The Tribune-Democrat is seeking writers to bring another “Your Story” to the region’s readers.
Writers of all ages are invited to read the introduction below, then write a 500- to 700-word next chapter and send it by noon Thursday.
The goal is a five-chapter, holiday-themed story, ending on Christmas Day.
Entries can be emailed to Renée Carthew, news editor, at firstname.lastname@example.org; sent by facsimile to 814-539-1409; or mailed to The Tribune-Democrat, 425 Locust St., P.O. Box 340, Johnstown, Pa. 15907.
The winning first chapter and a short article about the author will be published on Oct. 30, and then the process will begin again.
The ongoing story will appear on The Tribune-Democrat’s website – www.tribdem.com.
Christmas was less than a month away, but Meghan Andrews wasn’t feeling the holiday spirit.
She couldn’t explain why. She just knew she wasn’t looking forward to the holiday season, and she would rather skip the whole thing.
With a heavy sigh, she looked up from her office computer and stared out the window.
Meghan saw signs of Christmas everywhere.
Colorful lights were strung on trees, animated displays danced in store windows and festive music greeted people as they made their way through town.
Santa Claus was even walking around, handing out candy canes to children.
“Oh, to have that pure wonder and excitement again,” Meghan said to herself.
As she went back to work, she could have sworn the Christmas music got louder, as if to taunt her.
“Yeah, that figures,” Meghan said.
A few hours later, as Meghan was getting ready to call it a day and head home, her coworker, Jill, stopped by her office to see if she wanted to grab a drink.
Jill was dressed in one of those ridiculous holiday sweaters and looked like she could be one of Santa’s elves.
“Wow, you seemed stressed,” Jill said, leaning against the door frame.
“Oh, come on. It can’t be that bad, it’s Christmas.”
Reluctantly, Meghan agreed to go.
Two drinks in, Jill was rambling on and on about her big family Christmas plans – what she was cooking, who was coming to the festivities, what gifts she bought and which carols the family would sing together around the piano.
It hit Meghan that maybe that was it – why she didn’t feel the holiday spirit.
She hadn’t really celebrated Christmas in years.
Meghan hadn’t been close to her family in quite some time.
They spoke on occasion, but she couldn’t remember the last time they were all together for the holidays.
Under her breath she said, “Some people just aren’t that lucky, I guess.”
Jill, caught off guard, asked Meghan what she had said.
“Nothing,” Meghan said.
“i think I’m going to head home. I’m close by, so I think I’ll just walk. I could use the fresh air.”
With a wave, Meghan was out the door and walking down the snow-covered sidewalk.
The wind was whipping, and she zipped her jacket up to her neck to keep warm.
As Meghan rounded the corner of her street, something in the snow caught her eye.
The object glistened thanks to all the Christmas lights adorning the nearby homes.
Bending down, Meghan saw it was an old photograph.
As she looked closer at it, a flash of light blinded her.
Coming to, Meghan found herself sitting in a pile of snow.
Confused, she looked around.
“Where am I?” Meghan said. ...