Tuesday, December 22, 2015

A Holiday Story: I Believe

A year ago, almost to the day, I published a post called A Holiday Story: The Finale which started with these words:
"If all good things must come to an end, then I guess this day was inevitable. Today I'm presenting the third and final installment of a project I've gotten very attached to. It's a collaborative holiday story. I started then story, then some very talented writers each gifted me with a continuing segment. The idea was that we'd all impact the story but no one would control it. As sad as I am to see this effort end, I'm honored to have had so many bloggers come together to make this idea a reality and I'm immensely proud of what we've accomplished together."

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I didn't know it at the time, but that post was not the end, not even close. Writers, both from that group and new friends, as well as readers, expressed a desire to bring the project back. And to bring the story back. This December we did just that. It was far more labor intensive because in order to continue the story, we all had to go back and familiarize ourselves again with the story from the start. Once again, a very talented group of writers proved up to the task. Today I'm honored to present the 7th and final chapter of A Holiday Story.

Catch up before reading on. The first six chapters:

A Holiday Story 
A Holiday Story: Part Deux 
A Holiday Story: The Finale
A Holiday Story: Set In Motion
A Holiday Story: First Steps
A Holiday Story: Impossible Possibilities

A Holiday Story, A Progressive Story Project: One cohesive piece of fiction written by multiple bloggers, each contributing their voice to the story | brought to you by www.BakingInATornado.com | #MyGraphics #fiction #blogging

Melissa of Home on Deranged

Virginia had longed to tell the story to Bethryn for years, partly because it was a story that screamed to be told and partly because it was all about her history, and Virginia loved to tell it. "When I was 5 years old, I couldn't wait for Christmas Eve," she began. "Not because I was ready for Santa Claus, but because we always ate extra helpings of bread pudding on the holidays. I didn't believe in Santa: I was far too sophisticated a young lady for that." Santana chuckled at this, mostly because he knew it was true. "After bedtime, the house was quiet, and I was sleeping peacefully. Until I heard this strange noise on the roof, as though someone was creeping about. All I could think was burglars were about to break in and take all my wonderful presents. And all the pudding!"

 Bethryn laughed, because she knew her mother loved desserts, while Damon giggled, imagining his grandmother standing guard over the family Christmas tree. "I went downstairs and noticed snowy boot prints on the rug," Virginia continued. "And then I heard a rustle in the kitchen, and I got there just in time to see the back of someone leaving out the porch door." Grabbing her galoshes, Virginia went out in the snow and saw a sleigh, with what appeared to be a man and his young son, only a year or two older than Virginia, she recalled.  "He told me not to be afraid, and the son handed me a candy cane," she said, her eyes starting to glisten, "and then the boy told me his name was Santana, and he would return for me very soon, as long as I believed." Beth and Damon turned to look at the jolly old man sitting with them, as Saint Nicholas laughed heartily and said, "Even that sophisticated little girl became a believer that night. Now what about you, Bethryn? And you, Damon?"
 Jenniy of Climaxed

Bethryn's mind was a chaotic swirl of new information that somehow still had a strange familiarity to it, as if she had known all this forever and was just now unlocking the bright red and green box it had been stored in all this time. Her recent dreams clung to everything she had thought she knew like a mist clouding everything she thought she knew, and she realized she had no answer to that question. At least not yet.

Damon yelling "Mommy, Mommy!!" pulled her out of her own head long enough to realize he had already answered for himself. The loving looks shared between the people in the car with her were enough to tell her that without her even hearing the answer. The same twinkle she had seen in Mr. Atnas's eyes was now recongnizable in Damon's With a frustrated sigh he finally said, "Mom! Tell them you believe. You do, don't you?".

She was a mother torn in that moment. A part of her cried out to make her son happy at all costs, to agree just to hear that characteristic squeal of his when he was delighted with something. But a bigger part of her was beyond confused. She had no idea what any of this really meant. Did she believe in what? What exactly was going on here? Every fiber of her being was rapid firing questions through her brain, her body at war with itself to try to explain something that might be unexplainable. Could she believe in magic? Would the rest of her life hinge on whether or not she answered "yes"? Questions about her future, Damon's future, their lives together all formed in agonizing lines marching through her mind like soldiers bent on destruction.

Her mother took her hand then and looked her in the eyes, "Honey, you don't have to answer that question now. We didn't mean to make you feel pressured to do that without seeing it for yourself. I guess that's what today will be about. You will get to see firsthand the things that I have, and it will change everything, I promise."

Bethryn closed her eyes and struggled against the tears she felt forming and nodded her head. For the time being, she was just along for the ride, hoping beyond hope that all of her questions would finally be answered.

 Karen of Baking In A Tornado

That night Bethryn knew. She knew what she believed and she knew what she needed her son to believe. They sat together by the fire, Bethryn holding Damon tight, and she began:

"Damon, do you remember the book Grammy was reading you when she first came to visit? About the boy who wrote to Santa that his only wish was for his dad to live? Santa's idea for all the children facing these kinds of struggles was to create a set of special keys delivered with a hand-written letter telling them to hold tight to their key and remember something wonderful about their loved ones. He told them to then share their memories with as many people as they could and help others to do the same."

Damon nodded. It felt like ages ago, in another lifetime, but of course he remembered.

Bethryn continued, "Do you remember how, after hearing the story, you found your key? It started us talking about Dad. And what happened next, Damon?"

Damon remembered clearly, it was so unreal . . . and yet so real. "Grammy brought you a feather pen with ink and special paper. I wasn't allowed to use it but we wrote a letter to Santa. I told you what to say."

Bethryn interjected, "The more you talked about dad, the more you saw a future for us, the more that key glowed."

Damon was excited now, taken back to that day. Remembering how his vision began to blur and there was a high pitched ringing in his ears and when the key fell to the rug it sprinkled magic, making the whole room smell of Sugar Cookies and Gingerbread.

"The writing instruments would not sign that letter," Bethryn reminded him, "It could only be signed by you placing your key on that paper. The power was yours, son, and only yours."

"Grammy's quill and your key told Santa everything he needed to know. That was when Kamryn called starting this whole adventure. We, you and I both, were ready. To talk about dad, not with tears but with joy. It took time, as it must, but we are moving forward. We have taken the steps to rejoin our lives wherever they may lead."

"We told you that night that Grammy had a story to tell you," Bethryn continued. "Today she didn't just tell it but she showed you. She showed us both."

"Damon, we are special, you and I. But whatever comes next, whether we stay here or go, whether we carry on the traditions of our family or not, no matter what you do or don't believe about us, there is a truth we both learned that cannot be denied."

"That key you pressed into that beautiful paper is a symbol. It reminds us of the fact that everyone, every single person who loves someone, whose heart forms a bond with another's, makes an imprint. Invisible though it may be, it's there. No magic is necessary. These people are with us. Always."

It's an honor for me to, once again, thank the talented writers who gifted me a section of this holiday story. I recommend you visit every one of these blogs:

Jenniy of Climaxed
and me!

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  1. Merry Christmas and happy holidays to you and your family!

  2. Oh my gosh. I literally got chills! Such an amazing ending. Bravo all of us!

    1. I agree. This was a huge undertaking and I'm incredibly proud of every word.

  3. Oh Karen, I am utterly speechless. What an amazing gift this was for me right now and you too, I'd imagine. Happy New Year dear friend. I wish we were sharing a glass of champagne (even though I've never tasted it in my life). Cheers to you!

    1. I'm about to open a bottle right now. Cheers, my friend.


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