Tag Archives: Christmas

Ho Ho Holy Sh*t!

A couple of months ago, I was about 700 words into this cool little Christmas horror story I was writing about a dude that finds an old Santa suit, puts it on, and then finds he can’t take it off. It starts to grow on him, fusing with his skin. Not only that, but his behaviour starts to change. He’s not the man he used to be. For starters (sorry) he’s hungry all the time. No matter how much he eats, he’s still hungry. He eats, and he eats, and he eats.

The story was going well. Right up until the point where I realized I’d subconsciously nicked the plot straight from the Eli Roth film Clown (2014) and just replaced the clown suit with a Santa suit.

Bugger.

I posted in a horror writing group on Facebook complaining about my wasted efforts, prompting Michael McCarty to PM me suggesting what he called a ‘quick fix,’ which between us we adapted into a killer (sic) twist. The resulting story, Finders Keepers, can be found in the new charity release from Terror Tract publishing, who put out my novella Tethered recently. Here’s the cover and ToC:

Jonathan Lambert
Thomas M. Malafarina
Aaron Lebold
Terry Miller
L.C. Valentine
R.C. Mulhare
Edmund Stone
Derek Austin Johnson
Craig Gerald Ferguson
David Owain Hughes
Eric Kapitan
Josh Davis
Andrew Lennon
Rob Shepherd
Dusty Davis
Mawr Gorshin
C.M. Saunders & Michael McCarty

Finders Keepers is a Christmas story, but there isn’t much festive cheer on display. In fact, it’s pretty damn sick and twisted, and might change your perception of what constitutes a family meal forever. Trust me, you wouldn’t want this Santa coming down your chimney. And what was that quick fix suggested by Michael McCarty? You’ll have to read the story to find out.

Ho ho ho Holy Sh*t is out this Christmas on Terror Tract Publishing.


Flash Bang Mysteries #6

Season’s greetings and all that. ‘Tis the time of year again to, er, give and receive. It’s a big part of our culture. In fact, it’s a big part of most cultures. So I wrote a story about it. The Gift is a lovely, warm, comforting tale about the pure joy of giving someone what they really, really want. But of course, if you know anything about my writing, you’ll know there’ll be slightly more to it than that. I manage to tick a lot of boxes in this 800 words or so. There are echoes of of everything from police corruption to unhealthy obsessions and incest, so you might find it a bit uncomfortable to read. I hope so.

The Gift appears in the latest edition of Flash Bang Mysteries which you can read online for FREE here.

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I wrote the first draft of The Gift last year for a project I was working on with my friends at Deviant Dolls. Back then it was barely a paragraph. But I liked the concept, as simple as it is, so I revised it several times and fleshed it out a bit. I was watching a lot of serial killer shows at the time, so maybe that had something to do with it. At some point it occurred to me that I should start submitting it, so I did and lo and behold, here we are. Thanks to BJ Bourg for the opportunity.

Flash Bang Mysteries, fiction that leaves a mark.


Christmas in China

Not being a Christian country, China has traditionally been quite reluctant to get the Christmas bug. This seems to have changed dramatically in recent years, with kids eager to get presents and shops and businesses all keen to make as much money as possible. It’s the perfect symbiotic relationship, and consumerism reigns here in the Far East as much as anywhere else. Communism, at least the Western perception of it, is a myth.

I’ve been teaching a couple of years now, and I often get Christmas cards, emails and messages from students, past and present. They mean well, but unfortunately too many of the season’s greetings get addressed to ‘Christ,’ instead of Chris or Christian.

To Christ, marry Christmas!

I never found out who the ‘Christmas’ chick I was supposed to marry was, but I can tell you that it’s a lot of pressure being the son of God.

Almost every educational facility in the country, from kindergartens to universities and training schools have special events to mark Christmas. These usually take the form of a student performance. Last year at Xiangtan University, Hunan province, the drama club did a Shakespeare production. Juliet came out wearing a beautiful long, white, flowing dress, promptly tripped over it, face-planted, and gave herself a nasty nosebleed. The poor girl. Romeo & Juliet never had so many laughs.

Spending Christmas away from home is always difficult. Of course, I miss people. But I have to work, and this is the life I chose, so all I can do is push those thoughts to the back of my head and get on with it. Luckily, we have a tight foreign community here in Changsha. Brits, Americans, French, Canadians, Germans, Poles, Danes, Swedes, Australians. We are all foreign to each other, but united in the fact that we are not Chinese. The Chinese rarely discriminate between nationalities (except the Japanese). To them its simple. You are either Chinese or foreign. A common Mandarin word for ‘foreigner’ is laowai. The etymology is complex, but tellingly, literally translated it means ‘outsider.’

I usually have to work Christmas day, as do most teachers. It’s not a national holiday in China. Sometimes I have to be Santa Claus. I hate it. I make a very bad Santa. A few years ago when I worked at a primary school in Tianjin, which is far too close to Russia, by the way, the school asked me to host the Christmas party. Being the only foreigner there, I had no choice but to agree. They gave me this tattered red Santa suit and a script to learn. Yes, a script. Then they sent me into a theater packed not just with hyperactive spoiled Little Emperors, but also their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and what seemed like all their friends and extended family as well. All told, there must have been several hundred people there, all waiting to see Santa Claus.

I was a bit nervous, so I drank an entire bottle of Baijiu on the bus on the way to school, and by the time I got there I was quite pissed. Irresponsible, yeah. But I would love to see you go through this ordeal stone cold sober. So there I was, in a Santa suit, drunk, on a stage in front of hundreds of people, at 8 am Christmas morning, in freezing northern China.

It couldn’t get any more surreal.

But it could certainly get worse.

I had been a good boy that year, and learned the script beforehand. So in my best Santa voice I bellowed my first line, “Ho, ho, ho, does anyone know who I am?”

To which a kid in the front row jumped up and shouted, “Yeah, I know who you are. You’re Chris. Our English teacher.”

What? That wasn’t in the script. How could I possibly follow that?

There was a deathly hush, then a ripple of laughter gradually spread through the audience members as I shriveled up in embarrassment before a sea of strangers.

Merry Christmas, you little shit.

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