Tag Archives: Christmas story

Driving Home for Christmas

I love a good ghost story at Christmas – I’m currently re-reading The Woman in Black. Here’s a spooky story with a quirky twist. I hope you like it!

driving-home-for-christmas-picture

The traffic slowed to a stop in the darkness. Jeremy sighed and stared through the windscreen at two lines of blurred car lights glowing in the pouring rain. A traffic report interrupted the song Driving Home for Christmas he’d been half-listening to on the radio.

‘The A30 southbound is partially blocked due to an accident at Okehampton.  Emergency services are on their way,’ said the reporter.

Jeremy shook his head. The clock on the dashboard flashed 20.00hrs. He was still a good two hours’ drive away from his parents’ house in Lands’ End.

God knows when I’ll get there now, he thought.

He was at a junction, and in a moment of impulse indicated left and pulled off the dual carriageway. The Sat Nav told him to ‘take the 3rd right at the next roundabout.’

He passed through small towns with please drive slowly signs and then onto the wild, rugged moor. The so-called beast of Bodmin moor had been blamed for slaying livestock again. It was out there somewhere, watching, waiting, concealed by the night. The roads became narrower until they were only one car wide and Jeremy prayed not to meet another car, or worse a tractor, coming the other way. The windscreen wipers swished back and forth. Jeremy’s eyes stung from concentrating so hard on the road.

This is taking me miles off course, he thought. But Jeremy wasn’t going to admit defeat ─ he never did ─ and he kept going. He hoped he might come across a country pub to take a break from driving, but there hadn’t been a village for miles.

Just when he was thinking things couldn’t get any worse, he lost control of the car’s steering. Luckily, there was a lay-by nearby and he wrestled the car into it. He threw on his coat and climbed out to check the tyres. He expected to find one flat tyre, but not three.

He tried to call the AA for breakdown assistance. No signal.

Lightning flashed and thunder boomed only a split second apart. Momentarily, the sky lit a large, ivy-clad house set back on the other side of the road.

He hurried across, pushed open the creaking gate and zigzagged his way through a tangled garden to the house. Candle flames trembled in the windows and, oddly, the door had been left wide open.

Jeremy knocked on the door and called, ‘Hello.’

No-one appeared, but he could hear fast tapping coming from a room on the right.

‘Hello,’ he said more loudly. ‘My car’s broken down. I was wondering if I could possibly use your phone?’

The tapping stopped briefly and then continued.

He turned away from the door and looked for another house. Blackness had consumed the entire landscape.

He swivelled back, hesitated for a moment and then stepped inside.

‘Hell─ooo,’ he said again, as he wiped his squelching shoes on the doormat and then followed the tapping along the corridor. Even more oddly, the walls, staircase, ceiling and floor were all made entirely of books: old, new, hardback, paperback, a hotchpotch of colours and sizes.

A girl of about ten years had been making the tapping noise. She sat in a room behind a chunky, black typewriter with silver keys. The table the typewriter rested on was made of books too, as was her chair. She had long, blonde hair and wore a pale blue dress underneath a starched, white apron. A small glass bottle, containing purple liquid, had been left next to the typewriter. A brown label hung around its neck.

‘Is your mum or dad at home?’ asked Jeremy.

The girl didn’t answer, but kept hitting the keys.

He walked over to her and glanced at what she was writing. She had nearly reached the bottom of the page.

‘Are you making up a story?’ he asked.

‘Yes,’ she replied without looking up.

‘Is it about a princess?’

She smirked and said, ‘No, it’s about you.’

‘Me!’ He looked closer at the page and read:

 

The traffic slowed to a stop in the darkness. Jeremy sighed and stared through the windscreen at two lines of blurred car lights glowing in the pouring rain. A traffic report interrupted the song Driving Home for Christmas…

 

‘You’re a new character,’ she explained. ‘I get most of my cast from the other stories.’

Jeremy only half heard her. He re-read the paragraph, unable to believe his eyes. It was as if she had been in the car with him, could read his thoughts. His skin prickled as if ants were crawling all over him.

‘I’m going,’ he said.

‘But we’re getting to the exciting bit now ─ the climax.’ She paused, her fingers suspended over the keys, and glanced up at the books that together made one of the walls: Dracula, Frankenstein, The Woman in Black, Grimms’ Fairy Tales, The Arabian Nights… She narrowed her ice-blue eyes. ‘Hmmm,’ she said and then resumed writing.

 

A vampire walked in through the door, his face white and glowing like a full moon. He still had blood smeared over his mouth from his last kill, but he was still hungry…

 

Jeremy’s head snapped towards the door. Just as she had written, a vampire appeared out of thin air and walked slowly and carefully towards him.

He scanned the room for a weapon but only saw books. How could he defend himself against a blood-thirsty vampire with Jane Austen? He moved in the opposite direction to the vampire, keeping his eyes locked on him. The girl’s typing grew faster and louder.

The typewriter! he thought (and she wrote).

He tried to pick it up, but it was unbelievably heavy. The vampire stepped too close for comfort and Jeremy grabbed the glass bottle instead. The label on the bottle brushed his hand, and he noticed the words: DRINK ME.

He knew the book it was from. Another quick glance at the girl confirmed to him that she had come out of the same book too. He lifted the bottle to his mouth, knowing its contents would make him huge or tiny, but then stopped. It wasn’t the answer to his problem. The writer would still decide what happened to him in the end.

‘You’ve forgotten to include something really important,’ Jeremy said to her.

‘No, I haven’t.’

‘You have, and it’s going to ruin the story.’ He kept moving in time with the vampire; it was like a strange macabre waltz. ‘A white rabbit hops into the room and disappears down a rabbit hole; the vampire stops to watch it and Alice follows it into Wonderland.’

She paused, wrinkled her brow and said, ‘That sounds familiar.’

She returned to typing the story.

Just then, a rabbit hopped through the door and disappeared into a hole at the base of the wall of books. Jeremy could see it led to a tunnel full of swirling sentences.

Alice jumped down from her chair and shouted, ‘Wait for me!’

The vampire froze in time.

Jeremy sat at the typewriter and used one finger to clunk the keys. He wrote:

 

Jeremy left the house and drove away in his new Porsche. He never went there again and lived happily ever after.

 

Thanks for reading my story. Wishing you a very happy Christmas. Kimx

Story by Kim Donovan. (c) copyright. All rights reserved. Image: pixabay.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Home for Christmas

starfish-picture

Jake found the little orange star washed up on the shoreline on a winter’s afternoon out walking with Mum. The star was no bigger than his small hand. It didn’t glow, twinkle or shine like normal stars but he decided it must have fallen from the sky.

‘Don’t worry,’ said Jake. ‘I’ll help you get home.’

He threw the star as high as he could into the air, but it tumbled back down and he caught it. He tried again and again….

‘You were too low anyway,’ Jake said to the little star. ‘Seagulls would have bumped into you.’

When Mum said it was time to go, Jake put the star in his pocket. They walked through the town and saw two fishermen decorating a Christmas tree next to the lifeboat station. A glittery star perched on the very top of the tree. It gave Jake an idea.

He persuaded his mum to stop off at the park, just for a few minutes. He left her on a bench with a takeaway coffee and ran over to the tallest tree.

‘You’ll be very high when I reach the top,’ Jake said as he started climbing.

He stepped onto some branches and pulled himself up onto others. Normally, Jake wasn’t brave enough to climb more than a few feet off the ground but today he didn’t allow himself to look down and kept going.

When he ran out of branches thick enough to take his weight, he took the star out of his pocket and reached up and placed it on top of the tree. But when he let go, it toppled over and fell to the bottom.

Jake quickly climbed down after it. He picked it up; it didn’t seem to be hurt, although it looked very pale. ‘Don’t be sad. I promise I’ll get you home for Christmas.’

There was only one thing for it ─ he’d have to take the star back himself.

At home he headed straight into his dad’s garage and built a spaceship from lots of different cardboard boxes, using masking tape to join them. He collected a few things from the house for the journey: a packet of cheese and onion crisps, a torch for when it grew dark and his favourite teddy to be co-pilot, and then dragged the spaceship onto their driveway and climbed in. There was only one rubber ring to sit on, so teddy and the little star perched on his legs.

‘Three, two, one… We have lift off!’ he said.

The spaceship shot into the sky above their seaside town and kept rising until the houses looked no bigger than those on a Monopoly board. Jake ate his crisps and switched on the torch as the sky turned inky-blue and then black. Millions of bright stars appeared in the darkness, and Jake lifted the little star so it could see that it was back home. But it still didn’t shine.

‘Can’t you see your family?’ Jake chewed his bottom lip, knowing the answer. With so many stars in the sky, it might take years to find the star’s parents.

He needed help. So, he touched down on the surface of the moon and climbed out.

‘Excuse me, have you seen any stars like this one?’ He showed the moon the little star.

The moon smiled and replied, ‘Oh, yes. Down there.’

Jake followed his gaze. He was looking towards Planet Earth at the ocean, where a cluster of tiny orange stars shone in the dark water.

‘He’s a sea star,’ said the moon.

‘I did find him on the beach,’ said Jake. ‘Thank you for your help!’

He climbed back into his spaceship and they took off once again, this time flying back to Earth and low over the ocean until he spotted some sea stars. It was like the world had turned upside down and the sky was beneath him.

‘You’re home now,’ said Jake and he dropped the little sea star into the water.

It sank down and down until it reached the sea floor.

And then it began to glow.

 

A note about Sea Stars

I have wanted to write about sea stars (starfish) glowing, like stars in the night sky, ever since I read A Year of Marvellous Ways by Sarah Winman. The truth is only a few sea stars shine as a result of bioluminescence, not all of them. But it makes a nice story!

Story by Kim Donovan. All rights reserved. Image: Pixabay.

 

 

 

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