Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Christmas Eve Anniversary, Part 8

Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7

Christmas Day


He awoke with a start, Bree shaking his shoulder. He’d fallen asleep in the chair near the fire, which burned very low. Bree was excitedly pointing at the Christmas tree in the corner.

“Merry Christmas, Fin! Look! We have gifts!”

“Wha… where’s Maryam?” Fin asked, still trying to shake the sleep from his head.

“She left us a note that said that she’d gotten news of a big storm heading this way, and she’s gone to take care of some other things and that we should try to get out of here as soon as possible after breakfast, else we’ll be snowed in for at least a week. I’ve left your clothes on the bed. Hurry and change! I want to see what’s in the presents!”

Fin hurried upstairs, changed, and brought their luggage down with him. Bree was sitting at the table, eating a warm breakfast of eggs sunny side up, bacon, wheat toast, strawberry jam, and coffee. Fin wondered how it stayed warm, then recalled the conversation with Maryam of the night before. He accepted that the breakfast simply was warm, and began eating as well.

“C’mon! C’mon! I wanna open the gifts!” Bree was just like a kid when it came to Christmas.

“OK, good grief, Bree. I’ll eat. You open yours.”

Bree clapped, jumped up, grabbed both gifts, looked at the tags, and slid one over to Fin. She ripped the wrapping paper off of the other one and opened the box underneath.

“Oohh… wow…” Bree said, her breath catching in her throat. She pulled an ornament from the box, in the shape of a miniature open sleigh. Two horses were attached to the front, and three people were on the driver’s bench. They looked remarkably like Maryam, Bree, and Fin. The sleigh contained three large bags. Shaking the ornament gently caused a faint jingling sound, like a hundred tiny bells were inside the ornament.

Bree admired it for a few more moments, her face split with an ear-to-ear grin, tears of happiness collecting at the corners of her eyes. She dabbed at them quickly, sniffed and little, and laughed. “I’m not sure what I expected, but it wasn’t this.” She seemed to have forgotten about Finley’s present, which he was glad of. It gave him time to get a few more mouthfuls of food down before she remembered.

“OK, your turn. What’d you get?”

Finley took the paper off of his box more delicately and deliberately than Bree. Bree laughed at him, knowing he was partly teasing her, but also partly unwilling to shred the wrapping that someone had put so much work into. A couple of minutes later, he opened the box and looked inside. It appeared to be a snow globe of some kind. He took it out. It was a view of a cottage against a forest. You could just make out someone sitting in a rocker on the front porch. He shook it a little, causing the snow to swirl, and the scene changed to the old crone, who looked a little straighter and far friendlier than she had the day before. Another shake, and the snow was like the mist on the river, revealing a steamboat with a captain in red in the bow. The next shake caused the scene to change to the giant’s house set against the foothill, with the giant himself standing out front, his face set in what must’ve been a large and loud laugh. The next shake shifted to the small version of the cottage with three boys standing arm in arm in arm, beaming looks on their faces. A final shake returned it to the original scene.

Holding the globe, Fin felt something on the bottom, an etching of some kind. Turning it over, he saw the following engraved letters.


Fin smiled through his own set of tears, finally understanding. And he knew that he would remember the story, and pass it on to all that were ready and willing to listen.


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