An excerpt from my work-in-progress
Colder weather crept in as the days became shorter and the nights longer. The sun rarely peeked out from the gray cloud-cover overhead; Étaín and Brigit turned their faces towards the rays when they could, wrapping their brats around them to keep out the wind as they did the day’s chores before hurrying back into the house, where the fire seemed all the warmer and brighter for dark, dying world outside. Étaín helped Brigit collect holly, and Annelie arrived earlier each evening, the sun that kept her away setting sooner with the oncoming solstice, bringing gifts of red berries and evergreens to decorate the house for the season; Étaín hung them with care when they finished their suppers, then settled down by the fire, rubbing her palms together as she surveyed her work.
Annelie arrived later than usual one evening, Étaín and Brigit already finished with supper, her hands behind her back.
“You’re quite late.” Étaín cocked an eyebrow and a corner of her mouth quirked up. “What are you hiding?”
The vampire shrugged a shoulder. “I… I don’t know what you mean.” She brought up a bough of green leaves hung heavy with white berries. “Oh. This?”
“Mistletoe!” Brigit’s eyes grew big….
Author’s Note: I started writing this chapter way back in June or July, but I found it a bit difficult to write a winter scene when the temperature outside was near 90 so I skipped over it to keep my momentum going. Now that the temperatures are dropping and the days becoming shorter, I feel like it’s time to return to it.
According to my research, mistletoe was hugely valued by the Ancient Irish, but not widespread through the country, so Annelie’s gift of mistletoe would have been a grand gift to both Étaín and Brigit!