THE CHRISTMAS ROOM

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic

A flash fiction story. Awarded Honorable Mention in the 4th Annual Weird Christmas Contest, 2021, at weirdchristmas.com.

THE CHRISTMAS ROOM
By J.D. Wilson

 

The scent of the freshly cut tree filled the old house. The old man sat in front of the fire with his feet up, the well-worn book resting in his lap. Outside, a blanket of new snow glistened in the twilight. The woods surrounding the cottage were silent.

It had happened so long ago—back when he was a much younger man. His wife and their five children—they had left home and taken the shortcut. The three-mile footpath to Alton’s store was often used by the reclusive family. On Christmas Eve, 1928, they had left the small house in the woods. They would never return home.

The storm was one for the ages—thirteen inches of snow in two hours. The temperature dropped to minus ten degrees. It was a storm that Haverford, Maine had not seen for decades. The McAllen children and their mother all perished on that horrible night. The search party would not find them for two days.

The winter was relentless and dragged on into spring with cold temperatures and record snowfalls. The funerals were delayed. The winter would not allow grieving. Not yet. The snow stayed deep on the ground until early April. Only then, would he take care of them.  

The McAllen Cemetery was on the hill behind the old house. He had prepared everything. He would not allow an outsider such involvement in the arrangements of his dear wife or children. They would all be together now. Together—but not in the cold ground—and he would see them every year on that most horrid anniversary. On Christmas Eve.

Now, tonight, he arose and slid the rug aside. The hatch in the floor was raised. He descended the steps into the cold cellar, carrying the book under one arm. The Night Before Christmas. They were all arranged around the small table, the skin on their faces was drawn and tight. The children sat with their withered, tiny hands resting on the dusty table. He lit the kerosene lantern and began reading the book that his children so loved. It was Christmas Eve.

 

THE END


Submitted: March 12, 2022

© Copyright 2022 J.D. Wilson. All rights reserved.

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