Ginger Nuts of Horror
Christmas is coming, the decorations are up, Christmas tunes are playing on repeat, and the eggnog is chilling in the fridge. Ginger Nuts of Horror welcomes the festive season. And as a thank, you for all of your support for what has been a fantastically successful year, Ginger Nuts of Horror in association with Charlotte Bond, brings you 13 For Christmas. For thirteen days in the lead up to Christmas, we bring you a special festive themed piece flash fiction from Charlotte. Grab a hot drink and find a nice warm place and please enjoys these festively creepy tales.
Today's story is titled Home for Christmas....
Alfie helped his wife into the armchair by the fire, rearranging her skirts from where he'd carried her in from the car. His back ached with the effort, but it was a small price to pay to have his wife home. If he had to carry her round the whole house, he would do it; after all, he wasn't the one with cancer, or the one who'd had a stroke. His wife needed him, and he'd be there for her, whatever she needed.
He brushed some dirt off her blouse then gently turned the chair round so that she could face the fire. He kissed tenderly on the cheek, trying not to recoil at the chill that had sunk into her skin.
'Oh darling, you're so cold! I'm so sorry, but the heater isn't working in the car. I'll get us both some hot chocolate and maybe put something a bit naughty in it too, aye?' He chuckled, brushing a stray strand of hair from her cheek. The hair came away in his hand and he hastily wiped it on his trousers.
'You just wait here,' he said, walking away. He didn't expect a reply. His wife hadn't spoken for months, not since the cancer had destroyed her vocal chords. And she certainly wasn't going to be saying anything after that vicious stroke he'd suffered.
Alfie made some hot chocolate and opened a new pack of mince pies, piling them up on a plate in a little pyramid, just the way his wife used to do. He carried the tray of hot chocolate and mince pies into the living room and placed them on coffee table.
'Here, let me put the Christmas lights on. I know how much you love them.' His old knees complained as he knelt down and reached under the Christmas tree to the plug on the wall. It was a tricky and painful manoeuvre, but the effect was worth it. He turned the overhead light off so that the only illumination in the room was the electric fire and the fairy lights. With the holly over the mantlepiece and tinsel draped over the bookshelves, the place sparkled with festive cheer.
'How magical,' he said, sitting down. He grinned at his wife, sitting opposite him, just like old times. With the soft lighting, she almost looked her old self -- so long as he didn't look at her eyes; that was where the truth of her condition stared back at him.
A loud ting and a buzzing had him looking around in confusion. He saw the mobile their son had bought for them lit up on the windowsill. He went over to it.
'A text,' he murmured to himself. 'Now, let me see. Home, then messages, then select and...' He read the message from his son.
Dad. I'm here at Mum's grave. You have to come. Someone's vandalised it! I've called the police, but I really need to speak to you. Can you call me ASAP please?
Alfie shook his head as he turned off the mobile. 'Honestly. "ASAP"? What's wrong with typing out "as soon as possible"? It's not like it takes much time.'
Tutting, he put the phone back on the windowsill. Then he schooled his face into a beaming smile as he turned back to his wife. He needn't have bothered; her dead eyes stared unseeing at the electric fire.
Undeterred, Alfie walked over and patted his wife affectionately on her knee before he sat down again. 'There now. No more disturbances. It's Christmas. Just you and me, just like it used to be. I couldn't let you miss your favourite time of year. Now, let's get some of that hot chocolate down you, and I'll tell you about all the fabulous things I have planned.'