Electricity would be nice. Irina hangs a bauble and tries to ignore the thunder rolling across the hills. The mortars are closer.
A drone flew over last night, lazy motor puttering. She willed it to stop, but it kept going. The windows rattled a minute later.
It’s too late to run. She places the gifts beneath the tree. Only empty boxes, but they won’t mind.
The light’s fading but she remains outside, breath silver in the bitter cold.
The angel atop the tree is silent.
Three mounds to her right. The shovel, discarded.
She sits beside her children.
This is my contribution to Loren Eaton’s Advent Ghosts. Please check out the other stories over at his blog. For further thoughts on this one you can also check out my recent post about Advent Ghosts 2022.
Is this story referencing Ukraine? Because if so, it’s PARTICULARLY powerful. That last line — chills …
It’s been a long year of struggle for the poor in Eastern Europe, something our western holiday machine makes all too easy to ignore. Thanks for picking up the reference.
Wow! Very powerful and moving. Amazing what you can do with just 100 words. Well done!
Sir, that was masterful and heartbreaking. Well done.
Okay, this story is great. As they say, war is worse than almost anything else.
The helplessness of the characters and the reader comes across.
Quite effective, well done and thank you.
Powerful. Well done.