Pre-wrapped gifts are essential, or her little darling will pitch a fit.
She shoulders the door open, her arms stretched around sparkling presents, hoping this will be the last gift run of the year.
She hears a tiny voice singing by the fir tree, plucking each word, “You better watch out.”
Unloading her packages on the floor, she glances at her blotchy-faced, wild-eyed child, whose ruddy fingers like tentacles clutch the nearest branch, corrupting the evergreen with an insatiable, yellowing appetite, as the little darling jabs at gifts with a candy cane, shaking the tree with each word—mine, mine.
(Written for the Advent Ghost Story Fest)
The bundle bounces against Hayk’s back as he dashes behind houses. Barely a mark on the shadows, he slips in through crack and out by door with another name scratched off his list. But what did he care for a list? He’d take anyone.
Whimpering cries tumble from his sack as he hurtles a fence.
“Back to Hayk’s mine!”
He breaks against a snarling mastiff with dawn in his eyes, who grabs his leg and flings him into the trees, scattering children across the yard.
With guttural barks, the dog drives them, bruised and wailing, back to their homes.
(This is one of many 100-word stories offered for I Saw Lightening Fall’s Advent Ghosts 2015. Many more stories through the link, including Lars’ story earlier this month, and my past contributions can be found under the content tag “flash fiction.”)
“There’ll be scary ghost stories and tales of the glories of Christmases long. long ago.”
Loren Eaton hosts another round of ghost stories centered on Christmastime. There are many here, and Loren has a couple himself. Note this on called “Elizabeth.” Enjoy and post your comments.
Libby’s famous smile flickers when she sees another woman smile from the opposite escalator with a wide, toothy grimace.
“A face only a mother would love,” she mutters, striding over to the next mall store with extended sales. She smiles at the cashier. He grins back, his ears vanishing behind a wall of gleaming teeth.
Forgetting everything now, she hurries back into a suddenly manic throng, passing from leer to leer as other shoppers direct her to the fire-lit house built with toys. Waifs grab her hands and pull her to an enormous, red man with a wide, open mouth.
(Written for Loren Eaton’s 2013 Advent Ghost Storytelling Fest)
“Not this again!” William growls.
The traditional roasted chicken and dressing, gravy, green beans, and corn sit steaming on the table while his wife glides about the room, bringing honeyed ham, broccoli casserole, rolls and muffins, tomato and squash soups—everything as overabundantly perfect as it had been every Christmas. Beautiful, but ethereal.
His sons and daughter, their bodies scorched from the fire three years ago, quietly urge him to eat “to forget this weary world.”
Eyes burning, he throws a coat over his pajamas and stumbles into the icy street. His wife follows with a cup of flaming cider.
(Index of all stories submitted to the Advent Ghosts Storytelling Fest)
Loren Eaton refers to the beautiful aurora in northern-most and southern-most skies, which is one of the cool aspects of the new Angry Birds Seasons update, but I don’t plan to talk about that here. I wanted to announce my participation in Loren’s shared storytelling event, Advent Ghost 2012. We will be posting our 100-word stories on our respective blogs on Saturday, December 22, and Loren will link to all of them on his blog. I’ll be sure to link to this indexing post too. Now, you have something to look forward to. There’s no need to thank me.
You can read past stories for this event and other flash fiction I’ve posted in our Creative Writing category.
Andrew Klavan’s “Advent Reunion” ghost story is being anthologized by Vintage Originals.
Also, Loren and friends once again are observing an advent ghost story sharealong.
Wayne’s car died downtown while a frizzy-headed kid watched. Three sickly children stopped playing under a large electric snowflake when he walked by, and a pale, stained baby, rolling on the sidewalk, began wailing. Now he runs past the shuttered tourist-shop windows, seeing shadows in doorways, twisted faces in car windows, and figures from the corners of his eyes. The rumor can’t be true–that children, murdered by Herod, haunt the streets tonight seeking abusers. Broken sidewalk catches his foot and cracks his knee like a walnut.
Then they come.
Pallid boys emerge from the cracks: grabbing, pulling, twisting, choking.
(Thanks for Loren Eaton for organizing this shared storytelling event. See his post for a list of other stories.)
Mary Beth hopped through the door spritely, like she’d always done, alighting on a chair. Her dark curls bounced as she glanced around, but he sat gaping. It had been three years since the funeral.
“Why don’t you throw out that sorry wreath I made? Christmas is about hope, grace, life–” She stopped herself with giggles.
His heart skittered. “But, honey, you–ain’t you dead?”
Her impish smile grew. “Darlin’, Death’s been beat.” She reached and lifted him like a newborn. He gasped, then laughed as dawn crashed in with trumpets, announcing a triumphant king’s return.
(Thanks for Loren Eaton for organizing this shared storytelling event. Here is his index post with links to other stories, and I have one more story to share a little later this morning. Merry Christmas.)
Loren Eaton’s Shared Storytelling: Advent Ghosts 2010 is coming up Friday. I have a couple short-short stories (only 100 words) to post, which I plan to do early and mid-morning. Loren will have links to everyone’s stories, and I’ll link to his index post once it’s up.
Loren has announced his 2010 Advent Ghost Story Flash Fiction Rally. I’m already polishing something, and I think I’d like to work on another one.
Clock face is blinking. All is not calm, despite acceptable profits, contract bonuses—some unavoidable layoffs. Year end in the black as starless night, silent night, without bells or winds. On Christmas Eve, only sleepless, blinking red numbers.
But who’s on the lawn below? Hollow-eyed, ashen children are kicking cans, and are they singing? I throw up the sash. “Born to raise the sons of earth . . .” they rattle.
I start to yell, but a rag-wrapped child grabs my hand. “I would have been seven this Christmas.”
I jerk back, and they’re gone, leaving my hand chilled.
— — —
I wrote this in response to Loren Eaton’s group solicitation for 100-word advent ghost stories. Read more such stories by way of his blog, I Saw Lightning Fall.