Welcome to day 3 of the Advent Event! Please share this event with your friends. The more anthologies we can sell, the more money we can raise for the National Down Syndrome Society.
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Here’s a look at the next two stories:
“The Mistletoe” by Janet Olsen
Charlie stood outside the shop, watching through the window as children waited to see Santa, the younger ones clinging to their mothers. Charlie couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for Santa. So many children feared him.
“Hey man, what ya doing out here?” Tony joined Charlie on the sidewalk.
“Do you think I’m too old to see Santa?”
Tony chuckled. “You’re looking at him through the glass right now.”
“You know what I mean.”
“A twenty-five-year-old man would look kinda funny sitting on Santa’s lap.” Tony turned to his friend. Charlie stared through the window but he wasn’t looking at what was inside. “You’re not still moping about Bernice, are ya?”
“No—like you said, we were all wrong for each other. I hate that she dumped me right before Christmas but It’s fine.” Charlie shifted in the cold pulling his coat tighter. “I just wish…”
Charlie shook his head and pulled out the package he was delivering to Tony. Tony thanked him and shoved the box into his pocket before they stepped into the warmth of the shop.
“Come on—I’m not Santa, but I can listen to your Christmas wish.”
“Chop your wood, sir? Please, sir? Carry your bundle, miss?”
The bleak midwinter day was coming to a close, and the chance of filling my belly was close to naught. The few townspeople still on the street rushed by my corner, arms full, muffled faces down.
“Fetch your water, ma’am?”
“Bit late for that, ain’t it?” The crone looked up to cackle at me. “The well’s frozen over. You’d best get on home, lad,” she called, but I was already headed across the square.
I slipped two or three times on the morning’s snow, packed down over the snow from yesterday and from the day before. The well was an inky pit, but surely the ink was still liquid. I let down the heavy bucket.
I thought the bucket must have hit the stony side of the shaft, so I pulled on the rope, jiggled it a bit. Again, I heard the sound of oak on stone, and I knew the old woman had told me the truth. A parched feeling spread across my throat, competing with the hollowness of my belly.
The wind whipped past, snatching at the shawl around my shoulders. I grabbed it back. That shawl was all I had left of my mum, near all that was keeping me alive in this world. I looked up to see the wind chasing the last tattered clouds away. Stars were coming out like so many shards of ice. I shuddered, and picked my way toward the alley.
And here a look of one of the prizes:
A signed copy of my first novel. The prequel just came out on Amazon, called “The Canticle Prelude”.