It’s Christmas Eve! This is the final instalment of the Fantasy week and I have had so much fun writing it! The usual schedule of posts will no longer take place for the rest of the year, instead there will be a few posts that I have set up so this blog can still run. All things will return to normal on Saturday 2nd January with Supplementary Saturday!
I hope everyone is all set for Christmas; presents wrapped, food and drink ready to be consumed and the spirit of Christmas all around. Christmas Eve for me is walking around the beautiful town of Sandwich, wrapping up warm and enjoying a hot drink. This will follow up with baking, getting wrapped up and watching A Muppets Christmas Carol and anticipating Christmas Day with our families. (I may even sneak in a few Gin and Tonics or Ports).
I would like to say a huge thank you for all the readers of the blog this year and I wish you all a ver Merry Christmas and an absolute wonderful new year! You are all amazing! I couldn’t do this without you and your support is wonderful.
Jess turned the red bauble over in her hand, her mind elsewhere.
It was Christmas Eve and the tree was bare. All ornaments were in cardboard boxes, presents wrapped but hidden underneath the bed and in the cupboard, the life of Christmas not yet felt in the household.
Sten stood in the doorway, arms folded and casted an eye over the girl that was no longer a child. She had grown up fast over the year since her parents death, and now at sixteen, all magic of Christmas had been drained from her.
“Why do we bother with this?” Jess said, holding the bauble up, not taking her eyes from the ornament.
Sten walked over to the girl he had taken in at her time of need, placed a hand on her shoulder and knelt down. At seventy five, his energy was lacking, his body not as stable or worked as it once had, but the love of the festive time was still strong.
“It’s a magical time. Snow falls. wishes are made and dreams come true.”
Jess placed the bauble back into the box, closed it and sighed. “I’m sorry, I am not in the mood. It doesn’t mean much anymore to me. I’m sorry Sten, I know you love it, but I just can’t.”
Jess jumped to her feet, placed a kiss on Sten’s cheek and went to walk out. Sten was unsure how to pacify the girl. He could use his talents, the art of manipulation, but the thought made him nauseated. Sten could never do such a thing to a person he cared for. A moment later, a thought occurred to him.
Jess stopped at the door and turned with a forlorn stare. “Sten?”
“Grab your coat, scarf and gloves. I wan’t to show you something.”
Sten and Jess wrapped up appropriate for the bitter winds of the Kingdom, the snow falling hard and the two battling the depth of the snow with each step. Sten led her to a small wooden gate that held back any potential visitors to a disregarded forest.
Jess raised an eyebrow, already defeated. “This it?”
Undeterred Sten smiled and shook his head. “This is just the beginning, Jess. To see it at full effect, you must hold my hand as we cross over.”
Jess rubbed her arms to battle the cold and from her countenance she was disappointed. Sten was not cruel to her, he knew she saw the same thing as he did. A battered old gate, wearing thin and being held up by two broken wooden supports either side and a stretch of fence separating the land area from the forest that had been worn down by the harsh winter.
“Sure, why not?” Jess said with reluctance and took Sten’s hand.
Sten smiled but knew it was only an act of Jess’s part. In a few moments, Sten hoped that would change. He flicked the lock, swung the gate open, stepped in hand in hand with Jess and pulled the entrance shut. For the first time in over a year, her eyes widened and a smile of wonder spread over her face.
The grey sky turned to a dark blue night, stars twinkled high and far. The forest dissipated to a village of thatched houses, sweet shops and taverns, all decorated with Christmas lights and ornaments. Pine trees stood tall, dusted with snow; an enormous Christmas tree lit up the village in the distance, lights bright and wonderful. A stream with a thin layer of ice ran through it, a wooden bridge with fairy lights allowing access from one side to another. Men, women and children wrapped in warm clothing strode or skipped down the street, smiles wide and jovial spirit infectious. Families skated on an ice rink, stars shooting above and exploding into a fountain of colours.
Jess turned to Sten and gasped. He had felt it happen. His skin stretched a little, his face puffed out and grew facial hair, his long hair thinned and his clothes changed. A tall reindeer rode up next to Sten and nudged him with his head. He patted the head and took hold of the reins.
“Santa?” Jess choked.
Sten chortled. “Do I have a story to tell, but first, welcome to Christmas.”
They headed for the village, snow falling and the spirit of Christmas high.