A funeral on Christmas Eve will forever haunt you.
Your uncle’s eyes closed now and forever. Those hands, which once shaped shadows with his ghost stories and supported you like a crutch, folded upon a lifeless breast.
Before you fall asleep exhausted by weeping, you’ll find yourself longing for ghosts. Haunt me, you pray. Terrify me, convict me, but don’t leave me alone.
When the clock strikes one, the spirit will visit: your merry uncle, Christmas personified, reborn once a year on the day he loved best.
Tiny no longer, you climb upon his lap for one more ghost story.
This story was written as part of Loren Eaton’s “Advent Ghosts 2013” shared storytelling event! Check out Loren’s site for other great ghost stories written around a holiday theme, going live all over the blogosphere today. Make sure to check back often as he’ll be adding contributions as they come in.
In the North lives a man, a giver of gifts, a Saint. He spends his days making toys and brooding over the airwaves, which bring in affirmations from around the world. Out there, they believe in him. So the songs say.
But as he broods and makes toys, he has his doubts. Who knows if they exist at all, out beyond the endless snowstorms? Their faith has never been a problem, but he’s not sure he believes in them.
Once a year, he rises, dons his red coat, and goes to find out.
He brings the toys– just in case.
Hello, friends! Sorry for the long absence – I’ve had my hands full with a lot of stuff for the last several weeks, and as a result, the poor blog got neglected. But I’m back, and for the next several days, I will be posting reams of Christmas-themed flash fiction to gear up for the holidays!
Today’s piece was recently published on the Drabblecast Episode# 305, and now I’m happy to present it to you on my blog as well. I would highly recommend listening to the episode, because the production took the story to another level.
One theme I love to explore in my writing is radical acts of faith in the face of the unknown, and this story is an example. Santa is famously connected to the idea of belief. I’m reminded of The Polar Express, where those who believe in Santa can hear the bells of his sleigh, while those who have lost their faith can’t. In this story, the choice to believe in Santa shapes your external reality.
Well, what if belief were a two-way street? What if Santa, in the isolation of the North, isn’t sure whether he is just making all of us up, because we’re equally wonderful and magical to him?
I like to imagine that if we were to pick up where the end of this story leaves off, everyone involved would be pleasantly surprised. Santa would find the children waiting for him, after all. The children’s faith would be rewarded. A long hoped-for relationship, a source of deep longing, would finally come to pass. That’s the essence of faith, and the essence of Advent.
Of course, it could all go the other way. Santa might find nothing but endless snowstorms. But I think there’s still something to grabbing that bag of toys, going outside, and taking a look.
Ruined! He was ruined! Satan brooded over the vast, deserted hellscape and wondered for the thousandth time how it’d come to this.
Damn you, hackers! he thought, but damning was no good now. Thanks to a technicality, no souls would be damned to Hell anytime soon. Not until Satan could get a tech guy down here to fix the servers.
The teenagers responsible hadn’t even intended it. They’d just wanted a good haul of Christmas presents.
Sure, there were superficial similarities: signature red outfit, similarly spelled names. But there’s a huge difference between a Damnation List and a Naughty List.
Happy weekend, everyone! We’re going off-topic today to check in on Satan again. Last time he messed with the cats of the world, and now the hackers have found him. I’m pretty sure there’s a connection.
But Rachael, you might be thinking, it’s June! Why are we talking about Christmas right now?
I’ve got one word for you: denial. You see, I live in Georgia. And right about now, it’s like a hot, moist oven outside. It’s how I imagine the inside of a dragon’s throat must be like. And being a person who loves running, I’ve got to run in that. Miles and miles. It’s wretched. Hellish, if you will.
So I shove the hot, humid facts of reality aside in favor of cold, wintry fantasy. Specifically, dreams of December. Snow, ice, chilly winds cutting through your five layers of clothes… really, it’s soothing.
Of course, in Georgia, snow is mostly hypothetical. I hear it’s a real pain for those of you who get more than a dusting each year. In which case, maybe we can arrange a bargain: you ship me all your snow, and I’ll take you off the Damnation List. Everyone wins!
What do you guys think? Do you like the cold better, or the heat?