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The Mystery Man - A (very) Short Story

Updated on December 19, 2012

The Mystery Man

She was nervous, no sense denying that. After all, she had not seen him in a year, and she was wondering if he would even remember her. What if he did not? Oh, but he must! How could he forget? The tears welled up at the thought, but she quickly dried her eyes. If he saw her cry, she would be humiliated.

She smoothed her dress nervously. What would she say to him after all this time? Should she be coy or direct? She felt a little sick to her stomach. Nerves, her mother would say. Her palms were sweaty, and her mouth was dry. Once, she thought she could hear his voice, but then it faded away.

The place was very noisy and crowded, and she tried to see him, but her vision was blocked. That she would eventually find him was not in doubt. She knew he was here. He had to be.

He had the unique ability to stand out in a crowd, and everybody seemed to love him as soon as they met him. He had that sort of magic, and she loved him for it, but he seemed not to notice his own charm. He was not a vain man, by any means.

In the past, he had showered her with gifts, but then he quickly disappeared. She wrote and thanked him of course, but he never answered. Other letters were also ignored, but he had a reputation of not responding.

Suddenly, she turned a corner and there he was. It was unmistakably him.

He was sitting all alone, just as always, and for a fleeting moment, she almost turned to run away in fright. But then he saw her, smiled, and held out his hand. He remembered! Her fears melted away. Her heart soared and she made her way through the crowd to his side. For a long moment, they gazed at one another and then his strong hands lifted her to his lap, and he spoke.

“So what do you want for Christmas this year, little girl?"

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    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 2 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Bakerosity! ^-^

    • Bakerosity profile image

      Bakerosity 2 years ago

      This is a very cute Christmas story. I like the bit of mystery that you started with and how it ended on a innocent and happy note.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you tirelesstraveler!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 3 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Beth!

      I love Tennessee.

    • tirelesstraveler profile image

      Judy Specht 3 years ago from California

      The suspense nearly killed me. Great story.

    • profile image

      Beth37 3 years ago

      Can I just say, that was awesome. I pictured Scarlet O'hara... something other timey... possibly even modern day, but I did not foresee this. Loved it. :)

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I almost never change anything but a word or two. I know some folks will delete or change an entire paragraph, but when you do that, sometimes the spontaneity disappears. I do, however, dump entire stories if I think they aren't up to snuff.

      If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Will, what you do NOT do is purge the life out of your stories! Perhaps this is why they are so lively. I edit and edit and soon the characters are stilted and the copy bland!!!

      I did not ask so that you would feel the need to apologize, goofball. I love your stuff and so do so very many!

      Heck, I figure I want to go to hell because there will be sinners like me present. I don't handle perfect people well at all.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Barb,

      Unfortunately, I don't have your technical skills, so I just rare back and fire away. I usually write a short story in an hour or two, do a quick self-edit, and then publish.

      I know that's writing sacrilege, but I am an admitted sinner.

    • Storytellersrus profile image

      Barbara 4 years ago from Stepping past clutter

      Wow Will, your cast of commenters (?) is as impressive as your sweet storytelling. As always, your story is alive and a surprise. I wonder how you manage to create this- does the story come to you while riding the range or dreaming or what? Does it come intact or does it evolve on the page? Do you do lots of editing or lay it down complete- maybe a few tweaks? Nice, however you manage it.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, from one Bill to another Bill!

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      So much said in so few words. Well done, Sir! You are a very good writer.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Cam!

    • cam8510 profile image

      Chris Mills 4 years ago from Maple City, Michigan

      I'm sorry I missed this one in the season to be jolly, but it is still such a warming tale. Thanks Will.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Beth!

    • bethperry profile image

      Beth Perry 4 years ago from Tennesee

      Aw, how sweet!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, tobusiness ...it was fun to write!

    • tobusiness profile image

      Jo Alexis-Hagues 4 years ago from Bedfordshire, U.K

      Bravo!!....sheer genius.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, LadyFiddler!

    • LadyFiddler profile image

      Joanna Chandler 4 years ago from On planet Earth

      Hi Billy lol are you messing with my mind? it sounded like a love story thing and then baam i realized it was Santa Claus at the very end!! LOL good one you caught me.

      Short sweet and powerful.

      Have a bless week "Happy New Year"

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Sue and Peg, and a Happy New Year to you both!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      I had to come back by and give this great one another read before this year is done and a new 2013 is brought in. Oops. We're there! Happy New Year WillStarr and your lovely sweetheart and family too. Looking forward to catching up on your latest stories. This one will soon become a classic!

    • profile image

      Sueswan 4 years ago

      Hi Will

      I am slow. Didn't catch on that it was Santa until I read , "In the past, he had showered her with gifts, but then he quickly disappeared. She wrote and thanked him of course, but he never answered. Other letters were also ignored, but he had a reputation of not responding."

      Loved it. Voted up and away

      Happy New Year!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Merry Christmas, Suzie, and you are killing me on Trivia!

    • suziecat7 profile image

      suziecat7 4 years ago from Asheville, NC

      Ha - very clever indeed. I once had a writing assignment to write a short story in 200 words - not an easy task. You aced it, of course. Merry Christmas, Bill.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Peg!

    • PegCole17 profile image

      Peg Cole 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

      Awww. That is sweet. Loved the anticipation of the story and build up to the conclusion. Merry Christmas, Will and family.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you Genna,

      I tried to write this through the eyes of a child, and a little girl at that. I am flattered that you think I did OK.

    • Genna East profile image

      Genna East 4 years ago from Massachusetts, USA

      Ohhh, this is so sweet and tugs at the heart.

      “She felt a little sick to her stomach. Nerves, her mother would say. Her palms were sweaty, and her mouth was dry.”

      That is exactly how I felt when I was a little girl, waiting to see Santa. I will never forget it. “Will he know who I am…there are so many here.” Thank you for this gem of a story. :-)

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Fossillady!

      I'm happy to deceive!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Angela, and it pleases me to no end that you like it!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you Audrey! I look forward to it!

    • Fossillady profile image

      Kathi 4 years ago from Saugatuck Michigan

      Oh I was real surprised at the end. And a such a perfect ending! :O)

    • Angela Blair profile image

      Angela Blair 4 years ago from Central Texas

      This one is definitely a stroke of your creative genius and wonderful imagination, Will -- and proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that it isn't the length of any piece that makes it spectacular. What a great holiday treat! Best/Sis

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      Working on that as we speak - you're quite intuitive aren't you? Will keep you updated and very sweet of you to ask. Jeepers! :)

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, lovedoc!

    • profile image

      lovedoctor926 4 years ago

      I loved this flash fiction.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Sunshine!

    • Sunshine625 profile image

      Linda Bilyeu 4 years ago from Orlando, FL

      Merry Christmas WillStarr. Thank you for this beautiful holiday story.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      And did I tell you how much I love my dear Audrey?

      BTW, is there a website where we can hear you sing?

    • vocalcoach profile image

      Audrey Hunt 4 years ago from Nashville Tn.

      I love, love, love this short story Will. Did I tell you how much I love this Santa story? :) I rode on every word and didn't have a clue until she sat on Santa's lap. I'm sharing this one. Merry Christmas Will!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Amy.

      And let's not allow a vicious killer to control our happiness. If we do, he will have won.

    • Amy Becherer profile image

      Amy Becherer 4 years ago from St. Louis, MO

      Oh, Will, this Christmas story makes me happy and then sad when I think about the events of last week. Beautiful Christmas stories always do that to me, though. And, this is definitely beautiful. Thank you

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Nell, and thank you!

    • Nell Rose profile image

      Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

      What a great little story Will, wasn't sure if that was the way you were going with it, so you still got me on it! lol! and very nice to meet your son too!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, G-Ma!

    • G-Ma Johnson profile image

      Merle Ann Johnson 4 years ago from NW in the land of the Free

      Had me going...so many ways...Great and MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU DEAR WILL...:O) G-Ma Hugs

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Sheesh! I just misspelled my own son's name...it's Jeffrey!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Ladies and gentlemen, allow me to introduce my beloved younger son...Jeffery Henderson!

      Thank you, son!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      "YES VIRGINIA THERE IS A SANTA CLAUSE."

      Hey, Ginn! That's you!

      Merry Christmas!

    • profile image

      Jeffrey Henderson 4 years ago

      Great story, Dad!!!

    • Ginn Navarre profile image

      Ginn Navarre 4 years ago

      As always GREAT! As a very poor kid growing up out there in Tempe as many others, I never got to meet this stranger until I had children of my own and then I was a KID AGAIN.

      "YES VIRGINIA THERE IS A SANTA CLAUSE."

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Merry Christmas, Ronnie!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Chris, and thank you for sharing!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      I remember those days well, Don!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you qianlizhifeng!

      Welcome to HubPages!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you Larry!

      Excellent new Hub on the Connecticut story.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Mhatter99!

      Hope you are doing well.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Brenda!

      Merry Christmas!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Faith Reaper!

      It was fun to write!

    • resspenser profile image

      Ronnie Sowell 4 years ago from South Carolina

      Great one, Merry Christmas!

    • CMerritt profile image

      Chris Merritt 4 years ago from Pendleton, Indiana

      That was the best!

      I gotta share this one!

      Merry Christmas Will

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      Brings back memories of when we waited for Santa with wonder.

    • qianlizhifeng profile image

      Gao Xrong 4 years ago from Baishuiyang, Linhai, Zhejiang Province, PRC.

      A good story with good description of psychology and enviroment.

    • Larry Fields profile image

      Larry Fields 4 years ago from Northern California

      Well done, Will. Voted up and beautiful.

    • Mhatter99 profile image

      Martin Kloess 4 years ago from San Francisco

      Great! Thanks for the smile.

    • Hyphenbird profile image

      Brenda Barnes 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

      Oh! This is a lovely and amazing flash fiction story. I LOVE it and shall remember it always. May we all keep this hope in our hearts.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 4 years ago from southern USA

      How mysterious and then . . . you got me! Ha ha ha . . . So very clever of you. Loved this write and the photo is so very beautiful.

      Voted up +++ and sharing

      God bless. In His Love, Faith Reaper

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi dragupine, and welcome to Will Starr world.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Suunie, and thank you. I like your new avatar.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi FitnezzJim, and thank you!

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, HattieMattieMae !

      Yes, Santa is a good guy.

    • dragupine profile image

      dragupine 4 years ago

      that's adorable! I love it sooo much!

    • profile image

      Sunnie Day 4 years ago

      Ahhh...This was so precious! Thank you Will!

    • FitnezzJim profile image

      FitnezzJim 4 years ago from Fredericksburg, Virginia

      Will, I got a good laugh form this one. Was looking for it, but still didn't see it coming.

    • HattieMattieMae profile image

      HattieMattieMae 4 years ago from Limburg, Netherlands

      hmm...mystery man...glad he was a good guy! :)

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi Becky,

      It is my evil duty to lead my readers astray.

      I love it!

    • Becky Katz profile image

      Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

      Wonderful story Will. I am giggling at the ideas you put in people's heads. Just to dash them with the last line. Loved this.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Hi drbj!

      If you guess it right away, then the rest just proves you right!

      I'll try harder.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, James!

      I have a reputation for deviousness to uphold!

      ^_*

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 4 years ago from south Florida

      Great story as always, Will, but for the first time ever, I guessed the ending from the lines: ' .... she had not seen him in a year, and she was wondering if he would even remember her.' Enjoyed it nevertheless.

    • WillStarr profile image
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      WillStarr 4 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona

      Thank you, Mike!

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      James W. Nelson 4 years ago from eastern North Dakota

      Will, you wild man, you had me right up to the last sentence--I LOVED this story!

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      Old Poolman 4 years ago

      Great story, short, sweet, and to the point. I loved it.

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      Jennifer 4 years ago from Lost...In Video Games

      This was a short and sweet hub. I loved it! Well done!