Read Quinn's Christmas Wish Online

Authors: Lawna Mackie

Quinn's Christmas Wish

Quinn's Christmas Wish
Bandit Creek [7]
Lawna Mackie
Bandit Creek Books (2011)

As far as twelve-year old Quinn is concerned Christmas has lost its magic. Since his father’s death life has lost its sparkle. His mom is now a widow struggling to put food on the table. Quinn is no help, and the mysterious illness afflicting him only makes things worse. Even Christmas, complete with decorated trees, ribbons and bows has no meaning…then along comes Jazira.
Jazira doesn’t know what happened to her former self, the eleven-year old little girl. She drowned, didn’t she, along with half the other folk of Bandit Creek in 1911? Somehow, she’s grown four furry legs complimented with a large wolf head and body. Scared and alone, she reaches out to Quinn and a strong bond is formed. Jazira learns Quinn, and his mother, are threatened by a wealthy powerful citizen of Bandit Creek. She is determined to protect her new family, no matter what.

Christmas Eve finds Quinn staring up at the adorned tree and muttering a quiet prayer. Will the Spirits of Christmas grant his wish, or will the evil surrounding Bandit Creek prevail once again?

Quinn’s Christmas Wish

A Bandit Creek Paranormal Christmas Story

Copyright by Lawna Mackie

Thank you to my family who helped me brainstorm around the dining room table. I hope you’ll enjoy some of interesting characters we brought to life. Also I extend my gratitude to the Bandit Creek authors and my friends who assisted me along the way. I encourage everyone to visit Bandit Creek at
www.banditcreekbooks.com

∗ ∗ ∗

I have two paranormal/romantic fantasy novels coming soon.

IMPOSSIBLE TO HOLD – December 19, 2011, Liquid Silver Books
www.liquidsilverbooks.com

ENCHANTMENT – January 13, 2012, Muse It Up Publishing

www.museituppublishing.com

For more information visit me at
www.lawnamackie.ca

Table of Contents

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

Chapter Twelve

Chapter Thirteen

Chapter Fourteen

Chapter Fifteen

Chapter Sixteen

Christmas Eve

Christmas Day

Authors Note

Coming Soon - The Gift

Chapter One

CREEK, MONTANA, 1912

Dried leaves crunched beneath twelve-year old Quinn’s weight as he sank to his knees. His throat burned and he swallowed hard, his breath catching in his chest. He would not cry. He wouldn’t! In slow motion, he watched a drop of his crimson blood splatter against the carpet of fallen leaves. Anger and hurt brought unshed tears to his eyes.

The wind gusted amongst the trees, blowing the hair away from his face and forcing him to sit up. Whatever leaves were left on the poplars rustled and the tall spruce groaned and cracked, swaying along in the breeze.

Quinn shook his head and pounded the ground with his fist.

The flood of Bandit Creek a year ago had stolen his hopes, dreams and happiness. Despite the rebuilding of the town, evil thrived in many forms. Countless bodies had never been recovered. Men, women and children, drowned, trapped at the bottom of the lake…Lost Lake as it was now called. A year later, murder, superstition, possession, and mysterious illnesses engulfed the town and survivors of the flood.

Choking back the painful memories, his fingertips traced his father’s name etched in the tombstone. With the back of his hand, he wiped the blood away from his nose and mouth. He could almost hear his Pa’s deep soothing voice.
You’re strong, Quinn. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise.
Deep down he hoped his father was right.

Chapter Two

Samuel Campton sat silently on his horse Roman while the gelding carefully plodded along the winding trail towards Lost Lake. Fresh snow during the night left a white carpet over the dirt and covered the boughs of the evergreens.

He hated Lost Lake and the unusual feeling he felt every time he checked his trap line near its shoreline. Roman even slowed his already leisurely pace as they neared the water. Samuel touched a spur to the animal’s flank, hurrying him forward along the darkened trail. Ahead beams of light streamed through the canopy of close knit branches.

What broke the eerie silence was a large splash and splutter of water followed by terrified whimpers. Without hesitation, Samuel kicked Roman into a full gallop, dashing toward the noise and the lake. Fifty feet from the edge of the shore, he pulled the horse to a halt and dismounted. He slid his Winchester rifle free from the scabbard. The trees crowded the shore and blocked a clear view of the water. All too soon, he found himself at the edge of the lake staring at the largest wolf he’d ever seen.

An ice chunk floated about twenty-five feet from shore, and clinging to it by its paws was a wolf. Samuel shook his head. It made no sense; the lake hadn’t even frozen over yet.

“Damn!” he cursed. Visibly exhausted, the animal could barely hold its head out of the water. Why didn’t the critter simply swim to shore? But then again, strange happenings and superstition surrounded Lost Lake.

The man hung his head, taking a deep breath before he lifted the rifle and took aim. It would be best not to let the animal suffer. Unexpectedly, the wolf lifted its head and stared directly at him. Its eyes glowed, turning from red to gold and boring straight through to his soul. He got the impression the creature was pleading for salvation and a chance to live. Samuel slowly lowered the gun, and again the animal made an unsuccessful attempt to drag its body out of the water.

“Okay. Okay.” He yelled. “Stay put for a minute.” Unable to believe he was about to help the cursed beast, he spotted a tall dead skinny spruce lying a short distance away. He didn’t know what else to try, but hoped his idea would work.

He lifted the tree into the water. As it tipped toward the wolf, a deep growl resonated from the animal’s throat.

Samuel lost his temper. “Listen pal. I could have shot you, and now you’re growling at me. My gun is still right here if you’d prefer that option.”

The growls ceased, and the tip of the tree landed on the chunk of ice within reach of the wolf’s mouth.

“Okay I’ve done my part now it’s your turn.”

The animal whined.

Samuel groaned with frustration. “Bite the damn thing so I can pull you in,” he instructed forcefully.
I can’t believe I’m talking to the stupid animal.
The wolf’s eyes turned red and its powerful jaws snapped as it lunged forward, grabbing onto the wood.

He pulled the animal to shore, foot by foot, until its legs touched the rocky bottom beneath the water. The wolf exploded out of the frigid lake like a bullet, knocking Samuel backward off his feet. It stood beside him and shook violently, sending water in all directions.

He stared up at the beast, whose eyes had turned red again. The other abnormality was the paws; larger than any wolf’s feet he’d ever seen, they included an extra toe on each front paw.

The guard hair glittered in the morning light. Down its back was a large gold strip, which stood out against the sleek black coat. The animal would tower over any other wolf.

Samuel stayed very still as the animal leaned forward. His rifle lay far enough away he didn’t stand a chance of reaching it should the wolf decide to get aggressive. Instead of attacking, its long snout sniffed his leg up and down and then just as quickly, it turned in the opposite direction and darted off into the forest.

The trapper sat for a few moments, stunned by the events. Why didn’t he just shoot the beast? Hell, he could have received a healthy chunk of change for the unusual pelt.
Enough wasting time.
Pushing himself up and off the ground, he dusted the snow and dirt off his legs. After retrieving the rifle, he took one last stare out at the God forsaken Lost Lake. He scanned the water for the large piece of ice, but it was nowhere to be found.

The wind picked up and the ghostly sounds of the lonely forest echoed in his ears.
All those people died here, buried under this icy lake in the old town of Bandit Creek. They didn’t even know what hit them when the whole town flooded.

What possessed him to come to this odd place of Bandit Creek? Of course it was the dream of finding more gold and silver. The thought alone solidified his decision to leave Alaska and move south—a warmer climate and a town where riches were waiting to be discovered. When Samuel started the journey he hadn’t expected the town to be wiped out by the flood before he even arrived. The town being gone didn’t matter anymore, not now when he’d planted roots and his trap line was thriving.

He weaved through the trees, making his way back to Roman. The horse held his head high, looking like he would bolt at any moment.

“Easy fella. The wolf is long gone by now,” Samuel reassured his mount.

Roman snorted, shaking his head. The man found himself looking over his shoulder. A shadow flashed between the evergreens. The horse danced sideways, a snort flaring its nostrils.

Samuel took the reins, reached up and patted the horse’s neck.

“Well, if it isn’t careful it’ll end up in one of my traps. I will have truly wasted our time this morn’n.”

Chapter Three

Amanda Drake reached over the table, beginning the task of clearing away the dirty dishes from the lunch hour meal. From table to table she went with her black skirt swaying back and forth along with her quick steps. Much needed to be done, and for that she was grateful. If she stopped, her mind would drift away…back to the time when her life was content and peaceful, a time when she had her Walter. Tears immediately stung her eyes. She didn’t have time for tears. She finished collecting the dishes from the round oak tables and moved to the back room where a stack of dishes needed to be washed.

The aroma of freshly baked bread wafting from the oven reminded her to remove it. Mr. Murphy had been gracious enough to allow her to run the boarding house. He knew the difficulties she was having. Being only twenty-nine years of age, he said she’d be ideal for the demanding job.

Like all the buildings since the flood, Murphy’s Boarding House was only a year old and had been supplied with all the newest appliances and services, making her job easier.

With the dishes and baking complete, Amanda wiped her forehead and tucked a lose strand of hair from her braid behind her ear. The supper meal needed to be started, and then she would ensure the rooms upstairs were properly tended.

Bells chimed, signaling somebody had entered the restaurant.

“Amanda you need to get out here now!”

Quickly wiping her hands on her apron, she rushed from the kitchen. Betty Smith, from the Town Hall across the street, stood in the entryway.

She pointed out the door toward the steps. Her hand trembled visibly betraying her anxiety. “Hurry, it’s Quinn. He’s lying on the steps! There’s blood all over his face.”

Amanda felt the room spin as fear gripped her heart. She ran as fast as her feet would carry her out the door. Sure enough, her twelve-year old son Quinn lay sprawled on the steps.

A tiny scream erupted from her throat. Quickly, she sat and pulled him into her arms, staring down at his face covered in dried blood. “Quinn, sweetie, it’s momma. I’m here now.”

She choked back a sob and yelled to Betty. “Please go into the kitchen and fetch me a cloth and some water.”

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