Book View Cafe 2020 Holiday Story Collection
by Shannon Page
Nine holiday stories to delight, chill, cheer, or frighten you on a cold winter’s night. Includes stories from Alma Alexander, Patricia Rice, Jennifer Stevenson, and more!
Read a sample:
The Longest Night of the Year
Magenta Firestone chewed a spearmint leaf, then spat it into the hydrangea bushes over the porch railing. She could hear the Saturnalia within; Holda would have gotten the event started precisely at sundown, no matter what anyone else might have wanted. And she’d be ticked at Magenta for being late.
Magenta had tried to tell her that work wasn’t letting her go until five, and then she had to drive all the way across town. Holda had done everything but put her hands on her ears and sing, “La, la, la, I can’t hear you!”
Now Magenta lingered for one last peaceful moment, shivering with the winter’s chill on her bare arms. There would be a warm fire inside. She’d dressed in her favorite Druidic robe-dress, despite its gauzy lightness. Its golden-red color set off her hair; its low-cut bodice made her feel confident. Womanly. Just the thing for a Saturnalia. It was good to feel so empowered, right? Wasn’t that the whole point?
She pulled a small compact mirror out of the purse tucked inside her robe, checked her teeth for stray bits of green leaf, then walked to the door and marched straight in. Confidently.
She found Holda dressed in a strident yellow hooded robe, bedecked with amber-colored stones, standing by the fireplace with a bejeweled goblet of mead, talking to two older women from the Pagan Center. Magenta knew Holda had seen her, but the Goddess Mother studiously ignored her, pretending a deep interest in her conversation.
Magenta glanced around the room, as much relieved as annoyed. This was better than being scolded in front of everyone. Of course, that could still be on the agenda.
The two-story house was unbelievably crowded. Their Circle had issued invitations up and down the coast as usual, on the usual scallop-edged pink sheets, in the usual Papyrus font, tacked to the usual community bulletin boards. Only this year, unusually, they had also spread the word on Twitter and Facebook, and sent hundreds of Evites.
Pan Spiritual Saturnalia/Yule/Solstice/WinterFest Celebration*
It is time once more for our annual Saturnalia! Join us as we honor the dark passage of winter and celebrate the impending return of light and warmth to our corner of Mother Earth. Mead and vegan appetizers provided; please bring a beverage of your choice and organic food to share (label for gluten, dairy, cane sugar, Monosodium Glutamate, tree nuts, and any animal products).
Place: Goddess Mother Holda Goldenglobe’s home
Headquarters of the SpiritQuest Circle
31271 117th Avenue NE
(just past the QuickiePal)
*Our humblest apologies if we have neglected your particular tradition! This is through ignorance on our part, not malice or cultural imperialism. Please, come join us and share your words, thoughts, wisdom, and heart! ALL ARE WELCOME.
Magenta barely recognized anyone in the front room, besides Holda and the Pagan ladies. There was a cluster of grey-haired men in matching white cotton pajama-style garb monopolizing the sofa and loveseat, some young Goths scowling by the front window, and the tinkling of bells to her right could only be that new group of Faeries. Or, at least, women who wished they were Faeries.
Not that there wasn’t power in the world—quite clearly, there was, no matter how elusive it was proving to Magenta herself. But she was quite certain it wasn’t to be found in tiny bells and an excess of lace.
With a sigh, she went in search of a drink.