To my amazement seventeen bloggers jumped on board and the Progressive Story Project was born.
I was not in the least bit amazed when the story was extraordinary. It was magical. The authors enjoyed writing it and the response from readers was overwhelming. They were asking for more.
The decision was made that we would maintain the integrity of A Holiday Story. So this summer 18 of us, some original authors and some new to the project, wrote another story, a darker one called Storm Past. This too was a challenge and this too was a success.
Here we are back in December and, as promised, we're continuing A Holiday Story. Once again there are some original authors and some new friends added to the mix. And once again, a wonderful collaboration of styles and voices.
Before you read on, be sure you're up to date:
A Holiday Story
A Holiday Story: Part Deux
A Holiday Story: The Finale
A Holiday Story: Set In Motion
Meg of Just A Little Nutty
"Girl! Get up! Can't you hear your alarm? It was so loud, I could hear it playing on the other side of the house. Get up!" Her mother was standing over her. "You have that interview in twenty five minutes and afterward I was hoping that the three of us could get some fancy hot cocoa. I've got a little story that I think it's time for you both to hear. But first you really need to get that bed head under control and get your buns to the computer. Back in my time we sat down across a table for an interview. Now you can Skype wherever you are."
Her mother bent over to pick up a pair of leggings and socks that were poking out from under the bed. She went into the adjoining bathroom and turned the sink on so the water would warm up and tossed the clothes into the white wicker hamper.
Bethryn stretched, yawned, and cursed taking a sleep aid with so little time to actually sleep and tried to shake her head clear from the vivid dream she had just been having.
"Actually Mom, I have something I wanted talk to you two about but," Bethryn said and glanced at the clock. "Oh my gosh! I've got to get going! I'm going to be late!"
"I'll grab you some coffee," her mother called to her daughter from within her closet. "I'll just set out a couple of blouses on the bed. Just a suggestion to make the morning easier."
Beth rolled her eyes as she twisted her hair up into a pony tail and splashed her face with warm water.
She could hear her mother humming gently to the music from her alarm clock and she was grateful to have someone who loved her so much, that she was currently pawing through her jewelry box for a pair of earrings that would finish off the outfit she put together for her daughter.
"Damon and I are going to make a snowman while you are chatting, so I'll just leave your coffee next to your computer. Good luck!" her mother called from down the hall, and she could hear the soft metallic click of the front door.
"I am ready for anything!" she confidently told herself in the mirror, and then made a funny faxe at herself.
A familiar chime came from the other room.
Her computer was receiving the video call that she had been expecting.
She sat down and took a deep breath before pressing the button to accept the call.
The time for greatness was upon her.
Rena of Rena's World
She sat down in the old worn chair, picked up the mouse and with a deep breath she clicked on the "answer" icon. She immediately saw herself in the small box in the corner of the screen and thought "oh, I look horrible this morning." Her eyes moved slowly up the screen whereupon she took another deep breath and started choking. Those eyes, the same amber eyes she had seen in her dream. She picked up the coffee to stop herself from choking and took a big gulp. It was probably unprofessional, but so was choking to death on her very first interview. She pulled herself together as she sat up straighter and looked him in the eyes. Eyes that were so beautiful and familiar and then spotted the twinkle in his. "He knows," she thought, "he knows of my dream".
"Hello, Ms. Myers, how are you doing this morning?" he asked smiling back on her screen, looking way more handsome than a man should this early in the morning. "I know you have a lot of questions, but I just want to say if you have an open mind and an open heart then this is the joy for you. I'm sure Kamryn told you that you would have to move, is that an option?"
"Yes, it is an option, but first what kind of business do you run?" she asked, trying to stay on some sort of professional playing field.
"Im in baked goods. I need an overseer. A manager of sorts so I have more time for my baking. You would have to move quite a ways from where you live now, but we would provide free housing and transportation for as long as you worked for us. How about we set up a live interview and I'll fly you here to look around. You may bring your son and mother with you if it would make you more comfortable."
"Yes, yes Sir that would be perfect," she said not believe that it was really happening.
"Great, can you leave tomorrow?"
"Sure," she answered.
"I'll have a car pick you up at noon tomorrow and bring you to the airport. You'll have to stay over but I'll make all of the arrangements and email you an itinerary."
"Thank you, thank you very much. I'll see you tomorrow then," she said as she signed off of the video call. She sat in her chair staring at the blackened screen and knew without a doubt that her life was going to change forever . . .
Sarah of Not That Sarah Michelle
"Then he asked me if I'd like to have a live interview with him and he offered to fly both you and Damon out as well. He just didn't tell me where we were actually going . . ." Beth said, trailing off into the thoughts that have plagued her since the interview. Since the dream.
"That is a little off, don't you think?" her mother asked, voicing the thoughts Beth had in her head. Just then the email chimed on Beth's phone, alerting her to a new message. Opening her email app, she saw that it was from Leon Atnas. The email said that the car would arrive to pick her family up at noon tomorrow to take them to the airport. There, they would board a chartered jet that would fly them to their destination, where Mr. Atnas would meet them.
Still, no clue as to where they were going. The mystery of this both intrigued and worried her, causing an anxiety she wasn't used to. The only hint was that they needed to bring warm clothing with them. It wasn't much of a hint because it was winter, but at least she knew it wasn't somewhere tropical.
As she lay in bed later that evening she tossed and turned, thoughts about this trip keeping her awake. The uncertainty of where they were going was bothering her. Normally she is up for an adventure, but her heart has been weighing so heavily recently, she didn't think she could handle this. Try as she might, she just couldn't shake this feeling . . . it wasn't a BAD feeling, it was just . . . a feeling.
Finally drifting off to sleep, Beth found herself, once again, in the sleigh with Mr. Atnas. The familiarity in his eyes brought her peace and sadness. She missed her husband so much and, with Mr.Atnas' strong resemblance, it made that ache for him that much stronger. Tears soaked her pillow as, in her dream, she told Mr. Atnas about the love of her life and the loss in her heart.
Dawn of Spatulas on Parade
In the dream he was attentive, his eyes never left hers, it was comforting and upsetting at the same time. She poured out her soul to him, her fears, her dreams, her shattered life. He understood, really understood.
Those eyes, she could not tear her gaze from them.
Wait, what? What was he saying?
"Wake up Mom! MOM! WAKE UP" Damon was standing over her shouting. She rubbed her eyes, struggled to sit up and looked around. Where was she? Oh yes, the luxury hotel that Mr. Atnas had provided.
"You were dreaming and calling out for Dad, are you okay?" Damon asked while her mother stood in the doorway looking like she would cry.
Dressed, ready and waiting downstairs in the lobby for Mr. Atnas' driver. It was beautiful, like a storybook. Snow, glittering lights, evergreen trees with twinkling lights, and everyone was so happy. Just then the driver pulled up in a bright red Escalade trimmed in gold. She could have sworn she heard bells, must be the atmosphere. The back door opened as she stepped up to the curb. She looked inside . . . wait . . . what? . . . it couldn't be . . .
~~~ Keep reading. The next chapter of this story written by another group of bloggers: A Holiday Story: Impossible Possibilities ~~~