Happy Birthday to Me

Happy Birthday to Me

A Story by Devin Sheppard
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A micro story I submitted to Jim Butcher's page for a contest.

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Happy Birthday To Me

     I watched in horror as Maggie ran from all those little hobgoblins. Ok, they weren’t really hobgoblins. They were other kids about her age. She was in the play place at Burger King. But, she was so high up there. Playing tag with other kids was exactly how I wanted her to grow up. Not the way I did, in the foster system, all alone.
     “Maggie, it’s time,” said Michael in his booming authority figure voice. She turned to look down, then jumped from eight feet up, right into the ball pit. For a split second it looked as though she just hung in mid air just a little too long. Michael looked at me with a raised eyebrow, “Harry?”
    “Yeah, I saw that too.” Was that a freak happening? Or was my daughter coming into her magic? I want sure how I felt about that. On the one hand, it could help her protect herself from enemies I’ve made. On the other, it could get her in a whole lot more danger. 
     We gathered our trash and threw it away. As we walked to the truck, the Major General fell in behind me and to the right. I wasn’t allowed to leave my castle without an escort these days. There was a glorious battle recently. A battle that took Murphy from me. A day didn’t pass that I wasn’t reminded of what that fight cost me. And what the aftermath might mean for the future.
     The ride back to the Carpenter house was filled with small talk. Michael asked about how school was going for Maggie. I was happy to say she was doing  good. And if I had done better in school I might have known to say she was doing well. I asked about his contracting business. He told me he was very busy since Chicago had nearly been destroyed. We were both quiet for a while thinking about the loss of life. 
     We pulled into Michael’s drive and walked on to his porch, “Thanks for lunch, it was good to get get out for a change,” I said.
     “Well to tell you the truth, Charity and Molly wanted to keep you occupied for a couple hours,” he said with a spy grin.
     I vaguely realized I had seen a cherry Road Runner and a land yacht of an SUV parked down the street. “Crap, it’s Halloween, isn’t it?”
     Maggie jumped up and down clapping her hands. “We got you!” she yelled as Michael opened the door.
     “SURPRISE!!” shouted at least a dozen people. Mouse barked and Mister slams into my shins.
     “Happy Birthday, Harry!” Molly said as she gave me a hug and kiss on the cheek.i did not just stand there with a dumb look on my face.
     “We wanted to do something nice and normal for you. You always do so much for other people, we thought you deserved it.” Charity Carpenter said with a genuine warm smile. She and I had come a long way as friends since we first met.
     Maggie ushered me down the hall to the kitchen, where we caught a large dark skinned Russian holding a birthday cake.
     “Dresden, happy birthday!” he bellowed.
     “Sanya!” I returned the greeting. “When did you get to town?”
     “Last night,” he said. “You know I somehow always end up where I’m needed.”
     All my friends gathered around and gave me hugs and birthday wishes. They sang happy birthday. Then Charity suggested we eat cake and ice cream before presents.
     “I made the cake, Harry,” Molly said.
     “You made it?” I asked with a bit of skepticism.
     “Mom supervised ,” she replied sheepishly.
     I blew out the candles and thanked everyone for remembering. Maggie and the Carpenter children got their plates full and we commenced to eat cake and ice cream. When we finished we all retired to the family room where gifts awaited.
     Will and Georgia wanted to go first. Will handed me a large box. She I opened it Georgia said, “A complete set of Arcanos role playing books.”
     “We thought it was about time to teach the next generation how to play. Our kids need something to do while we're at work. Might as well be this.” Will said.
     “I want to be a wizard,” Maggie giggled.
     “I think she'll make a fine wizard, Harry, don’t you?” Michael said.
     “The wizardest wizard to ever wizard,” I replied. That made Maggie laugh. 
     “Me next,” said Sanya as he handed me a gift. I opened it and found a very expensive bottle of vodka. “Do you know the best thing about getting vodka for your birthday?”
     “Sharing it with my friends?”
    “DA!”
     Butters put another large box down in front of me. “This is from Andy Marcy and me. I opened it and peered inside. “The complete works of Weird Al Yankovic, on vinyl,” he announced. “You need a little more culture in your life.” 
    Molly gave me a first edition copy of The Silmarillion signed by Tolkien. Michael and charity gave me a very nice hand crafted duster lined with Kevlar.
     I thought the gift giving was over when Michael handed me one more. She left it here a few months ago, so you wouldn’t find it.”
     I looked down and saw a familiar handwriting. “Happy Birthday, Harry. Love Maggie and Karrin” I opened to find an original Star Wars movie poster just like the one I had lost when my apartment burned. Except this one was signed. By George freaking Lucas. And there was a note.
     “We found this online, one day while you were on the island. Maggie insisted we get it for you. She’s  going to be a bigger nerd than you ever where. It’ll be glorious.
I love you,
Karrin.”
     When I looked up, Maggie was waiting. “Do you like it?”
     “I love it,” I said.
     She threw her arms around my neck and whispered, “I think she would have been a good mom.”
     “So do I,” I said, and held my little girl tight.

The End

© 2020 Devin Sheppard


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Added on December 19, 2020
Last Updated on December 19, 2020
Tags: Dresden Files, fan fic

Author

Devin Sheppard
Devin Sheppard

Dudley, MO