Saturday, December 22, 2012

Advent Ghosts 2012: The Stories

The velvet firmament splays out above us, and on its surface swirls an endless array of stars, flecks of frost on the ebony expanse, sparks struck against the endless dark. For as long as man has labored on this sphere, they have watched, muttering in their ancient tongue of the beauty and horror, the terror and transcendence of the heavens' boundless depths and of the hand which wrought them. Pause in your labors, cup a hand to your ear and listen. We have done so, we who crouched with paper and pen in the chill of the empty hours, scratching down their eldritch murmurs. They have given us a gift, and we long to share it.

So let us tell you a story ...
• "Lineman" by Dale Nelson (see below)
"The Madness of the King" by James D. Witmer on In Response
"Unwanted" and "For Later" by Elizabeth Gaucher on Esse Diem
"Making a List" by B. Nagel on B. Nagel
"Dissolving the Partnership" by Tony Chavira on Minefield Wonderland
"Familiar" and "Oracle" by Loren Eaton on I Saw Lightning Fall
"Family Reunion" by Phil Wade on Brandywine Books
"Wait of the World" by Paul Liadis on The Struggling Writer
"Befana" by Joseph D'Agnese on Daggyland
"It Was Christmas After All" by Craig Scott on CS Fantasy Reviews
"Frost" by Simon Kewin on Spellmaking
"Striver" by S.D. Smith at
"A Little Bit of Grandma" by Eric Douglas on Adventure with a Purpose
"Fuel" by Josh Vogt on
"If Fates Allow" by Michael Morse on Rescuing Providence
"The Dragon's Curse" by Lester D. Crawford on Lester D. Crawford Blog
• "Capsule Christmas" by Ollwen Jones (see below)
"Silent Night" by Chestertonian Rambler on The Winding Road to Roundabout
"Frosty" by Scott G.F. Bailey on Six Words for a Hat

* * *

By Dale Nelson

Lynn Decker started it.

He had a thing going with Norm Hewitt's wife. They were buddies -- would work the same electrical pole. Up there Norm must've said something. Suddenly out the corner of your eye Lynn's yelling that Norm hit the transformer, and another guy helps Lynn lower the dead body. Very suspicious.

One late winter afternoon Lynn sees Norm climbing after him. Terrified -- he panics, unbuckles, falls. Told what happened and died soon afterwards, said he wasn't ready for death.

George Cletis screamed "Lynn!" up there -- heart attack.

Matter of time before someone sees George climbing up below him ...

("Lineman" copyright 2012 by Dale Nelson; used by permission)

* * *

"Capsule Christmas"
By Ollwen Jones

A younger, slightly idealized Valencia stared back at her from the porthole, a side-effect of the nanobots in her blood, keeping her alive. Nostalgic, yet strange.

"Lights down."

Stars poked through her visage as the light behind her faded into the blackness of space. "Martin Luther never saw stars like that ..." Dazzling every time, no matter how long her stasis.

She sighed, frosting the cold glass, then wiped a sparkling Christmas tree in it with her fingers. "O Tannenbaum, O Tannenbaum," her voice rang softly about her tiny capsule as it drifted through the void, "How lovely are your branches ..."

("Capsule Christmas" copyright 2012 by Ollwen Jones; used by permission)


Phil W said...

And the cycle continues. Thanks, Dale.

scott g.f.bailey said...

I'm late to the party, but:

Merry Christmas, and thanks, Loren!

Loren Eaton said...

@ Dale: That's spectacularly creepy, sir. Well done.

@ Sam: I truly enjoy the melancholy tone of this one. IT's fitting.

Joseph D'Agnese said...

Thanks again for a really well-run event! See you all next year! -- Joe

Tony said...

Amazing! Sorry for the late reply, it's been a very late holiday for me.

Loren Eaton said...

@ Joe: Thanks so much for participating!

@ Tony: No worries, man. Everyone's busy.