This was written for a challenge on Terrible Minds - we were given the title and a day to write 1000 words or less. Enjoy.
It was the quiet that woke him up. He could hear the faint murmur of traffic, the occasional screech of steel wheels on rails, but the familiar and constant rumble was missing. Strange for a Thursday morning, he thought, then remembered it was Christmas. He hated Christmas. Weeks of even more confusion and crowding and shoving, faceless people rushing about, loaded down with parcels, busy trying to out buy each other. Today, Christmas Day, most of the stops on his tight little route would be closed, so he'd have to spend longer up there foraging. His few friends would be at the missions and churches for the free dinners, but he avoided those places, with their sermons and lectures. Many of the workers looked at him askance, too, at his bushy white beard, rosy cheeks, and big belly, and asked why he was there, taking a meal from someone who needed it. It wasn't his fault, as long as he could remember he had looked like this. He did sometimes remember Christmases in the distant past, of himself being busier at them, of kids and toys and laughter, but now he seemed to be pulling in on himself more and more.