Chapter One Part Two
By Joan Campbell
My darling, how I hope this letter hasn’t upset you. By the time you get it, I will no longer be with you. The doctors are saying another month, maybe two at most. I knew I wouldn’t make it until Christmas, so I wanted to give you one final gift. I hope it is the best one yet.
Do you remember when you and Laurie were little? One of your favorite games was our Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt. I remember how the two of you would come to visit us in December. You city girls loved the Colorado mountains, the trees, the forest trails. Gramps and I would set up a map, and you’d have to find each of the trees in which we’d hung one of the Christmas ornaments. Then, when you had all of them, we’d give you the last clue to the tree where the real prize was hidden. Do you remember, darling? And then on Christmas Day your parents would be there too. How precious those memories are to me.
Well Gracie, I want to send you on one last Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt. This one is a bit different. It’s more spread out, in fact, and while you’re looking for the Christmas ornaments, you’ll also experience some people and places I wished I could have shown you while I was alive. Who knows? You might even uncover a secret or two.
In the box you just received, are nine envelopes, and each one will guide you to a different place, with a different tree and a different ornament. Open the envelopes only when you’re about to set off on the next part of the journey. It’s kind of like your favorite show, the Amazing Race, right?
If my timing is right, you’re in the middle of November now and you should be able to take a break from Southern Texas U without losing any credits. Also if you’re still working for Bertie, I’m pretty sure he’ll give you six weeks off (although he’ll moan like crazy). Just tell him I told you to do it—he’s always had a soft spot for me.
There is so much to show you. I can’t tell you how much fun I’ve had putting this together, and I want you to know that I’m with you every step of the way.
Are you ready for our last Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt, darling? Open your first clue—Envelope 1. And then let the adventure begin.
All my love, Grammie
I must have sat with the letter in my hand for a very long time, because when I finally looked up, darkness had crept into the apartment. My skin had that stretched feeling you get when tears have dried, and there was a lump in my throat that I couldn’t seem to swallow away.
The letter wasn’t from Lauren. It was from Grammie, of that I was sure. Who else could come up with such a crazy, hare-brained idea? Who else would even think of having me hurtle all over the place looking for trees and ornaments but Grammie, the most adventurous person I’d ever known.
I did remember the Christmas Tree Treasure Hunts. I also recalled just how much Lauren and I had looked forward to those special trips to Colorado. Yet, that had all changed when we were fourteen and our parents were killed on the drive up to the mountains.
I rose, pushing the intrusive thought aside, and feeling for the switch on the wall. As the light flickered on, I looked over at Grammie’s box and the table strewn with envelopes.
Lately I had become rather adept at forgetting. I had thrown myself wholeheartedly into student-life: studying, hanging out with friends, and partying; anything to forget the loss and pain of the past. But Grammie’s parcel changed everything.
I glanced at my watch. Seven o’clock. I was meant to be at Escalante’s, for my roommate’s birthday party. But with my puffy eyes and throbbing head, I was in no state to go.
I knew I had a decision to make. Should I throw Grammie’s box away, stuffing all the memories it had unlocked back deep inside me? Or should I open that first envelope and follow Grammie’s clue to wherever it led? Could I risk letting in any more pain?
In the end, my love for Grammie helped me to decide. One sentence of her letter kept running through my mind: I want you to know that I’m with you every step of the way. In this final adventure Grammie had set up for me, I would have her by my side one last time.
So I tore open the first envelope.
Read Chapter Two Part One by Ruth O’Neil on her blog today!
The Christmas Tree Treasure Hunt
Grace takes delivery of a package and her life is turned upside down by nine sealed mystery envelopes from her late grandmother. Grammie’s instructions require Grace to take the journey of her lifetime, not only to far off places, but also into the deepest parts of her heart. As she follows the trail laid out for her and uncovers her family’s darkest secrets, Grace is forced to confront the loss and betrayal that has scarred her past and seek the greatest Christmas Treasure of all.
Learn more about this fun project at Write Integrity Press.
Don’t forget to pop over to Magnificent Hope’s Christmas Party! We’ll see you there.