Magic of Christmas

                                          Magic of Christmas.
Carina snuggled up in front of the roaring fire of her lounge room.
The wind rattled the windows of the log cabin.
Snow covered every inch of the landscape. Snow piled by the side of the cabin walls where the wind had blown it. There would be no escape from the mountain valley until the snow had thawed, except by the use of a dog sled, or a snow mobile.
Carina didn't want to escape.
She had come to the log cabin to escape from all the happy people who were waiting for Christmas to arrive.
For Carina, Christmas was a time of sorrow. A sorrow so great she hadn't been able to overcome the tragedy of losing her beloved husband, and six month old son on Christmas Day. A time of joy turned to a time of sorrow. The cold seclusion matched the weather outside the cabin.
Life frozen in time.
No leaves dangled from the branches of the trees.
Ghostly sounds echoed around the house. The wind tried to enter the log cabin through any entrance it could find.
The howl of the wolves carried on the wind. The leader of the pack called to his mates.
Carina took in the sounds around her while she tried to hold back the happier memories before her life had crumbled.
The family had been on their way to celebrate Christmas at the home of Carina's parents. During the night they 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 a new day with bright sunshine, which dazzled eyes on the white landscape.
Snow melted to make the roads slippery.
Car tyres had very little traction on the icy wet roads.
Carina, David, and Simon, set out early to drive at a safe speed so they reached their destination.
The car packed with Christmas presents for all the family members, who were to be there for the special Christmas dinner.
Clothes were packed in the event they would have to stay not travelling back on the same day. The weather bureau were predicting another night of stormy conditions.
David stopped at an intersection, where he had to make a right turn, to look for traffic coming before he drove out on to the busy highway.
A semi travelled toward them.
A car with a driver, who had not much snow experience, jammed his foot on the brake at the last minute when he spotted spotted the car stopped at the intersection.
The brakes of the car locked. Sending it barrelling into the back of the car in front to push 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 couldn't leave the hospital to say her final good-bye to her husband, and son.. When Carina finally had her health back, she resigned from her job of being a kindergarten teacher.
She couldn't face looking after small children.
She stayed away from families.
Most of her life she had wanted to be a writer to be able to work from home, and to take care of her family.
Selling her family home, Carina went to do a course, then started to do freelance writing. With this job she would be able to move at will. She wouldn't have to stay long in one place, and start to wish to be a part of a happy family.
One day, while she drove through the countryside, she found a log cabin which seemed to beckon her to stop. There was a fore sale sign which looked like it had sat there a long time. The words were faded and the sign on a bad tilt. Or it might have been discarded once the log cabin had been sold. She continued on to town. Carina went in search of the real estate agent whose name had been on the sign.
“Can 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 search out the file. Her fingers came across a green folder. Puzzled, she removed the folder. She never used green folders. She opened it to read. 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 falling in love with the building on sight. She had this huge craving to live there. The place was calling to her.
“You wouldn't be Carina Briggs, would you?”
“How do you know. I've never been in this town before.”
The girl placed the folder on the counter for her 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. This says you are the owner.”
“That can't be.” Carina looked at the words written on the page in the folder in disbelief. “Where do I find this person?”
“You cross the street, then go right until you come to a green building, which has Page's name on the window. Page will be in her office this time of the day.”
“Thank you.” Carina left the real estate office. She crossed the street in a daze. She made her way along the street to find Page Summers.
On entering the office, Carina told her story to Page. Page went in search to return with the same puzzled look. “I don't understand,” said Page. “I've never seen this folder in my files. I go in the cabinet lots of times every day, and have never seen it before, now.” Page opened the folder to read the contents. She found a key stuck to the inside of the folder. “Did you say you were Carina Briggs?”
“Yes. I have this feeling everyone knows me. Like I have been expected.” Carina felt like she had been invited to a Mad Hatter's party.
Carina was handed the key once she had signed the paper to say she had taken the key.
She left the office.
She went to her car to go back to the log cabin to have another look at it.
Driving past the food store she had this feeling she had to go to the store to buy some food. She parked her car then entered the store.
On reaching the counter, there were a few boxes sitting beside it. Before she was able to open her mouth to explain who she was, he said, “Where's your car. I'll carry all the boxes out for you. Nice to finally make your acquaintance, Carina.”
“Excuse me. How did you know who I am?”
“The nose knows,” replied the man, pointing a finger to his nose. “I don't ask questions. I just know.” The owner rushed around the counter to take the boxes of food out to her car.
Carina shook her head while driving away.
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 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 to have to work for days to make the place clean enough to live in.
Every surface was sparkling, clean.
Not a speck of dust, or cobweb to be seen.
Carina collapsed in the nearest chair until the shock had passed enough for her to stand. She started to move things into her new home from the car.
When Carina woke early the next morning, Carina felt compelled to pull out her computer to write. Her fingers flew across the keys. The story of her dreams flowed to the screen until hunger made her stop. A walk in the fresh air to take the stiffness from her shoulders from sitting for so long. She had work long hours every day not realising the festive season was on the way. She hadn't had to make trips into town for food kept appearing on her door step.
Winter began to move in with a vengeance.
Winds blew all the leaves from the trees leaving the branches bare.
Falling snow gathered on the ground, and the bare branches of the trees, freezing them.
Only the hardiest of animals still roamed around the snowy landscape searching for food.
Carina had lit the fire in the fireplace to keep the chill from entering through the walls of the cabin. Her long walks became shorter because of the freezing winds. The chilly winds seemed to reach all the way through her body to reach her bones.
This year she wouldn't have to witness all the happy faces go merrily about their shopping for the coming festive season. She wouldn't have to hear all the Christmas songs while shopping, or on the radio. She wouldn't have to listen to people shouting Christmas greetings. Carina would be able to concentrate on other things. There wouldn't be any reminders at every turn of the family she had lost.
On Christmas Eve, Carina sat bundled in a blanket while she sat in an old rocking chair. Ahe had found the old chair out in the shed. Had dusted the chair, washed it, then carried it in to place in front of the fireplace. She still worked long hours on the story which kept growing. A never ending story, or an idea, to keep her occupied so she didn't realise Christmas approached.
Carina had just moved out of the chair toward the fire to bank it to keep the cabin warn for the night, when there came a sound from the front door. She stood listening for the noise to come again. Scratching on the door followed by barking had her moving slowly toward the door.
“Who is there,” called Carina.
The barking came again.
She 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 them in side with her.
There stood three huskies connected to a sled.
She opened the door further to see if the owner had stepped from the sled.
The lead husky grabbed the leg of her jeans wanting her to go with him.
The others howled to let her know their mission was urgent.
“Okay, guys. I need to collect my coat.” She closed the door to keep out the cold while she hurried to put on another jumper, and a jacket. She pulled on a thicker pair of outdoor pants over her jeans. Two pairs of socks on her feet before she shoved her feet into her boots. Put a woollen hat on her head, and slipped her hands 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 while she travelled on the sled. Or she might need them to wrap someone in if they were out in the snow hurt.
The huskies moved back from the door ready to take off once Carina stepped into the sled. She had just seated herself when the lead husky turned to the front, barked to the other two to let them know time had arrived to move out. She held on to the sides of the sled so she wouldn't fall out.
It had been many years since she had been in 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 leader never hesitated in what direction he had to 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 leader nudged the shape with his nose.
The shape moved.
An arm lifted to pat the head of the husky then fell back on 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 has sent me an angel. Thanks Santa. I think my leg is broken” The mad looked up to see who had come to his rescue. “My wife will kill me. She said I shouldn't be out long.”
“How far do you live from here?”
“Not far. I came out to find her a Christmas tree. I tripped over something, and fell the wrong way.” He cursed when pain shot through his body on moving. “I am Chris. Chris Platt.”
“Carina Briggs. Can you move with some help. I need to load you on to the sled. I'll bring the sled closer so you can hold on to the sled, and me, to stand up. I'll try to support you until you turn to move into the seat.” Carina explained the the huskies what she needed them to do. The leader pulled ahead, then went in a half circle to come up real close to then stop when told.
“I don't have anything to put your leg in a splint so I hope we don't do more damage when I move you.”
Carina struggled.
She slipped in the snow.
She persisted until she had Chris wrapped in the blankets ready to move out.
He gritted his teeth to stop him from crying out with pain. “Don't forget my tree. I can't go home without my tree,” Chris pleaded to her. “It's over there.” He pointed in the direction he had left the fallen tree.
Chris was lucky the tree was small or no way would she have attempted to bring the stupid tree with them. She placed the tree on the sled for him to hold in place. She stood on the runners behind the seat.
“Head out, guys. Take it slow,” she warned the leader.
The leader turned to the front to start the 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 wasn't any snow on the ground. The huskies 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 opened to show a heavily pregnant woman in the light. “You took. Ouch. Your time.” The woman panted to catch her breath.
“Who are you?” She looked at Carina.
“Sweetheart. You're in labour,” Chris cried, from the sled hidden by the Christmas tree. “Ouch. What a time to break a leg.”
Carina stood frozen in time.
This was her worst 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 leave, fast. Another moan reached her frozen brain when her eyes came to stop on the woman doubled over during her next contraction.
“For god's sake, Carina. Do something. Get me out of here.” Carina moved to his side. He 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. She helped him to a chair where he collapsed from the struggle to make inside to his wife. She went back out to bring the tree into the house. The huskies, she quickly untied, then brought them into the house to get warm. When she had assessed the situation, she would go find them some food. This looked like it might be a long night.
The three huskies settled beside the fire while Carina looked for a place to make the woman comfortable. She let out another cry with the next contraction. They were coming closer. Carina pulled another chair close to the side of Chris where she wanted the woman to sit while she moved some furniture. The pacing she was doing was getting of Carina's nerves. She went into the bedroom to drag a mattress out into the lounge room near the fire. Five pairs of eyes watched her move through the unfamiliar house to find what she might need. She found the crib. She brought it out to set close to the fireplace to place the baby in when it was born.
“Now. Who is first. Best you know I only have first aid experience. I'm not a nurse, or a doctor.” She placed her hands on her hips while she spoke. “How far to the doctor if you want to go,” she asked, in the event the patient opted to go for the doctor.
“Too far. And too dangerous in this weather.” Chris' wife doubled over with another contraction. “Penny sounds like she should have first turn.”
“Penny. Our Guardian Angel is Carina.” Chris introduced both women. “The dogs found her, then brought her to rescue me from the snow.”
“Has your water broke, Penny?” Penny nodded. “Maybe, you should make yourself comfortable on the mattress so I can see what is happening.” Carina helped Penny on to the mattress. “I'll go wash up and find some pain relief for Chris.”
By the time she returned Penny was wanting to push. She shoved the glass of water, and a bottle of tables 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, then placed her in her father's arms. She went back to finish the job with Penny. When everything was cleaned away, she placed the baby with her mother.
Carina worked to place a splint on Chris' broken leg. She checked the skin to make sure the skin hadn't been pierced by broken bone. Once she had finished fixing the splint, she helped Chris to sit on the sofa, lifted his legs, then covered him with a blanket. She placed more wood on the fire to keep the room warm.
The huskies looked at her wondering when it was their turn to be given some of her attention.
“Anyone for a hot drink. Something to eat.” The two patients kept silent not wanting to make more work for their angel of mercy.
The huskies had no qualms. They stood as one to begin to move toward the kitchen. “Well. Someone is hungry.” Carina laughed.
“Those three will eat any time food is mentioned. Their food is in a bag in the cupboard near the back door. Jake. Freda. Willie,” said Chris. The huskies stopped walking. “Show Carina to the food.”
She fed them then made hot drinks for Chris, Penny, and her. She was beginning to feel hungry. She made some sandwiches. While she worked, Carina realised what she had done, she had delivered a baby. She had not broken down with sadness at the sight of her. Sadness still flowed in her heart but the stone had shrunk to pea size. Carina prayed she'd be able to join back in the joy, and merriment, of the festive season.
When she was satisfied all her patients were comfortable, she placed the baby in the crib. She let the huskies out for a run before wrapping a blanket around her body, then sat close to the fire to be able to add more wood to keep it burning throughout the night. The warmth soon had her falling to sleep.
She was woken from her sleep by a sound outside the house.
She walked cautiously to the door to see what had made the noise. She stopped mid-stride. The Christmas tree had been set up, and decorated, while she slept. Presents lay on the floor beneath the tree. A knock on the door had her moving to find out 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, she led Doc Granger to his patients. “You have three of them. All the family, except for the huskies.”
“You mean Penny has delivered her 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 lounge room while the doctor did his work. She went to let the huskies out for a run.
She set to making food, and drinks, for them all. She was busy when Doctor Granger walked into the kitchen.
“I believe you saved the day. How long can you stay. None of them can be moved from here in this weather. I will need to send someone out here to look after them.”
“I can stay a little longer but someone will have to take me home. It was night when I arrived. The huskies brought me here. I have no idea how far I am from my home.”
“Where do you live?”
“A log cabin on Logan Road.”
Doctor Granger set plans into action. It was Christmas Day. Family, and friends, were willing to give up their own plans to come to the rescue of their own. People arrived with food, and drinks. All were happy to celebrate the birth of the new baby. Joy spread throughout the house.
Carina wanted to leave when everyone started to arrive. She was encouraged to stay to share in the family festivities. A friend of the family offered to take her home when he left to return to his home.
“Before you go, Carina,” began Chris. “Penny, and I, are wondering if you'd mind us naming our daughter, Carina. Carina Angel Platt.”
Carina blushed at the thought of having the beautiful baby having her name. For Carina, this had become a magical Christmas. Magic was every where in the air. She felt like she walked on air. She waved to her new friends on taking her leave.


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