Everyone had finally settled down, and Grandpa had made up a cool warm batch of his eggnog that everyone loved. This was Maddy and her cousin’s favorite part of the day because Grandpa would slip a little rum into their glasses as well.
Not too much though.
“This is some good stuff,” Tyler said as she drank from her cup. “I’m finally at the age where I can enjoy a full cup and not the little drops you kids have to suffer through.”
Maddy nodded, laughed, and took a sip from hers.
“Hurry and finish your cups,” Nana said. “I’m ready to open these presents!”
Maddy looked at Uncle Nolan and smiled. She’d seen him walk in with bags going all the way up his arm, and she just knew that what he’d gotten her was going to be the best.
Uncle Nolan smiled and gave her a nod.
The kids downed the rest of their eggnog and then rushed over to the tree. They began to sort through everything that had their names’ on them so that it would be easy to rip open when the adults had made their way over.
“Boy, the rum in the eggnog went right to my feet,” Aunt Leanne said as she struggled to rise from her chair.
“Now Leanna, let’s not act like you didn’t have a few glasses of wine before you came,” said Aunt Roz with a devilish grin.
Aunt Leanne rolled her eyes and went to sit with her nieces and nephews.
“Today had been a great day Roz, and I am not going to let you ruin it,” she said as she flashed her middle finger.
“Oh, now you stop bickering like you’re children and grab the gifts that have your name on them,” Nana said.
It was the tradition that the families would do Secret Santa’s every year, and those were always the gifts that they would open first. The rest would be individual gifts that were given just because.
“Oh my god! This is the bracelet I was looking at a few months ago,” said Ashton. “Thank you so much, Uncle Ryan!”
Uncle Ryan smiled.
There was an abundance of jewelry amongst this year’s selection of gifts. Every other gasp was followed by the unboxing of gold, silver, and diamonds.
Maddy began to open her gifts.
The first gift she opened was Uncle Nolan’s.
He had gotten her journals of her own so that she could document all of her journey in becoming a Nephilim as her dad had done. He’d also gotten her a new lens for her camera so that she could, “Take pictures of all the places the Universe would take her,” is what he wrote on the card.
Maddy jumped up and gave him the biggest hug, while everyone else sat around with envy. What Uncle Nolan had gotten them wasn’t nearly as nice as what he’d gotten Maddy. After all, everyone knew Maddy was his favorite.
“Your Aunt June and I knew you’d love it,” he said.
“I do indeed,” Maddy said back.
She went back to finish opening her gifts. She had made her way through new clothes, shoes, and a new set of paintbrushes with one last box to spare.
“This last one is for you Maddy,” her cousin Josiah said.
There was a big red box with red and gold ribbon attached sitting in the furthest corner behind the tree.
“Who’s it from,” Nana asked, as Maddy picked up the box.
“I don’t know,” Maddy responded. “There’s no name on it.”
Uncle Nolan stood up from his seat. No one knew what to expect.
When Maddy opened the box, there was a journal. A journal that looked quite similar to the ones Uncle Nolan had given her on her birthday.
“Uncle Nolan, did you — ?” Maddy stumbled over her words.
“I didn’t,” he said. “I have no idea what it is.”
Maddy picked up the journal and pulled back the cover. When she opened, a card fell from inside that said:
Maddy, this is just a reminder that we have always and will always watch over you. We will meet again soon. Keep practicing at your gifts, and we will be reunited sooner than you think. You are the key to bringing us back home. We will continue to visit you in your dreams, and we will continue to protect you as best we can. Tell your Nana and Grandpa that we love and miss them as well. Tell your Uncle Nolan that I appreciate him looking out for you. Christia has all the answers you will need, as I’m sure you’re going to be very confused after reading this letter. She is waiting for you to reach out to her. We are so sorry it took us so long to reach out to you in this way. These journals will also help you find us. They are in Nimmish, so only a few people will know what they say. I know that your Nimmish is probably not that well, so Christia will be able to help you with it as well. I’m sure you also know by now that your uncle Nolan is a witch. He will also be of great help to you on the rest of your journey.
Mom & Dad
Maddy, fighting back tears of joy, put the note back into the box and quickly closed it.
“So who’s it from,” everyone began to ask.
“Luke,” Maddy said. “It’s from Luke. He knew how upset I was about Leslie stealing my other journals, so he got me this one to replace them.”
Nana walked over and gave her a hug.
“Well, that’s great darling, but Auntie needs her another glass of that eggnog,” Aunt Leanne said as she stumbled into the kitchen.
Maddy then sent a text to Uncle Nolan explaining to him where the gift had come from and letting him know to grab the box and hide in somewhere only they would be able to find it.
He grabbed the box and put it into their secret hiding place. A door under the staircase where Maddy always hid when the two of them would play hide and seek when she was growing up.
Everyone had begun to settle down again after their second and third glasses of eggnog, so Maddy snuck off to find Nolan. He was in the living room sitting next to the fireplace.
“Did you get a chance to read the letter,” Maddy asked?
“I did,” he said. “I’m so shocked that he reached out to you now of all times.”
“I know right,” Maddy said with excitement. “I wonder what this all means.”
Nolan shrugged and hugged Maddy. He assured her that he would be there with her every step of the way.
“Knock, knock,” said Aunt June as she walked into the room.
“I’m sure you already know as well,” Maddy asked laughing?
“I do,” Aunt June said with a smile. “Are you excited?”
Maddy nodded her head and sat next to the fire.
“Are you a witch too, June,” asked Maddy?
Aunt June looked and Nolan and laughed. She then stuck her hand out as one of the white candles from on top of the fireplace flew into her hand. “How about a light,” she said as Nolan snapped his fingers and the candle grew a flew.
“I am,” she said.
Maddy shook her head and laughed in disbelief.
“I think that’s amazing, but everything I know has been a lie,” she said.
“We along with my sister Christia are going to teach you everything we know,” Nolan said. “You do know that the first witch was given her powers by an angel, right? Everything that we can do you can do a thousand times better.”
Maddy shook her head.
“Yes,” Nolan said.
He began to tell her the story of the first witch to ever walk the Earth.
“Her name was Anit Ahsek,” he said. “Angels had always been sent down here to protect humans, but there was one instance where a human had gone through such great suffering her whole life. She begged and she pleaded for mercy and she asked for forgiveness of all the wrong she had done in her past. She was not forgiven nor was she shown any mercy from the Gods that ruled the elements. Her guardian angel Ralonia couldn’t sit back any longer and watch the human that she cared so much for be treated so inhumanely. She felt pity for her, so she gave her the ability to create the life she desired to live through magic. She gave her the power to use the elements that were once against her, for her best benefit.”
“What could she have possibly done,” Maddy asked.
Just as Nolan was about to finish his story, Nana called for Maddy from the kitchen.
Maddy got up and went to see what her Nana wanted with her.
“This conversation isn’t over,” she said before she made it completely out of the door.
“Here is your dessert plate,” she said. “I put a slice of everything on here before it was all gone.”
Maddy grabbed her plate and rushed it up to her room. She then went back downstairs to see that everyone was getting ready to leave.
“Well everyone, I’ll be heading off,” said Aunt Roz. “I’ve got to drop this coat off at the cleaners tomorrow so that they can remove the smell of this tacky pine scent from it.”
Nana rolled her eyes and gave Aunt Roz a hug and a kiss on the cheek. Ryan followed, and then Leanne and everyone else. Uncle Nolan and Aunt June stayed behind because they knew they’d have to explain everything to Nana and Grandpa.
Nana began washing dishes after everyone had finally left.
“Remembering whole quickly Nolan retrieved that box, and now seeing that he and June have decided to stay behind, one can only assume that it wasn’t a gift from Lucas in that box,” Nana said as she ran dishwater.
“It was from my parents,” Maddy yelped.
Nana stopped what she was doing and turned around to face everyone else.
Maddy stood by the refrigerator, Nolan and June were sitting at the bar and Grandpa was leaned up against the laundry room door.
“It was from who,” Nana asked as if she were truly seeking clarification.
“My parents,” Maddy said. She then went to get the box from under the staircase.
Nana turned and looked at Nolan, and Nolan nodded his head in confirmation. Grandpa stood in silence as Maddy returned with the journal and the card. Nana began to read it, and then she passed it to Grandpa so that he could investigate what was going on.
“This is indeed Johann’s handwriting,” he said.
Nana squealed with excitement. Other than the journals Nolan had given Maddy for her birthday, these were the most recent words to come from her son. She went back to washing the dishes and singing with joy. They knew that they were alive, but they weren’t sure they’d be able to see them again. This letter was all the confirmation that they needed.
“Maddy, I’ll be calling you in the next few days,” Nolan said. “We’ve gotten finish that story, and I also want to start deciphering this journal so that we can figure out where your parents are.”
Maddy gave Nolan a hug and then June as well. She locked the door behind them and went back into the kitchen with her grandparents.
“You know that you’re not alone in all of this,” Nana asked as she placed her hand on Maddy’s shoulder and smiled.
“Yeah, I know. It is a pretty big responsibility though,” Maddy said back. “I think I’m gonna go to bed. I have a lot of thinking to do.”
“Goodnight sweetheart,” both her grandparents said as she turned to head up the stairs to her bedroom.
It seemed as though every holiday had only gotten stranger and stranger ever since she found out who she really was.