The Light in the Woods

By Jean Marie Pierson

Before loose lips sank ships. Before salvage drives. Before when men were fathers instead of soldiers. Before a little man started a great war, there was Santa Claus.

 The Light in the Woods is the heartbreaking and magical story of how Santa Claus, Comet, and Christ himself, all hiding in plain sight as a businessman, a ten-point buck, and a neighbor, reassure a grieving boy that what he thought was taken away, never really left. Set during World War II, Raymond Kozak, a once-happy and carefree ten-year-old, is pained, disheartened, and angry as he approaches his first Christmas after the death of his father. Ray’s mother implores Oscar Taglieber, a local clock maker, to let Ray help him after school to distract him.

Ray and Oscar begrudgingly begin to make toys for the local children, along with Ray’s neighbor Olive. As their friendship grows, so does Ray’s curiosity. Because soon he notices a small buck appear around the neighborhood. A buck that does not run from him. A buck that has white star on its forehead.

Ray is determined to get to the bottom of the many strange events that begin to happen. There’s the curious objects Ray stumbles across in Oscar’s house (a sled, a red suit), the strange streaks of light that appear in the night sky and what appears to be a reindeer lurking in their backyard every night. Raymond and Olive are on a mission to figure out just who they are really working for and who, or what, causes the light in the woods.