I huddled close to the ground with my eyes just rising over the roof. Moss and bark completed the faux cave. The roof hid the figurines huddled close around the manger. The motley troop of shepherds stood expectantly on the hill formed by my yellow comforter. The frayed fabric ends stood grass-like around the flock.
Far in the distance, another group of figures huddled. They paused beyond the television and beyond the stand alone record player. Between the towering wall of the recliner and the magazine rack they canyon sheltered them. Kings and their retinues paused in their quest to follow the star which dangled from the plastic evergreen.
Tomorrow, they would move closer, perhaps, past the record player. The journey had been so long. Melchior, Balthazar, and Gaspar traveled slowly with their gifts. Melchior’s white beard hung ragged and limp. He set his jaw leaving the mouth partially open. He moved slowly.
That night at bedtime, I laid down the kings. Each one sheltered in the lee of his camel. Plastic hands clutched gifts protectively. They needed rest. Only a few more days separated them from the location appointed by the appearance of the new light.
The smell of animals surrounded them. Threatening savagery lay beyond the small circle lit by their fire. His body ached from another day traveling on his camel, Ania. Melchior’s eyes closed. His breathing deepened and soon dreams enveloped his mind. His aged foot moved with preternatural speed re-crossing the distance of his quest. The months fled the dreamer in a second and his eyes grew dimmer and dimmer but his expectation grew clearer.
I slept and tried to find Melchior in the land between the recliner and magazine rack. Dark threats hovered just beyond clarity. The subtle smell of camel guided me forward toward the towering walls.