Each year at this time Loren Eaton who writes at his blog I Saw Lightning Fall
invites creative writers to challenge themselves with the micro short story called a drabble. One hundred words -- no more, no less. The only other rules are that each story must have a Christmas theme and must be in the ghost story tradition. Some take the traditional Victorian road paved with eerie frissons and visited by wispy ghosts, others travel down the darker, bloodier pathways of contemporary horror. I whipped up two frothy concoctions this year. One intended to make you smile, the other to chill your heart. Be sure to check out at Loren's blog where he is gathering all the links leading to other stories throughout the holiday blogosphere.
The Fire Is Slowly Dying
Christmas Eve and he was flat on his back unable to move. So damn hot. It's December! Makes no sense. He tried to focus. Three silver buttons pushed into his chest. Where were his clothes? His skin was turning golden brown in this heat. All around him that sickly aroma. Sugary, spicy. Not cologne, more like…a bakery? Ahead of him was a door with a large window and a gigantic face looked at him. A gigantic smiling girl. An alarm, the door opened, then a bellowing voice: "Don't burn yourself! Use the oven mitt. Mmm, don't they look tasty?"
* * *
Every year he returned to watch her skate. The pond was wild, dangerous. She found inspiration outside, surrounded by birch trees and chirping sparrows. She was free. Today she was doing what she did every Christmas Day. Tracing the numeric pattern with studied practice, etching the symbol of her future. No cracking or splintering of the ice so many years ago, no plunging into freezing water.
When she was done she vanished. Not quickly, more like a slow fade as wintry fog surrounded her and took her back. Back into infinity. The symbol she traced when turned on its side.
Great ones, John.ReplyDelete
Very, very nicely done, John. I wish I'd known about this Challenge. Oh well, maybe we'll do our own writing challenge in the new year. They are such fun.ReplyDelete
I'll be off to North Carolina to visit family for Christmas, so this is a last comment for awhile - just wanted to wish you an especially MERRY CHRISTMAS and a HAPPY NEW YEAR, dear John. God bless.
Excellent stuff, both of them?ReplyDelete
Have you ever come across the two Drabble anthologies published 'way back when by Beccon Press? The John Brunner drabble in the first of them is, I think, one of the finest short-shorts I've ever come across.
both of them?Delete
Yikes! That question mark was supposed to be an exclamatory.
"Run, run, as fast as you can! You can't catch me ..." That'd be a BAD way to wake up! And I like the second one quite a lot. Very poignant.ReplyDelete
The first one is supposed to be a noir parody told from the viewpoint of a cookie. It made me laugh when I came up with it. I guess I should have made it first person narration. It wasn't intended to be a story of a person trapped in a giant oven at the mercy of some Twilight Zone like "To Serve Man" aliens. Though I guess it can be interpreted that way.Delete
I liked the second one better, myself. Thanks for the compliments, Loren. I had fun with these this year. They just flowed right out of me. Easiest things I've written all year!
Great unique voice in each story. Very enjoyable.ReplyDelete
Thanks so much. I guess I succeeded in my experiments with POV and mood.Delete
Your intent with the first piece was perfectly clear! Having two young kiddos means I just automatically default to allusions about nursery rhymes that feature ambulatory gingerbread men. My little ones love that story.
And I replied to the wrong comment. *sigh* Whatcha gonna do?Delete