“What’s the one thing you want most in all the world?” I asked.
Turning from her watch at the window, Lucy scanned over the pressies and food surrounding the tree. “I think we’ve got everything, Mum.”
“But we always make a wish when lighting a Yule Candle.”
The rolled bees wax candle waited on the mantlepiece. Guiding a match in my eight-year-old’s hand, a spark jumped from the match to the horsehair wick. The room flashed green as her wish passed into the air, magic done.
“What did you wish for?” I asked.
She paused. “The perfect Yule holiday – with snow.”
Images of magical monsters crashed through my mind.
“Darling,” I said. “When a witch wishes on a Yule Candle big things happen. Snow has to come from somewhere and the wish may bring other things with it.”
“Dangerous things?” She asked.
“It’s ok sweetie, we would catch them.” I kissed her hair, hoping I was right. “Remember, make small wishes.”
The front door banged shut. Jack laughed as Lucy ploughed into him. “Honey, don’t say that! My beautiful daughter should wish big! Think unicorns, dragons.”
I inched forward, unconsciously touching his newly fuzzy cheek and feeling the cool of the night on his jacket. “How long can you stay, Jack?”
I saw the warning in his eye. “I hoped we could go back to London tonight…”
“On no, Jack! Not Yule in London, with you working?”
Jack waved me down. “Hang on, love. We can’t travel in this snow.”
I followed my giddy daughter to the window. Fat snowflakes were sticking to the gardens in the terrace street outside.
“Thank solstice for that.” I mumbled.
“Hot chocolate? Happy Feet?” Jack asked. Lucy whooped and skipped behind her dad into the kitchen.
I watched the gathering snow. The perfect Yule. Had Lucy asked for snow to keep her Dad here?
I felt magic palpitate along the street. Something was sliding through the gathering mulch. Something evil travelled on the wish.
All was silent, but for the gentle jingle of bells. Two white stallions came into view, pulling a birchwood sleigh covered in furs. A skeletal woman with shining blue eyes held the reins. Frost coated the garden gates as she passed.
Jack and I could handle her together, but then the snow and my Jack would leave too. My Jack…. Lucy wasn’t the only one missing his laugh, his hugs, his silly little jokes. Now he’s a politician his true home was in London, not with us.
Jack levitated steaming cups to the sofa and I let the bells pass and fade. What harm could happen in a couple of hours? Together, my Jack and I could hunt her down… tomorrow.

Submitted by:

Clare Opwell