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A Star, A Star, Shining in the Night

by on March 16, 2015

Last time, in the Catrina Chronicles, our heroine had just arrived in Bethlehem for the first Christmas when Susan, her arch-nemesis, launched two nuclear missiles at it from an orbiting alien starship….

A new sun flashed into existence above the town of Bethlehem, and the entire population, from officious Roman centurions to sleep-deprived shepherds, vanished in an atomic fireball. That included Catrina. Next thing she knew, she was standing on a field of ash, as an extremely upset angel rushed towards her. “This wasn’t supposed to happen!” the angel said, tears streaming down its glowing face. “We were supposed to be singing to the shepherds, not watching them get vaporized!”

“You’re telling me,” said Catrina. “Am I dead again?” She glanced down at her arm, which had gone translucent. “Yep, I’m dead again.”

The angel stopped in some confusion. “You’ve…been dead before?”

“Several times. I lost count. I’ve been zombie-penguinified, kaboominated, turned violet and magenta, miniaturized, transformed into a theremin, stabbed with a pointy stick, died, been resurrected, died again, been resurrected again… my author hates me, he really does.” She signed, giving emphasis to her long-standing complaint. “He even forgets about me for months and months before resuming my adventures. Bethlehem is getting bombed, you’d think that would be important. But nooooo, he has to go running on with some space otter or whatever. I’ve friends with space hamsters, myself, but even so…”

“I don’t understand,” whimpered the angel. “I don’t understand anything. Bethlehem has been destroyed, the Christ Child is almost certainly gone, I can’t even…”

“Oh, cheer up,” Catrina said, throwing her ghostly arm about the angel’s shoulders. “I’ll fix things, you’ll see.”

“How?” the angel asked, waving at the devastation of nuclear-bombed Bethlehem around them. “How can you fix this?” 

Catrina smiled her trademark half-smile, that spread slowly over her face and lit up her green eyes. “Easily. All I have to do is go back in time and stop the ship from dropping the bombs.”

“But… but you can’t just change time like that!” the angel protested.

“Why not?”

“Because you just…can’t!”

Catrina raised her left eyebrow. “Very persuasive argument, there. I can, and have done, as a matter of fact. I saved the Library of Alexandria, kicked Gavrilo Princip into a flour barrel before he could shoot the Archduke, kicked the British halfway to Sunday at the Battle of Lexington and Concord….I’ve basically told time to go and get knotted. Why not do it again?”

“You’ll break the universe!” the angel blurted. “You’ll kill your own grandmother! The paradoxes!”

“Will sort themselves one way or another,” Catrina said. “Now then, I’m going to save the Baby Jesus. Are you going to assist me or not?”

“Even if I wanted to, how could I? How could you? You can’t just jump around in time whenever you feel like it!”

Catrina smiled again. “Sure I can.”  She looked up at the sky. “Oh. Something’s coming in for a landing, looks like.”

A small shuttlecraft was indeed spiraling down out of the night towards them. It skidded to a bumpy landing in the ash. A door hissed open, and out came Susan, laughing hysterically. “I got you! At last! Finally! You’re a ghost, a real live ghost, and you’re dead, so I won! Woohoo!”

“Yes, I’m a ghost, and you’re a loony,” Catrina said. She would’ve liked to come up with a more witty riposte, but that really wasn’t what she wanted just now. “Incidentally, that time rift you kept jumping in or shoving me through? Do you know when it’ll show up again?”

Susan scowled. “It’s gone now. It has to be. I dropped a nuclear bomb on it! Two of them!”

“Ah. So you’ve destroyed Imaginary Time then.”

“Yes! Exactly!”

“And probably Imaginary Reality too, right? I mean, if time is connected to reality, then you’ve pretty much erased the fictional universe, right?”


Catrina paused. “So… how come we’re still talking?”

“What?” Susan said.  That was the last thing she said before the Swirling Vortex of Imaginary Time opened up behind her. “No! NOOO!” she howled melodramatically.

“Bye!’ Catrina said, and threw herself into the vortex, concentrating very hard on where she wanted to go. Or, more precisely, when. There was a flash and a bang.

She found herself standing on snow again. Bethlehem lay silently below her, as stars rolled by above. She glanced down, and noted with relief that she was no longer dead. Then, looking back up, she saw a dark object, or perhaps two, falling through the sky where no dark objects should be. “Oh no you don’t!” Catrina said, and swung Mlrning (the Shovel of Thor!). A beam of blinding energy blasted into the sky, and encased the bombs in solid ice. They thudded down harmlessly in the snow. Catrina waved the Shovel again, and the dirt parted beneath the bombs, plunging them underground and burying them far from prying eyes. “There,” she said happily. “And that’s Christmas saved.”

Above her, in the starship, Susan was getting dragged away to an alien brig by offended alien officers, who were very upset that she had launched their atomic bombs without their permission. Catrina couldn’t see this happening, but she had a vague idea, and it made her very happy. Susan would probably be tucked away in the alien starship for a good long time. With luck, that might even change her destiny of becoming the mistress of Character Hell. She couldn’t do that as an alien prisoner, right? Of course right. Little knowing how wrong she in fact was, Catrina decided that she was going to drop by the manger and say hello. She’d saved Christmas, after all. Why not?

This has been another exciting episode of the Catrina Chronicles. For previous episodes, click on the Catrina Chronicles tab at the top of the page. And thanks for reading! 


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  1. Coming back to read your stories when I’ve been away from the computer for a while is like coming home, to a home where your family is hilarious and unpredictable in the very best ways. I believe that Catrina has a valid point in regards to her author’s capriciousness that I may not have picked up on had she not listed her myriad array of demises 😉

    • Y’know, I think “A Myriad Array of Demises” would be an awesome book title. I may have to borrow that. Very Terry Pratchett. (I have just finished reading the first one, The Color of Magic. I am very impressed. How have I not read his work before?)

  2. Ha! Knock yourself out as I’m 100% you’d do the phrase proud 😉 I have no idea how you haven’t but I am so excited for you when I think of all the characters in the Discworld you’ve yet to meet. Although, throughout the entire arc of them, the Luggage has always remained my favorite 🙂

    • Oh, I did like the Luggage. Especially when it got the TWA rune, and then showed up in all its epic awesomeness like Lassie come home at the end of the book. 😀

  3. This was quite entertaining. I like how you pull off a character complaining about the author and it isn’t jarring… it actually fits into the story. That being said, it makes me glad that my characters die and stay dead 🙂

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