Alone in the dark? Oh, heavens, no. It’s the solstice, and thus dark for everyone in the northern hemisphere… although I guess those below the tropic line will hardly notice.
It being that time of year, I am once again offering a story for Christmas, because it’s something Charles Dickens and M.R. James did; I am weak enough to hope for if not to quite believe in sympathetic magic, and so try to do what they did with an eye to becoming what they were.
…perhaps, now that I think of Dickens’s last days, this is not a great plan.
Anyway, this year’s story is Snowman. The title is a bit of a giveaway; there is a snowman mentioned in it. They’re a staple of kids’ songs and Rankin animations, but the snowman is something of a rarity here in the land of the living skies; we get snow, but it’s usually so dessicated that you can’t form it.
I hope you enjoy reading it, and I also hope you have plenty of people of cuddle up with in this season of long nights and chill winds. The dark is more tolerable when there’s someone to share it with.
Well… not really.
There is the British tradition of creepy stories at this time of year, as exemplified by most of M.R. James’s output, and I can more or less hang Occasional Lapses of Service on that hook. I suspect James would probably chastise me slightly for stepping away from one of his very useful guidelines in the writing of ghost stories, one which I generally cling to pretty firmly– but it’s not really a ghost story either, so I will nod my head in admission of the departure without feeling that I’ve actually strayed from the path.
It is also not a traditional Christmas story in most other senses of the that phrase, even though there is a passing reference to carol singing. It is, however, presented only days ahead of Christmas, and is meant as a gift to the world in general.
And now, as last year, it’s time to get seasonal liver damage through the fat and alcohol content of egg nog, and cuddle my son while we decide if that noise on the roof is a reindeer, a lead-footed squirrel (of which we’ve many in the neighbourhood), or something else entirely. Wæs hæil, everyone!
A quick little Christmas story for those who aren’t completely distracted by wrapping gifts and watching Alastair Sim go bonkers, and it is indeed based on a true story (exclamation point).
If you’re at all sensible, you’re on your guard now. If one is willing to carefully file facts to fit, every item of fiction can be found to have a real-world foundation… or rather, some real-world event can be pressed into service.
But, yes, this is based on a real-world event. I was recently in a room with a TV showing a broadcast image of a fireplace. That actually happened.
Merry Christmas to everyone to whom it is appropriate. I’ll also wish an appropriate mix of jollity and reflection for any who observe a different solstice-proximate holiday, of which there are many. Now, I’m off to wrap presents and get goofy on egg nog.