Friday, December 24, 2010

Advent Ghosts 2010: The Stories

The brooding sun has sunk beneath horizon's edge, and gloom gathers, color bleeding from the stricken sky, the bare trees black against a graying firmament. Yes, in truth, the light of the world will rise again. But as we wait, as the darkness grows and the wind builds and the logs shift uneasily in the glowing hearth, let us give you that oldest of gifts.

Let us tell you a story ...
"The Saint, the Lover and the Devil" by Tony Chavira on Minefield Wonderland
• "Comes a Candle" by Dale Nelson (see below)
"Zlatoosk and the Snowglobe" by Ehren von Lehe on von Lehe Creative
"Reunion" and "The Night After Christmas" by Phil Wade on Brandywine Books
"All the Time in the World" by Nathaniel Lee on Mirrorshards
"Ghosts of Christmas" by Donna Hole on Donna Hole
"Christmas with the Captain" by B. Nagel on B. Nagel
"First Picture" and "Simeon" by Loren Eaton on I Saw Lightning Fall
"Things Remembered" by Patricia Abbott on pattinase
"Alone" by Michelle Davidson Argyle on The Innocent Flower
"Untitled" by Steven Argyle on The Innocent Flower
"The Witness" by S.D. Smith on
"Christmas at the Cabin" by C. N. Nevets on Nevets.QST
"Christmas Cabin" by Aidan Fritz on Aidan Writes:
"Advent Ghosts" by Yvonne Osborne on The Organic Writer
"Christmas Eve" by Scott G.F. Bailey on scottgfbailey
"A Christmas Eve Ghost Story" by David Loyd on The Guy In the Window
"She" by Chestertonian Rambler on The Winding Road to Roundabout
• "Untitled" by Ollwen Jones (see below)

* * *

"Comes a Candle"
by Dale Nelson

Unfortunately they'd listened to the late-night news. John's shadowy dreams were tormented by a moving form and steel's glint. The serial decapitator was near.

He awoke, sweat-damp, gasping.

His wife turned to him, caressed his face. "John, it's all right. Go back to sleep."

Eventually he slept, where nightmare found him: the killer bent over, blade poised.

-- "Jane! Jane!" Eyes wide, he stared into the darkness, afraid even to turn his head.

He sensed his wife sit up next to him. He reached out to pat her back gratefully.

"It's all right," came her voice from her pillow.

("Comes a Candle" copyright 2010 by Dale Nelson; used by permission)

* * *

by Ollwen Jones

Three sisters: nineteen, twelve and seven,
Cozy, singing, lighting Advent candles.
They are thankful for each other.
House paid off; Misty is able to pay the bills.
Jenna mothers the other girls.
Charity does okay most of the time.

It’s a time of deepest joy and sorrow.
Mom and Dad are. . .
Ghosts of Christmases past.
Met head-on by one who celebrated too deeply.

Christmas reminds them
Of sweet times with Mom and Dad,
They feel most acutely the ache of loss,
But the coming of the Christ Child
Is also a wonderful symbol of life,
And their one great hope.

("Untitled" copyright 2010 by Ollwen Jones; used by permission)


pattinase (abbott) said...

Michelle D. Argyle said...

I like how real it is for him. I hope I don't dream about decapitations tonight!

AidanF said...

I enjoyed the twist of phrase serial decapitator. It feels murky this world between real life and dream life as if they are intertwined.

Phil W said...

Freaking out.

Loren Eaton said...


This both shocked and thrilled my wife, who's no horror fan but knows a good story when she sees one. I'd consider that a success.

B. Nagel said...

Dale -

So good. The voice from the pillow, the Other sitting up in bed between them. So good.

B. Nagel said...

Ollwen -

When death shatters life (and syntax), a beautiful sentiment can bring us back to hope.

B. Nagel said...

Loren -

I see one Captain and two cabins. Whats going on!? It's rhyme-a-licious!

dolorah said...

Dale: Well done with the night terrors.

Ollwen: A heartbreaking tale of loss; so glad everyone is coping.


S.D. Smith said...

All in all, a real winner, Loren! Thanks for imagining, inviting, and hosting.

This tradition gets better every year.

AidanF said...

Ollwen, like the poem and a sad situation, but it feels like it is seasoned with a little hope.

Loren Eaton said...


Nothing planned on my end. Seriously, such a great range of stories this year. Loved it.

Loren Eaton said...


It was great this year, wasn't it? I'm glad so many participated.

Loren Eaton said...

Sam (of the Ollwen variety),

Well done, sir, especially knowing where that piece comes from.

Anne R. Allen said...

These are some amazing stories. Nice to see so many familiar names. You're all twisted! And I mean that in the nicest possible way. Horror at Christmas: not as scary as Aunt Lucy's fruitcake, but pretty damned scary.

Loren Eaton said...

You're all twisted!

Madam, we take that as a compliment ...

Tony said...

This is always fun, but turns out better and more exciting stories each year. Thanks for this Loren, can't wait until next year!