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.

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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.