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โ„‘โ€™๐”ฉ๐”ฉ ๐”Ÿ๐”ข โ„Œ๐”ฌ๐”ช๐”ข ๐”ฃ๐”ฌ๐”ฏ โ„ญ๐”ฅ๐”ฏ๐”ฆ๐”ฐ๐”ฑ๐”ช๐”ž๐”ฐ

๐“๐ก๐ข๐ฌ ๐ข๐ฌ ๐Ÿ๐จ๐ซ ๐ญ๐ก๐ž ๐•๐จ๐œ๐š๐ฅ+๐€๐ฌ๐ฌ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญโ€™๐ฌ ๐…๐š๐œ๐ž๐›๐จ๐จ๐ค ๐†๐ซ๐จ๐ฎ๐ฉ ๐ƒ๐ž๐œ๐ž๐ฆ๐›๐ž๐ซ ๐๐ซ๐จ๐ฆ๐ฉ๐ญ ๐ญ๐จ ๐ฐ๐ซ๐ข๐ญ๐ž ๐š โ€œ๐‡๐š๐ฅ๐ฅ๐ฆ๐š๐ซ๐ค-๐ฌ๐ญ๐ฒ๐ฅ๐ž ๐‚๐ก๐ซ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ๐ฆ๐š๐ฌ ๐ฌ๐ญ๐จ๐ซ๐ฒโ€ โ€” ๐ฐ๐ข๐ญ๐ก ๐š ๐ญ๐ฐ๐ข๐ฌ๐ญ!

By ๐‘๐Œ ๐’๐ญ๐จ๐œ๐ค๐ญ๐จ๐งPublished 3 months ago โ€ข Updated 3 months ago โ€ข 5 min read
Top Story - December 2023
20
Photo created with AI Tools at Fotor.com

This is for the Vocal+Assistโ€™s Facebook Group December Prompt to write a โ€œHallmark-style Christmas storyโ€ โ€” with a twist!

โ„‘โ€™๐”ฉ๐”ฉ ๐”Ÿ๐”ข โ„Œ๐”ฌ๐”ช๐”ข ๐”ฃ๐”ฌ๐”ฏ โ„ญ๐”ฅ๐”ฏ๐”ฆ๐”ฐ๐”ฑ๐”ช๐”ž๐”ฐ

It had been five years this Christmas Eve since Sara left her hometown of Heartbreak Falls. She never expected she would miss small-town life so much, but as autumn leaves gave way to old man winterโ€™s frigid chill, Sara felt the lingering pangs of loneliness beckoning her to return to the warmth and familiarity of home.

Saraโ€™s new home in Midvale was quiet โ€” almost too quiet, and, unlike the rural sprawlings of Heartbreak Falls, Midvale homes were built practically on top of one another.

The elderly couple who resided next door to Sara kept to themselves, but the beautiful flowers garnishing their doorstep always intrigued Sara. Their children visited on holidays, and Sara could sense an undying bond. These must be sweet, down-to-earth people, Sara thought. Yet, she never could work up the guts to get acquainted and have them for dinner.

Loneliness had robbed Sara of her joy and confidence.

Sara had left Heartbreak Falls suddenly and not under the happiest of circumstances. She wondered how she might be received. Sara worried the people of Heartbreak Falls might not remember or even recognize her after five long years away. Would she be shunned, or would she be welcomed with open arms?

Sara just had to know, and Christmas Eve was the perfect occasion to find out, she decided. She watched with enchantment as thick snow feathered down with a stiff winter breeze creating a dazzling frozen wonderland.

Sara worried that she might turn heads for all the wrong reasons now. Sheโ€™d been a very attractive young woman. Unfortunately, the last five years had not been especially kind to Sara; she had been miserably restless. She was no longer the radiant beauty of her youth. Sara feared she was now a frightful sight, in fact. However, Sara knew that deep down in her heart, she was still the same small-town girl she had always been, with a fiery passion to pursue life.

Since departing Heartbreak Falls, however, Sara felt dead inside. Perhaps a trip home would awaken her senses. Besides, Saraโ€™s landlord was undertaking construction, breaking ground on new homes nearby and disturbing the usually-quiet neighborhood, and Sara was eager to escape. She pined for the life she had left behind.

Saraโ€™s parents visited her regularly, but she sensed a heavy sadness in their hearts. Sara was the apple of her fatherโ€™s eye. He always believed Sara would stay in Heartbreak Falls and bless him with grandchildren. He never voiced his disappointment, but he didnโ€™t have to. Sara understood. Saraโ€™s parents often spoke few words when they visited, and never a whisper about Jack. They never approved of him.

Sara and Jack were high school sweethearts, and they seemed destined to settle down and start a family, but the same passion that drew Sara to Jack, also pushed her away. Jackโ€™s temper was volatile, and he could be downright violent when he drank.

Sara desperately wanted to know how Jack was doing, but she just couldnโ€™t raise herself to even bring up the topic. What remained of Saraโ€™s broken, decaying heart ached.

When Sara departed, Jack had bid her a spirited farewell. Their final weeks together were an emotional roller coaster, but sparks really flew on their final night together before she left.

Sara made a solemn vow to Jack that she would come back for him, but time had somehow slipped away.

Had Jack forgotten Saraโ€™s promise to return? Had he found another? Was that why Saraโ€™s parents had been so hush about it? Sara simply had to know โ€” and she was determined to make good on her promise.

Leaving Heartbreak Falls was a grave mistake that Sara could not live with. She was dying to see Jack. She hoped Jack would share that same sentiment.

Sara was buried with regrets. She needed to come up for air. Here goes nothing, she thought, as she readied herself for a Christmas Eve return to Heartbreak Falls. Saraโ€™s visit home risked digging up emotions long buried, but it was time to face the ghost of Christmas Past.

Sara had rehearsed this reunion many times in her mind. She dreamed of having Jack for Christmas dinner, kindling that old flame, and then planting him with a kiss beneath some mistletoe.

Sara spent the first 27 years of her life in Heartbreak Falls. She knew well the townโ€™s Christmas traditions. Everyone was gathered in the town square outside City Hall as Pastor Larson led them in Carols and said a final Christmas blessing. Sara slipped quietly into the crowd while heads were bowed in a solemn Christmas prayer.

Photo created with AI Tools at Fotor.com

Urged by the holiday spirit, Sara squeezed her way along the outer fringes of the crowd.

As Pastor Larson proclaimed his last Amen and heads turned upward again, a shrill scream shattered the peaceful winter night air.

โ€œOh my god! ZOMBIE!โ€

Photo created with AI Tools at Fotor.com

Sara had been spotted, and chaos erupted.

โ€œSome homecoming reception this is,โ€ Sara thought, feeling rather unappreciated.

Jack was making a hasty retreat when Sara caught up to him.

โ€œGoing so soon?โ€ Sara asked, flashing a sinister smile. โ€œI wouldnโ€™t hear of it. I told you I would come back for you!โ€

โ€œBut . . . I killed you,โ€ Jack stuttered in bewilderment, as he looked into Saraโ€™s lifeless eyes and fell under a hypnotic trance.

When he awoke, Jack found himself fastened to a spit rotating over a bed of coals with a rather large apple crammed into his mouth. There was a peculiar aroma of garlic and herbs. (โ€˜Tis the season!)

As she buttered Jack up to bring out his tenderness and gave the spit a slow twist to maintain an even outer crispiness โ€” the true hallmark of a perfect roast โ€” Sara began caroling, โ™ซ โ€œJackโ€™s nuts roasting on an open fire . . .โ€ โ™ซ

Come to think of it, Sara always did like Jack for his brains. Mmmm, toasty and tasty!

As chance would have it, Jack now resides in Saraโ€™s neighborhood, three rows back from Sara at the Midvale Cemetery.

Photo created with AI Tools at Fotor.com

๐•ธ๐–Š๐–—๐–—๐–ž ๐•ฎ๐–๐–—๐–Ž๐–˜๐–™๐–’๐–†๐–˜!

HumorHorrorHolidayCONTENT WARNING
20

About the Creator

๐‘๐Œ ๐’๐ญ๐จ๐œ๐ค๐ญ๐จ๐ง

หœโ€*ยฐโ€ข.หœโ€*ยฐโ€ข Time is our most valuable asset. Thank you for spending some of your time with me! โ€ขยฐ*โ€หœ.โ€ขยฐ*โ€หœ

Reader insights

Outstanding

Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

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Comments (20)

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  • Randy Wayne Jellison-Knock2 months ago

    Delightfully twisted (on the spit, that is).

  • Delightfully twisted (on the spit, that is).

  • Delightfully twisted (on the spit, that is).

  • Delightfully twisted (on the spit, that is).

  • Tressa Rose3 months ago

    Definitely a twist, and I love zombies... so new subscriber!

  • Yayyyyy I'm back to say congratulations on your Top Story!

  • Isabella Rose3 months ago

    I love the genre of Christmas horror. This one was very creative and well written. Excellent job!

  • Daphsam3 months ago

    Wow, didn't see that coming! So creative!

  • Kendall Defoe 3 months ago

    I laugh and cry and stand back...as I do for most of those Hallmark films... Brilliant work...and I love your - ahem - reinterpretation of the lyrics.

  • Real Poetic3 months ago

    Congratulations!!! ๐ŸŽ‰ ๐Ÿฉต๐Ÿฉต๐Ÿฉต

  • Celia in Underland3 months ago

    Cleverly done. the tropes and the beginning leading up to the 'moment' so well executed. Congratulations on Top story!

  • Oooo, how did you do that fancy font?

  • Novel Allen3 months ago

    Ah, I only got it when Clever Dharsheena pointed things out. Wow, a well spun story is this one. Ha ha,

  • Naveed 3 months ago

    . Awesome

  • Mother Combs3 months ago

    Well, that was a twist I did not see coming. Great story

  • River Joy3 months ago

    Very nicely done. What a twist! I love how it built up. :) thanks for participating!!

  • Real Poetic3 months ago

    Your horror stories are so good. I can feel the passion you put into them! โ€œJackโ€™s nuts roasting on an open fireโ€ That line made me spit out my drink! ๐Ÿ˜‚ Well done my friend! ๐Ÿฉต

  • Omgggg, that foreshadowing with Midvale homes practically built on top pf one another! That was so brilliant! I didn't expect her to be a zombie although you provided another foreshadowing that she might turn heads for all the wrong reasons and that she's no longer radiantly beautiful! You did an awesome job with this prompt! Loved your story!

  • Lamar Wiggins3 months ago

    ๐Ÿ˜ฎ and ๐Ÿ˜‚ "Jacks nut roasting on an open fire." Loved your story and what a twist!!!

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