When the kids were small, presents overwhelmed the space under the tree. The numbers dwindled as, one by one, they grew older and moved away. For another decade, the trees Caitlin and I decorated harboured only a few.
It’s all over now. This year, I didn’t even have a tree.
Alan Kemister is the pen name of a retired scientist experimenting with more fictitious writing. He’s currently working on a climate change novel. Get the gory details at alankemisterauthor.wordpress.com.
Samuel’s holiday decorations had to be perfect.
They drove to multiple lots for the ideal tree. For that ‘special’ look, he insisted Tamra help place each ornament in exactly the right spot. The house was always a flawless display.
His perfectionist demands were why he was spending this Christmas alone.
Bill Diamond lives in Colorado’s Rocky Mountains and writes to try and figure it all out.
Everyone’s favorite time of year had come around again.
Snow covered the frozen ground. The crowd was gathered. The walls were adorned with decorations. The food was all set out. The wine was all poured. The gifts were ready to be handed out.
Now they just needed something to celebrate.
Chad Bunch writes (mostly) speculative fiction from the suburbs of Saint Louis. He is currently working on his fourth novel and multiple short stories.
The North Pole Police found Jolly the Elf hiding underneath a snow-covered tarp behind the old toy factory.
At the precinct they asked him repeatedly, “Why did you do it?”
Looking down at his blood-stained crakows, Jolly finally said, “Why should he get to have all the milk and cookies?”
Ran Walker is the award-winning author of 17 books, including Portable Black Magic: Tales of the Afro Strange. He teaches creative writing at Hampton University in Virginia.
Ponder I, alone: “What brought me here?”
The wind says nothing.
“What force?” cry I.
“God?” I wait for any answer.
“Nothing, then,” ponder I, alone. No fate steered my course. I chose this path.
I turn away to family dinner. How I despise political turkey.
Andrew is an unpublished fiction writer in the Washington area. In his spare time he enjoys pens, pads, word processors and pudding.
Santa’s drinking Dad’s wine.
Head held back, he guzzles, laughing like a honking goose. Reminds me of Dad.
Mother claims Santa loves me.
I lose hints of faith.
Four years later, Santa’s hurling wine bottles. Mother and I dart among fusillades.
She doesn’t say Santa loves me.
Love’s a myth.
Mir-Yashar is a graduate of Colorado State University’s MFA program in fiction. A recipient of two Honorable Mentions from Glimmer Train, his story, “Strangers,” was nominated for The Best Small Fictions. Mir-Yashar’s work is forthcoming or has been published in journals such as Maudlin House, The Drabble, Door Is A Jar, and Ariel Chart.
The big man strokes his white beard. “It’s been a hard season…”
“Seen the new requests?!” shouts one elf. “Epidemics, tanks, false flags… And we’re hungry.”
“I’ve brought in a consultant.”
A black, hooded robe enters, holding a tray. “All will be delivered this Christmas. For now, enjoy reindeer steaks.”
Joey thinks it is never too early to plan for the coming Christmas.
Her boys play outside with an old Nerf ball. As she leads him to the broken furnace, he sees her tiny house has a cross, but no gifts, no tree. He sympathizes; he’s had a rough year, too.
She sees him glancing and is grateful they have nothing to steal.
Graham Robert Scott teaches writing at a university in north Texas. His stories have appeared in Barrelhouse Online, Nature, and Blink-Ink. See more at hemicyon.wordpress.com.
Every Christmas has unique vibrations.
2010 was tremulous.
Our grandchildren were three and four. They didn’t know their mother was dead.
I imagine they held to the hope she’d surprise them with a last-minute appearance.
There was more chance a fat man in a sleigh would land on the roof.
Bob Thurber is the author of “Paperboy: A Dysfunctional Novel” and two collections of stories. A celebrated master of Flash and Micro Fiction, his work has appeared in 60 anthologies, received dozens of awards, and been used in schools and colleges throughout the world. He resides in Massachusetts where, though legally blind, he continues to write every day. Visit his website at BobThurber.net.
She stumbled in, water trickling down her legs. A sharp pain squeezed her and she bellowed a wild cry.
Between the pains, she opened her eyes. A pair of black marbles stared back at her. The donkey matched her pitch and brayed, to which she replied, “The King is coming.”
Maja Scheler is a creative writer and Spanish-speaking enthusiast residing in the Pacific Northwest. Mother to three boys, her days are wild and rewarding.