#MenageMonday Challenge – Week 14

 

Three prompts living under one challenge roof?

Welcome to #MenageMonday!

Week 14

Undead Christmas Spectacular

500 word limit

.

Rules Recap

  • This is a Flash Fiction challenge. Your story must be a minimum of 100 words, maximum of 500 words.
  • Incorporate each of the three prompts into your story.
  • Post your story into the comments of this post.
  • Include your word count (or be excluded from judging).
  • Please include your Twitter handle or email.
  • The contest opens at 7 A.M. and closes at 8 P.M. Eastern Time.
  • Generally speaking, the winner will be revealed Tuesday morning, huzzah!

So what do you get for all your time and effort, you ask? Badges, of course. (What, you thought this was a funded operation?) #MenageMonday awards SIX (squeeee!) badges for this super special week:

  • There is the undisputed CHAMP. Rather self explanatory.
  • There is the JUDGE’S PET, for best use of the Judge’s prompt.
  • Special Awards for FUNNIEST, MOST ROMANTIC, and SCARIEST.
  • Last but not least, the JUDGE gets a badge, because Judges need love, too.

 

Our Judge for Week 14:

Writer, photographer, and one of my best go-to people for random Galaxy Quest quotes…

@Janelle_Jensen

Janelle Jensen

Janelle’s passions are writing, reading, photography, wolves, marine aquaria, and combining as many of those things as possible.

 

Challenge Time!

Your mission, should you choose to accept it:

The Photo: 

The Phrase: the more the merrier (this may be used anywhere in the story)

The Judge’s Prompt: Undead and Christmas. Per our judge (who is once more humorously in sync with my picture taking), you may use the words themselves and/or use them as themes for your story.

 

In the spirit of Christmas (and okay, because someone kinda hinted that he wanted me to do this and I hadn’t even thought of it, duh), I’m giving away copies of Gaea’s Chosen: The Mayday Directive to all five winners.

Okay, my Monday Menagerie… the clock is ticking. Make me proud. Good writing and good luck!

22 thoughts on “#MenageMonday Challenge – Week 14

  1. The Rapture caught them as they were setting up the Christmas diorama in the yard, leaving unplugged light-up plastic Santas strewn like corpses in the frosted grass. The thermos of coffee that by now was about sixty percent spirits poured steaming black liquid into the bush where it fell.

    Meanwhile, wrapped in a light that warmed deeper than skin, Neil opened his eyes. Understanding was automatic as he found himself in a white room, the ornate furniture and plasterwork gilded soft gold. Naked, the surprise he felt at not being left behind dwindled into insignificance beside the raw shock that all his friends were with him. Even Donna, who’d once declared she was going to be a lesbian just to annoy God, had apparently made the cut. Also naked.

    Then Jesus walked in, smiling. “Welcome to Heaven, all of you.” He had a case of some European beer under his arm, and the roll-up in his mouth wafted a smell suspiciously like weed into the room.

    Ever the intellectual, nervously covering his privates, David was the first to recover his voice. “This is real? We’re not left behind?”

    “The more the merrier,” the Messiah laughed. “After all, big party next week, and if I rejected everyone who’d ever been a bit naughty it’d just be me and some shrivelled old nuns.”

    “Party..?” Reeling, Neil wished he could have a drag on the spliff, and almost choked as one appeared in his mouth.

    “Of course. What, just because I’m undead, I can’t celebrate my birthday?”

    254 words
    @eatthepen

    Apologies if I’ve caused offence to anyone.

  2. “So,” Rod began, “your parents are into this thing about a guy who dies and then he comes back to life, complete with wounds, right?”

    “Look,” Caroline replied as she cut the air with one mitted hand. “We’ve been through this before. This is for my parents. Christmas is important to them.”

    In the back seat of the car Brent Johnson remained quiet. He’d heard Caroline and Rod go through this over and over during the past few weeks and it always bothered him. Rod was an asshole.

    “Hey, I’m just saying it sounds like some kind of zombie god or something,” Rod replied.

    “Rod, please,” Caroline implored, drawing the words out for emphasis.

    “Whatever,” Rod said under his breath. “It’s like some undead Christmas if you ask me,” he muttered.

    Caroline Mathews focused on driving as snowflakes the size of her fists quietly buffeted the windshield reducing vision to about twenty feet or so. Her ’72 Beetle ran just fine in the below freezing temperatures and with the engine mounted in the rear, traction was pretty good on the snow covered roads. She leaned forward over the steering wheel as she maneuvered the car around yet another stranded vehicle.

    “Man,” Brent said, “that is like the tenth car we’ve seen on the side of the road since we left the interstate.”

    “My parents’ house is just ahead,” Caroline offered.

    Caroline used her mitten covered hand to wipe fog from the windshield. The heater boxes in the old car had rusted through long ago so the interior heating was practically non-existent. To try to help the car warm up during the colder season, Caroline would fill a hot water bottle with the hottest water she could get out of her kitchen tap each time she was driving somewhere. Although she really couldn’t swear that it did much to warm up the car, the fact that it did cause the windshield to fog up was at least psychologically comforting.

    Immediately in front of the vehicle a dark human shape lumbered into view.

    “Shit!” Caroline yelled. She swerved, letting off the gas, and all three occupants could feel the tires lose their precarious grip on the road as the vehicle slid sideways with sphincter tightening slowness before stopping.

    “Sorry!” Caroline called even though she was pretty sure the individual outside wouldn’t be able to hear her.

    The dark shape continued across the road as if it hadn’t even noticed them. Through the windows it sounded as if he, the voice was decidedly not female, was yelling something at them.

    “What did he say?” Rod asked.

    “No clue,” Caroline said.

    “Sounded more like a moan to me,” Brent offered.

    A block later, Caroline pulled the car over to the curb and parked.
    As they approached her parents’ house, they realized the lawn was strewn with deflated, blowup, Christmas decorations.

    “Something is not right,” Caroline said.

    Just then a man shuffled out of the house.

    “Daddy, is that you?”

    The man moaned in response.

    500 Words
    @redshirt6

  3. Apocalypse Yule

    If you had told Zack (while he was alive) that Satan and Santa were the same guy, and that the perennial “naughty or nice” judgment and the Biblical Apocalypse were the same thing, he would have laughed. In fact, he had laughed, right until the moment he’d seen the sky raining burning stockings full of coal and heard an infernal thunderclap of laughter that had sounded suspiciously like “ho, ho, ho.”

    He wasn’t laughing now. Of course, he wasn’t alive now, either, and there wasn’t much to laugh about.

    He manifested in a grubby yard rimmed with gray snow turned to slush by the soles of a thousand tiny elfin boots. A few feet away, some jolly imps wearing Santa hats rummaged through piles of careworn Christmas decorations and assorted bric-a-brac.

    “Hello,” one elf said as Zack arrived. Zack noticed his hat bore a filthy limerick. “You must be new. Start putting up those card tables, will you?”

    “Why?”

    The elf sighed. “Because it’s your job. You’ve been assigned to the Infernal Trapezoid of A-Holes Who Send Family Holiday Newsletters And Do Their Christmas Shopping at the Conoco.”

    “That’s awfully specific.”

    “The universe is infinite, we can afford to be. Anyway, that’s your duty from now until doomsday, which incidentally is in fourteen minutes. So start unfoldin’. What’s your name?”

    “Zack.”

    “I’m Mayan Calendar.”

    “Huh?”

    “Sure, we’re all named something life-ending down here. Gallows humor. I’m Mayan Calendar, over there’s Hospital Accident, that’s Bathtub Mishap, the fat one there is Mountain Dew Drinking Contest… there’s a true story behind that one, believe it or not. Oh, and that’s actually Gallows Humor…”

    “So do I get an afterlife name?” Zack groaned.

    “Sure. You’ll be… Fatal Bowel Blockage. Like it?”

    “No.”

    Mayan Calendar smiled. “I think we’ll get along just fine.”

    Zack began glumly unfolding tables. “So what happens in this circle of the afterlife, anyway?”

    “This is where the damned come to collect all the crap they valued more than the people in their lives. They take it to an overpriced astral storage facility and pay big bucks to store junk they’ll never look at again.”

    “Kind of a bland punishment, isn’t it?”

    Mayan Calendar shrugged. “Sure, it’s no hot poker up the patoot or lava in the eyeballs, but you’d surprised how anguished people get mooning over their complete set of Elvis TV trays. All those material goods and no one to share it with. Heartbreaking. I guess.”

    Zack furrowed his brow as he arrayed a row of expensive-looking Hallmark figurines on a table. “Don’t you think that’s a bit ironic, considering the whole Santa Claus ‘gift-giving’ thing?”

    The elf’s eyes narrowed. “Look, fresh meat, who do I look like, Dante Alighieri? I don’t make up these stupid-ass moral lessons. I just work here. Now…” The elf pointed to the gate, where a horde of shambling holiday shoppers surged forward, dead eyes glazed with consumer lust. “Let’s get punishing!”

    498 words
    @surlymuse

  4. The dead-eyed reindeer galloped soundlessly across the sky, as the ancient sleigh-driver snapped his whip. His blood-stained coat barely concealed his gelatinous midsection, round from many Christmases of feeding. Still he felt the hunger.

    In his mind he saw the skeletal reindeer strewn across the lawn; nylon balloons baring his likeness sliced open with a switchblade from last year’s stocking. Ungrateful. Naughty.

    His booming laugh cut through the silent night.

    He glided down the chimney as though it were coated in butter. The tree shone in the darkness, bathing the living room in rainbow light. The hallway floor creaked under his heavy boots.

    A cry rang out. It wasn’t the boy he’d come for. This soul was too young to be on his list. No matter, he thought, the more the merrier. He licked his lips. He leaned over the edge of the crib, ready to succumb to the hunger.

    A sudden and sharp pain pierced his back. He stumbled, reaching around blindly to yank the switchblade from his spine. He turned to glare at the boy, who stood frozen. “I’m already dead,” the old man growled. “I’ve been dead for years.”

    The boy pulled hard on the ancient’s beard. The switchblade slipped from the old man’s mittened hand. The younger one’s cries echoed through the small bedroom.

    “Leave my brother alone,” said the boy, his knife pointed at the sleigh-driver’s belly. Those words made all the difference. The boy wasn’t fighting for himself, but protecting the weak. That simple act of altruism made him untouchable.

    The ancient slowed time and slipped away, leaving the boy with nothing but a dream-like memory. He snapped his whip again and the reindeer leapt into the sky. There would be other children to feast on this eve.

    294
    @superhappyjen

  5. They had come in the night, moving through the darkness like shadows.
    John sat there watching them roam aimlessly up the street toward his house as his children slept soundlessly behind him and he couldn’t help but thank God for them finally falling asleep.

    He had quickly gotten them up into the attic with as much food and water that he could gather from his own cupboards and looking around he couldn’t help but acknowledge that they only had a few days of provisions at most. That thought frightened him the most, having to leave the children alone here while he went out in search of food was a whole new horror he wasn’t ready to face. It was inevitable though.

    He watched through the slats of the attic vent as the undead searched the streets occasionally entering houses which was always followed by screams and occasionally gun shots. As far as he could tell from his vantage point the gun shots were in vain. The undead didn’t follow by the rules of the living.

    The thought occurred to him that some of his neighbors might not even be awake yet. They had probably put their kids down early knowing that tonight being Christmas Eve it would take them hours to fall asleep as they lay awake anxiously looking forward to a holiday that would never come. In the movies there is always a bit of hope but when horror comes to life hope is the first thing that dies.

    As he continued to watch the electricity went out with an explosion of a transformer. The inflatable Christmas figures in his neighbors yards deflated and the wire reindeer went dark.

    “Happy Holidays.” He said out loud.

    “Daddy, did Santa come?” A tired voice spoke from behind him momentarily startling him.

    “I don’t think Santa’s going to make it this year kiddo.” The small boy stumbled through the darkness to sit at his side. The thought occurred to him to keep the kids from seeing what was going on outside but it seemed counter-productive to hide from them what they were facing.

    “What if Santa needs a place to hide?” The innocence in the boy’s voice brought a much needed smile to his face.

    “Well then, the more the merrier.”

    The answer seemed to relax the boy as he put his head on his Father’s leg and was soon quietly snoring again.

    He rubbed the small boy’s hair as he heard the first of the undead enter the house by knocking the front door off its hinges. The hard shuffling steps made their way up the stairs as if sniffing out the warmed blood of the living and stood just under the attic hatch.

    For the first time in years he prayed, begging for God to allow his family safety just a bit longer.

    The undead moved on, it’s moans sounding like angry pleading, back down the stairs and out into the cold night. For now they were safe.

    “Merry Christmas.”

    500 WORDS
    @SEAdamsKY

  6. Undead Christmas Party

    The four Musketeers were zombies and everyone in the office knew it. Most called them “undead,” but they preferred the label, “life-challenged.” Even when referred to as that, an autonomic response forced them to chuckle at the sound of the words.

    Brad, Bob, Bill and Zeke owned the B-Cube-Z company just outside Vegas. Everyone believed that the four bought the dog food plant as a cafeteria more than a point of production, but no one dared to speak the words aloud out of fear that they might have their brains eaten as a snack and their bodies shipped out in a can the next day.

    The company Christmas party that year seemed to start in high gear and just got wilder from there. With more than eighty employees, there wasn’t a punch bowl large enough for the party juice, so they made it in a plastic swimming pool and filled it on the concrete floor. Bright lights, lamp shades, and one skinny-dipping accountant, with the words, “THE MORE THE MERRIER” written in spray cheese on her chest, sent the event into the record book as the wildest party the company had ever seen.

    A few debaucherous hours later, the ambulance signaled the end of the party when the inebriated figure filer slipped in the pool and cracked her head. Ribbons of crimson mixed with the contents of the punch pool to create a devilish concoction that instantly drew the attention of the local life-challenged.

    Company custom dictated that before the masses could exit to their cars, the Musketeers had to dress in the costumes of Santa, Frosty, an Elf and Mrs. Clause, to pass out the Christmas bonuses. As the door closed behind the last guest, the four hurled themselves toward the pool, each taking full-mouth gulps of the bloody mix. The alcohol had little effect on their bodies, but the swirling tendrils of fresh blood made them more intoxicated than any of the party goers that had just stumbled out of the doors.

    The next morning, the sun woke to find the band of four passed out in a random yard somewhere between the office and the apartment building where they lived. Trapped by the sun inside their thick, felt costumes, the three B’s could do little more than move their eyes or speak, making them completely incapable of helping the naked and equally paralyzed Zeke, who was passed out across the mangled wreckage of the horse drawn carriage. Blurred images of a race involving a snorkel, the glowing lawn decorations and a large, spotted great dane spun in the foggy memories of the group as they lay motionless in the grass.

    Inch-by-inch the sun turned Zeke’s unprotected body to dust as it crept across his unprotected skin. Unable to move to safety, Zeke began to laugh a final laugh, and then he shouted, “Hell of a party, Guys! HELL – OF – A – PARTY!” and then he was gone.

    498 words (6 extra words included for unnatural hyphenation)
    @acenance

  7. “Did you celebrate Christmas in Hungary when you –” Rain gestured at his body braced in the passenger seat of her car. “You know, when you weren’t like this.”

    Jozsef slanted her a dry look. “Of course.” Then chagrin killed his sarcasm. “Marika celebrated the Goddess’ Solstice, but the celebrations were the same. Giving thanks, offering gifts, and goodwill to our neighbors. All the things Christmas is about.”

    Sunlight blinded him as Rain steered the car into the setting sun. The road appeared to run straight to the mountains, capped in white and blue shadows. Odd branchless trees with broad fronds sprouting from their tops lined the roadway, some draped with lines of colorful baubles. They reminded him of the strings of lanterns his family would hang from the eaves of their home.

    “Where are we going?”

    “I thought we’d take a walk in zip code 89129. The people over there always have the best Christmas decorations.”

    Most of the houses had something in their yards and strung along their rooflines. One little blue house had odd white structures vaguely resembling some four-legged animal as well as a strange covered wagon. Lumpy red and white cloth bunched on the ground, looking for all the world like Christmas casualties on a field of green. Was the white one supposed to be a snowman?

    “Something’s wrong with their decorations,” he remarked.

    Rain looked to where he pointed and laughed. “No, just wait until it gets dark. Those are balloons. They rise up like the undead to stand after sunset. And the reindeer and horse-and-cart light up, too. You’ll see when it gets dark.”

    “The undead? You mean like me?”

    “You’re a ghost, not a vampire.”

    “Would you think of me as alive?” He fervently hoped it was so.
    Rain watched the road for a few moments, her thoughts scrolling across her face too quickly for him to read.

    “No, not precisely alive, but certainly not completely dead. I mean, when you’re dead, the soul leaves. But your soul is still here, with me. That makes me all the more the merrier.” Her smile warmed his insubstantial heart.

    The sun dipped behind the jagged mountains as Rain parked the car in a faintly glowing neighborhood. Bright lights sparkled as the breeze shook the fronded trees lining the street. Jozsef sifted himself onto the sidewalk as she got out.

    “Jozsef, would you, um…” Rain trailed off, her expression uncertain. She took a deep breath. “Would you hold my hand while we walk?”

    Delight bloomed in his chest even while his mind told him not to get too attached. He just needed her to end his curse and he’d be free of this unlife.

    “I’d be honored, my lady.”

    She held out her hand, but he took her arm and tucked it against his side, her presence making him solid once more. Pleasure filled him and he smiled. She wanted to hold his hand, but he wanted to hold her heart. Tonight, he’d win it.

    500 words
    @SiobhanMuir

    This is from The Bone Flute, a paranormal romance WIP set in Las Vegas. My first WIP500. 😉

  8. They stood on the lawn, staring at the deflated Christmas decorations and lights, wondering if anyone was inside. They were starving, and house after house had yielded nothing.

    A part of their group had branched off, moving further down the block to check other houses. It was a relief to some extent, because, at least in this situation, the more the merrier certainly did not apply. Marty had wished the others hadn’t come along at all. More food for him.

    The teenage girl walked ahead and tried to open the door. It was locked, apparently, but she banged loudly on it. The young boy, meanwhile, moved over toward the Christmas decorations, pulling at the fabric and inspecting them as if he’d never seen such things before. The children were like that, though. Always curious and easily distracted from their goal.

    Santa Claus came up from behind him, turning and looking at him suspiciously before joining the other two. Marty breathed a silent sigh of relief as Jolly Old Saint Nick moved away. The man looked and smelled deplorable. He’d seen him at the mall only a few days ago, looking better but quite unhappy as children sat on his lap blabbing nonsense to him.

    Marty didn’t know why these people had not attacked him. When they started getting sick and dying, and then came back as mindless monsters, he hadn’t freaked out. The people that did though—those that had lost their cool—had been attacked, torn apart, and devoured. Marty, though, had just eaten with them, guzzling down entrails and wandering along with them like he belonged. They didn’t seem to think he was any different from them, and for now he was fine with that.

    He did miss Bill though. Bill had been killed and eaten like all the rest. He was a really nice guy, and even though he was blind, he loved to go for walks. Also, these monsters didn’t have enough sense to remove the silly Santa hat and jacket Bill had strapped onto him, even though he had scratched at them incessantly. Lifting his leg to pee on one of the decorations, he saw that the small group had turned to go to the next house. Maybe that one would be unlocked and would have some real food—like a bag of Purina.

    389 words
    @rastrohman

  9. “The day after Christmas always make me sad,” Geena said. She wrapped her fingers into Todd’s and leaned her head into his shoulder as they walked through the neighborhood.
    “Just another day,” Todd said. “It actually makes me happy to be done with all the bullshit.”
    “You’re such a Grinch,” Geena replied. “Look at the deflated decorations, the wire reindeer that won’t be lit again until next year.” She waved a hand at the decorations in front of the house they were passing.
    Todd glanced at them, rolled his eyes and mumbled something about light bills and clean up.
    “Oh look!” Geena shouted. “I never noticed the reindeer and Santa on the roof before.”
    Looking up, Todd said, “The reindeer look different than these ones. I don’t see the light strands. Is that one moving? Must be animated with a motor or…”
    The lead reindeer in the display reared up on their back hooves, then leaped skyward, the rest following, pulling the sleigh with, Todd noticed, a red suited skeleton in it. They made a graceful, clattering arc and alit on the driveway in front of Geena and Todd.
    “Oh my God!” screamed Geena, “are those,,,?”
    “Skeletons! What the fuck?!” Todd clasped Geena’s hand tightly and ran back the way they had come, pulling her along.
    Geena kept glancing back over her shoulder and Todd had to keep yelling at her to run. The skeletal version of Santa’s sleigh pursued them. They reindeer gnashed bony jaws together and the Grim Reaper version of Santa Claus yelled “Fresh meat!” as it whipped at the reindeer.
    Bones and hooves clacking, the reindeer chased the couple for blocks. Geena noticed that Todd was heading for the strip mall when they reached the town’s main drag.
    “We’re leading them right into everybody!” she cried, huffing for breath between words.
    “The more the merrier,” said Todd. “Maybe we can get lost in the crowd, get away if they get occupied.”
    “But…” Geena started.
    “Look, I’m not going to be left over Christmas dinner for some undead reindeer and a zombie Santa!”
    Geena stumbled and went to the ground, clutching to Todd’s hand. He stopped, made an effort ot pull her up.
    From behind them, dead St. Nick bellowed, “Ho! Ho! Ho!”
    “I think he’s talking to you,” said Todd as he ripped his hand free and ran for the safety of numbers.
    “Asshole!” Geena yelled after him.
    Shoppers making their way between stores noted the commotion and Geena’s screams were lost among theirs as the bony horde overtook her.

    424 Words
    @MAKozlowski

  10. “Never invite the undead to a Christmas party,” said Jim.

    My eyes scanned across his front yard as he continued talking.

    “I was thinking, ‘the more the merrier,’ and decided to include not only the werewolves, but also the vampires and the zombies. Things got a bit out of hand, though.”

    “Out of hand?” I replied, “How so?”

    “Well, it actually started out pretty well but, as many parties do, it got wilder – and, with that crowd, stranger – as the guests’ spirits got higher and the bottled spirits got lower.”

    “You’re not going to tell me you had Spider Robinson’s alcohol-removing vampire at the party, are you?”

    “No. I wish. If that guy had been here, things would have been a lot safer and everyone wouldn’t have been so crazy. When the real-blood bloody Marys, the brain appetizers and the venison steaks began running out, there was no controlling this crowd, so Cindy and I decided to lead them outside to look at the decorations and wait for Santa.”

    “Did that help?”

    “All I can say is that my vampire guests weren’t very happy when they discovered the figures were inflatable. The werewolves knew better, though, and went after the REAL reindeer. As for the zombies,” he said, gazing into the sky, “they’re still clinging onto the sleigh.”

    218 words
    @LupusAnthropos

  11. Maleia sat on her swing, sipping at the tall glass with an umbrella in it. There wasn’t any snow on the ground but the south of the country was lucky to see even a small flake. Black painted nails tapped against the glass. When she first moved to the quaint area, she thought she would be able to keep to herself. The house was an unassuming rancher that was baby blue, there was nothing that stood out and screamed that she was doing something that would be questionable.

    She even followed along with the holidays of the people in the area.

    She glanced at the snowman and Santa that stood there and pursed her lips before getting up. The closer she got, the stronger the stench became. A frown wrinkled her brow and she stopped and smoothed a hand over her forehead. Wrinkles weren’t very attractive and she might go out with some of the girls. They could call her a cougar all they wanted, but they were jealous that she got more drinks than they did.

    “Unf. I thought the spell would last longer. She poked the upright forms and a faint groan emanated from the flimsy material. The neighborhood thought it was all air that kept them upright but she put in some extra support.

    “Oh shut up. You should be happy I brought you back. You can both be together forever.” She smirked and smoothed a hand through her pitch black hair that only had hints of silver.

    The snowman gave a softer groan.

    “Don’t take that tone with me, young lady. Not my fault you fell back on the steps. Guess you should have been more careful on where you feel asleep. Clumsy girl.”

    “Oh, I guess I better go in and fix up the smell before Mrs. Durguss’s dog catches wind of the two of you smelling up the place again. The dreadful little bugger. She’s lucky I don’t turn him into a lawn gnome. Be right back, Briar Rose. Prince Phillip.” She patted the Santa on the head.

    It was a good idea to bring both the princess and prince back. They have been such handy ornaments. And she laughed every time she heard the little girls talk about how they wanted to be like Sleeping Beauty. They didn’t know that both of them were zombies in the ‘evil’ queen’s yard. If they wanted to be like that, then she was going to need a bigger yard. The more the merrier after all.

    She gave another laugh.

    423 words
    @solimond

  12. Christmas quickly approached and we still had not finished our preparations. We needed to finish decorating, finish shopping and prepare the children. The decorating was the easiest to finish and my awesome display was up and running in one evening. The shopping was not going to be easy; where exactly does one find twenty pounds of brains? I called several butchers and the ones that did not hang-up on me could not control their fits of laughter, leaving me to eventually hung-up.

    This was the first Christmas that we would have after my in-laws had died. I was lucky enough to find them and invite them over for Christmas without incident. They still looked the same, for the most part; it is not as though they were missing limbs or had eyeballs dangling out of their sockets. However, the fact that they are dead is enough. I try to be indulgent of my wife; she insisted that we invite them. “Christmas won’t be the same without them here,” she guilted me. I gave in and went to find them.

    I have to say, the smell is probably the most incredible thing you can imagine. The woman at the candle store looked at us with a strange look when we asked for three cases of the pine scented candles. They are placed strategically around the house; not a single square millimeter of the house misses the scent of pine.

    We told the children that they probably would not be receiving gifts from Nanna and Pappa this year. They took that with a grain of salt. Then we explained why. I was expecting a stronger reaction, but they looked at us with their normal bored expressions whenever my wife and I tell them anything.

    I glanced out the window and saw them lumbering up the street; Nanna in her brilliant blue dress-suit, she would not be caught dead without it, and Pappa in his Army uniform; thank God for small favors, they did not bury him with his service revolver. My wife rushed around the house, making sure all the candles were lit, then stood at the door with me in ghastly awe, as her parents stumbled through the front yard, destroying my Christmas display.

    The children were on their best behavior and did not make a single fuss throughout dinner. They sat staring at Nanna and Pappa without saying a word; their mouths slightly open and their eyes wide. I was proud of them.

    About halfway through dinner, I heard a scuffling sound at the front door. I looked to my wife, who gave me the “I don’t know” look, so I went to investigate. I looked out the window and saw three undead scratching at the door—I did not know them and I assumed they were friends of Nanna and Pappa. I opened the door and invited them in. What the hell, it is Christmas and the more the merrier.

    491 Words
    @ChuckWesJ

  13. Santa Claus – deflated on the lawn. Zach stood in the window with the cricket bat, ignoring the drip drip of red syrup down the plane of wood, trickling between the cracked paintwork and years of dust, as he stared through the smeared glass.

    Scarlet circles rimmed his eyes in the early grey light.

    It would have been okay if it was just a zombie apocalypse. He’d had his survival plan and bag ready for that for years. But it wasn’t.

    He placed the cricket bat gingerly against the wall, staining the paintwork in blood, and picked up his uncle’s rifle. It was okay. The old man wouldn’t be needing it any more. Zach’s eyes slid quickly in his direction, skittering fearfully away.

    He’d had to club the old man’s head in. It was the only way to stop a zombie.

    At least… he’d assumed his uncle was a zombie.

    He flicked brain matter from his hand with little regard, the tear tracks still visible through the smears of blood on his face. He hadn’t spoken in the eight hours since it had begun. Who would have thought the apocalypse would begin in the first few seconds of Christmas Day?

    It was Eric who’d changed first.

    His cousin had been asleep in the bunk below until midnight when he’d awoken, yowling and roaring like a tortured beast. Then he’d mutated. His skin had sprouted fur too sparse to hide the twisting sinews of the teen’s body in the immediate. It had seemed to take hours, Zach watching in horror from the upper bunk, until the boy tore off into the other bedrooms, no longer a boy and more than a wolf.

    Werewolves and zombies… and worse…

    When his uncle had come in, slavering, reeking of death and rot, hungry for blood, open throat spewing crimson, Zach had grasped the prized cricket bat off the shelf. His uncle had brought his team to victory with it and Zach had battered it through the old man’s skull until his corpse had stopped twitching and moaning.

    Now he stood a lonely sentinel in the family house, gun poised out of the lower window, cricket bat at his side and a sharpened fence post by the front door. He’d figured out early on that any kind of bullet would do on the raging werewolves. The silver myth was simply an embellishment.

    Clang…

    A shiver sped down his spine. He looked past the fly strewn corpse of his uncle to the front entrance where three shadows waited beyond the frosted glass.

    “Zach, I brought reinforcements!”

    His brother, Cody. “The more the merrier,” Zach muttered. He moved to the front door, sliding back the pane to glimpse their faces before realising his mistake. And worse… The step up from zombies… The intelligent bloodsucking dead… The vampires…

    Cody’s throat boasted their calling card, his eyes a greedy cerulean blue. “Is it already Christmas dinner, kiddo?”

    Zach desperately reached for the fence post as his brother shifted to strike.

    Words: 500
    @jocastalizzbeth

  14. “Yo, Verdie Mae.”

    “Yeah?”

    “Them reindeers is moving.”

    “It’s ‘reindeer,’ George,” Verdie Mae said, not turning from the kitchen counter, where she was putting together bread stuffing.

    “What is?”

    “The plural of reindeer. Ain’t reindeers, it’s reindeer. Ain’t ‘Santa and his eight tiny reindeers,’ is it?”

    George stood, looking out of the window. “Didja have to put up so many of ‘em?”

    “The more the merrier, I say. It’s festive.”

    “I dunno about festive, but they’s moving.”

    “Well, I know. They got motors inside ‘em, I had to plug ‘em in with an extension cord.”

    “That ain’t what I meant,” he said. “I meant they’s moving. Like getting closer to the house.”

    “That’s impossible,” Verdie Mae said.

    George’s sloped shoulders registered defeat. When Verdie Mae said something was impossible, it was, even if it was currently happening in front of his eyes.

    “And for god’s sake, George, put a nicer shirt on. Bonnie Jean and the kids are gonna be here in fifteen minutes. You can’t be at Christmas dinner wearin’ an old t-shirt with oil stains.”

    George went and changed into a clean shirt. When he came back, the reindeer were closer to the door, as was the inflatable Santa. Santa was wearing a diabolical grin. George thought of the line, “He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake.” He shuddered.

    “Verdie Mae, I think them reindeers, they’re, whaddyacallit, undead.”

    Verdie Mae snorted. “How can they be undead, George, when they never been alive in the first place?”

    “All I’m sayin’ is they’s moving. I told you. You better call Bonnie Jean and tell her to park around the back.”

    “Why on earth, George? I swear, god’s honest truth, you make me mad sometimes.” Verdie Mae slammed down a measuring cup.

    George stared out of the window. One of the reindeer, one with a bright red light bulb nose, had come up next to another, smaller reindeer, and had decapitated it. The pieces of the wire frame head were hanging from the red-nosed reindeer’s jaws; the headless reindeer had fallen down on its side. Another reindeer was watching it warily. Santa, from a distance, appeared to be having a belly laugh at the whole scene.

    “They’s killin’ each other, I think,” George said. “Them reindeers. They’s killin’ each other.”

    “All right, that’s it,” Verdie Mae said. “You are not watching no more reruns of The X Files.”

    There was the sound of a car pulling up, and the reindeer with the red nose swiveled around to look, murder in its eye, and dropped the half-eaten head of its fallen fellow. George could hear the metal in its neck creak as it turned, silvery teeth bared, antlers lowered.

    George had just sat down in his recliner when the screaming began.

    Verdie Mae dropped a mixing bowl with a crash, and ran to the window, her mouth a perfect O of horror.

    “I guess,” George said, “poor Rudolph got to play in his reindeer games after all.”

  15. Rancid meat wasn’t one of Baxall’s favorite smells. He didn’t totally hate the creeping, burning insidious scent—it just wasn’t one of his favorites. Fresh meat, still warm, and with just a bit of seasoning? Now that was a good smell. There was none of that here.

    Snorting the fairy pug shook his head and joined his alpha at the edge of the lawn. The ground retained a deep morning chill, though the sun warmed the air and greened the grass. Holy day decorations lay fallen and broken in the yard, like the wards of a desecrated temple. A slightly ajar front door suggested the humans inside had been completely unprepared for the shambling grave-risen abominations sent to profane their world.

    Undead were still inside; equally unprepared for the fangs of justice now bared in anticipation.

    “White-wisp Diamond go back,” Alpha Horera barked, “Horera Baxall go front!”

    The horse-sized wintery Silver Wolves silently broke off and swept around either side of the house. Their pack was a motley one, two Silver Wolves led by a little dog-girl, and of course Baxall was even smaller than their alpha. As a pack their varied appearances and origins were non-conventional, but Alpha Horera cheerfully held to an attitude of “the more the merrier”.

    Horera rushed in on all fours with Baxall right on her heels. They’d been through this enough times Baxall already knew how it was going to work. Horera would destroy their enemies head-on with her fists, feet and fangs, while White-wisp and her brother, Diamond, plowed through enemy flanks. Baxall would annoy any undead that needed annoying—and if he was lucky maybe even put one of the abominations down for good.

    282 words
    @DavidALudwig

  16. Sitting this week out as I snuggle up on the couch and try to get rid of a nasty sore throat and achy joints. Happy Holidays everyone – I’ll check in to read through all the comments and look forward to seeing the winner’s take! See you next week. 🙂

  17. Christmas was not what everyone had expected this year. Hell, it was what no one expected. The Noel virus had been named quickly and created death and destruction even quicker. There were not that many left.

    Tracy held tight to Teddy as her older brother pulled on her other hand, running from one of those things. They heard it moaning in their house only a few minutes ago, and then they had run for their lives. The things were slow, but they never stopped.

    “I can’t run anymore!” Tracy whined. “My legs won’t go.”

    Jason pulled on her hand. “You have to Trace! Come on!”

    Jason, who was ten, stopped and picked her up. She clung to his neck and tried to keep Teddy from falling to the ground. All the big people were gone. All except the undead ones. Their parents had never come home and Jason had been taking care of her. At six, Tracy knew she was pretty old, but she was scared to death.

    They passed a house that had Christmas decorations covering the yard. A sign read “The More The Merrier.” The thing was behind them, but they could not see it in the fading light.

    “Come on,” Jason said, putting her down again. “We’ll hide in the decorations.”

    A nativity scene was in the yard and Jason quickly took some clothes off of a wise man and donned the garment as he handed the simple cloth which made up the Virgin Mary’s outfit to Tracy. He pushed the plastic figures out of the way and told her to kneel while he stood next to her.

    “Don’t move,” he whispered.

    “I have to pee!”

    “Hold it, and be quiet!”

    She tried to stay still, holding on to Teddy, but as the moaning grew louder, she started to shiver. She gasped as the thing came into view. It was dressed in a Santa suit. Greyish white drool dripped from its chin and snot ran from its nose. Its eyes were dead and white, and puss leaked from them. It searched back and forth, hunting for them, but even though they were right there, it could not find them.

    She started to cry softly and Jason nudged her with his toe. She couldn’t help it. Santa was so scary, everything she remembered about Christmas was a lie and her world shattered as this monster who was supposed to be a saint, searched slowly, looking for them. She had seen what happens when they find someone and this made her cry harder.

    The noise must have alerted Santa, because it roared in anger and charged toward them. Tracy screamed in terror and jumped up to cling to her brother. Suddenly, all the lights in the yard came on, and Go Fish’s Little Drummer boy blared out of some speakers. The monstrous Santa screamed in pain and sunk to its knees in terror. It then turned and shambled away as quickly as it could. They were safe.

    Tracy sobbed.

    @Richard_C_Hale
    500 words

  18. “Oh, what the hell? The more the merrier, right?” John’s glass weaved in the air, his reddish cocktail sloshing over the side.

    “You’re sure you don’t mind?” Mary asked timidly, rapping her knuckles on the countertop. “It’s just their house looks so sad, so … pathetic. I think they could use some Christmas cheer.”

    “Whateverthefuck,” he slurred, bending his head back to the drink.

    Mary planned an early Christmas feast every year for those she considered “in need.” “In need” meant anyone she deemed not full of enough holiday spirit. In the past, they’d had homeless drunks, out of work deadbeat-dads, and even a handful of Rabbis. But this year was destined to take the cake.

    Mary was bound and determined to invite the neighbors no one ever saw. Their yard had the obligatory three inflatables—all tattered and deflated—as well as a few enormous lighted lawn ornaments. At least half of the bulbs were blown. But no one came out to fix anything and that was what set Mary going. So she drummed up her courage and walked herself across the street. They’d come over with her; she wouldn’t leave without them. It was why John drank. Who could blame him? Getting through one of Mary’s soirees too loads of alcohol.

    The first grunt and bang roused him out of his vodka-fog. He stumbled away from the bar and over toward the perfectly arranged crèche in the window. The lights on the neighbor’s lawn were flashing oddly, as though tripped out on some high current. He saw a flash of jerky movement and threw the curtain out of the way to see what was happening.

    Grey flesh flew past the window and a chunk of hair, bleached blonde and very familiar. It was unattached to a head.

    John felt his liquid dinner roiling in his stomach as he saw his wife’s lifeless head come hurtling toward the door, a large bite taken out of the cheek. As the zombie came shambling across the street toward him, he tripped his way across the living room and grabbed his vodka and cranberry for courage. The undead were coming to dinner.

    359 words
    @JenD_Author

  19. Title: Possessed by Reindeer

    The wire Christmas decorations groaned as they baked in the warm Florida winter. To the casual observer, they were just that: innocent, wire Christmas decorations. However, looks were deceiving.

    “Harath, whose bright idea was this?” the middle reindeer rumbled.

    “Sitha,” Harath responded, the thin metal that made up his body shuddering. “He said he had a surefire way for us to return to Earth. When I agreed, we ended up here.”

    “How are we supposed to take over the world and strike fear into humanity as lawn décor?!” the third member of the trio chimed in.

    “I haven’t figured that out yet, Raz,” Harath replied, thinking that Raz would’ve been better left back on the other side. Yet again, another idea by Sitha who said the more the merrier.

    Their mission was to return to Earth and make the humans quiver in fear of the undead creatures who were about to subjugate them. However, there was a caveat. They couldn’t just appear on Earth in their true form, which could not pass over. So they had to find another vessel for their essences to reside, but it could not be currently occupied by a living creature.

    Some creatures went for dead bodies but the flesh decayed too quickly. However, Harath had not anticipated this. It certainly made it hard to strike fear into anyone when they looked like cute holiday decorations.

    Harath sighed and tried to think of a way to get out of the mess they were in.

    @MLGammella
    249 Words

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *