantasy without any fear of possible consequences."
My hands fell to the sides in surrender as she pulled me relentlessly forward until our lips touched again. Her slight body squirmed deliciously against mine as she kissed me passionately. I brought my hands back up to her shoulders and was shocked to find only warm bare skin as soft as the finest of silks. How had she managed to get her top off?
Her fingers moved deftly up and down my body, undoing buttons, a buckle and a zippe, r while mine traced down her back, encountering only smooth soft skin the entire way to the plump, round globes of her butt. It wasn't only her top that had vanished as if by magic.
.... There is more of this story ...