A Sample Chapter from:
by Melinda Kucsera
~ ~ ~
The next evening found Sarn at practice with
Gregori, one of the Rangers, a monolith
of muscle and attitude, who with
each breath, and fist, begrudged that four inch width,
Sarn’s only advantage, herewith.
Sarn spat blood, ignored the bright motes floating
in the red stain, as he rose for round four.
“Come on, stop defending. Start offending,”
said his teacher for this match, a man four
decades past caring and two past Sarn’s age.
“Come on, Kid, hit me. No more defense try
some offense now. I could hit at your age.”
In a glance, Sarn saw the practice stave by
the wall where he had lost it, last exchange.
A flurry of blows kept him moving back,
dodging, blocking but allowing no change
to tactics criticized in this attack.
A halt called, a welcome rest, a head shake
signaled he’d not measured up, no mistake.
Sarn splashed water from a fountain to clean
his face then stared at the reflected glow
of his green eyes on that watery screen.
He turned his back on that scene but that glow
preceded him down the dark corridor.
Opening the door, he stopped, saw a tree,
his four year old son on a stool, a drawer
of metal balls resting ‘tween his feet. Three
seconds from a fall if he didn’t hurry.
Ran turned, his hand upraised to hang the ball,
his mouth open to explain. Sarn’s worry
never came to pass; his son hung the ball,
explained the tree and all as holiday
requirements for this thing, ‘Christmas Day’.
This ‘Christmas’ required explanation.
It was a name he’d heard over the years.
His orphan upbringing, his abduction
into slavery in his preteen years
and then indenture at sixteen had left
a Christmas-sized hole in his life until now.
But he didn’t ask, he watched Inari’s deft
hands drape a silver fringe over the boughs
as she rounded the tree, proving his son
had some supervision. Was Advent part
of the thing since it preceded this one
day called ‘Christmas’, a day that requires
a tree, a wreath and prayers that inspire?
~ ~ ~
An open door framed the Christmas tree from
where Sarn sat on the edge of his bed,
his son’s head pillowed on his thigh, but from
that angle what was visible instead,
was not the silver fringe unraveled.
The tree spoke of things unknown, begged questions
with every hanging ornament and bell.
Evergreen sprigs and wreaths—decorations
that changed the familiar terrain leaving
him confused at night, wond’ring where currents
of this season would take him next, wond’ring
if flight might’ve been best ‘fore his son learnt
of this ‘Christmas’. The boy knew it existed,
too late to file it away or desist.
You just read a Sample Chapter from:
by Melinda Kucsera