THE HOLIDAY SPIRIT by Wendy Greenley (285 words)
Sheltering among the crabapple trees in the little home’s side yard, the animals’ stomachs grumbled.
“Is this the right place? You said there would be food,” said Squirrel.
“It’s here! Smell the holiday spirit,” said Deer.
“Smells like pine. But there are no pine trees,” said Rabbit.
“That’s the decorations,” said Deer.
“Where’s the food?” Squirrel danced nervously overhead.
“The holidays are about sharing. See the holiday spirit?” asked Deer.
“Holiday spirit flashes on and off?” asked Rabbit.
“Sometimes it flashes, sometimes it glows. Sometimes holiday spirit shimmers by moonlight,” said Deer.
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“I’m hungry!” said Squirrel.
“Be patient.” Deer pawed the ground.
The animals waited.
“Do you see any more petunias?” Squirrel whispered.
“Nope. We nibbled them to the ground last week,” said Deer.
“Any more hosta leaves? They’re my favorite,” Rabbit said.
“Nope. Last night’s frost turned them to mush,” said Deer.
“So, if you’re wrong—there’s nothing to eat!” Squirrel and Rabbit moaned together.
“Have faith!” said Deer. “I think I hear the holiday spirit.”
“Footsteps?” asked Squirrel.
“Run!” said Rabbit.
The animals did their best to blend in with the shadows.
“Here you go,” a voice said. “Before we built our home, this was your land. Thank you for sharing it. Happy holidays.”
The footsteps headed back to the house.
“How did you know the holiday spirit would bring us food?” Squirrel and Rabbit asked again.
“I didn’t,” admitted Deer. “But the holiday spirit is about hope, too. And I felt it.”
Squirrel took a big bite from the corn on the cob. “Holiday spirit tastes delicious.”
“Dibs on the carrot!” said Rabbit.
“We’re supposed to share.” Deer crunched an apple. “Never mind.”
The holiday spirit, and all its gifts, were delicious.
Wishing everyone a happy holiday season filled with delicious moments. :)