Remember Them

    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.
    She’ll wait.

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.

Advent Ghosts

2021 has been a challenging year for most of us, and in many cases it’s felt like we’ve had to sit through the sequel to our least favourite film, and this one was even worse. But we’ve come this far, and though we may take with us a few scars and bruises, the year to come is a story as yet unwritten, waiting for us to stamp on it whatever future we dare dream of.

Though before we turn that corner, there’s nothing like a little Yuletide horror story, don’t you think? Whether you’re gathered around the hearth, snowed in on a cold Christmas Eve, or basking in the heat of a Southern Hemisphere summer evening, trying to ignore the strains of Sinatra’s Let It Snow, a little Dickensian tension might add that missing spice to the eggnog.

Here’s my contribution to that fun – a little story, exactly 100 words, about a Christmas Eve that might be…

The Long Tail

The ancient Buick belched darkness across the night. Dilapidated, it mirrored its solitary occupant, dark eyes in a scruffy ball of hair peering past oil stained knuckles.

Gone, the million plumes of yesteryear, flight, his gifts of coal. Now, he hunted.

His red nose led to an address. Electric cars on a solar driveway and behind them, the vintage pickup. He trudged up the driveway, unlocked the fuel cap, and connected a hose.

The takings were small, but sufficient. Back at the Buick, he reclaimed the driver’s seat, and slammed the door.

Ho ho ho, he said, and gunned it.

For a collection of even more entertaining and scarier ultra-short fiction this Christmas, please check out Loren Eaton’s blog, and his 2021 collection of shared storytelling, Advent Ghosts. Thanks for the prompt Loren, and I wish you all a Merry Christmas and an amazing New Year.

Advent Ghosts

A few years ago my friend and fellow blogger Loren Eaton introduced me to the tradition of creepy Christmas stories, recounted in the cold as the solstice passed and summer was but a distant memory.

Loren posts links to these at his blog for his Advent Ghosts event – a collection of 100-word stories you should definitely check out.

I thought it was about time I stop making excuses and join in the fun this year.

December 11001

The calendar is encoded, routine. October: Costumed terror, become maudlin. November: Synthetic turkey, vat yams and protein glaze, untouched.

I straighten the false beard and click and creak onto the stage. The Polar set is as last year, backed to forty foot polymatrix viewports. A tourist trap: Polymer snow, a red nosed eThespian and behind all, the creeping canopy of stars. Spectacle.


Our module emerges from darkness. Uncorrected rotation returns unshielded viewports to the baleful glare of a dying star. My armature glows cherry with gamma blast. Memories of laughing children evaporate, like ghosts, one bit at a time.


…to a Small Lump of Blue Paper I Dropped Somewhere Odd One Midsummer Morning.

(otherwise known as a series of emails I sent to my wife in rhyme, bemoaning having misplaced my passport today as I went to renew it.)

Caution… Horrible Vogon Poetry ensues.

Email The First.

My passport, my passport… where could it be?
It’s not in the car on my desk or on me,
nor my laptop bag, drawers or the floors,
wedged in my trousers or those of a horse.
I hope I have dropped it on table or chair
and the kids are now playing with it – combing their hair?
Or else i may blow a fuse and decree
that travel, quite simply, just isn’t for me.

Email The Second (in which one is asked if one checked on the floor)

I’ve checked on the floor but I’ll check again… no.
It’s not there! I do swear! Which is really just so…
annoying. I can’t begin to tell how
when I try to work I can’t concentrate now
because somewhere, somewhere, this document lies
hiding in secret or ‘neath wide open skies
but try as I might I can’t see it about

so I must shortly go home, turn the house inside out
and hopefully..? Finally..? Find it and then
wait til tomorrow just to try this again

Email The Third

Now i feel silly and less than poetic
when after checking my car it’s pathetic
that my passport fell out down the side of the chair
to the car’s seat belt buckle and got hidden in there.
It’s a good end to the story, i suppose, for I’ve been
sillier before (ask the washing machine).
So two points can be made from my silly mistake:
Things don’t disappear. Remember that well.
And the second’s quite like it, though harder to take:
Losing stuff’s easy, finding it’s hell.

I promise never to do that again 😉