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  • Writer's pictureAutumn Shah

December Writing Contest

Each month we hold a writing contest for our members, by our members. Writers are given parameters, such as a word count and/or a prompt. Entries are judged and discussed blindly. For December, submitters had to write a story in 250 words or less using an "ordinary" holiday experience and turning it into something "extraordinary".

The Door

by Sarah McHatton

I am the next person to receive the hand-carved wooden door passed through my family for centuries. It has survived world wars, hurricanes, and a flood that nearly destroyed my basement. Despite the crack in the wood and the peeling paint, I hold it in my hand and let it dangle from a golden thread. Smiling, I wonder why I am completing the ritual this year. Maybe it has to do with my grandmother's passing, the matriarch keeping this secret alive, weaving tales over dinner and before bedtime.

I listen for the sounds of tiny feet. When I hear nothing, I am content that I am truly alone. Grabbing the beeswax candle, I hang the door on the tree alight with white fairy lights twinkling in the darkened room. The rest of the ornaments are ornate, beautifully hand-crafted by the hands of my family. This one, though, is special.

I place the candle in a golden chamberstick candle holder worn by many hands. When I flick the match across the board and hear the roar of fire, my heart begins to race. Under my breath, I chant the words taught to me, unprepared for the outcome, and hold the match to the wick, watching it catch. My eyes dart to the door, expectations rising and falling when nothing happens. I turn back to the candle and jerk my head around when the room fills with brilliant light. I giggle with glee, filled with the knowledge that it was all true.

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