fiction · STORIES

To Extinguish & Ignite the Light of Magic (5)

Illustration by Cynthia Tedy


Tim looked at his sorry reflection in the bathroom mirror.

The big bulbous belly of the figure standing before him did not tally with his body’s otherwise slender, angular frame. The mousey brown of his receding hair did not match the snowy white of his curly beard. His eyes were bloodshot and fatigued. Tim opened the cold tap and splashed some water on his face to freshen himself up. It didn’t help. He now looked clammy on top of haggard.

His suit was all wrong too. The red of the material was meant to be deep and royal like a warm mulled wine, not the bright neon of a traffic cone. The coat was supposed to be soft and velvety. This bristly polyester had all the snugness of fur skinned off roadkill. And the belt! It didn’t smell of fine leather. It didn’t boast a beautiful buckle of gleaming firelight gold. A child’s plastic wrestling belt would put this flimsy cotton waistband to shame.

Tim regretted ordering the suit online. He should have found the time to go around the high street costume shops to find the perfect outfit. But when were you meant to find any spare time these days? Between the school run, his office hours, and all the other extracurricular seasonal commitments, Tim had barely managed to get the gift shopping done.

There was a knock on the bathroom door.

‘You ready Tim? It’s nearly midnight. Let’s have a look at you.’

‘One sec,’ he replied.

Tim added the final touches; a pair of half-moon specs and the obligatory Santa hat. He took one last sorry look in the mirror and trudged out for inspection.

Cassie snickered into her hand at the sight of him.

‘Yeah, I know,’ Tim said. ‘I look absolutely ridiculous. Isn’t she going to see through this Cass?’

‘Don’t be silly.’

Cassie moved the woollen pompom of his stocking cap so it would fall to the right side of his head.

‘She’s not going to know any better. In her eyes, you’ll be the genuine article,’ she said.

‘If you say so hon.’

Tim picked up the bulging sack of presents he had left outside the bathroom door and swung it over his shoulder. The two of them walked to the door at the end of the landing and crept in.

By the light pouring in from the hallway, Tim could see his three-year-old daughter sound asleep. She had kicked the quilt half off the bed and her cheek was resting in a pool of drool in the middle of her massive pillow. Just like her mum, he thought. Cassie sat on the edge of the bed.

‘Lilly, Lilly,’ she whispered, brushing the girl’s tangled hair behind her tiny ear. ‘Wake up honey, there’s someone special here to see you.’

Lilly moaned and rubbed the sleep out of her eyes. Her little elfin face lit up when she saw Father Christmas in all his splendour standing in her doorway.


To Extinguish & Ignite the Light of Magic is a short story told over 5 scenes in Tim’s life.

Read parts 1, 2, 3, and 4.

Special massive thanks to the amazing Cynthia Tedy for her beautiful illustrations. Please check out more of Cynthia’s work on her website here.

Thank you for reading and we hope you enjoyed it.

Season’s Greetings to all!

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