Short Christmas Story – Freebie
Every year, the Christmas Carousel in South Howle takes a beating, and every year, Dash Bartholomew tenderly brings it back to life. It’s a job he started fifteen years ago, when Dash became Dasher, one of Santa’s reindeer, and accepted the worn leather harness now hanging on the hooks at the back of the carousel barn. The one with its beautiful, silver bells that once made the most wondrous sound in the world, and now lay quiet.
That is, until Merry, a young, homeless woman wanders in looking for a place out of the cold. Unlike Dash, she can hear the sweet chimes of the bells, proving to him that it’s not the harness that’s broken. As Christmas draws near, Dash finds himself drawn to Merry and her quiet, stubborn pride. However, unable to hear the sleigh bells Dash isn’t sure what Christmas this year will bring, only that the magic in that harness is far less important than the woman he’s come to love.
Available at Barnes and Noble shortly! Working on getting it free!
Length: 5,000 words
“Help yourself,” he said with a gesture towards the bag.
“I don’t take charity.”
“Then don’t work.” He leveled her a glare over the back of the once black stallion. “If you work here, you eat. If you refuse to eat, then find a stool and watch. Understood?”
Her lips quirked in a small smile but she made no argument. Instead, she snatched two bagels from the bag and watched as he picked up another strip of sandpaper and settled in to work on the horse.
“Are you always this demanding?”
He shrugged. They fell into an easy silence, the stroke of rough paper against the carousel beasts, the crunch of bagels in between. Around midday, Dash stretched his legs out in front of him and set the paper aside, resting his arms. Merry stood near the reindeer, arms over her head, stretching. Her coat sat on the stool next to her, leaving a ratty sweatshirt on her thin frame… a color Dash couldn’t even recognize. She caught him watching and moved along the back wall, her attention on the silver bells dangling from their harness.
The silent bells.
She ran her fingers over the worn leather. It was buttery soft, Dash knew, but he also knew that for years of work, it had not one crack in it. It still fit the animal it was made for like a glove. Her fingers circled a bell, tracing the x shape where once beautiful sound had played. Then with two fingers, she bounced it.
“Beautiful,” Merry whispered and Dash frowned. She looked over at him. “It’s beautiful.”
She jiggled the bell against her fingers again and closed her eyes. “I could sleep to this music.”
Dash rose and closed the distance between them in just a few short strides, his hand closing over hers. “Don’t,” he said. “Thank you, but don’t.”