Saturday, December 24, 2011

Advent Ghosts 2011: The Stories

There is a cold in the air tonight, a chill that goes deeper than aching fingers and frostbitten cheeks. It pierces to the marrow, to our innermost parts. And morning, well, morning lies a long way off. We know the sun will soar into the sky again, warming us with its light. But until then, let us strike sparks against the darkness and feed the fire until it rages. Come, gather together, and as we wait for the new day, let us give you that oldest of gifts.

Let us tell you a story ...
• "Awaited" by Dale Nelson (see below)
"Jack Frost" by Tony Chavira on Minefield Wonderland
• "The Accident" by Thomas Joyce (see below)
"An Angel Above" by Paul Liadas on The Struggling Writer
"Näck" by Aidan Fritz on Aidan Writes
"It Rolls Along, The Unbroken Song" and "Moriah" by Loren Eaton on I Saw Lightning Fall
"When Will Santa Come?" by Craig Scott on CS Fantasy Reviews
"While You Sleep" by Simon Kewin on Spellmaking
"My Watch Says It's Christmas" by Lester D. Crawford on Lester D. Crawford Blog
"A Long Mile Confession" by Jackie Jordan on Let's Hear It!
"Faces" by Giora Polushko on
"After" by S.D. Smith on
"Who’s That?" by Michael Morse on Rescuing Providence
"Believe" by Michelle Davidson Argyle on The Innocent Flower
"The Rift of the Magi" by Josh Vogt on Through A Glass, Darkly
"How The Helper Earned His Price" by B. Nagel on B. Nagel
"Philadelphia (In Old City on Christmas Eve)" by Jason Evans on The Clarity of Night
"Incarnation" by Chestertonian Rambler on The Winding Road to Roundabout
"The Escape" by Elizabeth Gaucher on Esse Diem
• "Dopamine" by Ollwen Jones (see below)
"The Road North by Scott GF Bailey on Six Words For A Hat
"Untitled" by Donna Hole on Donna Hole
"Goddess Bless Us, Every One" by Nathaniel Lee on Mirrorshards
"Untitled" by SzélsőFa on Gondolatok az erdőben
* * *

by Dale Nelson

No choice ...

No choice.

So he looked over the well's lip.

That face looking up at him.

("Awaited" copyright 2011 by Dale Nelson; used by permission)

* * *

"The Accident"
by Thomas Joyce

Surrounded by the Christmas presents that our son should have been feverishly opening the following morning, I tried to tell my wife about the accident. I explained how he had begged to sit up front with me and how he'd fidgeted. When she refused to turn from the window I cried that I might have a broken rib given the pain in my chest, and that I'd only had four beers. She turned and looked straight through me to where our son, wrapped in a blanket and comforted by a paramedic, now stood, and the cold darkness finally claimed me.

("The Accident" copyright 2011 by Thomas Joyce; used by permission)

* * *

by Ollwen Jones

Marianna sat at the kitchenette, a second pill in her wrinkled, palsied hand. Dopamine, or a reasonable replacement. Too little of it slurred her speech and kept her feet from obeying.

This time of year she missed Bill most of all. A second pill.

After a while, there he was, smiling silently across the table at her, just as last year.

Soon she eyed her pill bottle. How many to join him? He stared sternly at her for a moment, then turning, smiled dotingly at all the photos of grand-children on fridge.

No. Of course not. Not on Christmas Eve.


Unknown said...

@Dale, this captures a sense of creepiness for me the way he seems drawn to the depths of the well.

@Thomas, horrifying. Telling this from the father's viewpoint captures the self-recriminations that are so easy to make after-the-fact but never stop us before.

B. Nagel said...

Dale- I'm fascinated by the specificity of "that face".

Thomas- What a horrid story!

Loren Eaton said...

I think B. intends that as compliment, especially given the story's ghostly theme. Love that ending twist.

Michelle D. Argyle said...

Both very nice!

dolorah said...

Dale: That is creepy . .

Thomas: OMG, that is terrifying. Too real this time of year too.

Ollwen: Hauntingly sweet. The romance is vivid :)

Loren: Oh I'm so sorry; I forgot to post today. Its up now; and I emailed you too.

Thanks for hosting this event. I'm on my way now to view all the stories.

Merry Christmas, and Happy new year to you.


Elizabeth Gaucher said...

Looking forward to reading them all, and honored to be included. This is a terrific concept. Glad the sun is shining bright here today.....Merry Christmas everyone!

SzélsőFa said...

wow, this is my first time here and i feel honored to have my story up among these great ones.
i have already read three and will come back to read all the others as well.
(on a side note: some of you might find my story somehow similar to Ollwen's. :)

Unknown said...

@Ollwen, Bill is a treasure the way he reminds her and keeps her going. Nice conflict between these two.

Loren Eaton said...


I've read yours multiple times (especially since you were the first respondent), and I keep going back and forth as to whether or not the piece is menacing or humorous. Maybe it's a bit of both, which is quite a lot to pull off in such a short space.

Loren Eaton said...


I said it before, but I loved the twist in yours. Didn't see it coming, and it hit like, well, a car wreck. Nicely done.

Loren Eaton said...

Sam (of the Ollwen variety),

Poignant. Someone on our street is getting very old and has begun to see ... Well, she calls them spirits, but I'm pretty sure it's just the sundering of the mind from reality. Still, one can see how much she longs for people who have departed from her life. This captures that feeling well.