by Luisa Kay Reyes
The cold and frost was especially chilling in the village of Perdita this Christmas Eve. And Luciana, often called Lucy for short, was struggling to find some overlooked tree limbs or sticks or anything that could be used to produce some light in the fireplace on this evening. Once upon a time, no one thought twice about there being any light on this festive day. However, that was before, when the village of Perdita was a part of the nation of Lux. And unfortunate darkness had descended upon the village since those days, making anything that produced light difficult to come by.
Luciana kept prodding on past the outskirts of the village. For while Perdita didn’t celebrate Christmas Eve, anymore, she and her mother still believed in the light.
“Brrr!” Luciana thought to herself as she reached the top of the mountain. The thick gray clouds in the sky indicated snow was soon to be had and Lucy hurriedly looked around for anything resembling even the thinnest piece of wood. Straying farther and farther away from the village until she was at the opposite edge of the pinnacle, Luciana finally reached down and felt for what looked like a medium width young tree branch.
However, just then a frightfully strong wind burst forth. And in a mere matter of seconds, Luciana found herself in the midst of a powerful snowstorm. With the long strands of her thick raven hair whipping her across her face, the ever more powerful gusts of wind forced Lucy down, throwing her over the other side of the pinnacle.
Bruised, battered, and scratched by jagged edges of small rocks while being heaved downward, Luciana was whammed into the edge of some kind of structure. Feeling the high-powered winds recede some, Lucy gathered her bearings as best she could and looked up to see a small chapel. Surprised to see one in such a remote locale, Luciana let her curiosity get the better of her as she began pushing her weight against a rather heavy wooden door. Grateful that it was unlocked, Lucy kept prodding it until she could barely slip through the opening, finding that she was now in the middle of a small dusty one room sanctuary. All dusty except for one thing . . . a grand piano.
Amazed to see one after so many years, Lucy rushed towards it in a flurry of thrill and wonder. “How did it manage to escape being destroyed when the light left Perdita?” she wondered. But she did not ponder for long, for she recalled that as a little girl she had studied piano under the great Maestro, and while she was sure to be rusty, she was filled with the want to feel the keys of the piano, one more time.
Shaking a bit out of nerves and anticipation, Luciana helped herself to the piano bench. The keys were immaculate as she began playing “The Sussex Carol”, timidly at first. Until the words “Sing with the piano” of her Maestro echoed in her mind. And she felt music coursing through her entire being.
Delighted, she began playing the “Sans Day Carol”, when out of nowhere a shivering elderly masculine voice broke her reverie.
“I knew it wasn’t for not I was taking care of this piano” he said. “Keep playing, those carols are sure to bring the light back into Perdita. I’ve been waiting for a moment such as this” he said while holding up his hands for her to see.
“Your fingers . . .they aren’t . . . they aren’t” Lucy stuttered while gasping simultaneously.
“Chopped off. Courtesy of those who are opposed to the light” the elderly man offered.
“More music can be found inside the bench” he continued. “Keep playing and the light is sure to return for candlelight services this Christmas Eve”.
Obliging him, Lucy reached inside the piano bench and found a small book of Christmas Carols. Not entirely sure which ones she could sight read well, she made her way through some of the music that was now becoming more familiar to her, playing the “Wexford Carol” before continuing on to “Joy To The World”.
Hearing the lovely strains of the long forgotten Christmas Carols, the Christmas fairy soon felt roused from what felt like an everlasting slumber. Shaking the leaves and petals off of her green and red dress, she found herself contemplating. “Was the village of Perdita at long last ready to forsake the darkness and return to the light? Could it really be?”
The melody of “O Come All Ye Children” rang through the air when Luciana realized the hour was getting late. Not wanting to be parted from the piano, she also did not wish to cause her mother any concern.
“I’m afraid I must get going” she said out loud.
Silence was her response.
Looking around, Lucy saw that the elderly gentleman’s form was seated in a chair but with his chest not moving upwards and downwards as it should.
Gasping, Luciana knew not what to do. The words “Keep playing” began resounding not only in her mind but emanating from the walls, as well. So tremulously, Lucy began playing “Silent Night”. Finding that even under such circumstances, it was undeniably soothing.
Back in Perdita, the villagers weren’t sure where it was coming from, but there was a melody floating through the air. A lovely and healing melody. One not heard in many a year and one so placid that it was impossible to resist. Hence without thinking, one by one they began humming the beautiful tune.
“They’re ready!” the Christmas fairy realized, “Perdita was ready for the light!” And with the light in her hands, she descended upon the village. Stopping by the remote chapel first, for Lucy couldn’t keep playing long without the candles being lit. And then filling all of the fireplaces and hearts of Perdita with warm beautiful glowing light. For on this Christmas Eve, they would be lost no more.
Enter BioLuisa Kay Reyes has had pieces featured in "The Raven Chronicles", "The Windmill", "The Foliate Oak", "The Eastern Iowa Review", and other literary magazines. Her essay, "Thank You", is the winner of the April 2017 memoir contest of "The Dead Mule School Of Southern Literature". And her Christmas poem was a first place winner in the 16th Annual Stark County District Library Poetry Contest. Additionally, her essay "My Border Crossing" received a Pushcart Prize nomination from the Port Yonder Press. And two of her essays have been nominated for the "Best of the Net" anthology. With one of her essays recently being featured on "The Dirty Spoon" radio hour.
Pieces Inspired by this Image
'Come to the Temple'