A Sabres Carol: Redemption



If you haven't read part 1 yet, Here it is -->  Part 1

POP! A cork flew across the bridge of Murray’s nose, and his eyes flew open. To his left, the fire cast dancing shadows onto his curtains. The smell of fantastic foods filled the room, and he swore he could hear music. If he listened hard, ‘Let Me Clear My Throat,’ thumped through the floorboards. A jolly, bearded man sat upon a velvet chair, smiling broadly. He plucked a grape from the bunch next to him, tossed it into the air, and caught it in his mouth. He bit hard, and juice misted the air. “Ryan? Is that you?”

O’Reilly smiled. “It is. How are you, Tim? You look unwell. Unhappy. Why are you unhappy?”

“I...but...what? Unhappy?,” Murray straightened up in his bed. “This is just...how I look.” This made O’Reilly laugh heartily. “True enough,” he said, slapping his knee. “Do you know why I’m here?” Murray tried to answer, but words escaped him. “I’m here to do exactly what you brought me in for, Tim. This was your design. This was your plan. I’m here to score. I’m here to lead. I’m here to teach these kids how to play as a team - to teach them hard work and loyalty. I’m here for you, Tim. You can rest easy, my friend. I’m here for you.” With the snap, it was all gone. The room was empty, but the last words echoed about the room...the only thing that made these events real at all.

After either seconds, or what seemed like an eternity, the room filled with a strange glow. The third apparition that Nolan predicted had arrived, and was taking its time entering the room. As the tension built, the vision became more clear. First a cherubim face. Then tangled locks of curly red hair. Finally, the body of a young man came into full sight. Murray adjusted his glasses, and waited for the spirit to speak, but the vision just frantically chomped on his mouthguard. The fire popped and Murray jumped, but still, the spirit said nothing. “Spirit? Will you not speak?” The figure shook his head, his hair bobbing back and forth. “But, why? What message have you if you will not say it?” Suddenly, a stick appeared, and the figure mounted the stick. He motioned for Murray to join him. As Tim climbed on, the stick took off, like a broomstick beneath a witch in a child’s cartoon. They flew out the window and the Cheerio-rich air warmed Murray’s lungs, despite the freezing temperatures. They soared above the city, and below, a celebration of epic magnitude was taking place. The streets were blue and gold, everyone was happy, shaking hands, waving pom-poms, hugging and such. They had gathered by the arena, and were chanting something that Murray could not understand. The two returned to Tim’s quarters and Murray dismounted the stick. He turned. “Still, spirit, I do not understand. Do they cheer for me? What have I done?” The young figure pointed his stick at Murray’s nightstand. Upon it sat Lord Stanley’s Cup, shining brightly in the night. Murray slid across his bed like a Duke boy across the hood of the General Lee. He gasped as he peered at the cup, and saw his name etched into the silvery trophy. “Is it true? Tell me, spirit. Is it true?”

The figure finally spoke. “IT IS TRUE, TIM MURRAY! THE MOST BELOVED MAN IN BUFFALOOOOOOOO!” The spirit reared back his head and let loose a screeching giggle. Murray could not believe his eyes. He took the Cup, embracing it. He and his precious climbed into bed. Murray slept peacefully for the rest of the night.

The clock struck seven, and his alarm sounded. He looked at the empty spot next to him in the bed, but was saddened to find the Cup was not there. Suddenly, he remembered it - all of it! The past, the present, the future - it was all so precious! All building toward joy for an entire city. He threw open the window and found a young boy passing by. “Young boy, young boy - what day is it?”

“Why, it’s Christmas, Mr. Murray,” Ennis answered.

“Christmas? CHRISTMAS! FANTASTIC,” Murray shouted, “Now, go to the corner and get me the finest mascot you can find - a blue and gold cat, perhaps. Come back in 10 minutes, and I’ll give you second line minutes. Return in five, and it’s up to the first line with you!”

Ennis ran off to find Sabretooth, barely able to contain his happiness. Murray jumped into his pants, threw on a shirt and tie, and headed to the streets. He had a high-five for each passer-by, a handshake for the gentlemen, a wink for the women. The citizens were afraid at first - this was not the Tim Murray they were used to. He called a press conference for that very day. “First of all, I’d like to say thanks, to the city of Buffalo for their support.” The media gasped, unsure of what they were hearing. Murray smiled. “I mean it. Thank you. I will deliver on my promise. I will bring a championship to this city.” He turned away from the microphone, hesitated, and then turned back. “MERRY CHRISTMAS, EVERY ONE OF US!”

Erik Wollschlager