Holly and Ivy

© Nicholas 2003

Chapter Seven – Ivan Bernard Peabody

If I can stop one heart from breaking,

I shall not live in vain;

If I can ease one life the aching,

Or cool one pain,

Or help one fainting robin

Unto his nest again,

I shall not live in vain.

Emily Dickinson

Pounding, pounding in my head. Oh God, the damn patch blinded me again! No shit, a God Damned cold wet washcloth on my face. What the fuck! Oh shit! I feel like death warmed over. Oh God, make that fucking pounding go away. Fucking elf, left me here to die! Oh God, I am going crazy!

Pounding, pounding. Shit it's not in my head. Some fucker at the door! "Go Away!" Oh God that hurt. Geesh! I can hardly take a breath! What the fuck? Oh shit, better go and fucking let them in....

Jesus! Am I sore. Shit! It's the God Damned sheriff! Oh God! I remember now. The river! No, it wasn't the river. A God Damned tree jumped out and grabbed the fucking car! Fucking elves all trying to kill me!

"Yeah! I'm coming, I'm coming!" Shit, I hurt. God Damned unsteady on my feet too. I think that house shark tried to get me drunk! Hope his fucking cruise boat sinks. "Yeah sheriff, yeah, come on in."

"You okay Mr. Peabody? Your car sure is kind of a mess?" No Duh! God Damned fucking elves!

"Yeah, yeah, I think I'm all okay. I can walk at least. Kind of sore. Sorry I didn't call, no phone here you know."

"That's okay. Just heard about it a half hour or so ago. Not much traffic into the village late at night. You sure you're okay? I can radio the Doc to come out here if you want?"

"Naw, I'm fine, tough old bastard they say down in town."

"Alright. I'll have John at the garage tow your car out. I'll have him bring you his loaner too. Stuck up here all alone might not be the best idea. I'd be a little more careful though down at the Duck's Tail Tavern."

Shit, he fucking knew all the fucking time. God Damned little villages! Where's a God Damned elf when you need to hide!

"Uh, Mr. Peabody? I'd like to tell you how much it meant to every one. How great it was to see the Star lit up on the hill. We all were afraid with Miss Nellie gone this Christmas would be dark. You added to the Peabody lore too! Lighting it all up like that while you sat down in the Duck's Tail. Thanks for doing that. The kids all know now that Santa will really come. He can't find the village you know without the Peabody lights!"

"Well the elves seemed to tell me it was a good idea," I groaned. Shit, if he only knew! God Damned! If I only knew! How the hell had the place been all lit up!

Good, I got him out of here. God, I need a drink!

Look at that, decorations on the porch. Fucking crèche? Candles in every God Damned window! I'd swear a green eyed elf helped me up the hill last night. Ivy! Fucking crazy Ivy Barry Peabody! Brandy and Butterfinger breath all mixed together in my pounding fucking head. Nellie, you sure got you a fucking crazy Executioner! Always liked you though. Mom said you were her favorite younger sister. Don't know why we didn't visit more. Guess Dad was just too busy. Both gone now of course. You too. No Peabody's left but me. Shit, where did I put that brandy?

What the fuck? Briefcase and cell phone here? And God Damned afghan again. Pillow? Dickinson? Washcloth? Barry old boy, you need more than a God Damned drink! You're dreaming elves alive and whole somehow. You better find a fucking shrink! Yeah right. Like this village has ever had more than a God Damned GP! Just stay inside boy. Hole up in the house. Be like the old Peabody broads. Once a year cruise to Barbados. Don't need no long white sleeved belted coat!

What the hell's all that racket in the kitchen? Sounds like a God Damned Shriner's convention! Shit!! The frigging bear!

I open the kitchen door slowly. No bear! But pigeons everywhere! There must have been a half a dozen! God Damned! The bird seed all over the floor. Pigeon shit mixing right in. "Get the fucking hell outta here!" I go in yelling and waving my arms! "God Damned Pigeons!" Suddenly they all explode into the air. Shit I thought they were bad standing there eating! Now they're flying around and squawking and raising bloody cane!

Shit! What the fuck!

God Damned Elf attacks me!!!!! Christ I never wrestled with an elf! Where does this insanity end?

Wait, he's a boy not an elf! Sobbing to me to stop! Don't hurt his friends! He'll fix it Momma, he promises. He'll fix it. He's just holding me, trying to still my arms. He's holding me and crying, crying, sobbing. Holding me. I'm holding him. I'm sinking to the floor. He's crying for his Momma. He's crying for his friends. He's crying and holding and crying.

I'm holding him and cooing like the pigeons. Talking sweet nothings like my mother did for me. "It's alright. I won't hurt your friends. I won't hurt you either. It's alright. Just cry it out." Holding. Safe and holding.

"I'm sorry Momma. I'm sorry Mr. Ivan. I'll clean it up. Don't hurt them. Please? They're our friends, they're in our house. Momma loved them and she invited you! Don't hurt my doves, please stop? Please? Please...don't stop holding me. Don't stop. Oh Momma, what am I supposed to do?"

He's crying into my chest. I hold him. Still and warm against me. Safe and right. Holding. Holding. Now I'm crying too. Mom, what am I supposed to do? "Shush now. It's alright. It will be okay. Shhh, Shhh, now settle... Rest... Shhhh... Okay... Okay." I stroke his hair and hug him to me. So much pain. So much fear, I feel it deep inside. I draw it up and try to make it go away. "Shhhh now... You're safe... The doves are safe... Shhhh..."

We sit for an hour or maybe minutes, I have no clue, it feels so right. I rock him gentle on my chest. He cries and sobs and sobs and cries and finally falls asleep. So peaceful here, the doves cooing and eating quietly. I lift him up and go to the fire in the sitting room. I look at his sleeping face as I sit down. The chair holds us both like it was made for us.

Rock him. Hold him. Stroke his brow.

My elf, the one who pulled me from the car. My God, the one who owns the woods. Green eyes under shuttered lids. Butterfinger breath. The one who stole my candy bar, who stole my heart just now. The one who risked all for his friends; his doves. What did I hear last night? >From deep inside my pounding head, his Momma called him Holly. Oh Aunt Nellie, you sure are full of surprises...

Holly, it's alright. You're safe. I'm here.

You're wrapped in arms of safety, son.

A crown of Ivy I would give to you,

To match the starlight diadem.

You've found my World and touched it new.

Look! Rainbows dancing in the sun!



The hotel's painting of Holly is at http://fdpd.org/www/netnick/hollypic.htm

This story is a work of fiction, any resemblance of the characters to actual persons living or dead is purely coincidence. Emily Dickinson's poetry is real. It is in the public domain. Comments should be addressed to Nicholas6996@hotmail.com.