And here continues the Christmas Saga of 2020. Like the days of yore when newspapers published anxiously anticipated serialized stories, here is my annual version, Hidden within the words is a secret message. Find the secret and send an email to me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line, MAGIC. First five to discover the secret wins a copy of every book I publish this year.
This story is as old as the legend of St. Nicholas, handed down over years and years. Told to Christmas Elves as they rested from their work, there is magic within if you’ve the heart and eyes to see it.
But don’t look for it, feel it in your heart. Speak the words to learn the secret
The trees seemed to part, as if by magic, and the sleigh we had hidden appeared out of thin air.
“Top of the day to you, Sash,” said an old man sitting in the sleigh. “Of all the ways I’d imagine I’d finally see you again, this was not one of them. The Harpies have gone for now, they’re afraid of reindeer, but back they’ll be and reinforcements they’ll bring.”
“Porch!” the man yelled and motioned for us to climb aboard. “To the porch of my house where hide we can from the harpies.”
The sled, loaded with Jedidiah, me, a collection of rabbits, and one rather confused looking squirrel, flew low, underneath the branches until an opening appeared.
Top of the trees gave way to an open field and we landed on the porch of an old cabin on the edge of a lake.
Of one thing I was certain, something here was familiar, but I couldn’t put my finger on it.
The lake was divided by a berm with a waterfall. Wall made of fieldstone defined the edge. Now it was coming back to me.
“Dash away! Dash away! Dash away! All of you,” the old man said, shooing away the rabbits, but they just circled the house and came back.
As we all got out of the sleigh, the old man smiled at me. “Dry as bone, I bet you are, needing something the drink,” he said, leading us inside the house.
Leaves, branches, and trees rushed by the window, tossed by violent winds, and I wondered if we had been followed.
“That,” the man said, “is nothing to worry about. Before the story I tell you, hot chocolate have now.”
The words were barely out of the man’s mouth when Jedidiah scrambled to the table, grabbing one of the mugs.
Wild thoughts ran though my head. Hurricane winds raged outside, harpies screamed, something roared, but no one seemed to care except me.
“Fly to your home,” Santa said. When he said that, I didn’t know it would involve Harpies and Hurricanes and roaring beasts. They didn’t worry me too much; it was what I might find out about myself that really worried me.
“Meet you, again, glad I am,” the man said, reaching out to take my hand. With a strong grip he pulled me into a hug.
An odd feeling came over me, like I knew this odd old man.
“Obstacle to story is getting there, you finding out is no problem,” he smiled. “Mount Moriah, just a short journey is it from here. To there, tomorrow we will go. The story will come to us.”
Part VII Tomorrow!