A Home for Christmas
Collection of Historical Holiday Fiction Stories
Copper Point, Montana Territory—December 1879
Alone now, surrounded by a peace she rarely experienced, Katherine pet Crockett in front of the hearth. The fire flickered, causing the flames’ shadows to dance over the log walls. The scent of yeast drifted from the rising loaves of bread waiting on the kitchen counter. Quiet surrounded Katherine and Crockett as they enjoyed a few moments alone before the others woke.
Katherine had awakened early that morning. At her parents’ home in Boston, she rarely rose before a maid came in to draw back the curtains and bring her a cup of tea. Back home, from morning until night she rarely had a moment alone. Here, she enjoyed the solitude of August and Sarah’s cabin—her sister’s cabin.
Her eyes scanned the room, settling for a moment on each piece of furniture, blanket, and painting. She recognized two of the paintings as the wedding gifts her parents had sent Clara nearly a year after she wrote to tell them about her wedding. Shock had swept through the family, and though Katherine would have wanted to be there for her sister’s wedding, by the time she had convinced her parents not to be angry, Clara was already married. Having met August, Katherine knew they would have approved and welcomed him into the family, despite their initial misgivings. Clara had made a wise choice in a husband.
Wickliffe, Wyoming Territory—December 22, 1892
The sun shone from the brilliant blue sky, kissing her skin and brightening the freckles scattered across her nose. McKensie Stewart closed her eyes, breathed in the frosty air, and spread her arms wide. She stood on the side of the snow-covered road where the stagecoach had dropped them off and relished in the wonderment. They had finally arrived in Wyoming.
For years, all McKensie dreamed of was to venture west and write stories about the beauty of the landscape and the interesting people she’d only heard and read about. Submitting articles about society events in Asheville, North Carolina, to the Weekly Pioneer hadn’t presented much of a challenge. All of that had changed four months ago, and though McKensie wished the circumstances for her final arrival had been more pleasant, she was determined to look ahead instead of mourning what she had left behind.
"Lily's Christmas Wish
Cotter’s Gulch, Colorado—December 1868
Dear God. Please help me find a family. Love, Lily. The forged wheels whirred and ground against the iron rails as the small window of the train car opened up to the vast landscape of the American West. Miss Abbott told her the same stories over and over again, promising that a new life waited. She wasn’t sorry to see the dingy city disappear four days ago, and she hoped to never see it again. Those memories she wanted to leave far behind.
Lily believed in her younger years that Miss Abbott had already taught her everything about life, but the teacher promised it would take more than book learning to withstand the laborious life in the West. Lily sat alone on her bench, her eyes absorbing the unfamiliar setting beyond the wooden car. She didn’t need to look to know that the person who sat down beside her was Miss Abbott. The teacher always smelled like roses. Two bushes of red roses grew in the small, unkempt garden of the orphanage. Despite years of neglect, the roses found a way to survive—like Lily.
“We’re almost there.”
Lily slowly nodded and continued to watch as the mountains moved closer and closer. The temperature dropped. Lily shivered and closed the small window. “Are you scared, Miss Abbott?”
“Not even a little scared. This is going to be a better life for everyone.”
“Will you be adopted, too?”
End of Excerpts Copyright © MK McClintock
A Home for Christmas was published by Trappers Peak Publishing in 2014. New cover in Oct 2019. Audiobook released November 2019.