A Gifted Christmas: Part One
Since it’s the first day of Advent, I thought I’d start getting into the spirit of the season! Here’s the first part of A Gifted Christmas, a short story set in my urban fantasy series Secret Angels.
“Anyone who says Christmas is a time for family needs to meet mine. They’d change their minds after ten minutes.”
Maisy had laughed after I said that.
I stared out of the car window and tried not to look like I was sulking – even though I totally was.
The road wound through hills that slowly reached higher and higher into the dark sky; all of them were covered with snow. I shivered and huddled deeper into my coat.
I looked away from the window. “Sorry, Mum, I wasn’t listening.”
“I was asking if there’s anything you wanted to do while we’re up here. We could visit that shop that sells scented candles; I know how much you love that, and the little bookshop.”
“Are we going to the market too?” I asked eagerly.
“Of course we are! Did you think we wouldn’t? It’s one of our favourite traditions when we’re in the mountains – we’re just staying in a different place.”
Dad’s words brought a huge smile to my face…one I tried to keep when I remembered who would be going with us.
Maybe I could just avoid them. At seventeen, I was old enough to walk around a Christmas market on my own. That way, I wouldn’t feel like a useless extra.
Sorry, I sound like I’m whining. Let me explain.
You can either be Gifted or Giftless, meaning you either have a power or you don’t. My family doesn’t have an ability, but before I was born my mum’s sister married into a Gifted Bloodline. They’re not a particularly powerful family (in any sense), but the Bloodline’s lasted a long time and they’re well off, which is why we were spending Christmas in a big hotel this year instead of their house like we used to.
Aunt Lorraine and her husband Victor have four kids: Edmund, the twins Sally and Terri and Cedric, the youngest. All of them are Lifters, which means they can levitate objects, and every single time we spent Christmas in the mountains, they practised their Gift on me.
They played keep-away with my teddy, then they moved on to my books. Last time, it was my diary, which Edmund started reading from out loud.
He was always the worst of them all.
It’s one thing to think society believes you’re worth less because you’re not Gifted. Its another to have members of your own family think you’re worthless and to tell you that you are.
Maisy used to think she would be worth more if she had a Gift. Then she did manifest one – and something just felt different after that.
My mouth almost fell open when I saw the hotel. It was huge, with lights shining from almost every window and a small Christmas tree outside. As Dad parked the car, I saw the tree was decorated with tiny gold and silver lights.
The hotel interior was red, green and gold: a dark red carpet, greenery arranged tastefully around the desk and golden thread woven into wreaths on the walls. There was a sweet smell of pine, warm baking and cinnamon.
“We’re booked under the name of Marvaine; it’s Andrew, Laura and Louisa Ashford.”
The receptionist handed over three room keys and a small leaflet. “You can find all the information you need in there, and there are menus in your suite.”
“Menus?” Mum asked.
“Yes, you have the option of eating breakfast in either your suite or in our restaurant. Supper starts at six-thirty, and your party has a table reserved.” She smiled. “I hope you have a wonderful Christmas here.”
“Thank you,” Mum replied.
I tried not to roll my eyes. I wasn’t getting my hopes up for that.
See you next time!