Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas In A Strange Place

This post is another answer to a Chuck Wendig flash fiction call. He asked us to write about any situation that would fulfill the strange Christmas request.

I have had little Elizabeth in my head for a while. She's been begging to have a story written about her, so she gave me the following.

I call it...


 “Wake up, Elizabeth. It’s Christmas.”

A small Elizabeth shifted away from her brother’s shaking, deeper under the covers.

“Elizabeth, come on!”

Elizabeth grunted.

“Let’s see what presents Santa brought us!”

Elizabeth’s eyes opened, filled with excitement, if only for a moment. William had already jumped out of bed.

It was very quiet.

As she sat up, her excitement left her. She knew what to expect.

Pretty soon her parents were beside her bed, urging her to get up. She did so reluctantly, with a scowl on her face.

Passing by a small window, Elizabeth could see that it was dark outside. She sighed.

“Come on kids,” said their father, smiling brightly as he guided them to a small table set with bowls at each place.

They all sat down and soon the clinks of spoons scooping and scraping at the bowls filled the air. Elizabeth didn’t eat a thing. She only watched the others and felt angrier.

They finished up, leaving the bowls on the table.

“Let’s go see if Santa came,” said their father, clapping his hands together. His happiness gnawed at Elizabeth. She crossed her arms. No one seemed to notice.

William was the first to get to the tree.

There were presents under it, of course, and Elizabeth watched as he fell to his knees, beckoning for her to come sit next to him.

She shook her head and didn’t move.

William shrugged and began to pass out the presents.

Elizabeth’s became a pile at her feet.

The others opened their presents, sharing their surprise and excitement.

With the last present open, one by one, they looked at Elizabeth with concern.

Her mother spoke first.

“Why haven’t you opened your presents, Elizabeth?”

Elizabeth was exasperated.

“My presents?” barked Elizabeth. She bent down and picked up one of the still wrapped presents. “You mean this doll?” She put it back down and grabbed another. “Or this bag of candy?” Reaching for the last one, she said, “How about this set of new hair clips?”
Her parents stared at her blankly.

Elizabeth pushed the presents away from her with her foot.

“Did you go snooping?” asked her father, who was beginning to be cross with her.

“Snooping? I don’t need to snoop! I always know what they are.” Elizabeth started pacing and flailing her arms as she spoke. “You do, too! You’re just blind to it.”

“What do you mean?” her mother broke the silence with a whisper.

“Think about it! Every year it’s the same thing. William gets a ball, a set of jacks, and some licorice. Father gets a tie, and some socks, and mother gets some powder and a kerchief.”

They all began to look at their presents and back to each other in shock.

“You still don’t see it, do you?”

Elizabeth marched to her brother. “Come here.”

William got to his feet, and their parents did the same.

Elizabeth took them by the window where the first rays of morning were softening the sky and back to the table.

Elizabeth grabbed a bowl.

“See. They’re empty.”

She walked around the table tilting each bowl so that they could see.

“But we finished our meal,” said their father, trying to sound strong but squeaking out the last word.

“But look at mine.” She showed it to them. It was empty and clean. “I didn’t eat.”

Her mother’s eyes were starting to brim with tears.

“You could be tricking us,” her mother pleaded, her hand covering her mouth.

“You still don’t see!” Elizabeth squealed.

She grabbed William’s hand again and led them out of the room, down the stairs.

They all stopped abruptly at what they saw.

There was another family in the living room. They were sitting at a Christmas tree, and a small child was opening presents.

“What is this?” asked their father.

Elizabeth said nothing.

Their father walked slowly toward the people.

“Excuse me, but who do you think you are, breaking into my house?” He shouted as he stood with his hands on his hips.

The family did not answer, did not even acknowledge him.

Getting annoyed, the father walked in front of the other man.

“Now see here,” he said, stooping down in front of his face.

The man kept laughing with his wife, looking through their father.

Elizabeth went to her father. His face had turned blank, and he let her guide him away. Her mother’s soft cries could be heard behind them as they walked back up the stairs to the attic.
When they opened the door to their room, everything had changed. They could see the dining room table was really an old piece of furniture, beat and banged up. Elizabeth and Williams bed was an old washtub, the Christmas tree, an old, broken coat rack.

The room wasn’t bright and happy anymore; it was brown and dirty.

“We died in this house many years ago, on Christmas Eve night. There was a fire. See?” Elizabeth pointed at the black marks that spread up the walls to the roof.

Their father held their mother as she sobbed.

“We’ve been here since then. We always celebrate the same Christmas that we died. Every year. That’s how I knew what presents I would get.”

Turning back, their true form appeared. Burned and scarred, the family saw each other as they really were.

For the first time, they could accept their fate.

Elizabeth walked to the small window.

Her family joined her, and they held each other tight.

The snow fell softly outside as the sun rose above the horizon.

Elizabeth and her family faded away together, into the light.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I have a new flash fiction story to offer you folks. Finally. After doing Nanowrimo, and other projects, I realized how much I missed my flash fiction. They keep the pot stirred, so to speak, and are like a taser to the ol' creative jugular. 

Without further ado, here we go. Enjoy!


The rain fell as a mist, sticking to Stew Boy’s skin. The grime slicked down his stubbled cheeks. He reached up absently and wiped at it, smearing black streaks across his jaw. He sat on the cold cement sidewalk, his back up against an unforgiving wall.

His craving had become uncomfortable a few hours ago. He wouldn’t make it through the night without starting the tremors and sickness if he didn’t get his fix.
Grabbing a piece of newspaper from beside him, Stew Boy draped it over his head to shield his face from the rain.

He dozed off for a few hours, and woke up to the feeling that he was going to be sick. He turned his head just in time to begin retching on the sidewalk. He missed himself, but the spams racked his body, causing him to jerk and shake.

In between bouts, he felt something grab his shoulder rough. His eyes were watering, and his vision blurred, but he barely made out the silhouette of something running fast down the end of the alley. On the ground beside him was a piece of folded paper.

Stew Boy picked it up, and found this note inside:
            You need it, we got it.
            Go to 11753 Harlan

Once the sickness had passed, he got to his feet, and began to stumble down the alley. Harlan wasn’t too far away, but something in his gut was telling him not to go. Twice he stopped, ready to turn back, but his body was steadily detoxing, and he needed, no, he wanted the drugs.

By the time he reached Harlan, his hands were shaking so bad they kept coming out of his pockets. Blinking back tears, he struggled to see the numbers on the old, decrepit buildings.


It hurt so bad.


His legs didn’t want to cooperate.


Stew Boy groaned with each step. He would be crawling if it was much longer.
His toe stumbled on a crack in the sidewalk, causing him to fall to his knees. His pants ripped, and blood ran fresh down his leg.

Crumpled up, he lay on the sidewalk; his body contorted in the fetal position, crying so hard there was a trail of snot running down his lip.

After a few minutes, he lifted his head to see that 11753 was one house away.

Stew Boy got to his feet for what he hoped was the last time that night and limped to the old house.

The windows were boarded up, and most of their glass was missing. There was spray painting on the sides of the house.

Pushing at the front door that was barely hanging on the hinges, it popped right open with a loud squeak.

The inside was worse than the outside, if that was possible. The floor was speckled with holes, and in between, the floorboards were thin and dangerous.

He lumbered as carefully as he could through the house, poking his head into each of the rooms. Finding nothing, he scoffed that he could have been so stupid to begin with.

His shaking started to get bad again, and his heart was pounding.

Stew Boy noticed there was one door that was closed.

He went to it and tried to turn the knob. It didn’t budge. The door itself was warm.

Stew Boy was desperate, and threw himself at the door repeatedly.

Finally it opened with a crash, throwing him out of balance. He held onto the door to keep from falling.

It was very dark inside, moist and warm.

He paused trying to see anything, but his eyes wouldn’t adjust.

Feeling his way back, he reached for the wall to get a grasp on the room itself. His hand touched something wet and slimy. He recoiled as a reaction.

“Don’t go,” a deep voice croaked.

“What the hell?” said Stew Boy, his eyes straining at the dark.

The doorknob jerked out of his hand and the door slammed shut.

Stew Boy yelped.

A wet sound started to fill the room.

Stew Boy reached into his pocket and found a lighter. He flicked it and squinted.

The walls were moving.

They were wet, red, and moving, all at once, in vertical lines, like rippling, wet tubes.

He held the light out, moving around in circles. His breath came out in short gasps as he took in the scene.

Quickly he started to look for the door, and thinking he might have found it, he lunged forward.

The wall in front of him started to bubble outward. A head and face grew.

It was in Stew Boy’s face now. Small, red eyes and a mouth opened simultaneously.

A loud scream came from it. Before he could make a sound, the head lifted up, and came down directly on top of Stew Boy.

It began to swallow him whole, gulping him in like a snake.

The walls stirred more quickly, erratically.

Stew Boy was but a lump in the tube on the wall that was attached to the head, which started to recede back into the other lines. The lump moved down. All of the lines trailed down the walls, to the floor, where there was a large hole.

They pulsed into the hole, and the lump that was Stew Boy was pushed down into the darkness.

Far away screams came forth from the hole.

Faces began to come out of the walls.

In the midst of the moving walls, a man stood near the corner, his face wet.

A piece of paper fell from his hand to the floor.

Beside the man a new face formed from the wall.

Stew Boy opened his new, red eyes, his mouth unhinging in a hideous grin.