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Ghosts of Christmas Past & Other Dark Festive Tales

Ghosts of Christmas Past & Other Dark Festive Tales

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Ghosts of Christmas Past & Other Dark Festive Tales

80 pages
43 minutes
Oct 20, 2017


Four festive tales of the supernatural, apocalyptic and blood-sucking variety—an antidote for anyone who occasionally finds Christmas overly sentimental or commercialised and likes to escape to somewhere darker.

In Ghosts of Christmas Past, a newly-wed couple spend every Christmas in the same remote country cottage. It's their 'thing' and they're not about to let tragedy get in the way.

In I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus, a small boy creeps downstairs to see his mother in the embrace of a crimson-robed stranger. But Jake's not convinced: since when did Santa have long teeth and red, glinting eyes?

In Rottin' Around the Christmas Tree, Nia decorates the tree while her parents look on. But this is not just another Christmas—it is the time of The Cleansing, the time when family life and the world as we know it are ending.

In Christmas 'Midst the Zombie Apocalypse, two survivors sit out winter on the edge of an overrun city. Their efforts to enjoy Christmas Day as normally as possible turn out to be a mistake; a potentially fatal one.

Oct 20, 2017

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Ghosts of Christmas Past & Other Dark Festive Tales - Sam Kates

Ghosts of Christmas Past

And Other Dark Festive Tales


Sam Kates

Copyright © Sam Kates 2017

All rights reserved


This is a work of fiction.

All characters appearing in this work

are products of the author’s imagination.

Any resemblance to real persons,

living or dead, is purely coincidental.


ISBN: 978-1-912718-17-7


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Table of Contents

Ghosts of Christmas Past

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus

Rottin’ Around the Christmas Tree

Christmas ’Midst the Zombie Apocalypse

Bonus Story: Angelica

About the Author

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Wind gusted and eddied, swirling snow into a whirling-dervish frenzy. Jan stepped back from the window, tugging the curtains tightly closed behind her. They swayed in the draughts whistling through the gaps in the rot-infested window frames.

Looks like the inside of a snow globe that’s been shaken, she remarked. She gave a nervous giggle and wrapped her arms about herself. Just like that night...

Her words tailed away. She stared at Mark, wondering if he’d react.

He stood watching her, his face inscrutable. His stance made him appear ill at ease, as if he didn’t know how to act when they were alone together.

Jan sighed and her gaze moved towards the tree. It stood resplendent as ever, dominating the corner next to the fireplace. The fresh tang of pine resin combined with the smoky oakiness coming from the fire to form a heady, festive scent. The owners of the cottage might skimp on the building’s maintenance but they had, as usual, gone to town on the Christmas tree. Lights glittered, tinsel twinkled and baubles glinted as they rocked gently.

Alongside the tree, in the stone fireplace tall and wide enough for three men to stand in without bumping their heads on the mantel, logs crackled and blazed. Interesting fact, one of the many about this cottage and area that had attracted them: the granite from which the hearth, surround and mantel were fashioned had been quarried locally on the moor. That sort of knowledge, Jan and Mark had agreed, lent the place an air of authenticity, gave it a Dickensian vibe where they could enjoy a simpler Christmas as in days of yore, away from rampant commercialism and cloying sentimentality.

Despite the absence of central heating, they wouldn’t freeze. The heat given off from the hearth was strong enough to overcome the frigid air borne inside by the wind. The combination of imposing tree and roaring fire gave the ancient living room a sense of cosiness.

Here we are again on Christmas Eve. She turned her gaze back to Mark. Do you know, it’s ten years to the night we first stayed here. She uttered what she’d intended to be a light laugh; it came out sounding more like the bark of an otter.

He nodded. I remember. Neither his tone nor expression gave anything away.

She glanced towards the curtains; they’d grown more agitated as the wind increased. Jan could hear it howling under the eaves. And it’s just as foul a night as it was then.


She waited, hoping for more, but he merely stood and watched her, awkward, expressionless. When the sting of tears came, she turned away so he wouldn’t see them.

* * *

The cottage had floors of solid oak planking, complementing beams as thick as railway sleepers which ran across the ceiling and down the walls. Settlement and age had warped the floor so that to walk across it for the first time made the unprepared visitor roll and wobble like a drunkard. That had been part of its charm as far as Jan was concerned. Mark, too, had been attracted by the impressions of ancient solidity and cheerful dilapidation.

It sounds full of character, he’d enthused. Just like us. He grinned in that alluring way she would miss so much.

The promise of a log fire swung the deal—their home was modern with the clinical efficiency and lack of charm of gas central heating and effective insulation—and the thought of toasting their feet in front of a real flame while winter did its worst outside appealed to them both.

And do its worst winter did. They had been lucky to get through the narrow Devon lanes leading to the cottage. Had they left a couple of hours later, the lanes would have been impassable.

The owners turned out to be a friendly middle-aged couple who lived in a rambling old farmhouse half a mile up the lane leading to the cottage. True to their word, they had prepared the cottage with a banked fire smouldering in the hearth, a collection of sawn logs piled alongside large enough to keep them warm through two winters, and a hamper of fresh produce staying cool in the tiny, chilly kitchen leading off the living room. With the provisions they had brought with them, they were ready to withstand a siege; let winter do its worst.

While Mark fiddled with the fire, coaxing it back into spitting life, Jan was drawn to the tree. Twice as big as their artificial tree at home, it exuded an aroma that she would henceforth associate with Christmas and compared to which the fake scent of pine in air fresheners would always seem like poor imitations. She became lost in the glinting reflections dancing before her eyes and forgot how cold it was inside the cottage; not quite a low enough temperature to frost breath, but close. Her enchantment was broken by two strong arms wrapping themselves around her. She leaned into the embrace of her husband of six months.

It’ll soon warm up in here, Mark said.

I don’t care how cold it is, I love it here. It’s so wonderfully festive.

A winter wonderland.

Santa’s grotto.

A grotty grotto.

Jan chuckled. It’s certainly basic, but I prefer it without the mod cons. She wriggled around so she could face him. "We

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