It was Christmas Eve and the house was silent.
“SCRATCHITT.” Ebenezer Psoriasis’ voice boomed out in the darkness as Tom Scratchitt tried to sleep. He awoke with a start, his hand automatically drawn to his leg, nails digging in to his skin and drawing blood.
“Why make me do this now?” He asked Ebenezer Psoriasis.
“Because it’s fun to see you suffer” Ebenezer sneered. He chuckled to himself and promptly went back to sleep leaving a tired Tom Scratchitt to clean up the mess of flakes and blood now caked on his hand.
Tom went to the bathroom, ran his hands under some cool water and gently dabbed his bleeding leg with damp flannel. It offered some relief and Tom closed his eyes, thinking he could sleep right there. “Why won’t he leave me alone, why does he keep tormenting me?” he asked himself. He opened his eyes, looked in the mirror and saw a face looking back that he barely recognised. A once confident face looking drawn and haggard and a noticeable lack of life in his eyes.
It wasn’t the best of night’s sleep for Ebenezer either though. He felt a presence, something else was in the room. “Ebenezer Psoriasis” a ghostly voice called. He looked around, saw nothing and closed his eyes again. “Ebenezer Psoriasis” the voice said louder “You are a wicked man Ebenezer”. This time he sat up and turned on the bedside light. A shape appeared in front of him.
“Who are you, what do you want?” He asked squinting as he tried to focus on the hazy floating vision.
“Who I am is no important, my reason for being here is” it said with a strange whispering voice. “You are being watched Ebenezer, your evil acts cannot continue”.
“Bah, Humbug” said Ebenezer. “I like being bad, it’s fun” he sniggered.
“Be warned Ebenezer, you will be visited by three ghosts to show you the error of your ways”.
“I’d rather not thanks” replied Ebenezer, “Unless they like scratching too?” He chuckled to himself.
The ghost eyed Ebenezer closely, well if it had eyes it would have done. It was more of just a mist than a person. “This is going to be a toughie” I thought to itself, “Oh well the others can deal with that bit”.
The ghost flew around the room “Three ghosts Ebenezer, the first will come at….”
“Midnight, the second at one and the third at two, yeah yeah I’ve read Christmas Carol” Ebenezer interrupted and then told the ghost to shove off. With that the ghost huffed, shrugged his shoulders and as he went to speak, thought better of it and with a small puff of smoke it disappeared.
Midnight arrived. No chiming of the clock, I mean this is the digital age after all. Ebenezer Psoriasis slept soundly, unlike Tom Scratchitt who tossed and turned, subconsciously scratching his skin. Tom’s smartphone suddenly lit up and then stood on the bedside table. Tom couldn’t see this but Ebenezer raised one eyebrow and looked at the phone curiously.
“Ebenezerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr Psoriasissssssssssssssssssss” the phone whispered.
“What is it with you ghosts, can’t you just talk normally, I was expecting you so you don’t have to act all mysterious?” he snarled.
“Oh, erm, sorry” the phone said rather taken aback “We are told to speak like that in spirit school.” It continued. “Well, erm….” The spirit paused, finding it difficult to get back on track. It switched on it’s notes app. “Ah yes, shall we go back in time then to a Christmas past”.
“Whatever” Ebenezr said with a shrug of his shoulders and with that the room filled with light so bright Ebenezer couldn’t see anything but whiteness. As the light faded he found himself in a lounge of a house and there on the floor playing with his new Christmas toys was a young Tom Scratchitt. The boy made car sounds as he raced a toy car round the carpet by the Christmas tree.
“Who’s this then?” Ebenezer asked.
“What that is young Tom Scratchitt, long before you came into his life. See how happy and carefree he is. See how lovely his skin looks.”
“Hmmmmm, yes I do see, oh if only he knew the misery that is to come.” Ebenezer let out an evil laugh and rubbed his hands with glee. “Yes boy, you just wait, I’ll stop that smile on your face.” He chortled.
“Yes, look” the spirit said “See how happy, does it not fill you with remorse to know how unhappy you have made this once happy child?” It asked pleadingly.
“No not really…. Well apart from thinking I could have given him a few more years misery.” Ebenezer sneered. “Yes, maybe I should have found him in his late teens. Oh well, nothing I can do about that now.”
The spirit went silent, there is nothing in his online guide app about this. “Cortana, what do I do with an unrepentant soul?” It asked. Cortana’s ring span for what seemed like an age before answering.
“Sorry, I do not understand the question.” Cortana said.
“Right, I’ve seen enough, this is making me feel sick seeing all this happiness, I’m off back to bed.” Ebenezer turned and picked up the phone and licked the off switch. The screen faded to black and Ebenezer found himself back in bed with the still restless Tom Scratchitt.
1 a.m. arrived and in the next room a light glowed. “Oh joy, the ghost of Christmas present has arrived, let’s see what this one can do.” Ebenezer chuckled to himself. He ran into the room “I’m in to know you better man.” He boomed.
“C…… Oh, you know that bit” said a large tub of emollient.
“Really? Emollient?” Queried Ebnezer. “Could you not think of anything else, it’s not like that stuff even bothers me.”
“Well it had to be something you’d relate to and this is the UK so I can’t appear as a prescription product, you know we have laws about that kind of thing.” The tub replied.
“You should try living by your own rules, that’s what I do” Smiled Ebenezer. “One day I’ll be all nice and calm, even start to fade and for no reason I’ll come running back and jumping all over my victim the next day. Oh they’ll try to find a pattern, try to figure out what caused it. That’s part of the fun, they’ll never get it.”
“Really, you have no rules?” the Tub asked. “I get so bored of rules, I mean look at this paperwork the put in every carton and that’s just in this form. Don’t get me started on the spirit guide book… You shall Boom every word, makes bells jangle and lights flicker to get attention. I mean, what ever happened to just talking to someone to make them understand?”
Ebenezer walked over to the tub and put an arm round it “I hear you man, you need to pull away from the rulebook, be your own… erm… Spirit, as it were. You go tell them you are a free spirit and not to boss you around anymore.” Ebenezer said comfortingly and wondered how many more spirit puns he could find.
The tub lifted it’s head, well what resembled it’s head in its current form and proclaimed “Yes, thank you, I shall do just that, I’ll show ‘em.” And with that he was gone. Ebenezer chuckled to himself and wandered back to bed giving Tom Scratchitt a nudge just to make sure he wasn’t sleeping.
2 a.m. and the bed covers flew from atop the bed in a gush of wind and a blaze of lightning flashes. “Well that’s a bit more like it” said Ebenezer looking up at a dark apparition. “And I see you’ve gone for the classic look, I do like a bit of retro.”
The dark hooded figure raised one hand and pointed a finger at Ebenezer Psoriasis then curled it, beckoning him closer. Ebenezer got onto his knees and knelt in front of the sprit. “Dear Spirit, I know what you have come for. You have come to show me how bad life will be for Tom Scratchitt if I do not mend my ways. Dear spirit, I understand, I can see what misery I cause and I will make amends.”
The Spirit lifted its head and would have said “Huh?” in a surprised way if was able to speak. “I’ve only just got here and he’s already repenting” it thought to itself. “Yet the other spirits told me this wasn’t going well. Must be the good old hooded look.” The spirit straightened its back and stood proudly in front of Ebenezer, although little unsure what to do.
It held out a skeletal hand to Ebenezer as it thought it should at least go through the motions of showing him the Christmas yet to come. Ebenzer still knelt, looked up. “There is no need to take me on a journey Spirit. To prove to you I have changed I have something for you.”
The spirit was almost doing a jig inside his long dark robe. He thought he would at least give Ebenezer the chance to prove it and waited to see what he was to be given. Ebenezer took hold of the spirit’s bony hand and said “Happy i Christmas” with a smile that looked more evil than sincere but the spirit thought nothing of it as he knew Ebenzer probably hadn’t smiled genuinely for some time and would soon learn how to give a warm smile. The sprit looked down at his hand and saw skin start to form on its skeleton. The skin grew all over his body quickly and he could scarcely believe it. This was indeed a gift to no longer be shunned by his fellow spirits as they often cowered from his menacing look.
He nodded in appreciation towards Ebenezer and saw that Ebenezer was laughing. No, not laughing, he was sniggering and rubbing his hands. The spirit looked at his hands again, then rolled up his sleeves. The skin was still growing, growing so fast it was instantly peeling as more skin grew. The skin became cracked and started to weep. The spirit scratched at it as the itching started. It shook a fist at Ebenezer who just stood there laughing “Yes, a very merry itching Christmas” he sneered.
The spirit spun around the room, the itching was so intense it couldn’t think of anything else. It had thought it was being given the gift of skin and now saw Ebenezer for what he truly was. In despair it curled up and with a loud bang, a flash of light and a huge cloud of smoke it disappeared. “My work here is done” Ebenezer said to himself and got back into bed “Scratchitttttttttttttttttttttttttt.” He shouted one more time. Tom Scratchitt woke with a start, tired eyes looked round the room. His skin sore, his nails red with blood. He once again raised from the bed and headed to the bathroom. Ebenezer Psoriasis smiled as he slept peacefully. The End
That is my Christmas story. Not a happy ending but I don’t think Psoriasis, if it were a person, would care about people’s welfare. Whether or not we find a cure for this condition or if you find a way to control it. Psoriasis itself remains the same, it will never stop trying to make our lives miserable so no spirits of Christmas can help it change its ways.
This Christmas spare a thought for those who suffer from chronic illnesses, not just psoriasis. There are millions of people around the world who need a little extra care and sometimes just to know you’re there. Give them your support, your understanding and be willing to listen. If you are Father Christmas and reading this though, a cure would be nice.
Happy Christmas one and all and I wish you an itch free New Year.