Free short story – December with Iamo and Riga

(some time after the end of Shaman’s Drum when the Government has changed)

“You only have two days, Madam. We’ll be back to check.”

“Yes, officer. Thank you, I’ll see to it.” With a huge effort, Riga closed the door softly behind the Christmas Enforcer’s back and turned to her husband who was leaning on the table, his brow furrowed and lips set in a narrow line.

“How did this happen, Riga? How did we let it?” His fist came down suddenly making the tea mugs jump in the air before crashing back down. “We fought demons and saved the world to stop this kind of idiocy!”

“They did it by stealth, Iamo.” Riga strode across and grabbed his wrists, turning him to stare into her eyes. “And we have to do the same. The JNBP have made themselves a dictatorship but we can fight it. Us, the others, all the non-Christians, we have to do it by stealth. All we’ll get for our pains if we show our hands is prison. We’ve done that before. Remember?”

Iamo held her close and sighed, his breath ruffling her hair.

“It was good, in the past. We were all British. It didn’t matter what you believed or didn’t, as long as it was done in private you were free to do your own thing. Now…” his voice trailed off as he indicated their kitchen, devoid of any decorations. “We’re going to get a fine for not having tinsel!” He swore again and pointed at the Nativity Notification which the Enforcer had left behind. “Two days to put up stupid paper chains or we risk jail!”

Ever the gifted mimic, Riga, took the pose of “Nanny” as the Prime Minister’s new title proclaimed her to be.

“Now, Iamo, Nanny doesn’t like children who refuse to do Christmas. It just isn’t British! It’s not cosy!  Is it?” She paced forward menacingly and stuck a finger under his chin. “Is it? And you know what Nanny does to nasty little people who don’t do Christmas, don’t you? Don’t you?” Her last words were thunder.

“We get booted out. We’re not British, we  have to leave.” Iamo whispered like a man repeating a prayer.

Grabbing a kitchen chair and sitting on it back to front, Riga ticked off points on her fingers.

“We did it before and we’ll do it again. We beat demons. The Jolly Nice British Party are no worse than them, even if they are the government! Mrs. Singh and the other faith groups are behind us and don’t forget the atheists. They are furious too. But we’ll play clever. Never leave the house without wrapped presents under your arm. We’ll put up a tree to keep the Enforcers happy. We can hold our first meeting at the Patel’s shop. There is room there and we can pretend it is a pre-Christmas drinks party.”

Iamo nearly spat his tea on the floor with indignation.

“Hindus forced to pretend to celebrate Christmas so we can hold a meeting of the opposition! It’s crazy.”

Riga’s thousand-yard stare he knew of old. She was foreseeing battle and plotting.

“I was born in Latvia but Britain has been my home since I was seven. The Singh family were all born here. Being British is nothing to do with your skin-colour or religion. We’ll win again, Iamo but this one will be the toughest fight of our lives, we’re fighting NICE people!” This time she really did spit, taking the foulness from her mouth and throwing it on the floor.

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