Hey lovely followers! Today I am sharing a little story I submitted to my friend Charis Rae’s short story contest. Now, I don’t normally write dystopian, so this was new to me. But it was also fun and crazy awesome! So, here it is below! I hope you enjoy 🙂
*whispers* if you click on the image below, it’ll take you to Charis’s website. She has the other winners posted there. So hop on over and shout ‘huzzah!’ for me!
by K.E. Stanton
The breath that billows out before me is thicker than the snow that falls outside the stone walls. Where water used to drip from the prison walls, now there are tiny icicles, reminding me that it’s supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year.
You know. Feasts, gifts, and those cute little stockings.
Well, not here. Not anymore. There hasn’t been Christmas here in years. Hundreds.
It’s just us, the hoarfrost outside, and the Headmaster who is worse than any green Grinch.
What could possibly be worse than the Grinch? Well, the bruises that run along my body and the scars that make my arms itch should be enough to give it away.
I hear a voice from the other side of the cell and lift my eyes to meet the green irises of my best friend. He smiles at me, his face uncertain as if he cannot believe we’re spending Christmas this way.
Not that it matters though. Christmas is just a legend here. No one believes in happiness since we’ve been stuck in winter for a thousand years. But Isaiah still never forgets. His voice is merry as he mutters the words the Headmaster would punish him for. “Merry Christmas, Holly.”
Rubbing my chilled hands together, I stand to my feet. It could be the creeping frost, or maybe I’ve just been sitting too long, but as soon as I stand up my legs wobble.
He looks worse than I do if that’s possible. Which, trust me, it is. His eyes are bloodshot from the abuse and purple, black, and green bruises against his red hair make him look like some living Christmas tree.
Still, his eyes are alight with a fire I’m surprised exists after all this time in the Headmaster of Heimland’s dungeon. Like, I thought that would have died a long time ago with the mice. You know that Christmas story? “Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse”? Yeah, they don’t stir here.
Because they’re dead.
Every year it’s the same. The Headmaster sends his henchman into the frosted town and grabs twelve people. These people are thrown into the dungeon where the Headmaster then does what he wishes. Most people die.
Ai and I have survived the last three years, but I don’t think we’re going to survive again. We’re going to die tomorrow. On Christmas day.
Sighing, I settle next to Ai and lay my head on his chest. His arm absentmindedly slides around me, his thumb rubbing against my shoulder.
This always happens.We just sit here, waiting. For what, exactly?
A warmth that no longer exists in Heimland?
“This is not what Christmas was supposed to be like,” Ai says, raw bitterness in his voice.
I nod, afraid to even speak, to waste precious words.
“We knew this time was coming,” I finally say. There’s a moment of silence and then I hear him give a laugh. “Sure we did. We also called Christmas ‘Deathmas’ because of it.” His chest moves as he props himself up to face me. In the darkness of the dungeon, his face looks flushed and his red hair seems to be crazier than mine. Yet, he looks happy. Leave Ai to be happy on the eave of Deathmas while I sit here brooding.
“You know, H,” his head cocks, his battered face splitting into a smirk. “I really don’t see why dying on Christmas is so bad.”
“No. After all, Christmas is all about the new life we were granted. He died for us, so in death, we live. It’s not about the presents or the cookies… or the snow on the streets. It’s about family, laughter, and the one Gift we can never lose- even if we’re in a dungeon.”
I can’t help but laugh at that.
“Which reminds me…” For a moment, Ai actually looks hesitant. He lifts a hand and rubs the back of his neck. “There’s something winter in Heimland will never take away. The national plant.”
I arch my eyebrows, waiting for him to continue.
Laughing awkwardly, he points to the tiny mistletoe that somehow sprouted in the midst of this suffering.
I stare at the plant, silently laughing and cursing it at the same time. I’m not kissing my best friend. Then again, I’ve never been kissed and I am dying tomorrow.
“All right, you dolt,” I laugh, looking up at my best friend.
He grins, his face lighting up like an Advent candle. Lifting a hand to caress my cheek, he leans forward until the cold tip of his nose brushes with mine.
“Merry Christmas Holly,” he rustles. I whisper my reply right before I close the distance between us. “Merry Christmas, Ai.”
Suddenly Heimland doesn’t feel so cold anymore.
And that was it! How do you feel now? Sad? Depressed? What do you think would happen next? Would they escape? Find a way out? Or would they die? Let me know what you think in the comments below!
Have you ever written a short story before? What was it about? Did you write it for anything? A contest? A friend? What happened once you did? I also want to hear about that!!!
Until next time, my lovelies!