Scroogeden lay on the bed, determined not to succumb to the incredible fatigue which washed over him. If he stayed awake, he knew he was safe from further visitations.
But he was tired, so tired, and soon his eyes closed, and he began to emit little grunting snores, while a thin spume of dribble trickled from one corner of his mouth.
The ghost, when she came to him, as he had known she would, seemed somewhat less ethereal this night. She wore strange, warlike clothing from another age, and her face was painted blue. She guided him to a chariot which waited at the end of the bed, two of his wife's horses in the harness.
"Tonight Paul, I am the ghost of Christmas yet to come" said the ghost in a chilling voice.
The bedroom faded from his consciousness, and was replaced instead by a magnificent hillside subdivision, elegant, stately houses atop beautiful lawns. A road sign, golden and elegant, informed him this was the village of Waldonia.
Young families played happily in swimming pools, as fathers drove home in their Audis and mothers discussed their latest fashionable clothes whilst sipping cups of Lapsang Souchong.
In the valley below pristine streams sparkled in the sunlight, and a magnificent 14 laneexpressway soared above them.
The ghost guided the chariot onto the expressway, Tavares St, it was called, and as they dodged between the many cars and trucks which clogged the lanes in both directions, Scroogeden saw he was on an island, the expressway morphing into a bridge, longer than any he had ever seen before, crossing a vast expanse of water to a much bigger land mass. Were those soldiers guarding the toll booths? With guns?
The ghost yanked on the reins, turning the chariot down an off ramp, onto a smaller, very busy road.
Paul noticed a gleaming new church at the side of the road: The Church of Divine Ecstasy, Rev Daniel P Ballard, the sign said.
The chariot negotiated a corner in the road and came to a halt. They were at a small port, it seemed. Ferries butted in and out of the channel, bumping and crashing in to each other as they competed for wharf space and the seemingly never ending queue of customers which snaked back up the road, almost as far as a magnificent hotel. Scroogeden saw it was the Matiatia Hilton.
Shots rang out, then a large booming explosion, and the yellow ferry began to sink, allowing another to make it's berth. Immediately passengers swarmed towards it.
Matiatia? Then this must be Waiheke? And that must be the new Marina, superyachts jostling for space as their owners dined at the many cafe's along the waterfront, or shopped in some of the boutiques.
A towering bronze statue caught his attention, the plaque proclaiming that this was Sir Ronald Scroogeden, the first President of Waiheke and Chairman of the Gulf Development Corporation.
Beside the statue, a small group of protestors waved placards, decrying the Marina. Their leader, a fat, unkempt man who was losing his hair, seemed strangely familiar.
Then a police van screeched to a halt beside them; a squad of cops surrounded them, pointing guns and shouting loudly. One by one they were tasered into submission, bundled into the van and driven away.
"Apologies folks", said the police sergeant, an enormous woman with pink hair and a pronounced Australian accent. "Nothing to see here, move along please"
Paul turned to the ghost: "What is this? What's happening? This isn't the Waiheke I wanted"
"No Paul", she replied, with a touch of sadness. "This isn't what anyone wanted, well, except one person" She turned and looked meaningfully at the statue.
"This is the future, though. Surely we can change it, if we act now"
"We"? the ghost raised a quizzical eyebrow. "I am afraid there can be no 'we', Paul. This is your nightmare"
"But I need help to stop this. You said nothing could not be undone", he begged. "You could help me. You know how to do it properly. Please, please" he beseeched her.
The ghost paused for moment, deep in thought.
"Let me get this straight. You want me to help you, to work with you so that the future of this place is safe"?
"Oh go on then", said the ghost.
Because after all, it was Christmas.