‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse. Thankfully it’s not the creatures that concern us tonight else this would be a very dull story.
The kitchen was cluttered; work surfaces wiped down and ready for the task ahead but piled high with all manner of treats. A rustle from behind the kettle signalled their arrival before they appeared; a handful of sprouts rolled into view, broken free from their stalk.
“Where is she!?” cried the leader.
“She’ll be here,” calmed the second and largest of the group.
“But we’re late! She said she would be here!”
“Be patient Helix.”
“I don’t know what you see in her anyway,” called a third.
“Shut up Russ,” hissed Helix, “why did you even come then?”
“Where Olera goes, I go,” replied Russ, puffing up his leaves.
“Calm down both of you,” sighed Olera.
“Who are you looking for?” The voice boomed from above and the sprouts cast about them to find the source.
The turkey, too big for the fridge, sat proud in its pan on top of the cold hob. It shifted slightly before asking again, “I said, who are you looking for?”
“Annelie! Have you seen her?” called Helix
“I don’t know,” replied the turkey.
“What do you mean you don’t know?” cried Helix.
“I don’t know names, what does she look like?” asked the turkey.
Helix’s face lit up as he began, “her face is the beautiful rose of a warm sunset, her clothes bright like a summer field, her kiss the sweetest thing you’d ever tasted…”
“That may be,” replied the turkey, “but…”
“She’s a strawberry,” Russ said, butting in.
“Not just a strawberry,” gasped Helix, “she is the first sun of spring…”
“We get it, you’re in love!” grumbled Russ.
Olera sighed at them both before turning to the turkey, “kind bird, please tell us, have you seen the strawberry punnet?”
The turkey pondered a moment, rubbing what may once have been its chin with its pale leg. “I believe,” it ruminated, “that I saw them this afternoon while the human was cooking.”
“Oh no!” gasped Helix.
“Is there any chance she survived?” asked Olera.
“If there is I imagine she would be in the fridge, that is where the strawberries usually live.”
“Then that’s where we must go.” said Helix.
“The fridge?!” cried Russ, “Do you know how far away that is?!”
“I’ve never been there…”
“It’s all the way across the kitchen,” said Olera.
Helix looked out across the void. Olera was right, the fridge was directly opposite them across the kitchen but the floor was too far down, they wouldn’t survive the drop. They would have to go around.
They set off, scooting their way carefully around the turkey and the hob rings. Russ wobbled near the lighter, singeing a nearby tea towel and nearly setting Helix on fire which he felt was less than a coincidence. They crossed the vast expanse of the counter until they reached the sink.
The sink was a large, farmhouse-style affair with the counter built up to either side. The three reached the edge and were immediately stumped. The odds of them keeping their balance around the side of the sink was slim, particularly given their spherical nature, and it was too wide for them to make in one jump. They stood, staring and thought.
“Oh well,” said Russ, “I guess we’ll have to give up and go home.”
“I’ll never give up!” retorted Helix, “If you want to go home you can but I’ll keep going no matter what.”
“How will we get across?” asked Olera
Helix cast his eyes about. If only there was some way they could make a bridge or…
“I’ve had an idea,” Helix crossed to the tap and threw his weight against it.
“What are you doing?” sighed Russ.
“If I can turn on the tap, we can fill the sink with water then use that egg poacher to float across.” Helix heaved again but the tap wouldn’t budge. Olera joined him, pushing at the tap as hard as she could. Russ just stood by, chuckling to himself.
“Are you going to help or what?!” called Olera.
“Fine! Fine.” Russ joined them, putting all his weight behind it, until finally it budged.
The sink began to fill, the drain clogged with the remnants of that night’s prep. They grabbed the bright yellow poaching cup and heaved it to the edge of the sink, pushing it into the water. One at a time they leapt into their boat and once safely inside began to waft their leaves through the water, slowly making their way to the other side.
Safely ashore they rolled as fast as they could, past the fruit bowl, sending satsumas flying, forcing their way through a mountain of crisps that tumbled across the counter, until they were on the same side as the fridge.
“We made it!” cried Helix with glee, “We’re almost there!”
“Sure, we’re close,” said Russ with a suspiciously similar amount of glee, “but how are you going to get in you idiot?!”
Helix deflated. He had no idea. He was so close and yet how on earth would they open the door from here?
“I will ‘elp.”
Helix turned, unsure who had spoken.
Helix looked up. Towering above them was a large bread roll. A very large bread roll.
“You might be the tallest food I have ever seen!”
“Why thank you!”
“I’ve never seen a bread roll so long!” gasped Russ in awe.
“A bread roll?! I am no bread roll!” cried the tower, “Je suis une baguette!”
“A what?” asked Helix
“A French stick you idiots,” muttered Olera.
“Please, can you help us get into the fridge? My beloved is in there!”
“Oh, I have watched you on your journey around the kitchen. A quest for love is the most important quest of all!” replied the baguette.
The baguette leaned across the counter, arching itself against the toaster. The three scrambled up the side of the toaster, bouncing on the lever and up onto the baguette. They ran the length of her, reaching the crack of the fridge door. One by one they squeezed into the hole, making it bigger and bigger until the door popped open and Helix leapt inside.
Zoe woke to the sound of an alarm. She was planning to get up at a reasonable time to put the turkey in but this was certainly too early as it was still pitch black outside. She squinted at her phone. Three twenty-five. The alarm wasn’t her clock. She ran downstairs and into the kitchen. She could not believe what she saw.
The sink was overflowing, the tap still running, satsumas and crisps littered the floor, the French bread poised over the toaster, the switched jammed down, blackening the bread and causing it to smoke. Strangest of all she found the fridge door open, three sprouts inside, just in front of her trifle.