A Short Holiday Story From Your Favorite Sci-Fi Indie Authors
On a chilly October night, a lone spirit winds his way down the path of a deserted graveyard. It’s the night of Friday the 13th, and the moon is full, illuminating the desolate cemetery. Dead leaves cover the tombstones, but it’s not just this autumn’s brush that render the markers illegible. Years’ worth of dirt has caked its way into the fine lettering; the epitaphs can no longer be made out.
But the spirit doesn’t have to read the headstones to know what they say. His decades-long haunt of the cemetery has afforded him the opportunity to memorize each and every inscription, to the point where he even knows the precise dates for everyone buried within. On long, quiet, lonesome nights, he studies the markers. Tonight, however, should not be one of those nights.
You see, the cemetery is a major attraction for thrill seekers, especially around this time of year. There hasn’t been a Friday the 13th in October in over a decade, and coupled with the full moon, he’s sure the event will make for one of the busiest nights he’s seen in years. The spirit suspects some of his other ghoul friends will make an appearance tonight; perhaps even a few who haven’t come around in quite some time.
He hears rustling coming from the cemetery’s east gate. It’s the way most visitors enter by car, but he assumes some teens must have parked some distance away and are approaching on foot. Good, he thinks. They’re much easier to scare that way.
The spirit waits, listening for the visitors. The rustling stops. He peers out from behind his favorite hiding spot: a thick, majestic oak. Leaves begin to shuffle again, though the source of the noise is not what he’d hoped for. Instead of people, it’s a turkey making all that noise.
“What are you doing in here?” he whispers. “Shoo!”
The turkey spins its head in his direction.
“Give it a rest,” the turkey says. “Your holiday’s practically over. People have been celebrating Halloween since August. It’s my time now.”
“Tom?” the spirit says, no longer whispering. “I should have known it was you. Listen, it still very much is my holiday, and I’d appreciate it if you’d gobble on out of here. I have at least two more weeks to enjoy before you start with your antics.”
“Do you ever think about anyone but yourself? Think about how it feels for me. November 1st comes around and people start blasting their Christmas music…”
Suddenly, a deep grumble starts from behind the spirit’s shoulder. It’s the unmistakable sound of a man clearing his throat.
“Pardon, but have you seen any visitors coming through here tonight?”
“OH NO,” says the spirit. “Not you, too! We’ve been through this, Ghost of Christmas Past. This cemetery is strictly reserved for those who’ve been BURIED here. Can you at least wait until December before you start hunting down cranky Christmas haters?”
“These days, I have to get a jump start!” the ghost says. “Everyone loves Christmas so much, it’s hard to find any Scrooges!”
“We know,” Tom says. “It really is all about Christmas, isn’t it?” As he says this, a single snowflake makes its debut, followed by a steady stream of fluffy white flurries.
“Guys, are you seeing this?” the spirit asks. As they all look up towards the snowfall, a tiny winged baby makes its way toward them, wielding a bow and arrow.
“You wouldn’t believe how much romance is born on these scary ghost walks,” he says. “It’s practically spring time out here. No need to wait until February anymore!”
The spirit is about to chase off the baby, when in the distance a round of fireworks erupts.
“Okay, that’s enough, everyone!” the spirit says. “Listen, we can all have our time. There’s no need to rush into it! We get to celebrate our days every year. Can we all just respect each other and the things we love most, even if it’s not our favorite thing? We’re so busy thinking about the next celebration, that we forget to stop and enjoy what’s going on right now!”
The Ghost of Christmas Past shrugs, and Tom ruffles his feathers. Cupid returns his arrow back to its quiver.
“Sorry,” Tom says. “I guess I’m the one to blame. I started this by coming here tonight when I should have just waited for my holiday.”
“Listen, I’m sorry too,” the spirit says. “You’re welcome to be here. I shouldn’t have tried to shoo you. We can all enjoy Halloween together. Just like I’ll try to enjoy your days, too. And Tom, I think we can all agree that we really should be giving a bit more attention to Thanksgiving. It’s important to be grateful, after all.”
“Hey, thanks,” Tom says. “People sometimes look at it as a boring holiday. But it brings everyone together, and I think that’s really what’s most important.”
Everyone nods in agreement.
We wish all of our readers a joyful, relaxing Thanksgiving, and hope you’re spending it with the people you love! Before heading out for Black Friday or any other holiday shopping this year, don’t forget to pause – if only for a moment – and reflect on what you already have. If it’s your health, a roof over your head, and loved ones to share time with, you’re already much richer than many other people in the world. Enjoy!