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Mrs. Delphine Smithers was an 83-year-old who lived by herself save for her cat. Her husband had passed two years prior, and her children have since grown up and left the nest. But come Christmastime, and Mrs. Smithers gets her joy whenever her grandchildren paid a visit. She thought of the looks on their faces whenever she served them Christmas cookies and other pleasantries. This Christmas, she made some sweet and salty bark and kept it on the kitchen table.

She found herself sitting down in her favorite chair knitting a scarf when there came a sharp knock on the door. She jumped a bit, not expecting any visitors at the moment.

"Can we come in?"

Smithers tentatively laid the scarf on the arm of the sofa and gripped the chair. Her frail bones popped and shifted. Getting up from the chair, Smithers collected her walking stick and trudged rigidly towards the front door. Another sharp knock rung out, that time more agitated than previously.

"I'm coming, hold on!" Smithers yelled.

She grasped the doorknob and turned it counterclockwise. The door creaked open. On the other end of the door were two children. A boy and a girl. The boy appeared older, presumably around 13. He wore a denim hoodie and grey pants. He was holding the hand of an 8-year-old girl who was wearing a blue dress with white lace. For whatever reason, the children had their heads bowed, looking at their feet. The boy repeated his question.

"Can we come in?"

Smithers scratched her head. It was at 10 PM. Why would these children be at her house at that time of night? Somehow, the boy must've realized what she was thinking. "We need to borrow your phone. My cellphone battery's dead." Smithers thought more about the suddenness of having these unexpected guests. But they were children regardless. At the very least, she could grant them this one request. She nodded her head, gesturing the two children in. Smithers directed them into the living room where her cat drone awake from the ruckus. When it set its eyes on the two mysterious children, the cat arched its back and hissed. Smithers walked over to silence her cat.

"Lex, these are our guests! Behave yourself."

The cat mewed in defeat before running out of the living room and into the kitchen. The two children sat on the sofa their eyes still hidden. Smithers went into the kitchen and pulled out the plate of sweet and salty bark. She returned to the living room and bent down to the children's eye levels. "Care for some sweets?"

The boy looked up. There was a good reason as to why he was shielding his eyes. They were devoid of color or pupils. Nothing more than pitch black nothingness. Whatever he was, he assuredly was not of the earthly realm. The girl looked up as well, her eyes matched the coal blackness of the older boy. And yet most bizarre? Smithers smiled at the children despite the hollow sockets that they call eyes. The children were speechless at first. They shared a puzzled glare. The girl waved her hand in front of Smithers's face, but Smithers didn't follow the path of it. They leaned in closer, realizing that Smithers's eyes were glazed over in a thin sheet of blue. She was blind. Smithers suddenly frowned.

"Oh, I'm sorry. You don't care for them?"

"Uh. Thank you?" the boy said. He took a piece of the sweet and salty bark and broke it in his hand before passing the girl a piece. Their heavy teeth ground down on the sweets. Oddness aside, the two children couldn't help but bask in the sweetness and saltiness of the snack. They indulged themselves in more of the sweets before getting up. They looked at the decorations with curiosity. On top of the fireplace on a stand was a small replica of the Nativity scene. From her mental notes, she figured that the two children had stopped at the fireplace.

"Isn't it such a lovely display?" she asked, "do you know the story of Christmas?"

"We know about your Jesus," the boy responded, "our ancestors spoke a lot about him."

Confused by his statement, Smithers nevertheless allowed the two children to further marvel at the Christmas decorations. The girl rustled the Christmas tree causing the ornaments to fall on the ground. She ceased when she sensed Smithers getting upset. The two children played with the nutcrackers and listened to Christmas songs. The hours edged by slowly until a sudden electrical surge generated through the house. The two children looked at each other and back at Smithers.

"We have to go now. Our parents are here."

Bright light shone through the windows. Outside was a spherical, smooth craft standing on three legs. A large, skinny looking creature exited the craft and stood there at the door. The two children collected the plate of sweet and salty bark and exited through the front door. There came a sound of a large whistle as if there were a thousand steam engines situated outside. Within a flash, the craft was gone. Smithers called out for the two children only to be met by a great silence. She closed the door and returned to her knitting.



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Written by AustinDR
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