The following story is one I have recently added to the Electric Eclectic App. It can now be read, along with several other short stories and an Electric Eclectic book, directly on the App’s in-built e-reader.
More Electric Eclectic books and stories will be shared via the App shortly, the idea is to keep changing the stories so there is always something new to read.
Find out about Electric Eclectic and the free App after this tale, Enjoy.
I paid for the whisky, said goodnight to the shopkeeper and walked out into the darkness of the night.
The streets were busy, people bustling about getting those last-minute Christmas gifts, the stocking fillers and trinkets. The atmosphere was one of excitement and joyfulness enhanced by the impromptu choirs and the street performers entertaining the steady stream of shoppers as they passed by.
The large flakes of falling snow, blowing in flurries and fluttering against faces was as little a deterrent as traipsing through the drifts along the pavements and footpaths. Everybody was enjoying the snow this year.
It was to be the first white Christmas for some time.
I think the lights in the city were better this year too. I am certain there were more than the previous years, or maybe it was the displays themselves, the vibrant, pulsating multitude of twinkling colours reflecting off the snow-laden footpaths.
I am not sure why, but I do know the entire city looked wonderful.
This year I made an extra effort at home. For once I suppressed the Scrooge in myself, the “bah humbug” of scorn and disdain about the dreadful commercialism of the season.
This year I was ready. Ready to enjoy myself and spread some cheer. You could say I was full of Christmas spirit.
I installed a pine tree in my lounge, in pride of place right in the centre of the bay window, so it could be seen equally as well from inside and out. The house itself was fully decorated with garlands, baubles, wreaths and seasonal whatnots. They were in every room, even up and down the staircase.
I accomplished all the Christmas decorating by midday on the first of December. Long enough for all my friends and family to enjoy my decorative skills. The majority of gifts were wrapped, labelled and now sat under the tree awaiting their recipients.
I just needed a few last gifts, some odd bits and bobs and I would be set until New Year, probably until mid-January.
I’ll admit to you now, I was actually enjoying myself, enjoying Christmas. For the first time in years I felt the Christmas spirit within me. It could be because I was settled into this house, my new home, or because my new neighbours were kind friendly folk, or perhaps, just perhaps it was because I was in love.
I have only known Claire for six months. We met in the supermarket, by the counter where fresh salad vegetables are kept on those chilled counters, the ones with a chilled wet mist blowing over them.
Claire dropped a cucumber. I think the condensation caused it to slip from her fingers. I was standing near her so, like a gentleman, I stooped to retrieve it from the floor.
Our heads clashed. I know that sound a little corny and unrealistic, but it was so.
As I bent to fetch the cucumber from the floor, Claire was beginning to straighten up, to stand. The back of her head cracked harshly on the bridge of my nose. The result was a nosebleed, a bloodied shirt and a string of apologies from Claire.
The following day Claire arrived at my home carrying a brand-new shirt. One similar in cut and colour to the one I was wearing in the supermarket. I told her it was not necessary for her to replace my shirt; the head-banging incident was a pure accident.
She told me to put the shirt on. She said she wanted to make sure it fitted correctly. I took off the old tee shirt I was wearing at the time, ready to slip the new shirt on… and then it happened. The next thing, Claire and I were kissing passionately and undressing each other, leaving a trail of clothing leading up the stairs and into my bedroom. This all happened, as I have said, about six months ago.
Which is why I am looking forward to Christmas this year. You see, Claire is coming to stay with me. Her plan is to arrive on Christmas Eve and stay until the evening of New Year’s Day. I can feel the butterflies of excitement dancing in my stomach when I think about her.
Besides the whisky I just purchased, I was weighted down with two large bags of groceries. Actually, they were Christmas treats. I had assorted nuts, chocolates, tangerines, dates, candied fruits and a large bag full of Claire’s favourite, crystallized stem ginger pieces.
These, along with numerous other treats, were destined to be scattered around the house in a variety of small bowls, saucers, dishes and whatever containers I could find. Irresistible and tempting treats to grab and nibble on as you passed by.
The handle of the shopping bag, the bag in which I was carrying Clair’s jars of crystallised ginger, snapped as I rounded the corner of Mason Avenue. I stopped, catching the bag on my foot, cushioning it as it as it fell to the ground in an attempt to save the glass jars from breaking.
I stood cursing for a moment.
I would have to make do. I would stuff the pockets of my coat with as many packets and boxes as I could. My remaining purchases would need to stay in the bag. Once I twisted the broken handle around the top of the bag a few times I could grip it tightly. It was secure enough to hold together for the last few hundred yards or so to my home. I could see the lights twinkling from the Christmas tree in the bay window of my home from where I stood. I was certain to get all my shopping safely home from here, broken bag or not.
It was while I was rearranging my shopping, putting those small packets into my coat, leaving the larger items in the bag, he came up to me.
I knew who he was immediately.
I know my blood ran cold because I shivered. Not a shiver caused by the chill of winter, or the wind, or the snow, but a shiver of apprehension.
“I am sorry, Mark,” he said, “but it is your time.”
He was standing so close I felt his breath wash over me as he spoke. It had a hollow scent, one of yew trees and damp grass. It was the smell of a graveyard. Yet, as close as he was I could not see his face, just a shadowy hint of inevitability radiating from under his cowl.
I shall not say fear did not enter my consciousness because it did. I felt it flutter over my heart.
But the Reaper was practised. His scythe whistled through the air so fast I only caught a momentary glimpse of the festive city lights reflecting from the finely-honed silver steel of the blade.
They say a car ploughed into me as I stood in the street, on the corner of Mason Avenue, picking up my fallen shopping.
My death was reported as instant.
I would not call my death instant, for I heard the Grim Reaper speak my name.
Have a very Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year my dear friend.
I’ll see you on the other side 😊
The Electric Eclectic App can be downloaded from Google Play for FREE, HERE. It gives direct access to the Electric Eclectic website, Amazon pages, Giveaways, the e-Reader, links to Youtube, Vimeo and much more. Check it out today.
Find all our EE books by visiting the Electric Eclectic website.
Feel free to share this post with your friends and communities.
If you want to know more or are interested in becoming an Electric Eclectic author, email us at EEbookbranding@mail.com
Thank You, Paul.