I am past, present and future; the true spirit of Christmas,” Harold Verzakely said to the gentlemen.
Gazing through the wondrous, ever growing window, the gentlemen beheld a vision, a visage in which Scrooge, penny-pinching, money loving Scrooge, was in communication with something more frightening than anything they had witnessed that night – or ever before.
“I say,” said Mr Fosdyke, pointing fearfully through the window, “Mr Scrooge must be in mortal danger, conversing with such a despicable thing?”
“Indeed,” Mr Hartwell concurred, “that abomination must surely be the spawn of the devil.”
“That abomination,” Harold Verzakely said, calmly, quite smoothly to the gentlemen, “is what I am.”
“It is?” they answered, stunned that he had said such a queer thing.
“Yes,” he insisted, “I am that and a whole lot more. I am past, present and future; the true spirit of Christmas.”
“The true spirit of Christmas?” Mr Hartwell curiously asked.
“What on earth do you mean?” Mr Fosdyke asked.
Pointing at the magical window, Harold Verzakely said, “Tell me what you think you see.”
“What we think we see?” Mr Fosdyke retorted. “What I see, and I have no doubt about it, is Mr Scrooge conversing with an abomination of a creature, all pale and morose, floating a few inches above the ground alongside him.”
“Yes,” said Mr Hartwell, “it is indeed an abomination. Why, look at its clothes, they are little more than rags, and as for its face, it’s no more than a dark, shadowy space!”
Unfazed by their remonstrations, Harold Verzakely said, “That creature and I are one and the same.”
“But, but how can that be?” Mr Hartwell asked. “And if it is so, how you can be there yet also here? Are you in cahoots with the witch?” he then asked.”
Shocked that he had said such a thing, Harold Verzakely replied, “Why did you say that? Do you really think that I am in cahoots with her?”
“She controls the ghost of Marley,” Mr Fosdyke quipped, “so why not you?”
“The witch told us that she was going to dispatch three spirits to help Mr Scrooge to see the error of his ways,” said Mr Hartwell. “Are you telling us that is something entirely different?”
“No, I am not!” Harold Verzakely sternly replied. “Of course it is me! Having said that, though,” he went on, “you must believe me when I say that I am not in cahoots with her!”
“We want to believe you, we really do,” Mr Hartwell said to him, “but it’s a lot to swallow, to believe that you are telling us the truth.”
“It’s an awful lot to swallow,” Mr Fosdyke added.
Answering Mr Hartwell’s earlier question, Harold Verzakely said, “As to how I am here yet also there is quite easy to explain.”
“It is?” Mr Hartwell said doubtingly.
“Of course!” he insisted. “What you are witnessing is a vision of the future.”
“We are?” Mr Fosdyke asked.
“It is?” Mr Hartwell asked.
“Yes,” he replied. “What you are witnessing will come to pass, perhaps as you have seen, perhaps not.”
Addressing Mr Hartwell, Harold Verzakely said, “That abomination, as you described it yourselves, on the far side of the window is one of the spirits Scrooge must face this night if he has to have any hope of redemption. Believe me, I am that spirit and also the two others; the phantoms of Christmas if you prefer to call me, so.”
“Phantoms?” Mr Fosdyke asked, gulping hard, with fright.
“The witch told us that three spirits would visit Mr Scrooge this night,” Mr Hartwell coyly admitted. “Which one of them is that?” he asked, pointing fearfully through the window, at it.
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