Excavating the Archives: The Christmas Present

Moira had a secret. A dark secret. One that kept her awake at night. One she didn’t dare breathe a word to anyone about. The only person who knew about it was Moira herself, and that was the way she intended to keep it. It was a heavy burden to bear, and the stress of wondering if anyone would find out ate away at her.

As the days passed and no one said anything, she couldn’t help but think maybe…perhaps…she had got away with it. However, she didn’t dare to hope and the anxiety remained.

The days shortened and the nights lengthened. Autumn turned to winder, rain to snow. And still nothing was said. It seemed Moira had got away with it and the secret was hers alone. As long as she could keep it to herself…as long as she didn’t confide in anyone…it was as good as if it had never happened. And, if she was the only person who knew about it…was there a chance she had made it up? Was it all just a bad dream?

Christmas was only days away. Moira wrote and posted her Christmas cards and bought presents for her family and mailed them. The Christmas tree and decorations were put up, adding warmth and colour to the long wintry nights. Moira felt her spirit lift. It was, after all, her favourite time of year. And, in amidst the seasonal cheer, her secret was forgotten.

A knock on the door on Christmas Eve disturbed her evening of mulled wine drinking and A Christmas Carol reading. She found a place to stop, put the book down and went to see who was there. But the doorstep was empty, except for the present, all lovely and wrapped and topped with a glittering bow, sitting there on the mat.

It must have been from her sister, Moira reasoned. She was always in a hurry. Perhaps this evening she couldn’t wait?

Moira picked up the present and put it under the Christmas tree. Then she went back to her mulled wine and book.

The next morning, she got a call from her sister. “Sorry, Moira. We’ve not have time to drop the presents off yet. Are you in this morning?”

Moira paled. Trying to sound normal, she made arrangements with her sister for later that morning. Then, full of suspicion – and a large dose of fear – she went to the Christmas tree.

She removed the present and, with trepidation, unwrapped it. She looked inside. On top of layers of tissue paper was an envelope. She opened it. It was just a normal Christmas card: village church, lots of snow, robin in the foreground. She unfolded it to see who it was from. There was no name. Only a message.

Want to talk about it? A secret shared is a sin halved.

Moira felt the world spin.

“No,” she whispered. “No. It’s not possible. No one knows. No one.”

Carefully she peeled back the layers of tissue paper to find out what had been so carefully wrapped and placed in the box. She screamed.  And then she screamed again.

Somebody did know. They knew everything.


Any thoughts on what Moira’s secret is, or what’s in the box?  I would love to hear your thoughts…


This was originally posted in September 2018.  You can find the original post here.

12 thoughts on “Excavating the Archives: The Christmas Present

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