Today’s piece is heavily inspired by my own Christmas experience. This time of year is rather magical at my house, decorated as it is to the nines with lights and garland. I love it! Not just because it’s beautiful to behold, but because I know the love that goes into its creation and its greater intent to fill our home with sentiments of peace and hope and warmth.
How do you decorate your house for the season? Do you go for elaborate elegance or stunning simplicity?
Let me know and enjoy Day 9’s Short!
The Town of Christmas
The Christmas tree was a masterpiece of red and gold furnishings. The decorations were varied from strewn garland to dazzling baubles and ornaments that adorned every branch. At its peak, a porcelain angel extended his wings, his hands raised in prayer. It was a supreme wonder. But it was not this sight that Wendy loved most. Her eyes were—and always would be—captivated by the village at the very base of the cedar.
Every Christmas for the past fifteen years, her mother had taken great pains to create a small town upon a hill of cardboard boxes and cotton snow. It was simple enough in its design. Ceramic houses and shops lined the slope, fragile figurines were scattered about it. Its beauty was not to be found merely in its appearance, but in the creative waves it exuded, prompting her imagination to dream.
She lay on her belly in front of it, her eyes roving each layer. At the very base, people skated about an ice rink, alone and in pairs, twirling and laughing, their eyes aglow with delight. Beside them stood a great forest of snow-covered birch and coniferous trees steeped in mystery. People rarely dared to venture into it, though they were curious to know what waited beyond it.
Above that, a row of shops tempted pedestrians looking for last minute shopping opportunities. The light breaking through the windows promised warmth and security. They were an eclectic gathering, providing everything from groceries to books, from jewellery to tools. A café at the very center beckoned the wanderers with an alluring array of sweet treats and hot beverages.
On the next level stood a Church, its steeple rising up high, to call to those from afar. The parish priest waited outside it, greeting those passing by, reminding them to share the light of Christ during this Christmas season. Horse-drawn carriages clopped past, some already laden with passages, some still waiting to be useful.
The last row of buildings boasted the most ornate of the lot. These residential estates were unmatched as they two stories high with great chimneys. Inside, hearths burnt, lending warmth to the families that inhabited these homes, seeking comfort after facing the blustery winter chill of the day.
This small Town of Christmas was alive with people of all ages and genders, all colours and shapes. Wendy loved it all.
Of course, there were her favourites. Like the Toy Shop where children peered into the windows, hopeful that Christmas morn would bestow upon them some of its greatest treasures. Then there was the Hamilton estate, home to Hallie and Hayden Hamilton, twelve-year old twins—her own age—who were always looking for the next adventure.
Then there was her favourite town inhabitant: Karen, an eighteen year old girl with her head in a book. She was the beautiful of them all, with her darker complexion and short black hair tucked under a red and green tammy. Even her coat was gorgeous, an emerald green with a snowflake pattern and lined with a greyish-white faux-fur. It cascaded past her knees, with the impression of being windswept.
At that moment, Karen was headed for the woods next to the rink. She was the only one brave enough to enter them, though she always stayed at its edge. Even she knew that curiosity was not a friend to felines; the same applied to humans.
Lost in her little world, Wendy barely registered the sound of her home phone ringing or of her mother answering it with a curt hello. She could not feign deafness, though, at the echo of her mother’s raised voice, shrill and enraged.
“Don’t you dare! Not this year. Not again.”
Wendy shot up and stared towards her kitchen. She held her breath, too frightened to move.
“I swear, Barry, if you… Of course, I’m threatening you!”
Wendy closed her eyes, wishing to be miles away, wishing to be gone from her home. She hated when her parents argued, and they had argued more than ever before this past year, ever since her dad had become friends with his secretary at work. She had never really understood why her mom didn’t like her dad having friends. She was always telling her that she needed to make more of her own. But she understood that it made her mom sad and she wished her dad would just listen.
“You promised that you wouldn’t. And I gave you this chance… Trust you? It’s five days before Christmas! What if there’s a snowstorm? You don’t control the weather. You might be stuck there. With her.”
It was getting worse. Her mom’s voice was piercing, sharp with distress, sharp with hatred. Wendy pressed her hands firmly against her ears, wishing she could disappear, wishing everything could just fall silent.
A chill settled in her heart and crept through her body. It coursed to the tips of her fingers and up her spine.
She shivered as the temperature around her plummeted, ensnaring her in an icy clutch. It took her a moment to realize that a gust of wind was blasting around her, that her knees were no longer planted into the hard wood ground, but a cold and wet substance. Snow.
Wendy’s eyes flew open. She no longer stood in her den, but in a wooded area.
Seated on a stump in front of her, was a girl in an emerald green coat. A book hung limp in her hand, concern bright in her eyes.
“You must be cold?”
The girl leapt up and hurried over to Wendy’s side. She took off her coat. Beneath it, she wore only a plain, pale green dress. She revealed no distress in the cold.
Heat ensconced Wendy as the coat fell over her shoulders, sheltering her form the battering winds.
“Thank you,” she whispered. Her eyes were wide in wonder. She did not know how she had gotten there, or why, but there was no denying where she was. The identity of the generous girl was just as certain. “Thank you, Karen.”
Amazement dazzled the girl’s features. “Do I know you?”
Wendy shook her head, a smile claiming her features. No, there was no explanation for how she had been transported to the Town of Christmas. But that didn’t matter. She had escaped the hostilities of her home. She had found refuge. And she was ready to stay.
“But you will.”
….for now 😉
May inspiration flow like ink upon your quill,
© 2015. Faith Rivens.