The Coldest December

A Short Story Collection to Remember the Halifax Explosion

Original Stories by Nova Scotia Authors: Sheila McDougall, Phil Yeats, Lawren Snodgrass, Catherine A. MacKenzie, Polly J. Brown, Diane Lynn McGyver, Cheryl Lynn Davis, Bronwen Piper, Barbara-Jean Moxsom, Liana Olive Quinn and Annemarie Hartnett.

Silenced Memories

Lawren Snodgrass

The Coldest DecemberThe warm breeze rustled the leaves on the potato plants as Wilber Coulson pulled weeds with a long-handled hoe. The showers the evening before and the warm July day had made the pesky plants explode overnight. Although Mathilda planned to weed, he insisted she rest instead. In her condition, she needn’t be in the sun working when he could tidy the garden after work. Their son Everett also helped with the chores while she recovered from the most recent bout of bronchitis. Doc Fraser left little doubt her illness would not clear unless she rested and avoided her womanly chores.

Wilber paused for a moment, wiped his brow and leant onto the hoe to stare off at the harbour a few miles away. From his vantage point on Break Heart Hill, he could see the growing cities of Dartmouth and Halifax, their streets divided by the deep body of water. From this distance, he could not make out people, but he knew they were there. Given the hour, most workers had gone home for the night, yet many remained on the docks, loading or unloading and tending to ships either bound for overseas or arriving from there. The war created traffic jams in the harbour he had not seen for more than twenty years.

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The Coldest December

A Short Story Collection to Remember the Halifax Explosion

Original Stories by Nova Scotia Authors: Sheila McDougall, Phil Yeats, Lawren Snodgrass, Catherine A. MacKenzie, Polly J. Brown, Diane Lynn McGyver, Cheryl Lynn Davis, Bronwen Piper, Barbara-Jean Moxsom, Liana Olive Quinn and Annemarie Hartnett.

Business as Usual

Phil Yeats

The Coldest December“JENKSINS,” MORROW, THE DUTY SERGEANT, called out as I followed two other patrolmen into the Halifax Police Station. “Get over here. Now!”

After finishing school in the spring of 1916, I’d volunteered for the army. I’d been declared unfit for service because of my poor vision and thrown back onto the streets, an outcast as I’d been through my school days. I’d always been excluded from sports and treated as an invalid because I wore spectacles.

Rejection by the army turned me into a different sort of pariah. Everyone saw me as a big, strong lad shirking my responsibility to fight the Hun. It didn’t matter that I squinted at them through thick lenses and protested that I’d attempted to join the army. I was seen as a failure, a weak, passive coward who wouldn’t fight for his country.

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The Coldest December

A Short Story Collection to Remember the Halifax Explosion

Original Stories by Nova Scotia Authors: Sheila McDougall, Phil Yeats, Lawren Snodgrass, Catherine A. MacKenzie, Polly J. Brown, Diane Lynn McGyver, Cheryl Lynn Davis, Bronwen Piper, Barbara-Jean Moxsom, Liana Olive Quinn and Annemarie Hartnett.

Blue

Sheila McDougall

The Coldest DecemberHIS EYES WERE AS BLUE as the May forget-me-nots on Citadel Hill where they first picnicked on the cool spring earth. As blue as the cornflowers Mother grew in her summer garden. As blue as the harbour below, reflecting the summer sky.

When she’d go on, he’d colour up and shake his head in protest. “Don’t be daft,” he’d scold, but she could tell he liked it.

He liked her, too, more than her friends Jane and Mary who accompanied her to the waterfront that day. His cheeky compliments, spoken in accented English foreign to her ears, told her so.

He was short, not much taller than Kate, and slight of build. He looked no more than a boy, a handsome youth in his middy and seaman’s cap, but his wit set him apart from the other young men jostling for notice.

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The Coldest December – Halifax Explosion Short Story Collection

The short story collection to mark the 100th anniversary (December 6, 2017) of the Halifax Explosion will be called The Coldest December.

Here is a mock-up of the cover. (subject to change)

Quarter Castle Publishing will release The Coldest December in November 2017. It will contain short stories written by Nova Scotia authors. The book will also include information and photographs to help explain the tragic events that changed the lives of thousands of people and decimated the shorelines of the twin cities, Halifax and Dartmouth.

Deadline Approaches for Short Story Collection

The deadline for submitting a story to be considered for the Halifax Explosion 100th Anniversary Short Story collection is one week away. Stories can be emailed (quartercastle@bellaliant.net) up until Friday March 31st 11:59 pm or postmark-dated March 31st.

The goal of the fictional short story collection is to pay tribute to the many victims, survivors and heroes who emerged from the disaster, to remember their stories and to educate readers further on the life-changing event of the twin cities of Halifax and Dartmouth.

To learn more, visit Call for Submissions.