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The fireplace

This week the writers capture the warmth of the fireplace!


By: Austina Xu

    The time is here folks! That’s right- CHRIIISTMAAASSS TIIMMMMME!!! Because it is officially one day after Thanksgiving while I am writing this, by law that means it’s time to whip out your stockings and overpriced lights and go ham with the decorating like there’s no tomorrow. Santa sure will be impressed the minute he pops out of that chimney and lands in the fireplace right? WRONG! You see, the dimensions of an average chimney are about 13x13 inches with an area of 99 square inches. Furthermore, the standard fireplace opening is only 29 inches tall. Given that Santa Claus is about 5 feet 7 in, weighs approximately 260 pounds, and is 1,749 years of age; he probably won’t be going through any chimney on Christmas Eve. But fear not! Here are three other alternatives to ensure that Father Christmas does not let those stale $3.38 Royal Dansk cookies you get from Costco go to waste.

  1. The front door is an obvious alternative, but leaving it unlocked an entire night does not seem like a very safe option. Thus, I’d suggest hooking some sleigh bells to the handle. In the case of a midnight house burglary, you’d be woken up to the delightful ringing of bells and have about 2.5 second to prep yourself and call 911. Santa sure will be impressed by your holiday spirit!

  2. The backdoor can serve as another option. You can repeat the steps listed above once more to ensure safety throughout the night, but where’s the fun in that? Instead, I’d suggest putting a sign on the backdoor that would make anyone planning on breaking into your house think twice. My personal favorite and go-to is the classic BEWARE OF PET ALLIGATOR, but feel free to get creative!

  3. K I know a bedroom window sounds kind of risque- but hear me out: Windows can range anywhere from 24 by 36 in to 34 by 62 in, which should be enough to get Santa through. This is an especially great option for those who have children; what’s a better way to have a memorable Christmas than witnessing Santa break into your own bedroom? Now that’s a story any toddler would love to boast about to their friends.

    And there you have it folks- three different ways to let Santa break into your house. Stay safe during the holidays!

new beginnings

By: Luce Cada

    The moon was already high in the sky when Silas started whimpering. I looked down and he jumped onto his hind legs, pawing at my already-torn shirt. 

    “Should we go home now?” I sighed, patting his head and sitting down. He laid his head on my lap and quieted down, yawning and resting peacefully. “I guess we could wait for a bit.” 

    I continued to stroke his head and look up at the sky. Another lonely year was coming to an end. Except it was technically my choice to live like this. And I was doing just fine, too. 

    The stars winked at me and the world stopped spinning for a few minutes. I was jolted out of my thoughts by Silas, who started reaching for my shirtsleeve. 

    “Okay, let’s go home,” I said, laughing and standing up. He jumped into my arms and I found my way back to my house via the stars and the marks I made on the trees so long ago. When we were close enough, Silas hopped off and we raced each other, our giggling echoing throughout the thick forest. 

    Home sweet home. I carefully blew out the candle outside the cabin as Silas pushed open the door with his tiny paws. I smiled and closed the door behind me, taking my jacket off and turning to the fireplace to warm myself up. 

   “What the-” I yelped, flying five feet in the air and landing in a failed ninja stance. There was a cloaked figure sitting at the newly lit fireplace, frozen in place as they looked at me. When I looked closer, they seemed just as scared and surprised as I was. 

    “How… How did you find this place?” I said, my voice barely over a whisper. 

    The person didn’t move. Silas creeped up to them and sniffed their foot, then climbed up to push their hood back. Light brown hair fell neatly around her shoulders and the light of the fire made it seem gold. She finally cracked a small smile when Silas licked her nose out of curiosity, and she tentatively pet his head. 

    “How’d you find this place?” I said again, but she didn’t even look up. She just kept playing with Silas, letting him crawl all over her. 

    I moved closer, reaching out to calm Silas down. “How did you get here?” I tried, and she finally looked at me. 

    Her eyes softened, then she made motions with her hands I couldn’t understand. “Are you deaf?” 

    She cocked her head at me and slowly nodded. 

    Oh. I bit my lip, unsure how to communicate with her. I had no idea what her background was or how she got here. We were pretty deep into the woods. I looked around to see if she brought a backpack. Nothing seemed new since I was last at home. 

    I thought for a second, then I pointed at her and then gestured to the space around us. She raised her hands as if she were about to sign something, but then hesitated. I wouldn’t be able to understand her. 

    I stood up and started looking around. Silas jumped off of the girl’s lap and followed me, opening cabinets and then closing them. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw her smile at my dog. 

    Silas jumped onto a counter and opened a cabinet I hadn’t opened in a while. Inside were pieces of wood and coal, and I took a huge piece of coal and wood out. Then I handed them to her, and she instantly began to write. 

    I learned that Kenley had run away from her life in the city to a life in the forest - just like me. And she’d found the cabin unoccupied, so she thought that it was abandoned. She’d been here for the last hour, starting a fire and trying to figure out something new. 

    “Well, you came just in time for New Year’s,” I said, making sure I spoke slow enough for her to read my lips. She smiled and nodded, watching me get up to warm some water over the fireplace. 

    Kenley pointed to the clock, which read 11:58 PM. Then she pointed to the door, slightly ajar from the wind.    Silas followed her gaze and ran to the door, opening it to reveal the full moon in a sky of stars. 

    I stood up as she ran around and blew out all the candles, sending us into darkness except for the small fire in the corner. We sat outside on the steps in silent agreement and listened to my handmade clock chime at midnight, signaling the start of a new year. 

    Maybe this time, it wouldn’t be spent alone. 

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