828 Waterman, by Jo Oldani Osborne

It was twilight. The snow was leaving a dusting on the foursome as they sat on the bench facing the only dark house on the block.

“Ma would’ve had a fit if she could see our house with no colored lights — “
Bill put his arms around his two younger sisters as they shivered. Mike, on the end, leaned a little more into the group.

It was the first Christmas — since.
Janey and Lynn kept sniffling, wiping their frozen noses on mittened hands.
How could four adults, so close, feel so utterly alone?

“Home” was now a concept, not a house.

A Soldier’s Christmas, by Joy Essien

Tired and wistful soldiers in the truck shifted uncomfortably. Batira saw the passing landscape. “Oh, the beauties of home,” he thought. Then his mind moved to Semira, the girl soldier he’d met. He recalled her softness. Shutting his eyes, he tried to block the memory. Semira broke the rules. She loved the enemy and that love ended her life.

The truck slowed down, ending his reverie. He felt his colleagues’ excitement as they prepared to disembark. He felt numb and listless. How would he face his wife, Maria, knowing that his heart was gone forever to a dead rebel soldier?

The End of War, by Ann-Louise Truschel

Two old men sat on the rickety wooden bench. Chipped paint showed that the bench had once been painted a bright green.

“It’s very peaceful here,” the one said.

“Yes,” said the other man. “I come here every day just to sit and listen to the quiet.”

“It didn’t used to be quiet,” said the first man. “I can still hear the bombs and smell the fires. I try not to remember, but I can’t forget the wars.”

“Yes, we fought wars to make the world safer for our children,” said the other.

“And now there are no more children.”

That Red Part, by Russell Conover

“So, Rudolph. Why, exactly, is your nose red?” Cupid frowned.

Rudolph gulped. “Uh, to lead Santa’s sleigh, of course.”

“Not buying it. We other reindeer can see fine. What’s the real story?”

The “most famous” reindeer did some quick thinking. “Well, I just get so excited when I’m around you and Santa that I light up!”

Cupid crossed his front legs, clearly not believing. But, he gave up and walked away.

“Whew. That was close. This thing’s actually magnetically attracted to chocolate, candy, and adult reindeer beverages. Need fuel to keep going all night on Christmas Eve.”

Littrachure Part 2, by Emma Baird

I was struggling for inspiration this week, so I decided to give your story a part 2, Amy …

Littrachure Part 2, by Emma Baird

God, some jobs were just too easy.

Leanna (not her real name) watched the girl sitting at the bar, an uncertain look on her face. She said she’d be back, right?

“Sorry, honey,” Leanna murmured, unheard, as she left the bar and headed for the office, itching to type up the story. While most people knew of Crispin Grace, few were aware of the proclivities the girl had revealed in all their tacky detail.

“You’re the best, Leanna,” her editor said as she read the piece.

Leanna made no pretence at false modesty. “Yeah.”

The best – and also kinda lonely.

The Holy Night, by Roshanna Sidney Evans

Twas Christmas Eve and Selma was bereft. Ten months ago, they’d told her she’d never recover.

“Walking by Christmas,” she’d countered, convinced they were wrong. Now, her eyes were the only moving part of her body.

“Eyes are a road map to the soul,” her husband whispered as he kissed them, reminding Selma of her mother’s fairy-sparkle kisses.

“Remember, Santa comes tonight, last chance to dream big.”

Her wishes always came true back then, and now?

All night, Selma passionately painted Santa’s skies with her vision: Selma walking.

At 11:59 Selma leaned out her open window.

“I love you, Santa!”

Ready for Santa Claus, by Gordon Lawrie

A gentle Christmas tale.

Ready for Santa Claus, by Gordon Lawrie

She was convinced that Santa Claus was an illegal immigrant, a terrorist and that his sack contained a bomb with which to blow up everyone up. She also believed he was a Muslim, of which his long white beard was proof.

But our hero didn’t lack courage, no! On social media she fearlessly posted capitalised rants demanding Santa’s repatriation. She’d be READY AND WAITING when he came.

On Christmas Eve, she waited for him in the dark. Just after midnight, a hooded figure slipped down the chimney.

But the hooded figure wasn’t carrying a sack, he was carrying a scythe.

Tatterdemalion, by Amy Friedman

The little girl huddled in the narrow alley, eyes shut to the biting cold. A purring kitten in her jacket imparted a bit of warmth. Snow swirled around her feet.
“Got a match, gel?” She blinked. A top-hatted man with a kind face crouched before her, an unlit cigarette between his gloved fingers.
She looked down. “It’s the next alley you’ll be wantin’,” she croaked. A tear froze as it slid down her cheek.
The man stood up, walked a few steps, then turned and held out his hand.
“Can’t leave you here,” he said. “Come.”
“Kitty too?”
“Kitty too.”

The Pickup (A Cautionary Tale), by Bobby Warner

“Hi, cutie. You want a ride? I got some candy, and we’ll stop for ice cream. Well, maybe …

“Come on. Here, I’ll hold the door open. Hop right in.

“It’s okay. You’ll be fine riding in the back of the van.

“Let me fasten your seat belt. And strap your little arms down snugly. Same with your legs. And put a little tape over your mouth.

“No, don’t squirm around so much. And don’t cry. Nobody’s going to hurt you. You’ll see. Got a nice place fixed for you in my basement. We’ll have great fun!”

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and St. Nick’s in a Fix, by Jo Oldani Osborne

“The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
In hopes that St. Nicholas would soon come to share.

“Poor kids! I’ve been grounded: Paris Climate Advice.
No coal for the Naughties, no gifts for the Nice.

“Who knew my sleigh was a Volkswagen edition,
Rigged with a chip to fake its emissions?

“Confoundit! Darnit! Vexing! How Stupid!
My elves’ work is wasted, the world’s air too soot’ed.

“What’s more! My name! ‘A PC transgression.’
My Sainthood, it seems, is simply too Christian.

“Children are children, they all need Love’s light.
Carbon Foot Print be darned, I’m coming –Tonight!”