I Want to Repent... Please

I Want to Repent... Please

A Story by Greg Gorman

If I am violating a copyright, please let me know. There is a version of "A Christmas Carol" starring Albert Finney that shows Scrooge in chains.


Ebenezer Scrooge awoke in his room to find he had been given a second chance. He was elated to find he was indeed alive and the shadows he had been shown were just that: shadows of a life that could happen if he didn’t change his ways.

He did change his ways and he was happy to do it. He recounted the times he could have helped his fellow people and didn’t. He thought of the maltreatment his clerk, Bob Cratchit had endured under his heavy hand. He thought of the people he passed every day and refused to help. All of that would change. As Jacob Marley said, mankind was his business.

First thing was first, Scrooge remembered the large turkey hanging in the butcher shop. Bob Cratchit will have that. His family will have that. It will be a splendid feast for the family. He thought of the two gentlemen who had been in his office the day before. Scrooge reminded himself to be in his office early and to be on the lookout for them. A generous surprise would be theirs if he had the pleasure of seeing them.

So much to do and so little time. Scrooge washed and dressed. Fred was having a dinner and Scrooge hoped he was still invited. He stepped outside in his best clothes when the festive air was shattered by the sound of a gunshot, and people who stopped and stared at Ebenezer Scrooge and wondered what had made such a man smile pleasantly, as if the Spirit of Christmas had visited him in his lonely home overnight, continued on with their travels and duties of the day. Ebenezer Scrooge was dead. Humbug.

The people in the street turned just in time to see Ebenezer Scrooge tumble down the steps. A few bothered to step toward the body out of curiosity before continuing on their way. No one noticed Peter Cratchit running back home, tossing a pistol aside as he hurried down a side street to rejoin his family as they prepared Christmas dinner. As he entered the shack, he apologized to his father and mother for leaving but he had wanted to see a friend who was having some trouble on this joyous day and he wanted to see if the Holiday had somehow comforted him any. Peter, of course, made no mention of the pistol, a purchase from a local pawn shop, or his target.

Scrooge opened his eyes and found he was no longer in front of his home. He was puzzled as he looked around. He had never seen this room before. It was large with white walls and no doors. There was no furniture in the room. The floors were spotless and looked as if they had just been polished.

“Hello, Ebenezer.”

Scrooge turned around and saw his friend Jacob Marley.

“Marley,” Scrooge said in a tone barely over a whisper. He was surprised to see his dead friend again but he had none of the fear as the previous night when Marley walked through Scrooge’s door.

“Marley,” Scrooge repeated. “What happ- What is this? I was-“

Marley shook his head. “A pity. We all saw you. The transformation that was going to take place inside you. The change-“

“But I have changed, Marley,” Scrooge said in a voice that recaptured his excitement of the morning when he awoke. “Marley, I am a changed man! Your visit was not in vain, I assure you. The work you and your spirits have accomplished have done wondrous things for me. I am prepared to be a kinder man to all of my fellow creatures. The spirit of Christmas in inside of me, I assure you.”

Marley stood there with the same lifeless stare he had when he visited his partner in life. “It’s too late, Ebenezer. It’s too late. We are nothing but cautionary tales for the living on Earth.”

“The living? The living on Ear- What do you mean to tell me?” Scrooge’s voice trembled. His legs shook. “Where am I?”

Marley continued his lifeless stare. His voice showed no emotion. “You had intentions, Ebenezer, but that is not the same as acting on those intentions.”

Scrooge braced himself against a wall. “Marley, please, I beg you, whoever your master may be now. Whoever sent you to me, please. Intercede on my behalf. Take me to him and let me plead my case. Please, one more chance.”

“Your chance came and went, Ebenezer,” Marley said.

Scrooge could hear a clanging from beyond the room. It was a faint sound that grew louder.

“That noise,” Scrooge said. “What is that noise?”

“Some people, when they enter this ghostly realm, are given tasks. These tasks are theirs for eternity. There are some people who are sent to the smithy where they work non-stop, forging the chains that we must wear as punishment for our sins.”

We?!” Scrooge asked. “Our sins?!”

“The blacksmiths work below us,” Marley continued. “They don’t wear any chains but that doesn’t mean their fate is any less harsh than ours.”

Tears of sorrow ran down Scrooge’s face as he held his stomach.

“The blacksmiths are down there for eternity,” Marley explained. “They receive no rest, no refreshment. They, like all of us are on their feet. They don’t sit. They don’t lie down.” Marley began to chuckle. “But then again, why would a ghost want these comforts?”

Scrooge looked up at his friend. How could someone laugh at a time like this? He had no idea he would be doing the same in a hundred years from now. When you roam the Earth constantly with no companion, no rest, no chance to enjoy someone’s company, you find ways to amuse yourself. It’s a futile attempt to cheer up one’s self and break the monotony of walking the same Earth over and over again but when there is no other way, Scrooge would soon learn that it is the best way.

“No rest?” Scrooge asked.

“I shouldn’t say no rest,” Marley corrected himself. Scrooge saw a line of smiths coming for him. They were carrying a heavy line of chain on their shoulders.

“No… NO!” Scrooge cried as he saw what was intended for him and how long the chains were. The smiths were tall strong men with broad chests and muscular arms. Despite this, there was a look of pain and struggle as they paraded toward him with his eternal punishment.

Marley’s smile disappeared and his tone turned somber. “You see, our friends do get a small respite every now and then when we have a newcomer. Then they get to leave their forge for a moment so they can fit our new friend with the chain he forged during his life.”

Scrooge howled as the brutes dressed him in his new attire. The newly-forged chains were still hot and they burned through his nightshirt and burned his flesh and yet, his nightshirt remained on him as if it were untouched by the hot irons.

“Oh,” Scrooge lamented. The weight; I can’t bear it. The metal is still hot and the heat…”

“The heat,” Marley repeated. “That’s not something you are used to, is it, Ebenezer?” He started to chuckle. “All this heat about you and think of it,” His laughter grew. “You didn’t waste one shilling on coal!”

Marley erupted into a wicked laugh that nearly echoed. The smiths continued to wrap the chains around him. Scrooge could barely stand it between the weight and the excruciating heat of the metal. He looked about his punishment and saw items dangling from certain links: cash boxes, a bucket for coal but filled with heavy pieces of gold and silver. Scrooge tried to empty the bucket of its contents but the items refused to leave no matter how hard he shook it.

“Come, come,” Marley said to him. “You’re only going to make yourself tired.”

Scrooge dropped the bucket and continued to look down at his chains. He saw everything held together by one small ring.

“This ring,” Scrooged wondered. “I’m sure I have seen it before.”

“Of course you have,” Marley reassured him. “How could you forget what was given to and returned by your Isabel.”

“Isabel’s ring? Isabel! ISABEL!”

Marley laughed louder. “Come, come, man! Isabel is not here. She is with the mortals and it’s no use calling for her. She can’t hear you. I’m not sure she’d want to hear you.” Marley continued to laugh.

Scrooge buried his head into his hands. “No! I can’t believe this. I still have a chance.”

“You had a chance, Ebenezer reminded him. No one, living or dead, could have foreseen your demise on that joyful morning. No one knows how much time is allotted them. That is why we are all told to make the most of the time we have. The American, Benjamin Franklin said time is the stuff life is made of.’”

Scrooge hung his head in shame and closed his eyes.


“I know that voice,” Scrooge whispered to himself.

“Yes, Ebenezer. It is I, Bacchus.”

“The Roman god?” Scrooge inquired.

“NO!” Bacchus laughed heartily. “Although I am named after the deity, you know me better as the ghost of Christmas Present.  I should say I have done my namesake rather proud!” The spirit raised his cup to Scrooge’s health, as if that would do Ebenezer any good.

“What is this?” Scrooge asked?

“This,” Bacchus gestured to the table and people around it, “is man’s eternal reward. This is the most succulent feast one could ever hope to be invited to and all who are my brothers are most certainly invited.”

“No want or ignorance here,” Scrooge observed.

The spirit shook his head. “The children are still with me. I was to leave this hall for a mission much like the one that sent me to you. Along my way I saw the two children, wealthy while they were human but spoiled rotten. They turned their noses up at those less fortunate who hoped that maybe they or their family could part with a coin or two, or some table scraps. I know not if it was their upbringing or their nature that made them so but I could not imagine children being born ignorant and unfeeling for those who need help. I took them and hid them before they could be subjected to that terrible fate after life but could not save them from want. Here,” the spirit rose and opened his robe, showing the boy and girl, “is the closest they will get to this bountiful feast.”

Scrooge looked around the endless table and saw men and women conversing and laughing. Servants cheerfully brought platters of food and bottles of drink to them. The table was full of cooked turkeys, roast chickens, puddings, bowls of fresh fruit that looked like it had been picked not long ago. Guests spoke like old friends and long-lost relatives as they took turns filling cups and each cup brought a new toast. Scrooge’s mouth watered as he could smell the cooked beef, potatoes and even a chocolate cake among other things. He saw an empty chair next to Bacchus and hoped the seat was for him as a reward for a lesson well-learned.

“Spiri- er- Bacchus, I pray you, might that seat next to you be for a weary soul who has learned his lesson.”

Bacchus placed his cup on the table.” My table is for those who remember their brothers and sisters while on their mortal coil.” His voice was grave. “This seat is for a special boy who has yet to make his appearance.”

“A boy?” Scrooge asked.

“Yes,” Bacchus nodded. “Tim Cratchit will soon be my guest.”

“No!” Scrooge pleaded. “Not Tiny Tim!”

“It is not for me to decide who appears,” Bacchus reflected. “It is only for me to welcome them properly to this table.”

“Come, Ebenezer. We don’t belong here,” Marley said.

“Wait,” Scrooge pleaded. “Just one drink. Just one sip. I am so thirsty.”

“Come, Ebeneezer. Our place of dwelling awaits.”

Ebenezer Scrooge cried and begged his old friend, Jacob Marley but the cries were in vain. He was led back to the oppressively hot room he would inhabit forever.

© 2020 Greg Gorman

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Featured Review

A lesson we all need to learn. Thank you for bringing Scrooge to a different ending. I found myself wanting him to be loosened so he could return and help his fellow man. But, it was too late. A couple of my stories are based on fairy tales with different outcomes. I will never be able to read or hear about Ebeneezer Scrooge again without thinking of your story. That makes it a good story!

Posted 3 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Greg Gorman

3 Years Ago

Thank you for reading, Suzanne. And for your insight. I really appreciate it. I'm glad you liked. it.. read more


Wow, what an ironic twist to the story of Scrooge. Well written. It's interesting how punishment in the afterlife is such a pat of literature. I grew up in churches that taught horror stories of the afterlife. Glad they weren't true.

Posted 3 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Greg Gorman

3 Years Ago

Thank you, Shelley. I started to wonder what would happen if "A Christmas Carol" didn't have a happy.. read more
Shelley Warner

3 Years Ago

Yeah, it's reminiscent of sermons warning of hell and losing opportunities. Good writing.
I enjoyed this dark fable. An alternate telling of a classic story told almost in a brothers Grimm style. Wonderful job of writing.

Posted 3 Years Ago

Greg Gorman

3 Years Ago

Thank you, Carlos.
A lesson we all need to learn. Thank you for bringing Scrooge to a different ending. I found myself wanting him to be loosened so he could return and help his fellow man. But, it was too late. A couple of my stories are based on fairy tales with different outcomes. I will never be able to read or hear about Ebeneezer Scrooge again without thinking of your story. That makes it a good story!

Posted 3 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Greg Gorman

3 Years Ago

Thank you for reading, Suzanne. And for your insight. I really appreciate it. I'm glad you liked. it.. read more
I really enjoyed this, I normally don't read stories, but enjoyed this. I like the imagery.

Posted 3 Years Ago

Greg Gorman

3 Years Ago

Thank you very much. I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Hi! I really enjoyed this. The only suggestion I have is checking your quotation marks. Once you were missing one and another you did too many.

Posted 3 Years Ago

1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

S. M. Ferris

3 Years Ago

Oh, don't be embarassed! Please. I would hope other writers would want to help each other. We all wa.. read more
S. M. Ferris

3 Years Ago

A bit repetitive on the "each other" but I think you know where I'm coming from. Haha! Besides, I am.. read more
Greg Gorman

3 Years Ago

I understand where you're coming from. I will take a look at what you have as soon as I get the chan.. read more

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6 Reviews
Added on August 9, 2020
Last Updated on August 9, 2020
Tags: Forgiveness, Hell, Literature, Repentance


Greg Gorman
Greg Gorman

Stoughton, MA

I'm from Massachusetts. I've been writing all my life. I currently run a parenting website (brave-daddy.com) telling about my adventures as a parent and all of the responsibilities and challenges that.. more..