Publisher & Category:
Midnight Showcase Fiction (Melange Books)
Christmas is a time of good cheer and gift giving. But sometimes the gift giving can be more important than anyone could imagine…
The world was a stinging, churning cloud of smoke and dust. The air was so hot that it parched a throat already dry and sucked the moisture out of the exhausted body so that the skin resembled charred leather. Muffled popping sounds hurt already ringing ears and brought a reaction of crouching with hands clenching desperately at empty air. Blind skeletal hands thrust forward desperately as a way was sought out of the thick, scorching clouds.
Screams echoed within the boiling clouds as the skeletal hands burst into bright, smoky flames…
* * * *
Tommy Simpson shot upright from his bed, gasping wildly as his wide eyes swept the darkness of the bedroom. He ran a hand across his face and sat down on the edge of the bed with his painfully throbbing head lowered. A glance at the digital clock showed 12 – but was it midnight or noon?
He stealthily opened the door and looked down the hallway; dim lights flickered in the living room. He wrinkled his nose and smelled coffee and cooking food, and heard the tinny music of “Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer.” Over all hung the sweet, mysterious aroma of burning cedar wood.
He ventured down the hallway and peeked into the kitchen.
“Hey sleepy head,” a fleshy, full bodied woman with long black hair dressed in a thin t-shirt and jean shorts cheerfully greeted him. “It’s about time you got up. It’s noon!”
“Aunt Jenny?” he whispered in surprise.
“The one and only,” Jenny Danner, Ph.D., laughed. “Coffee? I assume that now that you’re a mn you drink coffee?”
“Uh, yeah,” he nodded as he rubbed his painful temples and ventured to the bar stools that lined the wood and granite island between the kitchen and dining room. “Coffee, beer, rum and coke, and rum and egg nog, too.”
“Didn’t your mom tell you I was visiting?”
“No. She’s kinda wrapped up in her boyfriend, Willy Deal the used car salesman.”
“Well, I’m visiting for the holidays,” she said as she placed coffee, sugar, and Irish creamer before him. She held a dirty beer mug up. “Rum and egg nog last night?”
“It’s the holidays,” he replied half-heartedly as he prepared his coffee…
Protolanguage, Cookie Dough, and Mistletoe