A strange silence has fallen over the town of Pleasantville. Ominous
dark clouds are filling the skies, and all the stores, although they are decorated and shining brightly with their Christmas
lights and holiday greenery, are completely empty.
Where has everyone gone on this cold and slightly scary day?
The answer comes as you travel up and out of town square along first Tulip Avenue and then Rose Boulevard approaching the
open green room door of the Lavendar Fox theater where a small ribbon of light is drifting out over the parking lot in the
As you push open the door, you can hear Mrs. Montoya yelling and counting and the many thuds and scrapes of dancers
practicing onstage. They've all been practicing since 8:30 this morning, and they were supposed to have a lunch break
a few hours ago, but Mrs. Montoya has apparantly forgotten in her determination to make everything perfect for the dress rehearsal
in a few days.
Finally, Francisca whispers something in Mrs. Montoya's ear and she returns
from her creative trance and calls lunch break.
"Phew!" Breathed Nancy Merriman as she lowered her aching arms
from attacking Mr. Montoya with a flaming torch. Returning it to the giant fireplace, she hops backstage to retrieve
her lunch from her dressing room and happily eats her chocolate and coffee while fixing up her ugly Mouse King mask.
"Oh yesh, I definitely have the best costume here." She said, happily.
Meanwhile, all the little girls in their
soldier costumes have grouped around to gossip on the Nutcracker's bed.
"What are you going to do as soon as rehearsal
is over, Rachel?" Rebecca asked curiously.
"Oh I think that I will probably go with Mother to the hair salon and
get my hair fixed. She has been complaining for weeks that her hair is not suitable, and look what all this dancing
is doing to my hair!!" Rachel said, simpering as she pulled at a lock of her dark hair that was poking out of her braid.
that's because you're not dancing, you're fighting!" Nancy sniggered from on top of the giant staircase.
a rumor that it might snow!" Elinor put in, leaning over to join them. "I'd love that, I could finally go ice
skating on the Larson's river. Have you guys ever done that?"
On the other side of the stage, Elizabeth was practicing with the giant
flaming torch that Nancy dropped. She was Nan's understudy to be the Mouse King, so if Nan ever got injured or sick
and couldn't play the Mouse King, Elizabeth got to take over. And the only time she got to practice with the flaming
torch (her very favorite part!) was when everyone else was busy eating their lunches.
"Take THAT!" She yelled,
and hit a pretend Nutcracker's sword on her left, "and THAT!" she screamed, swinging over to the right. "Aaaaaaaaand
THAT!!! Mwahahahhaha!" She bellowed, swinging it above her head and running towards her imaginary foe and plunging
the torch down onto an imaginary sword. Then she stopped and turned to look at Mr. Montoya, who was chewing
on his Frijoles Bueno and coaching her.
"That was ok," he said, absentmindedly and
picking out a piece of bacon from his beans. "You really need to aim a little more carefully though. It all needs
to be much more purposeful. Because if you hurt me.... you are in very deep deep black dirty water."
Felicity leaned up against the big staircase and closed her eyes.
She was so tired! She'd been here since before everyone else today to rehearse the Pas De Deux with Josefina, and since
she was in every scene in the entire ballet, she hadn't gotten a rest. She was even too tired to tie up her shoelaces
by herself, so Nancy leaned over and started to tie them up for her, while argueing with Mr. Montoya on how hard to hit their
"You keep telling Elizabeth not to be so crazy with her sword, but guess what? You are very crazy
with your sword yourself! If you hit me just a little bit harder, my armsies would probably fall off!" Nancy said
heatedly, finishing Felicity's laces and massaging her sore arms.
Mrs. Wickon was having a lovely day. She'd decided to take another
day off of work since her head hurt slightly, dressed in her favorite pink day dress, and gone to Cristal's hair salon and
gotten a special treatment and a bubble bath. Now she was sitting happily at her table, writing her newest gossip column
fresh with juicy tidbits from the last Nutcracker rehearsal she attended where Francisca Montoya had been absolutely ridiculous,
and now she was happily sipping a cup of Lemon Lift tea from the Merriman's General Store.
On the fireplace was a lovely
Shepherd's Pie baking for John when he returned from work that evening, which would probably be needed because he would be
rather mad at her for missing another day of work. But she really had needed this time to herself after her long day
shopping yesterday, and her day visiting the Parkington's the day before that, and the long sewing circle at the Merriman's
the day before that. She'd go back to work.... sometime.
Alexandra Chen was also avoiding her work. She had a huge stack
of bills to pay on top of her dresser, but she really didn't feel like doing that today, it was so dark and dreary outside.
know what we should do today! It looks like it's going to snow outside, wouldn't it be awesome if we got our Christmas
tree up and then it started snowing outside?"
She hurried upstairs to the attic and brought down the decorations boxes.
This would be an excellent surprise for Elinor and Mei-Mei when they got back from Nutcracker rehearsal, she thought, as she
balanced the teetering boxes in her arms and walked slowly down the narrow steps from the attic.
One by one, she unpacked the shining silver Christmas baubles, the blue
beaded balls, the red beaded balls and the little pink teardrops. She carefully hung them on the tree in the reputations
gua of the downstairs, humming Christmas carols to herself along with the Nafy and Elizabeth FIVE special blaring from the
"I love this time of year," she sang, happily.
Meanwhile, in the kitchen, Suzi was incredibly hungry. She looked
all over the kitchen for something to eat, but couldn't find even an apple to munch on. Finally, she lifted up the top
of the pot boiling on the stove top to see what Alex was making. Maybe some yummy apple cider or hot cocoa?
it's rice again. "Why is there never anything to eat in this house besides rice?!" Suzi moaned out loud, resolving
to do some market shopping just in case they got snowed in or something. She didn't think she could stand rice
for too much longer.
Cristal was not having a very good day. She'd just finished doing
everyone's hair at the Nutcracker for absolutely no pay, and her only reward was getting to sit there for two hours arguing
with Mrs. Montoya and throwing chocolate-covered insults at each other.
Now she had returned to her fancy new apartment,
flipped her open sign over to face out towards the street, and was waiting for customers.
But no one was coming.
"What is wrong with people today?" She wondered, annoyed. "Don't they all know that they desperately need my help during
this time of year?"
Angelica was really enjoying her day off and she'd gotten out her guitar
to try and play along with the Christmas carols on Nancy FIVE news. She'd decorated her Christmas tree with all of Sonja's
jewelry, purses and wraps just like she usually did, and was having a jolly time banging away on her guitar with her earmuffs
on while hot cocoa bubbled away on the stove.
"OOooh Christmas TREE Oh Christmas TREeeeEEE, how lovely are your
BRA-NCHES." She yelled, happily, reaching for a G Major chord and getting her fingers all jumbled up.
Mr. Merriman and Mrs. Larson were out by the food stand in town square,
discussing the weather. Up on the mountain where the Larsons lived was already covered in a thick blanket of snow, but
the storm clouds moving in towards the town were probably snow clouds as well.
"Perhaps I'd better close up shop for
the day," said Mr. Merriman, eyeing the sky.
"It looks pretty ominous to me," Mrs. Larson answered him, nodding
"I think Lily would probably appreciate having me home if there was a blizzard. Besides, I don't
think anyone else will be needing fine fabrics for the rest of today at least." Edward concluded.
I'll see you at the Nutcracker party next week," Mrs. Larson said, smiling and waving.
"Good evening, Mrs. Larson.
Stay warm," said Mr. Merriman, before turning on his heels, grabbing his coat from the General Store, flipping the sign to
CLOSED and heading straight up the street towards his house.
Speaking Rain Atonmy didn't mind the snow. She still needed to
sell fish in exchange for food to keep her and Kaya warm through the winter.
"FRESH FISH!" She yelled at the
deserted town square. "FRESH FISH for SALE!"
"It's alright Speaking Rain," said Mrs. Larson, leaning over
from her seat on the other side of the food stand. "If no one else buys your fish, I'll make some trout for dinner tonight
in exchange for however much meat and vegetables you want."
"Oh thank you Mrs. Larson!" Said Speaking Rain, except
it was in Nimi-puu so no doubt Mrs. Larson didn't understand a word.
Mr. Larson could be seen tramping through the woods all over the farm
by the cabin, collecting firewood and dumping it near the house so they'd have enough if the blizzard really picked up.
He also made a large pile of wood by the outdoors fire, which Mrs. Larson and the girls often used for cooking.
Inside the cabin, the Larson girls had just finished decorating their
Christmas tree, and now Anna was telling Peder all about the traditions of Christmas while he gooed and pointed at the strings
of popcorn and cranberries on the tree.
Underneath the tree were several brightly wrapped packages already, and Anna
and Peder had just finished trying to guess what they all were. Anna thought that the large circular one was probably
a new well, but Kirsten had told her it wasn't big enough. Oh well.
Over by the fireplace, Kirsten was cooking up a big batch
of trout and vegetables for dinner and also warming up some tea for her sisters.
Autumn the dog dozed lazily
at her feet, happily sniffing or jiggling his hind legs occasionally as if dreaming about running in an open field.
Even though it's snowy and cold outside, Britta still has to do her chores.
She'd spent the whole morning playing with
her stuffed animals while Anna and Kirsten did their chores, and now she was sorely regretting that since they were nice and
cozy inside and she was shivering from her braid to her boots while weeding the frozen garden patch.
Yesterday the girls all went ice skating on the frozen river and got
back very late, so their skates are still in a messy jumble on the front porch.
And it's a good thing that they went ice skating yesterday, because today
Kaya is out on the river cutting holes in the ice and trying to poke fish with her spear. She earns her living off of
the food that Speaking Rain trades in the village, so she has to keep catching fish all year 'round.
She's got a nice
warm fire nearby though, and something about plunging her spear into the running waters to catch a little wriggling to take
home for dinner is very exciting to her.
Meanwhile, at the Merriman's house, Felicity is filling up the teapot
in the parlour with hot water for tea time. She was so bored, she wished something exciting would happen, either that
or that she could sleep. So many Nutcracker rehearsals were exhausting!
Suddenly she heard a whoop and
lots of little giggly screams from downstairs.
"What's going on?" She said, dashing out of the dining room and
down the stairs, trying not to slosh the hot water all over her yellow dinner dress.
"It's the snow! It's the
snow!" Said Nan, not quite able to put together a full sentence out of excitement, "It's.... Lissie it's SNOWING!"
And with that, they threw on their cloaks and hurried out into the front garden where small white flakes were indeed
falling softly onto all the outbuildings.
"Shall we go and frolic in the snow as well?" Queried a polite
"Oh no Edward, I have far too much to do indoors. Do you know I haven't even begun to write the
invitations list for our New Year's ball and 'tis almost Christmas? Besides, I need to write back to Lara, she seems
like she needs a bit of advice on how to raise her dear, headstrong Britta." Lily answered.
All of the children were outside in the falling snow, happily grabbing
bunches and throwing it at each other. Lissie decided to get Penny out of the stable and go for a ride so she could
feel the wind and snow in her face even faster, and Rachel only lasted a few minutes outside before shivering and returning
indoors to dress her doll up in a warm cloak and giving it a cup of tea.
But William and Nan stayed outside and played
to their hearts' content.
William decided to make a jolly snowman and call him "Sir Edward the
Fourth" after his famous great grandfather, and he decked it all out in a fine scarf and a top hat.
"He is very handsome.
Don't you think he could easily be presented at court?" Giggled William, standing back to admire his handiwork.
"Sure but I don't care," answered Nan, wiggling a little stick at Scruffy
and trying to get him to jump in the air.
"I wouldn't want to be presented at court, I'm far too wet right now.
Besides, this is much more fun."