From the Vault REPLAY! The Christmas Wish by Crystal Connor

Originally posted on HorrorAddicts.net December, 2015

The Christmas Wish

by Crystal Connor

He thumbed through the list on the screen of his phone one more time just to be sure. It was confirmed. An emergency addition. He looked again at the naughty list and sighed. It seemed to get longer and longer with each passing year. And this year, there were more girls than boys. Tonight, all of the gifts for the good children had been dispensed before the hour of the night had reached double digits, the fastest time on record.

The problem with Christianity was forgiveness, but rest assured, there would be none of that here tonight. The moon was already halfway between the zenith and the western horizon, and he still had almost a million children to deal with before the sun rose.

The wide-eyed little girl he had tied up and put in front of the fireplace had black ringlets that hung just past her shoulders. Her big brown eyes were just a shade or two darker than her skin. She looked like an angel. He ignored her tears, walked into the kitchen, and helped himself to another cookie.

The little girl was scared, but there was nothing she could do to free herself from her nylon imprisonment, so she just glared at the intruder while he ate the cookies that she and her little brother had left out for him.

She knew this man was Santa because she had seen the sleigh against the backdrop of the moon, heard him coming down the chimney, and watched him step out of the fireplace. She knew he was Santa, even though he was like no other Santa she had seen in pictures, at the mall, or on TV.

He wasn’t fat, and the last thing he looked was jolly.

He wore a metal helmet. His long red hair had gray in it, and so did his beard, but he wasn’t old enough to have all-white hair. He wore a black nightgown with a wide red belt tied across his flat belly, but she could see what he had on underneath, because it didn’t cover his sleeves, and it wasn’t very long. The gown was worn over black pants, a black sleeveless shirt, and black boots. The man-eating cookies in the kitchen looked more like Thor than Santa.

The big red symbol on his chest was the same symbol that was on his shield: one line going up and down with five slanted lines drawn across it. The word above the symbol said “AUTHORITY,” and the words under the symbol said, “and OBEDIENCE.” The words formed a circle around the strange symbol. The only thing that was the same as with the others she’d seen were his eyes … They were blue.

Santa ate the last cookie. Overlooking the glass of warm milk sitting next to the cookie-crumbed saucer, he went to the refrigerator and drank straight from the carton. With his thirst satisfied, he returned to the living room and took a seat in front of the bound girl. Even when seated, Santa loomed over her. The girl’s eyes flickered. Her breath was labored, and he knew the small child was going to pass out. At six years old, she was the youngest child on the list, and without a doubt, the most frightened child he had seen not only tonight but also in a long while.

He grabbed the little girl by the collar of her pajamas that displayed a little black princess holding a frog and removed the ball gag that was entirely too large. She took a long, deep, relieved breath.

Unlike the other children on this list, she did not shrink from him.

“You’re not really Santa. Santa’s nice; he would never do this.” A large tear slowly fell from her eye. “You look like him, but you’re not really him. Are you Santa’s son?”

He leaned forward and, with a calloused thumb, roughly smudged the tear from her face.

“My name is Kris Kringle, and these,” he said as he licked his thumb, “are not going to help you. I do not have a son. I am here because you’re on the naughty list … for the second year in a row.”

“Well, I got a dolly last year!” she stated with an indignant huff.

“Last year, you were too young to be disciplined.” The child’s eyes drifted from the angry orbs of ice down to the third word blazed upon the front of his tunic: “OBEDIENCE.”

She took a deep breath and tilted her head in thought. She held the gaze of his ice-blue eyes once more. She tried stretching her shoulders, but with her hands firmly tied behind her back, she couldn’t move them very far.

“It’s Christmastime; you’re supposed to be nice.”

“Really? Says who?”

“Says, Jesus!” Clearly, the young girl was outraged by Santa’s ignorance.

“Hmmm.” Santa leaned back and crossed his legs. “After all that you’ve done, now you want Jesus?”

She thought about it for a moment and decided that she didn’t. Santa read her internal dialogue like an open book. She was trying to think her way out of this. Santa was no longer surprised that the child before him was an emergency addition to the naughty list.

“So then, am I getting a spanking?”

Santa laughed. He was sure that if she had locomotion, she would have asked that sassy question with a hand on her hip.

The rod had been spared in this household, and they were well beyond the niceties of corporal punishment. The behavior of this child demanded a return to the old way of things. Tonight, this babe would be reborn upon the altar of dutifulness.

Father Christmas and his young hostage looked up in response to hoof stomps. The animals on the roof were growing restless, and the old saint was behind schedule.

Most people neglected to remember the dark origins of the holiday and therefore failed to realize the consequences of being on the naughty list, which was reviewed and edited several times a year. Santa did more than just bring gifts and eat cookies. Children, like their parents, forgot or did not know that, above all else, Santa was a disciplinarian and that clumps of coal were useless tools when it came to child behavioral modification and teen attitude adjusting.

He reached for his bulky bag.

Santa laid the contents in a neat row at the feet of the ill-behaved princess and gave his watch a quick glance. Looking at the items placed before her, the child began to cry.

The pear of anguish was not sugar-coated, and the mere illumination from the night-light made the metal gleam. Men using enhanced interrogation techniques would have protested the horrors. What was a little girl to do?

“Santa,” she said with terror-filled awe, “I have to go potty.” As Mr. Kringle slowly stood to tower over the child, a trickle of warm liquid ran down her legs to form a puddle that pooled around her small feet.

He turned his back to her tears and began to pace while being careful to not walk through the blood. Even with this carnage, this savagery, he pulled out his phone and checked the list once more. Just to be sure. Using his thumb and pointer finger, he enlarged the image on his screen. The picture he was looking at was a mirror image of the little girl crying behind him.

Santa returned to the kitchen, took a plastic cup from the cupboard, and filled it with sweet liquid. He grabbed the towel from the handle of the refrigerator and knelt before the young girl he had come to punish.

He allowed the young one to soothe her dry throat with the cool juice from the forbidden fruit that had caused the fall of man. He removed the rope that held her wrists behind her back and clamped a strong grip to the back of her neck. He marched her into her bedroom, found a fresh pair of pajamas, and then led her to the door of the bathroom.

“Go clean yourself up.”

When he heard the running water, he returned to the living room to stand over the dead. Chills ran down his spine as he tried to come to terms with how a six-year-old child could kill a man the same size as he or how one so young could kill her own mother.

He didn’t hear her, but he knew she was there because he could smell her. He turned to face the strawberry-scented child. The depth of the detachment with which she regarded the deceased was alarming. The only emotion she displayed was reverence when she looked up to Santa’s face.

“Do I still have to get a spanking?” she asked again on the brink of tears. Rustling behind the couch commanded Santa’s attention, and he tossed the furniture aside to reveal a boy child, smaller and younger than the girl. The boy fled from his hiding place, stood behind his sister, and gawked up at Santa through a mask of bruises. The bridge of his nose was red, under his eye was purple, and the color of his cheek was blue. Santa watched the movement of the girl’s eyes as they drifted over the decaying with contempt.

“Do you know about Santa’s helpers?” he asked as he glared down at the children. The boy was nodding yes while his sister spoke for both of them.

“They’re the elves who live with you in the North Pole and work at the toy shop.”

Santa swore. In days of old, children were afraid of elves, and rightly so, for they were vicious deities responsible for nightmares, diseases, and death. It was the elves that kept track of those who had been nice and those who hadn’t.

It sickened Santa to think that when people thought of elves, the image that came to mind was that of colorful, diminutive, playful things of children’s cartoons. It was no wonder that people were astonished to learn that being on the naughty list was a way of illustrating that actions had consequences, that those consequences required penitence, and that the debt had to be paid in blood.

The true assistants of Saint Nicholas were demons dispatched to avenge injustice or insult, descending from long and amazing family trees, which included gods of the north, who flew through the sky with the help of horses, reindeer’s, and goats.

With Belsnickel, he had a judge; with Zwarte Piet, who was personally in charge of the naughty and nice lists, he had a jury. With Lapland the Wildman, who bashed in children’s skulls and drank from their necks as soon as he delivered gifts to the undeserving, he once had an executioner. Le Père Fouettard, who killed children, cut them up and put them in a stewpot, replaced Lapland, but like the Wildman, Le Père Fouettard was no more.

Santa was gently lured from his thoughts as he noticed how the child protecting her brother lustfully eyed the cat-o-nine tails. The sparkle in her eye matched the glint of the razor-sharp barbs. Her eyes lovingly caressed the manacles before they fell so assiduously upon the bastinado cane, a tool used to inflict a particularly brutal and cruel form of punishment in which the soles of the feet are whipped. She slowly took a visual inventory of all the instruments that would be used for the implementation of acceptable behavior and smiled.

Santa had been mourning the loss of Fouettard for thousands of years, but Santa would yearn no more. This girl child who stood before him would replace Le Père Fouettard just as Le Père Fouettard replaced Lapland the Wildman.

Santa’s Christmas wish had been granted. Once again, after all these years, Santa had an executioner.

It was time to return to the old way of things.

To read more like The Christmas Wish please visit:
http://www.amazon.com/They-Lived-Happily-Ever-After/dp/1477616624

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Free Fiction Friday: The Christmas Wish by Crystal Connor

The Christmas Wish

by Crystal Connor

He thumbed through the list on the screen of his phone one more time just to be sure. It was confirmed. An emergency addition. He looked again at the naughty list and sighed. It seemed to get longer and longer with each passing year. And this year, there were more girls than boys. Tonight, all of the gifts for the good children had been dispensed before the hour of the night had reached double digits, the fastest time on record.

The problem with Christianity was forgiveness, but rest assured, there would be none of that here tonight. The moon was already halfway between the zenith and the western horizon, and he still had almost a million children to deal with before the sun rose.

The wide-eyed little girl he had tied up and put in front of the fireplace had black ringlets that hung just past her shoulders. Her big brown eyes were just a shade or two darker than her skin. She looked like an angel. He ignored her tears, walked into the kitchen, and helped himself to another cookie.

The little girl was scared, but there was nothing she could do to free herself from her nylon imprisonment, so she just glared at the intruder while he ate the cookies that she and her little brother had left out for him.

She knew this man was Santa, because she had seen the sleigh against the backdrop of the moon, heard him coming down the chimney, and watched him step out of the fireplace. She knew he was Santa, even though he was like no other Santa she had seen in pictures, at the mall, or on TV.

He wasn’t fat, and the last thing he looked was jolly.

He wore a metal helmet. His long red hair had gray in it, and so did his beard, but he wasn’t old enough to have all-white hair. He wore a black nightgown with a wide red belt tied across his flat belly, but she could see what he had on underneath, because it didn’t cover his sleeves, and it wasn’t very long. The gown was worn over black pants, a black sleeveless shirt, and black boots. The man eating cookies in the kitchen looked more like Thor than Santa.

The big red symbol on his chest was the same symbol that was on his shield: one line going up and down with five slanted lines drawn across it. The word above the symbol said “AUTHORITY,” and the words under the symbol said “and OBEDIENCE.” The words formed a circle around the strange symbol. The only thing that was the same as with the others she’d seen were his eyes … They were blue.

Santa ate the last cookie. Overlooking the glass of warm milk sitting next to the cookie-crumbed saucer, he went to the refrigerator and drank straight from the carton. With his thirst satisfied, he returned to the living room and took a seat in front of the bound girl. Even when seated, Santa loomed over her. The girl’s eyes flickered. Her breath was labored, and he knew the small child was going to pass out. At six years old, she was the youngest child on the list, and without a doubt, the most frightened child he had seen not only tonight, but also in a long while.

He grabbed the little girl by the collar of her pajamas that displayed a little black princess holding a frog, and removed the ball gag that was entirely too large. She took a long, deep, relieved breath.

Unlike the other children on this list, she did not shrink from him.

“You’re not really Santa. Santa’s nice; he would never do this.” A large tear slowly fell from her eye. “You look like him, but you’re not really him. Are you Santa’s son?”

He leaned forward and, with a calloused thumb, roughly smudged the tear from her face.

“My name is Kris Kringle, and these,” he said as he licked his thumb, “are not going to help you. I do not have a son. I am here because you’re on the naughty list … for the second year in a row.”

“Well, I got a dolly last year!” she stated with an indignant huff.

“Last year, you were too young to be disciplined.” The child’s eyes drifted from the angry orbs of ice down to the third word blazed upon the front of his tunic: “OBEDIENCE.”

She took a deep breath and tilted her head in thought. She held the gaze of his ice-blue eyes once more. She tried stretching her shoulders, but with her hands firmly tied behind her back, she couldn’t move them very far.

“It’s Christmastime; you’re supposed to be nice.”

“Really? Says who?”

“Says Jesus!” Clearly, the young girl was outraged by Santa’s ignorance.

“Hmmm.” Santa leaned back and crossed his legs. “After all that you’ve done, now you want Jesus?”

She thought about it for a moment and decided that she didn’t. Santa read her internal dialogue like an open book. She was trying to think her way out of this. Santa was no longer surprised that the child before him was an emergency addition to the naughty list.

“So then, am I getting a spanking?”

Santa laughed. He was sure that if she had locomotion, she would have asked that sassy question with a hand on her hip.

The rod had been spared in this household, and they were well beyond the niceties of corporal punishment. The behavior of this child demanded a return to the old way of things. Tonight, this babe would be reborn upon the altar of dutifulness.

Father Christmas and his young hostage looked up in response to hoof stomps. The animals on the roof were growing restless, and the old saint was behind schedule.

Most people neglected to remember the dark origins of the holiday and therefore failed to realize the consequences of being on the naughty list, which was reviewed and edited several times a year. Santa did more than just bring gifts and eat cookies. Children, like their parents, forgot or did not know that, above all else, Santa was a disciplinarian and that clumps of coal were useless tools when it came to child behavioral modification and teen attitude adjusting.

He reached for his bulky bag.

Santa laid the contents in a neat row at the feet of the ill-behaved princess and gave his watch a quick glance. Looking at the items placed before her, the child began to cry.

The pear of anguish was not sugar coated, and the mere illumination from the night-light made the metal gleam. Men using enhanced interrogation techniques would have protested the horrors. What was a little girl to do?

“Santa,” she said with terror-filled awe, “I have to go potty.” As Mr. Kringle slowly stood to tower over the child, a trickle of warm liquid ran down her legs to form a puddle that pooled around her small feet.

He turned his back to her tears and began to pace while being careful to not walk through the blood. Even with this carnage, this savagery, he pulled out his phone and checked the list once more. Just to be sure. Using his thumb and pointer finger, he enlarged the image on his screen. The picture he was looking at was a mirror image of the little girl crying behind him.

Santa returned to the kitchen, took a plastic cup from the cupboard, and filled it with sweet liquid. He grabbed the towel from the handle of the refrigerator and knelt before the young girl he had come to punish.

He allowed the young one to soothe her dry throat with the cool juice from the forbidden fruit that had caused the fall of man. He removed the rope that held her wrists behind her back and clamped a strong grip to the back of her neck. He marched her into her bedroom, found a fresh pair of pajamas, and then led her to the door of the bathroom.

“Go clean yourself up.”

When he heard the running water, he returned to the living room to stand over the dead. Chills ran down his spine as he tried to come to terms with how a six-year-old child could kill a man the same size as he or how one so young could kill her own mother.

He didn’t hear her, but he knew she was there, because he could smell her. He turned to face the strawberry-scented child. The depth of the detachment with which she regarded the deceased was alarming. The only emotion she displayed was reverence when she looked up to Santa’s face.

“Do I still have to get a spanking?” she asked again on the brink of tears. Rustling behind the couch commanded Santa’s attention, and he tossed the furniture aside to reveal a boy child, smaller and younger than the girl. The boy fled from his hiding place, stood behind his sister, and gawked up at Santa through a mask of bruises. The bridge of his nose was red, under his eye was purple, and the color of his cheek was blue. Santa watched the movement of the girl’s eyes as they drifted over the decaying with contempt.

“Do you know about Santa’s helpers?” he asked as he glared down at the children. The boy was nodding yes while his sister spoke for both of them.

“They’re the elves who live with you in the North Pole and work at the toy shop.”

Santa swore. In days of old, children were afraid of elves, and rightly so, for they were vicious deities responsible for nightmares, diseases, and death. It was the elves that kept track of those who had been nice and those who hadn’t.

It sickened Santa to think that when people thought of elves, the image that came to mind was that of colorful, diminutive, playful things of children’s cartoons. It was no wonder that people were astonished to learn that being on the naughty list was a way of illustrating that actions had consequences, that those consequences required penitence, and that the debt had to be paid in blood.

The true assistants of Saint Nicholas were demons dispatched to avenge injustice or insult, descending from long and amazing family trees, which included gods of the north, who flew through the sky with the help of horses, reindeer’s, and goats.

With Belsnickel, he had a judge; with Zwarte Piet, who was personally in charge of the naughty and nice lists, he had a jury. With Lapland the Wildman, who bashed in children’s skulls and drank from their necks as soon as he delivered gifts to the undeserving, he once had an executioner. Le Père Fouettard, who killed children, cut them up and put them in a stewpot, replaced Lapland, but like the Wildman, Le Père Fouettard was no more.

Santa was gently lured from his thoughts as he noticed how the child protecting her brother lustfully eyed the cat-o-nine tails. The sparkle in her eye matched the glint of the razor-sharp barbs. Her eyes lovingly caressed the manacles before they fell so assiduously upon the bastinado cane, a tool used to inflict a particularly brutal and cruel form of punishment in which the soles of the feet are whipped. She slowly took a visual inventory of all the instruments that would be used for the implementation of acceptable behavior, and smiled.

Santa had been mourning the loss of Fouettard for thousands of years, but Santa would yearn no more. This girl child who stood before him would replace Le Père Fouettard just as Le Père Fouettard replaced Lapland the Wildman.

Santa’s Christmas wish had been granted. Once again, after all these years, Santa had an executioner.

It was time to return to the old way of things.

To read more like The Christmas Wish please visit:
http://www.amazon.com/They-Lived-Happily-Ever-After/dp/1477616624

Amateur Flash Fiction, A Series. Author 4 – Ana

winter horror series

Part four and the final story in our Winter Horror Flash Fiction series begun here.

Four fairly new authors took part guided by a particular inspiration and produced very different settings and themes for our December 2015 topic of ‘Winter Horror’ and so we wind it up here with this chilling tale by Ana Gabrielli. Stay warm, Addicts!

Winter Hunger

The blizzard blew in without warning while Frau Bruhls’ twins played outside in the field.  Everyone in the village prayed for a quick end for the girls’ sake, but the massive storm tormented them for an entire week. All hope was gone, slowly snuffed out like a candle left to burn at night as the days passed. Instead of bringing back children, the men of the village would carry back two little corpses for the Bruhl family to bury if they found the girls at all.

The entire village grieved in unison when the blizzard finally broke. Herr Ren pulled on his heavy winter furs grimly and strapped his snowshoes on. His wife, pale and haggard, kissed his whiskered cheek and made him promise to come back before nightfall. He patted his own children’s heads tenderly, his touch lingering a little too long. He was sick with grief. To lose such young children so quickly and so tragically was unimaginably painful.

The men of the village gathered silently before the town hall, each one bigger and burlier than the next. Their eyes were dark with grief as if the blizzard had claimed one of their own instead. They were all fathers and every one of them was imagining himself in Herr Bruhl’s shoes.

They set out quickly with their torches and rifles. There was no time to dawdle.

The lull after the storm was unnatural. It was as though the entire world had come to a standstill beneath the layers of snow and ice. All he could see was the empty whiteness that stretched before him for miles upon miles. All he could hear was the crunch of the snow underfoot. It was as though life as ceased to exist.

Tracking the girls was a hopeless endeavor. The wind and snow had already obliterated their footsteps, but they started in the field first. Blizzards were blinding. Maybe the girls had simply hunkered down and fell asleep on the ground? Herr Ren prayed that was that was the case. Daylight was scarce. They couldn’t search all day or else they would run the risk of becoming lost as well.

God didn’t answer his prayers. The field turned up empty and Herr Ren swallowed his bitterness. They left the field in hopes of having better luck in the forest. The fat evergreens blocked the worst of the winds and the surrounding caves offered refuge from the pounding snow. Maybe the girls had wandered into one of them and managed to survive? Harnick was the one who stumbled upon the cave by accident. With a shout he summoned the rest of the men to him. They assembled at the craggy mouth, their torchlight hardly putting a dent in the thick wall of blackness yawning before them like the hungry mouth of a demon.

Herr Ren hesitated at the edge. They all did. He didn’t know why. He had never been afraid of the dark before but now he was itching to flee. He did not want to go inside. He did not like how their firelight sputtered or how the wind whistled eerily inside. The earth breathed low and deep as though something worse than a sleeping bear rested inside the cave.

“Magda! Freda!”  Von Essen shouted into the blackness. He possessed a blacksmith’s muscle but his voice trembled inside his throat. Von Essen was afraid. They all were.

The men waited, hardly daring to breathe, as their ears strained for a response. For minutes there was nothing until the smallest sob drifted up from deep inside the darkness. “Help me. It’s so cold, and I’m so hungry.”

The men jumped into actions and rushed inside, suddenly unafraid. Deeper and deeper they marched into the bowls of the earth. The thought of saving the twins and returning them safe and sounds to their parents was unexpected. It had never crossed the men’s minds that the girls could still be alive. Herr Ren’s heart pounded for joy as he shouted to them to stay put, that they were coming for them, that the whole village would be happy to see them again.

Down in the belly of the cave all but one torch was out. The cold down there was thick and impenetrable. It drifted inside their clothes and chilled them to the bone. The men stopped and peered hard into the darkness, shivering beneath their fur. The blonde, chubby faced twins were not there to greet them. Instead a tiny figure stood alone.

“I’m so hungry.”

“You’re safe now,” Herr Ren promised, slowly raising his torch. “You’re coming home with us. Come here Mausi, let us take you home.”

The light traveled across the rocky pit to fall upon the girl’s naked feet. The cold had ravaged the girl’s small toes and turned them into broken, blackened nubs. Herr Ren swallowed hard. He raised his torch higher. The light illuminated her shredded dress and stained apron. Was that blood? Had the girls managed to catch a rabbit in the cave?

“I’m so hungry, Herr Ren.”

“I understand. Where’s your sister?”

The light finally reached her face. He did not know what stood before him. Horror churned his stomach violently. The men behind him reached for their rifles.

The black voids of a demon starred back at him. Her lips were gone as if they had been torn violently away from her skull, or eaten. Her bare teeth gleamed in the firelight; shiny, sharp objects covered in black blood.

Herr Ren trembled. He had never seen such a monster before. Everything inside him screamed to ready his rifle but he didn’t dare drop the torch. He would just have to trust the men to keep him safe. “Where is your sister, Mausi,” he asked again. Its eyes were on him. He needed to keep it that way. If it noticed the rifles pointed in that direction it would either bolt or attack.

“My sister?” Those disgusting claws rose to rest across its abdomen. “Why, she’s here. In my belly, Herr Ren, but I’m still so very hungry. I’ve been hungry for so long. Will you help me?”

**************

Ana Gabrielli enjoys the simpler things in life. Dark libraries, rainy days, and stories that spook her socks off.  Her notebook is always within reach in case she needs to jot down what the monster in the window is doing. It looks like he’s hungry. She ought to invite the poor thing in.

 

 

Amateur Flash Fiction, A Series. Author 3 – LNoir

winter horror series

Part three of our Winter Horror Flash Fiction series begun here.

We called on several amateur authors to use a film as inspiration to write a short fiction piece limited to 1000 words in the theme of Winter Horror. This is our third installment.

Violets in Winter

Violet has always been a rather precocious girl. A gifted and talented child, who enjoys drawing and listening to the violin. A quiet girl, but happy all the same. A reveler among her gifts. Someday, she’ll surely capture some young man’s heart, but for now she claims mine.

Now, she is not without her faults, my Violet. She is a spirited child, whom often finds herself in trouble. Accidents abound in regards to my Violet, particularly in the cold. Once, it was a slip on the sidewalk, another time, an accident with the knife. Every time, she leaves quite a mess in her wake. Each time, a valuable lesson. The willful girl she is, with each mistake, she hides herself away. Initially, I suspected that she was cross with herself, and with me for noticing. One would think she’d grow out of such fits, but old habits die hard.

With each accident, I clean up the remains myself. I take the broken toys and fixtures into the basement, working late into the night to fix them again. Over the years, my Violet has amassed quite the collection of dolls, and each I have repaired at least once. Each of them her size, with her hair and her eyes. Her collection is ever growing.

Some may think of me as a bad father. After all, what sort of father goes for months without seeing his daughter during her fits, and fixes up her dolls in the meantime? A loving father, I assure you. Make no mistake. Though she puts herself into exile, she always returns eventually, once the weather is warm.

In fact, this very year, it was when I was making a walk past the playground that I found her again. Her dark hair, her light eyes, staring at me in clothes I did not recognize. She came to me with a smile, and walked with me. Violet loves to play games. She was playing pretend that day. She said her name was Elizabeth, and that she lived in another part of town – such imagination. I took her by the hand and brought her back home. She was upset, of course, I had cut her playing short.

In the days after, she was still clearly angry with me, but all children eventually come around. We enjoyed many warm days of happy memories, drawing, reading, a sort of bond only a parent could share with their daughter. Some nights she would fall asleep in my arms, leaving me to carry her upstairs.

My Violet is very precious to me, you must understand. Perhaps that is why I was so heartbroken when I saw they she had once again had one of her characteristic accidents. It was on a cool crisp day when she told me she was leaving, going home, playing her game again. I tried to tell her now was not the time for games and jokes, but willful children are never inclined to listen. I grew ill-tempered, I admit, at her adamant tone. I turned my back for a moment, only to hear the fall.

When I looked, I saw her broken doll in a pool of blood. Yet another accident. She had already fled, no doubt, still cross at me. No matter. Dutiful as ever, I scooped up the doll and brought her downstairs to begin my repairs. Cleaning up marks of scuffles and making her pristine again. Hours of work completed before I set her upon the shelf, alongside the others. My work this time was particularly good – good as new, really. It is hard not to stare at that dark hair and light eyes without a semblance of accomplishment. Surely Violet will be glad to know that I’ve kept all her dollies in such fine condition, even when she has gone off to be cross with me. No doubt I will once again find my Violet, when the weather is warmer, and our cycle will start anew.

With my work done, I give one final admiring glance over the latest doll. The firm coldness upon my hand seems so final, yet her expression is so serene. Elizabeth is this one’s name. A lovely doll, for my lovely daughter.

Yet, all that goes through my mind is my dear child. My precocious girl. Someday, surely she will grow out of her angry tantrums. Surely, one year we will be able to spend a winter together, she and I.

**************

LNoir
Clearly just three gremlins in a trenchcoat with an obsession for dolls, tea, vampires, cats and the depths of the human psyche.

Amateur Flash Fiction, A Series. Author 2 – Harry

winter horror series

Part two of our Winter Horror Flash Fiction series begun here.

Several authors took part using a particular inspiration film and had a limit of 1000 words to play with. They had a lot of fun with the theme of Winter Horror and so the stories continue…

Christmas Eve

In the cabin Todd has rented,
Mary looks at the Christmas tree
he bought on the way and says
“It reminds me of what is
wrong with Christmas:
it is made of plastic and too expensive.”

Mary listens to the waves
crashing against the cliff below
which mystically calms her.
Mentioning this to Todd he says,
“It sounds like someone
is continually flushing a toilet.”

Mary had adopted Odd Todd
in high school because
his poetry turned him into a pariah.
She had held his hand for three years
enjoying his trembling, undisclosed
sexual longing for her.
Todd had kept his poetry to himself while
Mary spent her nights fucking college boys.
After a gang-banging at a pizza parlor,
everyone quit talking to her, except for him.

Upon graduation they had ignored each other; but,
seeing Mary at a bar at Christmas break,
Todd had asked her to dance,
expertly pushing and twirling her like
she was a slave to the music.
Drenched in sweat and smelling like 2 am,
it appeared that living away from a small town
that regarded them as untouchables
had been good for both of them.
She had stopped cutting red marks on her arms,
Todd was no longer shy and odd.
He had unashamedly pressed his erection against her asking,
“Why don’t we spend our Christmas day together?
I know a cabin we can rent.”
“I can do that,” she had simply replied.

In the Christmas Eve cabin
everyone is hiding something,
everyone has secrets. Mary says,
“You can hurt me, do whatever you like.”
Todd kisses her lips like a serial killer, and replies,
“It will be crazy beautiful, just like the sun.”

***************

harrypic

Harry McDermott enjoys writing,
especially when he can use it
like a knife to stab into the heart
of the unsuspecting reader.