Image from http://clipart-library.com/clipart/1772559.htm
The image above is a little bit 19th century, but Greybeal House's kitchen/sitting area would not have had that picture window. Still, has a a nice cozy vibe for the story you're about to read.
This story originally was the ending of “The Christmas Eve Visitor,” but I realized the real ending occurred earlier, so I cut the part out. However, I really liked the piece and knew I would do something with it. Looks like now is the time.
Setting: The Smiths and the remainder of the old boarding house family are returning to Blaineton, after a long, difficult sojourn in Pennsylvania. The events of 1863, related to the Civil War, had disrupted their lives completely. But good news arrived when Miss Tryphena Moore sent a letter saying that she wanted Eli to become the editor-in-chief of her newspaper, The Blaineton Register. They could go home at last!
But their joy was interrupted on Christmas Eve when the three youngest children contracted a fever and cough. They also were surprised when a strange little guest, a peddler by the name of Ira Strauss showed up at their door. The next morning, the Smiths and the Johnsons were overjoyed and a bit bewildered to find that all the children had recovered from their illness. Moreover, Ira Strauss seemed to have disappeared without a trace.
A few days later on December 28th, everyone returned to New Jersey and to a new home, a large, rather run-down mansion by the name of Greybeal House.
The new short-short story begins later the evening of the 28th, when Maggie realizes that something important is missing.
You’re welcome to download the story free as a PDF. It's my small gift of thanks. You'll find the PDF download at the very bottom of this blog.
Merry Christmas and happy holidays!
Janet R. Stafford
Janet Stafford, Squeaking Pips Founder