Heather at My Demon Spirits is hosting a little contest. We're to write a holiday story. I prefer New Year's Eve to Christmas. And I got it in just under the wire, with a day to spare...
The knock at the door was an unwelcome distraction. The woman carefully laid the blanket she’d been knitting in her chair as she got up to answer. She opened the door to find a young boy, and he looked worried.
“Can you come? Now?” he asked.
The woman sighed. She didn’t have time for this. She left things until the last moment, and if she didn’t finish, there was no telling what would happen. She looked back at her chair. The knitting would have to wait.
“I’m on my way.”
Several hours later, the woman returned to her cottage. She was tired and hungry. Helping children into the world was exhausting work. She looked back at her chair. If she had no more distractions…
Back at work, the woman wove the spell. Every stitch a thought. Every row a prayer. Wishes and dreams. The new year was coming fast, and if she didn’t get the blanket done, there was no telling what troubles would materialize.
The woman’s eyes started to blur. She made a mistake. Instead of knitting two stitches between the start of the pattern work, she knit three. How many rows? She slowly unknit the stitches she just knit, looking for where she made the mistake. Found it.
How much time had she lost? She could make it up.
Another knock at the door. The woman thought seriously about ignoring it. The village knew she had important work to do, so they would not disturb her if they could help it. She laid her work on her chair and got up to get it.
A girl, barely a woman, stood there. Crying. The woman sighed, but she let the girl in. She offered the girl some tea. She took up her knitting and listened to the girl’s story, a story the girl felt merited this interruption. The girl needed a love potion. The woman didn’t like weaving this girl’s fears into her work, but that couldn’t be helped. She patted the girl’s hand and promised her things would get better, knowing that she could work some of it out in the blanket. Then the woman was alone again.
She checked the time. She checked her progress. A couple more rows, and it would have to be good enough.
She started the bind off procedure. She concentrated on tying up loose ends. What problems that had started that could be fixed. She bound off the last stitch and looked at the clock. She still had time.
The woman ran out the door and into the yard. She laid the blanket out flat on the ground. As the clock struck midnight, the woman chanted her wishes for the new year. When the last gong from the church bells struck, the blanket evaporated in a shimmery glitter.
The woman fell back. It was done.
The woman picked herself up off the ground and headed back into the house. It was time to get some sleep.