Those Post Christmas Blues…

This week’s response to the picture prompt on the Writer’s Mess, ended up being a follow up to last weeks rather disturbing story.  It works as a stand alone, but this is what happens the day after Christmas, that little letdown that follows the holidays for some of us, but obviously not for all the same reasons.


The crackling fire that had warmed his heart before Christmas day, now gave him a chill of emptiness. It reminded him of how good the holidays had been this year, and now it was over. It would be eleven months before he felt that way again, and it made him sad.

He thought of his love, the way the red had brought out the green of her eyes, and how he would never see them again. Yesterday was their last day together, and now it was all about the clean up.  The tree, the decorations, the blood, all of it would have to taken away, without the comfort of knowing someone was waiting for him when he was done.

He would stay at the cabin till new years, like he always did, watching the clock count down to midnight alone, and another year start as barren as this one had.  He would go back to his place in the city, to his job, his coworkers, and make resolutions that would be forgotten in a  month.

The days would bleed into one another, an endless blur of projects, deadline, and paychecks that didn’t really mean anything at all, not to him.  He sighed as he thought about it, feeling tired, and heavy with the realization of what laid ahead of him.

Oh well, there would always be next Christmas.

Choices

The story of a small town getting cut off, and the difference between being remote and being isolated. It was in part inspired by a prompt about people being cut off, and the idea of “Under the Dome” by Stephen King, which I never read, but had described to me years ago.


No one was worried when the small bridges around town washed out, it was a common enough occurrence. No one was even that surprised when the storm took down the phone lines, wasn’t the first time after all.

The day the main bridge crumbled under the continued deluge of rain, we all began to worry. There was no longer any way in or out of town, and with no signal up in these parts, and dial up Internet, we had no way of calling for help.

Even then though, the worry was low. The rain couldn’t last forever ,and when it let up someone could take a boat out to the nearest town and get help that way.

The rain didn’t stop though, it just kept going, and while we were high up enough we didn’t flood, it wasn’t safe to send for help.

I was a doctor at the time, and it took everything in me not to join in on the gossip. My questions, while relevant, would only cause panic. I had enough medical supplies for a pretty good duration, in part due to the coming winter, but I knew that Mr. Harrigan hadn’t gotten her delivery of winter non-perishables yet. So the question I had, the most pressing one of course, was how long until we ran out of food.

It was a question that everyone started asking a week later, when the power went out. After 4 hours a crew of us went around to the local stores as usual and collected the refrigerated goods to cook on the firehouse gas stove, but we didn’t have the regular party haul that we were expecting. In fact, due to the low capacity, we took the freezer items as well, and we looked at each other in silence and started to wonder what people’s home freezers were looking like.

Three days later I got my answer ,when we had the first riot over food. I used an embarrassing amount of my winter supplies patching up minor injuries, and in the end the town council decided that a boat would have to be sent, safe or not.

Eddie Gallager volunteered, and a group of us watched him sail off. Two days after that is was Pat Thomas. Then it Jonas Sully, followed Brett Spire, followed by Claire Metas. With each new launch and no word back, hope dwindled.

On the 40th night, the rain stopped. The holly rollers went bat-shit. I guess we should have been building an ark. Two days later the first supply boat showed, with line repairmen, food, and news of our missing compatriots.

Pat, Eddie and Claire would be back in a dew days, held on account of the weather. Eddie’s boat had bit it, but he would be coming back on Jonas’ craft. Jonas, who along with Brett, was in the hospital, from injuries sustained in the trip. They would be released in a week or so, and had agreed to make the trip back together in case of a relapse.

All in all it was good news, no one died, the bridge was rebuilt, the lines rehung, and then 43 people in our town for 200 packed up and headed out. I am not ashamed to admit that I was among them. The isolation had seemed like peace until it was no longer voluntary, and my yearning for the remoteness was washed away with the main bridge.

The town didn’t falter though, the story of the exodus following the biblical rain made headlines that went nationwide, and the population soon doubled. It’s strange, where some of us run away, there is always someone else running towards that same situation…

A Chance Encounter

The word of the week is KNOT, and I feel like I just did one with this word, but of well, it’s a good word.  This follows the story of Siobhan, who meets someone she should never have met and takes it all the way to the altar.  It’s a bit of an experiment style wise, and has more worldbuilding in six-sentences than my last novel. Enjoy!


Today I tied the knot, and it was the biggest accomplishment of my life, not because getting married was a feat, but because I had somehow managed to bypass about ten levels and went from an eleven to a one in less than a year.

It was pure happenstance that we even met, elevens weren’t even allowed in the same rooms with anyone above a three, even their servants were nines, but my smarts had won me a scholarship to the university where he was taking a tour, and it was love at first sight.

I had no idea who he was, I certainly wouldn’t have called him a jerk if I had, and if it had been any other member of the royal family I’d have lost my head for the remark, but he liked that I had called him on what was actually a terrible idea, as it wasn’t often someone told him something other than what he wanted to hear.

I knew that I had made a misstep the second I spoke, all the air seemingly sucked from the room by the collective gasp, and I will admit I agreed to the dinner invitation less because I wanted to continue our rousing debate and more because as the only eleven on campus I ate last, something that usually no longer resembled food.

I figured it was a one off, I would never see him again, so I took advantage, spoke my mind, and I ate less like a lady and more like a knight following a great battle, because if this was my only shot to eat food such as this,, by the gods I was going to go for broke.

We met it secret a handful of times before he asked for my hand, me agreeing without knowing who he was, and I will admit I might have said no if I had known, but I didn’t, so here I am Princess Siobhan, of the thirteen kingdoms, long may I reign.

Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas…

This one is for the weekly picture prompt on The Writer’s Mess, shown below, and I will tell you that this one is a response to a challenge of “cozy horror” that I discussed with the Mess group a while back.  Sit back and enjoy the holiday season with this lovely little Christmas story.


Ernest lowered the needle onto the record, and stood eyes closed, as the opening baritone washed over him.  He took a deep breathe, and released his remaining tension along with the exhale.

He sat down on the couch clad in his favorite wool Christmas sweater, glass of eggnog in hand, staring into the roaring fire, as the crackling accentuated the feeling of the Christmas music.  

His Christmas tree was decorated, and stockings for him and his love were hung on the mantle with the utmost care.  Every surface of the cabin was adorned with Christmas, whether it be the Santa Claus placemats on the table, or the sock reindeers that sat on the back of the couch.

Some people would say he had gone overboard, but this was his favorite time of the year, and he deserved to go all in.  It was after all, just a month, one perfect month.

He was sure his love would agree, the sounds of her chains coming up through the floorboard like the jingling of sleigh bells.  She would love it… Or the next one would. 

Either way, it would be the perfect Christmas.