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CJ Heck

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The Christmas Miracle
By CJ Heck
Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Rated "PG" by the Author.

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Miracles really do happen ...

A Christmas Miracle
a Short Story
by CJ Heck

The storm had begun last evening just after dark with gentle flurries. Now in the early morning hours before dawn, it was snowing like a son-of-a-bitch. Jake Simons pulled his collar up as high as it would go, hoping to shrink the opening enough that it was less inviting to wayward flakes. "Never mind," he thought, "never you mind. It's winter, it's snowing, and it is what it is."

This morning, like every morning, snow or no snow, Jake walked the tracks, picking up rogue coal jostled from the railroad cars bouncing along the tracks. It couldn't buy food, but each shiny black lump was precious and it went a long way to keep his family warm in these tough times. The heavy snow seemed to punctuate just how hard things were -- and how bad they could still get.

As he walked, he pushed the snow away with his boot. The coal was nearly impossible to see and, with each step, his heart grew heavier, knowing his pockets were nearly empty. How in the world had things ever have gotten so bad?

It was only days before Christmas, and Jake still hadn't found any work. "Children shouldn't have to grow up this fast." Jake said aloud into the dark, while the wind gobbled each word as it was spoken. "In their innocent dreams, Santa is in the North Pole and his elves still make toys to deliver by sleigh on
Christmas Eve -- even now in the Great Depression."

Jake's oldest delivered groceries and stocked shelves for Burt down at the market on Tuesdays, while Tommy, the middle child, had a paper route. Even Dotty, his wife, had a job one day a week cleaning for Annie Parker. Her husband owned the town's mill. Jeb Parker did what he could, hiring for a day here, a day there, but few needed what the mill produced, so even Jeb was on hard times. And Sarah, sweet Sarah,
was only two years old. This was all she had ever known. How he wished he could make everything better.

Hours later, Jake had reached his lowest point yet. It was dark and snowing even harder, as if that was possible. All day long, Jake had stood in the growing lines for the few jobs that were available, but there were always more men than jobs. Overcome by exhaustion and grief, he sat down hard on the curb, his feet planted in the freezing slush below. With his head in his hands, he fought a growing resolve. Jake's spirit
was broken and he recognized complete and utter defeat.

Blinking through unbidden tears, Jake prayed for his immortal soul. "God, please help me. To those I love, I'm worth more dead, than alive." Then, with his service revolver pointed at the roof of his mouth, he lowered his head. Suddenly, he noticed something half buried in the slush between his feet. In quiet disbelief, he slowly reached down and picked up a wet and crumpled fifty dollar bill ...

Merry Christmas, everyone!

       Web Site: Barking Spiders Poetry

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Reviewed by J Howard 12/18/2011
my eyes were reading as fast as they could, absorbing each word, translating into thought, then into pictures in my mind. thank you for saving Jake, i felt his hopelessness and then his releif. such remarkable story telling-
Reviewed by m j hollingshead 12/14/2011
well said
Reviewed by Mark Lichterman 12/13/2011
Very good story, C.J.
Glad tha Jake found his miracle, or maybe the miracle found him.
Reviewed by Patrick Granfors 12/13/2011
Happy endings at Christmas are always good. Patrick
Reviewed by Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado 12/13/2011
Awesome story, CJ; well done!

(((HUGS))) and much love, your friend in Texas, Karen Lynn. :D

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