by Ian MacPhail

Hidden aways next to the large city of Barbina, the village Bucatini is littered with houses with heaps-upon-heaps of glistening powder piled on top. Piraticus has blessed this town with many blessings, including the town favourite, “Holiday.” During Holiday, the town boils with excitement. A sneaky Santa couldn’t walk a block without being snowballed to insanity by the many “Season’s Greetings.” In an annual supernatural phenomena, a random group of seven houses divinely burn to the ground. The inhabitants feel blessed and touched, as the community gladly rebuilds the houses bigger and better in preparation for the new year. After all, the townsfolk need their pocket change for celebrating Holiday, and couldn’t possibly afford to rebuild seven houses each year if it weren’t completely necessary. And so they are grateful. The whole town of Bucatini gathers around the town square, in admiration of the large and elegant Festivus pole which reigns over the entire village. On the twenty-seventh of December the great gift-giving begins in this very spot. Again the townspeople feel blessed, for their annual tradition falls just after the great sale of Boxer’s day. Then tragedy struck. On the twenty-sixth morning of their seventeenth Holiday in Bucatini, a sharp silence pierced the walls of the house Mandonguilla. It’s a well-known tradition amongst the villagers to set their alarms early on Boxer’s-day-eve, so they can rise before the snow begins to melt and shop for their friends and family. But this year, 
Mr. Mandonguilla was gifted an exceptionally potent bottle of mead from one of his relatives in a distant nation. He was swept away to slumber without preparation. On the morning of Boxer’s day, Mrs. Mandonguilla stirred and awoke in a fright after realizing the neighbours had already left to the city to shop for gifts of delight. She woke her husband telling him “It’s not too late” as she got the keys for the car. In preparation of this day, they had taken one precaution; the kids were asleep in the backseat of their Sandero. The family drove through the neighbourhood towards great Barbina, unbeknownst that the neighbours were still at home, anticipating snowfalls greater than those known. The shops were full, as the city-folk know no horrors of snow, and the Mandonguillas were too absorbed by their excellent gift choices to give notice that there were no other cars returning to Bucatini. Perhaps the snow building up on the windshield, blinding them, had something to do with that. Their daughter Penny was the first to notice the newly-formed skyscrapers where their neighbourhood was just hours before. “Look at all that snow Mommy! Daddy look!” and they took their eyes off their receipts and gifts, to look up at the freshly-plowed road ahead of them. Snow piled higher than they’d ever seen before; the houses were just lumps. In the midst of despair of wondering how on earth they’ll ever have a home again, Mrs. Mandonguilla notices a small flickering light beneath the snow where their house used to be. Minutes later, flames were melting this snowstack down and exposing ashes-in-the-making of their home. “It’s a Holiday miracle!” the family cheered, excited to finally become one of the lucky seven who will have their house rebuilt by the New Year.