Do You Believe In Father Christmas?

When I was eight-years old, I did the most despicable thing.

On Christmas Eve 1970, I told my five- year old sister that there was no such thing as Father Christmas. She was horrified.

Telling her that Father Christmas did not exist was the worst thing I ever did.

My mother was so angry with me. She sent me to my room.

I missed supper. I missed the carol-singers outside our house.

I missed seeing the first snowflakes of what was to be my first white Christmas. And I missed the evening of Christmas Eve, my favourite time of the year.

However, worse was to come.

I cried myself to sleep, blaming Father Christmas for what had happened.

Sometime during the night, I was woken by hands around my throat.

“You evil boy!” boomed the voice. I was too frightened to open my eyes.

“Open your eyes, boy! Do it, or you will never see Christmas again.”

He forced me to open my eyes. I don’t know how he did it but he somehow did.

I couldn’t believe what I saw.

I was shocked beyond belief. It was Father Christmas who had his hands around my throat.

“You never, never tell anyone ever again that I do not exist. Do you understand me, boy?” I tried nodding my head, despite being in complete shock.

“Good. Now, look deep into my eyes.”

Seconds later, I saw a flock of robins in his eyes and, before I knew it, they were propelled into my eyes.

The screeching sound they made hurt my ears. I could not scream for help to my mother or father because of the tightly gripped hands around my throat. I finally managed to close my eyes and the screeching robins and hands around my throat disappeared.

Terrified by what had happened, I crawled under my bed. I curled up into a tiny ball and shivered the night away. Sleep did come but only briefly.

It was the sound of laughter that woke me.

I could hear the muffled voices of my family. It was Christmas morning and they were already downstairs.

How could they have forgotten to wake me up?

I crawled out from under my bed and made my way past the open door of my bedroom. On the floor, at the top of the stairs, were two empty Christmas stockings. How could they have emptied their stockings without me?

I ran down the stairs and into the lounge, which was lit up with Christmas lights.

“Mum, Dad, Julie…I’m sorry,” I cried, but none of them took any notice of me. “Please forgive me, don’t spoil Christmas.” But it was no good, they just ignored me.

That’s when I saw the strange boy.

“Oh, that’s lovely, Hugh. Grandma sure knows how to knit Christmas jumpers,” laughed Dad, as he hugged the strange boy.

For the rest of the day, I watched as the boy with my name took my place. Nobody bothered me. Nobody even noticed I was there. It was as if I were a ghost.

I finally went to bed and cried myself to sleep. The whole family had arrived at our house and a Christmas party was in full swing.

The next morning, my mother woke me up.

“Are you feeling better, Hugh?”

“Are you talking to me?” I asked her.

“Of course, I am. Who else goes by your name in this house? Come on, it’s Boxing Day and we need to get over to Grandma’s house.”

I didn’t ever say anything to anybody about what had happened, and I didn’t see the strange-looking boy with my name again.

Well, I didn’t see him until the following Christmas Day when the whole thing happened again. And it’s happened every Christmas since then.

You see, my place is now taken by a ghost, but only on that one day of the year when I become a ghost.

I’m so happy and thankful that it’s not Christmas every day.

Do you believe in Father Christmas?

#fiction #christmas #shortstory #shortstories

Story taken from the short story collection Glimpses – Available on Amazon.

Copyright © 2019 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

Moving In

“As you’re an author and writer, I thought this would be the perfect new home for you, Mr Roberts.”

“Oh, I already love it. How old is it? Of course, I’ll need to see the inside, but I like what I already see.”

#writephoto #fiction #flashfiction #shortstory
Image credit: Sue Vincent

“It’s over 200 years old. The seller has instructed me to accept any offers just below the asking price. If you make an offer today, I’ll ensure it’s taken off the market.”

“Perfect. I’m going to get so much inspiration and so many new ideas for my next novel by living here.”

***

Twenty minutes later.

“Sign here, Mr Roberts. All being well, you’ll be in tomorrow. The current resident has already left. She was delighted when I told her you were the buyer.”

“Wonderful. I hope she’ll be happy in her new place. I can’t wait to start using that huge, dark study in the attic. I wonder how long it’ll be before I have my first visitors?”

•••

It wasn’t long before I had my first visitors. Two days after moving in, I watched the new owners of my new home move in. A family of four; the two children under the age of six, they couldn’t see or hear me as I watched them unpack boxes.

The ‘Hauntings’ Estate agents had come up trumps in finding me my next place to haunt.


Written in response to the #writephoto challenge hosted by Sue Vincent at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo.

Copyright © 2019 hughsviewsandnews.com – All rights reserved.

You’re It! #writephoto

 

#flashfiction #shortstories #fiction #writing

I’d always enjoyed walking in the fog.

There’s something about the eeriness it creates that keeps me outdoors rather than sat indoors in front of a screen.

Today was no different. I’d taken my camera with me in the hope of snapping some eerie shots that would get my creative cogs whirling.

It was just before the light gave way to the twilight that I decided I’d better go home.

Although the next day had been forecast to be another foggy day, I had decided I needed one more photo.

Turning to my left, the scene before me was perfect.

An upward slope shrouded in the fog would make the perfect photo; a photo I’d use for my next book cover.

As I focused the camera towards the top of the slope, I noticed a figure looking down at me.

#flashfiction #shortstory #writephoto
Photo credit: Sue Vincent

I immediately lowered my camera and kept my eyes focused on where the figure was standing, yet it wasn’t there.

It must have been a trick of the light, or maybe the fog?

I raised the camera again, ready to focus on the top of the foggy slope, when I was startled by what I saw in the viewfinder.

The same figure, standing there. Yet when I lowered the camera, the figure was gone.

A cold sweat swept over my entire body. That was when a plan came to me.

I aimed the camera towards the top of the slope so that if the figure appeared, I could use the viewfinder to walk towards it.

My luck was in. The figure was there, so I began my walk up the slope.

Halfway up, my arms began to ache, forcing me to bring the camera down. The ‘watcher’, as I had now named the figure, had disappeared.

Raising the camera up, the watcher, once again, appeared in the viewfinder. This time I was determined not to bring my camera down.

The ‘watcher’ became a blur as I got closer to it, but I kept walking.

By the time I reached it, nothing but a hazy, thick, off-white fog had filled the viewfinder.

Lowering the camera, I was faced with nothing but the sight of fog and the sound of waves.

Behind me, something stirred.

I span around.

“You’re it!,” were the words that came out of the mouth of the most repulsive creature I’d ever seen.

Then it pushed me.

As I fell off the edge of the cliff, towards the sounds of the crashing waves, my eyes were briefly focused on the creature as it looked down at me.

“YOU”RE IT!”, it kept on screaming.

I closed my eyes and waited for the coldness of the sea to smash into my body, yet no impact came.

When I finally got the courage to open my eyes, I found myself looking down a foggy slope, at you!

You were looking up at me through a camera and began to climb towards me.

“You’re it,” I repeatedly murmured to myself.

Will you be ‘it’ for me?

***

Written in response to the #writephoto challenge, hosted by Sue Vincent at Sue Vincent’s Daily Echo. Click here to join hundreds of other writers who have taken up the challenge.

#writephoto #writing #challenge

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