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“They’re what?” Rafe wasn’t sure he’d heard it right.
“Santas.” Noel’s voice came through the radio.
Rafe and Keith looked at each other and wondered if Jordan had lost her sanity by agreeing to Noel’s idea.
“Dad, it’s not that insane,” the radio crackled. “There’s this village in Finland. It’s called Romi… Roma…”
“Rovaniemi,” Jordan’s voice said in the background.
“Yes, that’s it. And there’s a Santa Claus group there. They’re not really the magical type… and there’s more than just one,” Noel explained. “They raise funds to give gifts to people all over the world. I guess they have a list too. And there’s a bunch of kids that help them out.”
“Well, do we write him a letter then? Ask for a jet?” Rafe teased. He looked up and smiled at Keith, who’d also started looking more relaxed in the last couple of days. Meditating with the monks seemed to have helped both of them.
“Dad!” Noel sounded slightly offended. “They have a plane. They deliver gifts on Christmas Eve. That’s in two days. They’re in the Arctic Circle, Dad.”
Rafe looked surprised. He had been careful not to mention to his family where he was. Perhaps Jordan had said something to them.
Noel’s idea was beginning to sound good. All they would have to do now was contact these Santas.
“But how do we know the Brotherhood has not gotten to them?” Keith asked.
“We don’t. But that city doesn’t have much political clout. They depend on tourism, and the village is mostly old people save for the kids,” Noel answered. “And in the article I read about them, it said that they’re not much for technology. They use burner phones, Dad. And only when it’s really necessary.”
“Okay then,” Rafe said with a grin. “We have two days to get in touch with them. Someone will have to be on the radio trying to contact our Santas for the entire day. Keith and I can do the first 2 shifts.”
Jordan got on the radio, and the three of them agreed on the best schedule. Before they finished the conversation so Keith could start contacting the Santas of Rovaniemi, Noel was back on the radio. “Dad! I love you!”
Rafe felt tears well up in his eyes, and he had to take a deep breath before he could answer. “I love you too, son. I’m proud of you. Take care of the family, okay? I’ll see you all soon.”
“I will. I’ll see you soon!”
It was a great way for the conversation to end. And high atop the peaks of the Himalayas, Rafe finally felt the warm stirrings of hope.