The Ladies of Horror
Picture-Prompt Writing Challenge!
The Happiest Time of the Year
Winter came early that year. While even the snow-encrusted fir trees seemed to sigh with dismay, the people of Ridgeway took it upon themselves to think on the positive side, and began decorating in earnest. The scent of hot spiced cider, rich cocoa, and ginger bread wafted through the streets amid the sound of Old Mr. Rogers’ snowplow. After all, wasn’t Christmas supposed to be the happiest time of the year? For some folk, perhaps.
That was also the year Rideway’s children discovered Santa wasn’t real. How could he be? There was supposed to be just one Santa, but Sheriff McDonough and his team discovered over a dozen in the woods, buried up to their necks in the snow with just their right arms and hands free, as if waving to us all. Their heads and beards were wound ’round with colored blinking lights, their cheeks rosy with frostbite—but that wasn’t all . . .
Rather than overflowing with toys, fruit, and candy, Santa’s bags were stuffed with packages wrapped in butcher paper and string. There were bright-colored stickers on the packages, though. Among the usual “Don’t Open Until Christmas,” “Happy Holidays,” and “No Peeking!” stickers, were ones with Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and wreaths with holly berries.
When Sheriff McDonough opened the first package with gloved hands, he gagged, then leaned over and hurled into the snow. A few of his men peered down at the contents, their swarthy skin paling.
I really think I outdid myself that year . . . but after all, I had been so good for so long, that it was time I indulged myself again.
Fiction © Copyright Terrie Leigh Relf
Image courtesy of Pixabay.com
More from author Terrie Leigh Relf:
For thousands of Earth years, the Transgalactic Consortium has had a quiet interest in this planet and its inhabitants, the Haurans. While the Sisterhood of the Blood Moon works together with the Consortium and Haurans to maintain balance in the universe, the Blood Moon is fast approaching. The power of this moon reveals untold secrets . . . including a sacred covenant with the Mora Spiders. There is an ancient pact that needs to be honored—but at what cost and for whose purpose? The world may come to an end. But will there be a chance for a new beginning?