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Sunday, December 23, 2012

Christmas Story - Part 13

Welcome. Each episode of the Christmas Story has been written by a different author adding to what has been written previously. Part Thirteen is brought to us byJenny Twist

Heather emerged from the tunnel, still shaken by the confrontation with her father, but also feeling oddly elated. She had burned her boats now. There was no going back. 
“Maddy,” he said, squatting down before her, so that his face was level with hers, “this is what you need to know. Your other grandfather is of the dark. He is the Dark Lord, the Spirit of Winter and without us, without Christmas, winter would hold the land in its grip all year round.  The balance between light and dark has been lost and only you can restore it, but it is much easier than you think. Light will always banish darkness. All you have to do is be all light. You have to think of all the wonderful things that have happened to you. All the happy times. All the love in the world. Gather it up and hold it in your heart, then when you meet your other grandfather, he will be dazzled by you. Now, think, child. Tell me of the things that give you joy.”
“Oh, I think it will work now,” he said. “Just look at you, child.”
Maddy looked down at herself. She was surrounded by a golden glow. Light was streaming out of her and lighting the faces of her Dad and Santa. This is what they mean, she thought, when they say your face lights up with joy.

Ever since Sean disappeared she had been oppressed by a dreadful fear that she dare not even allow herself to examine. Now she was liberated. Whatever else had happened to Sean and Maddy, at least they had not been captured, or worse, by her father. They were in the world somewhere and she meant to call them home. 
Her lips set in a tight line, she began her preparations. First she switched on every light in the house. Then she collected every candle, lantern, oil lamp and torch she could find, going through all the rooms, looking on all the shelves and searching through all the drawers. She would light a light that her family could not ignore. The warmth and happiness would shine forth from her house and find them, wherever they were.  
Now she built up the fire to a fierce blaze and began to arrange the candles and lamps all around her on the floor and shelves and tables.


Santa Claus looked down at his granddaughter. She seemed very small and frail - far too young to take on such a task.
Maddy looked back at Santa Claus and thought how joyful she would have been to discover he was her grandfather if it hadn’t been for all the dreadful things he had said. She tried to do what he wanted, but she couldn’t think of nice things because she was so afraid for her Mom and so terrified of the Dark Lord that she felt trapped and numb. 
“Look!” Sean was pointing at the map. “Look at the house!”
The house was lit up like a Christmas tree, better than a Christmas tree. Light was shining out from it in a great golden stream.
“It’s Heather,” Santa Claus said. “She is calling us. She has chosen.”
Maddy looked at the house and the tight lump in her chest loosened. Her Mom was there, calling for her, calling her home. And all the happy memories came crowding in, filling her with delight. She turned and smiled at Sean.
“She’s OK, Dad. Mom wants us. She’s calling. Let’s go.”
Santa struggled to his feet. “I’ll take you in the sleigh,” he said.
Maddy looked at him, round-eyed. “I thought the sleigh wasn’t working,”
“OK, Granddad,” she said. “Let’s go!”

The sleigh was parked outside and she could see it was different, brighter somehow.  The reindeer tossed their heads and stamped their hooves, eager to go.  Maddy clapped her hands. “Hurrah!” she cried, and both Sean and Santa Claus burst out laughing. The sleigh glowed brighter than before. 
“Here we go!” Santa grabbed the reins and there was a sharp ching! as he gave them a shake. Smoothly and majestically, the sleigh rose into the air and Maddy gasped with delight as she saw the land spread out beneath.  As they passed over the houses, the lights came on, leaving a jewelled wake behind the sleigh. 
“Coming, Mom,” Maddy shouted, her cheeks rosy in the frosty air.


Heather lit the last candle and turned around to see the effect of all the lights. Then she closed her eyes and sent an urgent message into the night. Come home!  she called. Come home, Sean. Come home, Maddy!

Suddenly there was a fearsome crack and all the lights went out, leaving only the guttering candles and the glow of the fire. There, in the doorway to the tunnel, stood the dark figure of her father!

1 comment:

Jenny Twist said...

Thank you, Sue, for all your hard work setting this up. I hope the other authors have enjoyed it half as much as I have. Looking forward to tomorrow and the final episode.