WeWriWa—Joyless Christmas


Welcome back to Weekend Writing Warriors, a weekly Sunday hop where writers share 8 sentences from a book or WIP. And Aleksey Lived is an alternative history with a premise I’ve been haunted by since age fifteen, Russia’s last Imperial Family being rescued just in the nick of time and Aleksey defying expectations by surviving into adulthood and becoming the most beloved Tsar in history.

Since I’ve uncharacteristically been writing this book out of order, I’m skipping past a few gaps and unfinished chapters I’ve left till later to get back to. It’s now the beginning of 1919, Orthodox Christmas, a holiday that’s anything but joyous for the 14-year-old Tsar. I’ve slightly edited this snippet to fit 8 lines.


Alekséy watched his old mechanical clockwork train spin around the small Christmas tree Mikhaíl had had brought into the former playroom.  He and his sisters were now far too old to still seriously use this room as a playroom, but he still liked having the Christmas tree there.  As he watched the train zooming about, a lump formed in his throat as he remembered how he and his father had put that train together in much happier times.  He’d never cared about fancy, expensive presents, and had always been just as happy with something inexpensive or homemade, but now he wasn’t going to get presents of any sort from either of his parents, nor would they be able to get presents from him.  This was not a happy start to 1919.

Some servant or other had brought in a large platter of snacks and set it on a nearby side table, but none of the foods held any appeal.  Only six months ago, Alekséy would’ve eagerly devoured these chocolates, roasted nuts, dates, figs, candied fruit slices, pastries, cookies, bonbons, and truffles, but now he had almost no appetite.  He barely even glanced at the wrapped presents arranged underneath the tree; they could all stay unopened forever for all he cared.

Playroom Xmas Tree

The playroom Christmas tree in much happier times


10 thoughts on “WeWriWa—Joyless Christmas

  1. You definitely evoke the mood this poor Prince would be in, under all the circumstances. I feel so sorry for him (sorrier for the real Prince of course). Always enjoy another excerpt from this alternate history you’re weaving!


  2. Poor child . . . Surviving didn’t automatically grant him his Happily Ever After, did it.

    (I’m with Sara Barnard—this continues excellent, Carrie-Anne!)


  3. Such unhappiness at what is usually a joyous time. Love the picture of those happier times. I hope he ends up with his spirits uplifted a little bit by the end of Christmas. Tweeted.


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