Thursday, December 23, 2010

Zanter Klauzen (Part 4)

Stranded in a cabin deep in a Minnesota wood, a woman and her two children face an uncertain Christmas. With their supplies dwindling she began to pray that they would survive to see the new year. Then he appeared, a strange man lurking in the shadows of the snow covered firs. How long would he watch them before making his move?

The story begins HERE

She didn't want to upset Rebecca and Jon and decided not to mention the figure in the woods. As such, she willed herself to take on an aura of holiday cheer. She hoped it would help to ease her own tension and fear.

Her suggestion for the three of them to finish trimming the tree was met with excited fervor by the kids. The laughter of her children was infectious and in short order she found herself immersed in the festive practice. She knew she would've never been able to get them to wait until she'd strung the lights around the tree before they started hanging the ornaments, but somehow she managed to accomplish the deed.

With Jon shrieking and Rebecca jumping about, she crawled beneath the tree and plugged the end of the lights into the outlet. Despite the uneven arrangement of the ornaments and tinsel, the multi-colored lights seemed to magically bring the tree to life. She made a mental note to relocate some of the ornaments and to redistribute the foil tinsel after the kids were in bed.

Her son folded his arms across his chest and announced, "It would look better with presents under the tree."

She knelt beside him and whispered, "Santa Claus doesn't bring the presents until Christmas Eve." She knew her mother would return to the cabin with her vehicle loaded with presents for the grandchildren she'd never seen. "Don't worry, he always come through."

She looked up to see the scowl on Rebecca's face. Thankfully, the shaking of her head and the wink of her eye was understood as a message to keep quiet by the eldest of her two children. Her lower lip extended into a pout, she nodded and winked back to her mother.

Marilee stood up and announced, "You must be hungry, kids. Let's go see what your grandmother has in the house for us to eat."

Fortunately her mother had left some cold cuts and bread in the refrigerator. While she prepared sandwiches Jon found some chips and in greedily tearing open the bag the contents were sent flying all over the table. His face turned ashen and tears welled up in his eyes.

"Don't cry, Jon," she said to him. "It's okay."

"But, mommy," he whimpered, "I did a bad thing. Santa doesn't give presents to bad boys."

"Jon, honey, it was an accident. Santa knows the difference," she replied trying to comfort him. Once again she found herself fending off any protest from Rebecca, this time by arching her eyebrows and raising a finger to her lips.

After they had finished eating Rebecca began to explore the confines of the cabin. In the smallest of the bedrooms she opened a closet and found some crayons and a couple of coloring books. She and her brother settled into the sofa with the found treasure. Marilee was happy that they had something to occupy themselves, if even for a little while.

With the children tucked in bed for the night, it was with heavy heart that she put on the kettle to have a cup of tea. Rebecca had questioned why she was allowing Jon to believe in Santa Claus. Their father had told her long ago that the bearded man in the red suit wasn't real.

She responded to her by saying that without his father he needed something to believe in, something to look forward to. She reminded her that in time, when he turned a little older, he would learn the truth. She then begged her daughter not to burst her little brother's bubble.

However, it was Jon's last words before falling asleep that had nearly brought her to tears. He'd whispered to her, "Mommy, I wish Daddy was here." She'd had to choke back the tears when she'd responded, "Me too, Jon. Me too."

Saucer in hand and the cup of tea raised to her lips she reflected on her life, especially the last eleven years. She glanced at the decorated tree in the corner and sighed. It was Christmas. It had always been Christmas.

True to his faith, Joseph her husband might have denied the spirituality of the holiday, but he had embraced its commercialism and as such his business had flourished. He had insisted that when they had children they should share his beliefs. On the other hand, her mother had insisted that any children born of their union should be taught the numinous meaning of the season.

So it came to pass, before their marriage and long before the birth of their children, that her mother had disavowed her own daughter. So it was, that she was standing there in that cabin, eleven years later, waiting for her estranged mother to come walking through that door. Her emotions were mixed. She longed to see her mother, and yet she dreaded the meeting.

Wondering what the conditions outside might be, she ambled to the window. She balanced the cup and saucer in one hand while pushing aside the curtains with the other.

She cried out and the objects in her hand fell to the floor. The man had returned. His face was pressed against the window pane looking in at her. She then felt a sudden dizziness.

Marilee opened her eyes. She was in bed. Sitting up she folded her arms and squeezed her palms on each of her elbows. She drew in a gulp of air and slowly exhaled. It had been a dream. She didn't remember going to bed, but she realized she had been tired and must have foregone the tea.

She stretched her arms above her head and smiled. She felt refreshed and well rested. She decided that it was the perfect time to have that cup of tea. Pulling the blankets aside she swung her feet onto the floor and glanced at her watch. It was six o'clock. She grimaced, for she didn't didn't know if it was morning or the evening.

She brought her hands to her mouth as she passed through the bedroom door. Across the room, on the floor beneath the window, lie a broken saucer and cup. A puddle of liquid surrounded the shards of china. It had not been a dream!

She gasped as her eyes fell upon another puddle, and another ... and still another. There was a trail of the puddles originating from the direction of the door. The liquid tracks ended on the other side of the room by the fireplace. The bin had been filled to capacity with fresh logs.

( To be continued ... Part 5 )



Sandee said...

I'm still not afraid. It's her guardian angel. God is back in her life and I refuse to believe it's Santa that's helping her. Just saying.

What a wonderful story. I love it.

Have a very merry Christmas. :)

Jack K. said...

Perhaps God never left.

Perhaps He is helping her to awaken to the idea.

Perhaps the man in the woods is a guardian angel.

Perhaps we are all guardian angels to someone.

Perhaps we can reflect on that idea and go forth to...

Serve with integrity, care about those we serve and share the love in our hearts and souls.


Hale McKay said...


It certainly appears that the old man means them no harm. Perhaps he's a perverted peeping Tom?

Hale McKay said...


You see to be detecting an allegorical under-theme to the story ...

Perhaps ... perhaps not ...