1. It’s Over

Siobhan lounged on the sofa, wrapped in a chunky knitted throw which she had bought for herself as an early Christmas present. Love Actually played on the television and although she was gazing at the screen, her eyes were glazed over. She’d seen it a million times anyway; she could quote the script in swathing chunks, and knew exactly what was going on even if her brain wasn’t committed to absorbing the images which played on the screen. Continue reading “1. It’s Over”

10. The Party

Alex sucked at the blood on his finger and winced, not so much at the pain, but at his own stupidity. It started with an invite amongst his closest friends, and now his mother’s best crystal glassware had been smashed by drunken louts he didn’t even know.

He was in for it when his parents returned from their holiday. He could try and tell them that the broken glass was just a little accident, but he knew the sick stained curtains and tiny dick graffiti on the floral wallpaper would raise a few suspicions. Continue reading “10. The Party”

11. Patient Zero

“I’m not serving you,” Holly said resolutely.

“I forgot my I.D! Come on, it’s Christmas eve.”

“And I’m all out of Christmas cheer. You wouldn’t believe how many other kids I get coming in here and begging me to let them buy their White Lightening ‘cos it’s Christmas eve. Christmas eve doesn’t change the law. Christmas eve doesn’t stop me losing my job when my boss watches back the CCTV and sees me serving kids who clearly don’t look 18. Go put the cider back, get yourself a Panda Pop, and then I’ll serve you.” Continue reading “11. Patient Zero”

12. Power Cut

“…there will be no Christmas cheer in the UK from this moment on.”

The television went black and so did the house.

“Oh. I thought they were just switching off the Christmas lights, not the whole country’s electricity.”

Kate snickered. “This country is going to the dogs.” Continue reading “12. Power Cut”

13. The Last Christmas

“I can’t believe this woman,” Jules said with a laugh. “She is absolutely batshit. She’s lost it. If she’s not sacked by the new year then I’ll lose all hope in this world.”

“I lost hope in it years ago,” Wayne muttered, curling his lip at the shot of the Prime Minister on the television. “It’s not a fair place, is it? People like her running things, and here we are.”

“None of that tonight; we agreed. Happy talk.” She hit the power button on the remote and sighed. “Let’s get the girls up, shall we?”

“No, they’ve probably only just settled with all the excitement, and if they get up now they’ll be tired and grumpy before we’ve even had lunch tomorrow.”

“Just for an hour so they can open a few presents. Please? I’m just… scared. That I’ll miss it.” Jules swallowed down the hard lump in a throat and forced her lips into a smile. Continue reading “13. The Last Christmas”

14. The Gift

Five mince pies are probably too many for one stomach to handle. Actually, scratch that; five mince pies are probably perfectly fine, unless four of them are smothered in brandy butter and the whole lot have been preceded by a large portion of fish and chips. In that case, the fifth one is enough to push the stomach from stuffed mode into painfully stuffed mode.

If I move now, I think my stomach will either split and spill fishy, fruity gloop all over the rest of my organs, or it will push fishy, fruity gloop back up my oesophagus and out of my mouth, all over Mam’s precious magnolia carpet. I better just lie here and let it all settle down.

And of course the doorbell goes. Continue reading “14. The Gift”

15. Ghosts

Mr. Pincher sighed as he climbed out of his Jaguar at 6.15pm on Christmas Eve. He was frustrated to be home so early, but since the business world insisted on closing down for two full days – all for the sake of bloody Christmas – there wasn’t much keeping him at the office. All his staff had disappeared at 5pm on the dot, and he did little to shield the disgust he felt as they did so. There was nothing he could have done about it, of course. Employment laws – the bane of his life – protected his staff from being forced to work overtime on a public holiday. Continue reading “15. Ghosts”

16. Escape

Greenford Farm had been eerily silent for 9 days. The atmosphere had been dying down since October, but it wasn’t until December that the population really began to dwindle. Feathers littered the grounds of the farm, the wind having picked them up from the fields and scattered them in all directions, but as snow fell on Christmas eve, they soon became blanketed in icy whiteness, erasing all signs of the birds to which they used to belong.

1049 was ravenous. He’d taken shelter beneath an upturned steel feeding trough 9 days ago, and had come to the end of the measly rations of grain which were hidden with him. The silence had bored deep into his mind for long enough that he wondered if he’d gone completely deaf. Continue reading “16. Escape”

17. A Quiet One

“Christmas? Oh, just a quiet one, this year. Not doing anything special.”

Paul delivered this carefully rehearsed response every year when his colleagues asked him about his Christmas plans. He’d worked with some of them for six years, and it seemed they still hadn’t caught on to the fact that every year was a quiet one. They continued to ask about his festivities with the same enthusiasm each year, and Paul couldn’t figure out whether they paid such little attention to him that they forgot his Christmases were quiet, or if they got a small kick out of forcing him to admit that he was spending Christmas alone. He didn’t know which was worse. Continue reading “17. A Quiet One”

18. The Great Battle of the Remote Control

“I cannot – no, I will not – watch another Strictly Come fucking Dancing.”

“Shurrup. We’re watching it.”

“We are not.” Chris grabbed the remote from Delilah’s hand and changed the channel.

“Chris! You said we could watch whatever I wanted after you finished watching Top Gear. And I want to watch Strictly Come Dancing.”

“But you’ve been watching Strictly for weeks. I sat through that drivel for weeks. I sat through the bloody final for hours. I cannot take any more chachacha-ing and fucking foxtrotting.” Continue reading “18. The Great Battle of the Remote Control”