Tis the season to be jolly…scary: Debt the Halls

In this final festive frightfest we discover that you should never underestimate little old ladies…

Debt the Halls

It was Christmas Eve and Alex Cryer, complete with Santa hat, could be found knocking on doors. The inhabitant of the house recognised the knock, as Alex Cryer was more prone to spread Christmas fear than cheer.

A series of locks were unbolted to reveal 79 year old Hazel Richmond. The frail woman trembled, a combination of the cold and her fear of Cryer. He entered the house, his cold breath still eminating as he muttered: “You know how Christmas is the time of giving, well I’ve come for my present a day early.”

The front parlour featured a barely lit fireplace, a Christmas tree and some tinsel that had seen better days. Hazel rummages in an old biscuit barrel and brings out a handful of notes. He counts the meagre pile. “You know this isn’t what we agreed for a monthly payment, that loan stated 1000 per cent interest.”

Hazel shakes, pleading. “But that was in the small print and since the passing of my husband I’ve not coped very well.”

Cryer grows impatient. “I’m just after what I’m owed. Give me that and I’m gone like the ghost of Christmas past.”

Hazel’s voice falters: “That’s all I have…you took my television last time, I have nothing else to give.”

Cryer looks around the room, it is practically bare, save for the Christmas tree. Atop it he spies an intricately carved fairy. He removes it and shows Hazel. “This must be worth a bob or two” he sneers.

Hazel sobs. “Please, I beg you, my husband carved that for our very first Christmas 60 years ago and I use it every year to make a wish, which always comes true, it’s the only thing I hold dear.”

“And what’s your wish this year old lady?”

“That I would be able to pay you and afford some coal for the fire.”

Cryer looks back at the carving in his hand that must have taken hours to make.

“It’s your lucky day”, he calmly states. Hazel smiles, the first time in years. She reaches out for her angel and Cryer hurls it into the fire.

He laughs. “That should keep you going for now. My money, Boxing Day or else.”

With that he exits into the night leaving Hazel crying with her burning angel lighting the room a fiery red glow of dancing shadows.

Cryer was now at home. Actually he didn’t care if he got her money as he’d just finished counting that evening’s taking, which were bumper. Then, all of a sudden he began to feel ill and wretches. To his surprise 12 pence in coppers lands on his floor from his mouth, then again bringing up more random amounts of change.

No one would find Alex Cryer for days as he continued choking up coins, slowly drowning in a sea of pennies. His muffled screams went unheard as for once in his life, at the moment he really needed it, no one paid him any interest.

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