Merry Christmas.

Here is a story for all those who are feeling the cold.

Magic of Christmas

Carina snuggled up in front of the roaring fire in her lounge room. The wind whistled around the side of her log cabin. Snow covered every inch of the landscape. No leaves dangled from the branches of the trees. Ghostly sounds echoed around the house as the wind tried to enter the log cabin. The howl of the wolves echoed on the wind as they called to their mates. Snow piled by the side of the log cabin where the wind had blown it. There would be no escape from the mountain valley until the snow had thawed except by dog sled, or snow mobile. Carina did not want to escape. She had come to the log cabin to escape from all the happy people who were waiting for Christmas to come. For Carina Christmas had been a time of sorrow. Sorrow to great she had not been able to over come the tragedy of losing her beloved husband and six month old son one Christmas Day. A time of joy turned to a time of sorrow.
The family were on their way to celebrate Christmas at the home of Carina’s parents. During the night there had been a heavy snow storm which had covered the roads with inches of snow. Snow ploughs had been out early to clear the roads before the travellers began to drive to their destinations. The storm had passed to bring in the new day with bright sunshine which dazzled on the white landscape. Snow melted to make the roads slippery. Car tires had very little traction on the icy wet roads.
Carina, David and Simon set out early to drive at a save speed so they would safely reach their destination. The car packed with presents for all the family members who would be there for the special Christmas dinner. Clothes were packed so as to stay and not have to travel back the same day. The weather bureau were predicting another night of stormy conditions.
David stopped at the intersection where he had to make a right turn to look for traffic before going out on to the busy highway. A semi was coming toward them. A car with a driver who had no snow experience jammed on his breaks at the last minute when he spotted the car stopped at the intersection. The brakes of the car locked as it barrelled into the back of the car pushing it into the path of the oncoming semi. There was no hope of the semi driver stopping in time. He swerved but the three vehicles became a tangled mess where they came to rest in the snow bank beside the highway. David and Simon were killed. Carina suffered with a broken leg and a few other injuries which kept her in hospital for weeks.
Depression set in because she could not leave the hospital to say her final good bye to her husband and young son. When Carina finally had her health back she resigned from her job as a kindergarten teacher because she could not face looking after small children. She kept herself away from families. Most of her life she had wanted to be a writer to be able to work from home and take care of her family. Selling her family home Carina went to do a course and started with freelance writing. With this job she could move at will and would not have to stay too long in one place to wish she was part of a happy family.
One day as Carina drove through the countryside she found the log cabin which seemed to beckon her to stop. The for sale sign looked as through it had been there a long time because it was old and on a lean. Or it could have been discarded once the log cabin had been sold. Continuing on to the town Carina went in search of the real estate agent who’s name had been printed on the sign.
“Could you tell me if the log cabin is still for sale? The one out on Logan Road.” Carina asked the girl in the office.
“Logan Road? I didn’t know we had a place for sale out there. I’ll have a look on the books.” The girl went to the filing cabinet to look for the file. Her fingers came across a green folder. They never used green folders. Taking the file out she opened the folder to read as she moved back to the counter with a deep frown of puzzlement on her face.
“Don’t tell me the log cabin has been sold?” Carina had fallen in love with the building on sight. She had this huge craving to live there. The house calling to her.
“You wouldn’t be Carina Briggs would you?”
“How did you know? I’ve never been in this town before.” The girl placed the folder on the counter for Carina to read. “This explains you should go over the road to Page Summers. There you will be able to collect the key to be able to move into the log cabin. It seems you are the owner.”
“That can’t be.” Carina looked at the words written on the folder in disbelief. “Where do I find this person?”
“You cross the street and go right to you come to a green building which has Page’s name on the window. Page should be in her office this time of the day.”
“Thank you.” Carina left the real estate office. Crossed the street in a daze as she made her way along the street to find Page Summers.
On entering the office Carina told her story and Page went in search to return with the same kind of look as the last girl with a green folder in her hand. “I don’t understand,” said Page. “I’ve never seen this folder in my files. I go in the cabinet lots of times and have never seen it before now.” Page opened the folder to read the contents and found a key stuck to the inside of the folder. “Did you say you were Carina Briggs?”
“Yes. I get this feeling everyone knows me. As though I have been expected.” Carina felt as thought she had been invited to the Mad Hatter’s party.
Carina was given the key after she had signed the paper to say she had taken it. Leaving the office she went back to her car to go back to have a look at the log cabin. Driving past the food store the Carina had this idea she was meant to enter the store to buy some food. On arriving at the counter there were a few boxes of food beside the counter. Before she could tell the owner what she had come to buy he said, “Where’s your car? I’ll carry all the boxes for you. Nice to finally get to met you Carina.”
“Excuse me? How did you know who I am?”
“The nose knows,” replied the man pointing to his nose with his finger. “I don’t ask questions. I just know.” The owner rushed around the counter to take the boxes of food to Carina’s car.
Carina shook her head as she drove the car. A shiver ran down her spine. These people were freaking her out. Someone was guiding her life at the moment. Pushing her in the direction of the log cabin.
Opening the door of the log cabin Carina expected to find the surface of the cupboards and floor covered in years of dust. Spider webs hanging from the ceiling. Unwanted animals roaming through the cottage. She expected she would have to work for days to get it clean enough to live in. Clean! Everything was sparkling clean. Not a speck of dust or cobweb to be seen. Carina collapsed into the nearest chair until the shock had past enough for her to stand. Carina began to move her things into the log cabin from her car.
When Carina woke early the next morning Carina had been compelled to get out her computer to write. He fingers flew across the keys and the story of her dreams flowed to the screen until hunger made her stop. A walk in the fresh air to take some of the stiffness from her shoulders from sitting at the computer for so long. Carina worked long hours not realising the festive season was on the way because she didn’t have to make trips to town for food as it kept appearing on her door step.
Winter began to move in with a vengeance. Wind whistled through the trees blowing away all the leaves leaving the branches bare. Falling snow gathered on the ground and the bare branches before becoming frozen. Only the hardest of animals still roamed across the snowy landscape looking for food. Carina had to light a fire in the fire place to keep the cold from entering the walls of the log cabin. He usually long walks became shorter because of the cold. The chill seemed to reach through her body to the bones.
This year she would not have to see all the happy faces of the people as they merrily went about their shopping for the coming festive season. Would not have to hear all the Christmas songs while shopping or on the radio. Would not have to listen to people shouting Christmas greetings. Carina would be able to concentrate on other things. There would not be reminders at every turn of the family she had lost.
On Christmas eve Carina was bundled in a blanket sitting in an olden rocking chair she had found out in the shed behind the log cabin. She had dusted it off, washed it and carried in the chair to place in front of the fire place. She still worked long hours on the story which kept growing. A never ending story or an idea to keep her occupied so she would not realise Christmas was approaching.
Carina had just moved out of the chair toward the fire to bank it to keep the log cabin warm for the night when there came a sound from the front door. She stood listening for the noise to come once again. Scratching on the door followed by a bark had Carina moving slowly toward the door.
“Who’s there?” Carina called. The barking came again. Carina slowly opened the door to see what type of animal stood outside her door. She hoped the animal was not one of the wolves she had heard calling during the past few nights. No way would she be letting one of them in side.
There stood three huskies connected to a sled. No one was in the sled. Carina open the door further to see if the owner had stepped from the sled. The lead husky grabbed the leg of Carina’s jeans wanting her to go with him. The others howled to let her know their mission was urgent.
“Okay, guys! I need to grab my coat.” Carina close the door to keep out the cold as she hurried to put on another jumper and her jacket. Pulled on a thicker pair of out door pants over her jeans. Two pairs of socks on her feet before she shoved them into her boots. Put a woollen hat on her head and slipped her hand into fur lined leather gloves. She grabbed a couple of blankets on her way to the door. She may need them to keep her warm as she travelled in the sled. Or she may need them to wrap someone in if they were out in the snow hurt.
The huskies had moved back from the door ready to take off once Carina stepped into the sled. She had just seated herself when the leader turned to the front he barked to let the other two know it was time to move out. Carina held on to the sides of the sled so she would not fall out. It had been many years since she had been on a sled. There was no need for them where the weather was warm and sunny most of the year. She was a bit worried what she would find when the huskies had taken her to their destination. They knew where they were headed. The lead dog never hesitated in what direction he should take.
The party had been travelling for some time before the team slowed in their fast forward pace to stop near what looked like a log in the snow. The lead husky nudged the shape with his nose and the shape moved. An arm lifted to pat the head of the husky then fell back to the snow.
Carina stepped from the sled to go to the shape. Bending down she touched her hand to the shoulder. “What happened to you? Do you have something broken?”
“Santa sent me an Angel. Thanks Santa. I think my leg is broken.” The man looked up to see who had come to his rescue. “My wife will kill me. Said I would not be out long.”
“How far do you live from here?”
“No far. I came out to find her a Christmas tree. I tripped over something and fell the wrong way.” He cursed as the pain shot through his body when he tried to move. ‘I am Chris. Chris Platt.’
“Carina Briggs. Can you move with some help? I need to get you on the sled. I’ll bring the sled closer so you can hold on to the sled and me to get you up. I’ll try to support you until you turn to move on to the seat.”
Carina explained to the huskies what she need them to do. The leader pulled ahead then went in a circle to come up real close then stopped when told.
“I don’t have anything to put your leg in a splint so I hope we do not do more damage when we move you.”
Carina struggled and slipped in the snow but she persisted until she had Chris wrapped in the blankets ready to move out. He gritted his teeth to stop himself from crying out with pain. “Don’t forget my tree. I can’t go home with out my tree,” Chris pleaded to Carina. “It’s over there.” He pointed in the direction he had fallen the tree.
Lucky for Chris the tree was small or no way would Carina be bringing him his stupid tree. She put the tree in the sled with him to hold. Carina stood on the runners behind the seat. ’”Head out guys. Take it slow.”
The lead husky turned to the front to begin to pull. Once they had the sled moving the team set a slow pace dodging any rough patches along the route to their home. What seemed like ages because of the slow trip was probably a short distance when there was no snow on the ground. The dogs came to a stop in front of a small house which had lights shining from nearly every window. Lights to show her husband the way home on such a miserable night.
Stepping down from the runners, Carina was about to walk toward the door when it was pulled open to show a heavily pregnant woman in the light. “You took ....Ouch ....Your time.” The woman panted to get her breath. “Who are you?” She looked at Carina.
“Sweetheart! You in labour?” Cried Chris from the sled behind the Christmas tree. “Ouch! What a time to break a leg?”
Carina stood frozen to the spot. This was a nightmare. She didn’t do families. Or babies. Someone was having fun at her emotional expense. She couldn’t do this. If she could move her feet she would be out of here. Another moan reached her frozen brain as her eyes moved to the woman doubled over with her next contraction.
“For God’s sake do something Carina. Get me out of here.” Carina moved to his side as Chris struggled and cursed to move out of the sled. She placed his arm across her shoulder to help him hop toward the door. Chris reached for the door jam to help pull himself inside the house. Carina helped him to a chair where he collapsed from the struggle to make it in to his wife. Carina went back out to bring the tree into the house. The huskies she quickly untied and brought them into the house to get warm. She would find them something to eat once she had assessed the situation. This looked as though it could be a long night.
The huskies settled beside the fire while Carina looked for a place to make the woman comfortable. Another cry as the next contraction hit. They were getting closer. Carina pulled another chair closer to the side of her husband where she wanted the woman to sit while she moved furniture. The pacing was getting on her nerves. Then going into the bedroom Carina snuggled the mattress from the bed to bring it out into the room with the fire. Five pairs of eyes watched as Carina moved through an unfamiliar house to find what she may need. She found the crib and pulled it out to place the baby in once it was born.
Now. Who’s first? Best you know I only have first aid experience. I’m not a nurse or a doctor.” Carina placed her hands on her hips as she spoke. “How far to the doctor if you want to go?” Carina suggested if the both patients wanted more professional help.
“Too far. And too dangerous in this weather.” Chris’ wife doubled over with another contraction. “Penny sounds as though she should go first.”
“Penny. Your Guardian Angel is Carina.” Chris introduced both women. “The dogs found Carina and brought her to rescue me from the snow.”
“Has your water broke, Penny?” Penny nodded in agreement. “May be you should make your self comfortable on the mattress so I can see what is happening.” Carina helped Penny get settled. ’”I’ll go wash up and find some pain relief for Chris.”
By the time Carina returned Penny was wanting to push. She shoved the glass of water and the bottle of tablets at Chris before kneeling on the floor. In no time at all the baby was born. “You have a daughter.” Carina quickly wrapped the baby in a towel and blanket and placed her in her father’s arms until she had finished her job with the mother. When everything was cleaned away she placed the baby with her mother.
Next Carina worked to splint Chris’ broken leg once she had a look to see the skin was not broken. Once finished she helped Chris to the sofa. When she had settled him she found some blankets to cover him to keep him warm. She placed more wood on the fire to keep the room warm. The huskies looked at her as though they were wondering when she would give them some attention.
“Any one for a hot drink? Something to eat?” The two patients looked not wanting to make more work for Carina. The huskies had no qualms. They stood as one and began to move toward the kitchen. “Well, someone is hungry,” laughed Carina.
“Those three will eat any time food is mentioned. Their food is in a bag in the cupboard near the back door. Jake. Freada. Willie.” The huskies stopped walking. “Show Carina to the food.”
Carina fed them then went to make a hot drink for everyone. As she was beginning to feel hungry she made some sandwiches for all. While she worked Carina suddenly realised what she had done. She had delivered the baby. She had not broken down with sadness at the sight of her. The sadness still flowed in her heart but the stone had shrunk to pea size. In the future Carina would hopefully be able to join back into the joy and merriment of the festive season.
When Carina was satisfied all her patients were comfortable she placed the baby in the crib. Let the huskies out for a run before wrapping herself in a blanket to sit close to the fire to keep it burning through the rest of the night. The warmth finally sent her to sleep.
Woken by a noise out side of the house, Carina walked to the door to see what was there but stopped in her tracks on seeing the Christmas tree had been put up and decorations covered the branches. Presents lay beneath the tree. A knock on the door made her move her legs to see who had knocked.
“Good morning, Miss. I hear you have a couple of patients for me. I’m Doc Granger.” He held out his hand.
“How did....Never mind ....I’m pleased to see you.” Shaking her head in disbelief Carina led Doc Granger to the patients. ’‘You have three of them. All the family.’
“You mean Penny has had the baby? She’s not .... What did she have?”
“A daughter. Chris has a fractured leg, I think. I’ll leave them in your capable hands.” Carina left the room while the doctor did his work. She let the huskies out for a run.
Carina was busy making food and drinks for them all when Doc Granger came into the kitchen. “I believe you saved the day. How long can you stay? None of them can be removed from here in this weather. I will need to get some one out here to look after them.”
“I can stay a little longer but some one will have to help me find my way home. It was dark when I arrived.”
“Where do you live?”
“Log Cabin on Logan Road.”
Doc Granger set his plans into action. It was Christmas Day and family and friends were willing to give up their plans to come to rescue one of their own. People arrived with food and drink. Happy to have a new baby. Joy spread through out the house. Carina wanted to leave when everyone began to arrive but she was encouraged to stay to share in the family festivities A friend of the family had offered to take Carina when he left for his home.
“Before you go Carina,” began Chris, “Penny and I were wondering if you’d mind us naming our daughter Carina? Carina Angel Platt.”
Carina blushed at the thought of have the beautiful baby having her name. For Carirna this had been a very magical Christmas. Magic was every where in the air. Carina felt as though she was walking on air as she waved good bye to all her new friends.


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