Four festive tales of the supernatural, apocalyptic and blood-sucking variety—an antidote for anyone who occasionally finds Christmas overly sentimental or commercialised and likes to escape to somewhere darker.
In Ghosts of Christmas Past, a newly-wed couple spend every Christmas in the same remote country cottage. It’s their ‘thing’ and they’re not about to let tragedy get in the way.
In I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, a small boy creeps downstairs to see his mother in the embrace of a crimson-robed stranger. But Jake’s not convinced: since when did Santa have long teeth and red, glinting eyes?
In Rottin’ Around the Christmas Tree, Nia decorates the tree while her parents look on. But this is not just another Christmas—it is the time of The Cleansing, the time when family life and the world as we know it are ending.
In Christmas ‘Midst the Zombie Apocalypse, two survivors sit out winter on the edge of an overrun city. Their efforts to enjoy Christmas Day as normally as possible turn out to be a mistake; a potentially fatal one.
(from Rottin’ Around the Christmas Tree)
The sneeze took her unawares. A wad of phlegm shot from her mouth and hit the tree, sticking to a branch and dangling down like a child’s effort at creating a bauble from plasticine.
“Hmm. Green,” Nia muttered. “Christmassy.”
She swiped at her running nose. The grey light from outside, such as it was, began to fade as night drew in. She was glad to see it go; it was starting to feel like a giant floodlight beaming at her.
Nia added a few more baubles, but her enthusiasm was waning as her headache grew more intense. When she coughed, her ribs hurt as though someone was behind her performing the Heimlich manoeuvre over-vigorously.
She stood back and peered at the tree through narrowed, crusting eyes.
“That’ll do, pig.” She nearly smiled; Babe was one of her favourite films.
“One last song,” she said to her parents. They didn’t respond, but she pressed on regardless, launching into a cracked version of Rockin’Around the Christmas Tree. A half-hearted attempt at dancing cut short as another sneeze rocked her back on her heels.
“No more,” she muttered.