Hold on, you say. Wasn’t there a Christmas-Themed Prompted Contest last year?
Yes, but we needed more Christmas cheer this year. After all, it is 2020. So I feel no regrets about using the same theme.
My co-judge for December 2020’s Prompted Contest was Marit Edwards-Ronning (@m.c.edwardsronning). You may remember her as my judge from May’s Light-Themed contest and as the winner of the Christmas contest last year. So I thought she would be a good judge for this year’s Christmas contest. 😉
Here are the various posts in which the contest took place.
Now for the winners!
Oxy will kill you, Kait’s mama told her. She’d say that as she shook the pills into her palm.
Though she was only six, Kait didn’t need to be told. Opioids suffocated Appalachia–she could see that. The town was dead. Not even the promise of Christmas cheer could bring it back to life. No one wanted real life, anyway–the poverty, the pandemic, the dark. Escape was one pill away.
The only Christmas lights up on the street sagged from old Mrs. Bonnie’s porch. Half the string was out, but Kait liked to look at it when mama was so far gone she might as well have been blind, mute, dead.
Those colored lights against the dark were a promise–one she wasn’t sure she believed. But today she wanted it so badly she was inches away from belief: miracles could happen; the mute speak, the blind see, and the dead rise.
~ Taryn Frazier
Taryn Frazier (@tarynrose.writes) painted a vivid picture of drug dependency through the eyes of a six-year-old. My heart broke at Kait’s acceptance of her mother’s addiction, even as it hurt both of them. But the hope at the end was so beautiful, especially with the parallels of the last lines of the third and fourth paragraphs and the biblical nature of those lines.
Snowflakes melt against the forcefield surrounding us. It’s like an inside-out snow globe.
I am brilliant. Honestly.
“Professor.” Daero, my star student, eyes the cylindrical, knee-high device generating our shelter. “Testing this in a blizzard was a bad idea. What if it fails?”
“Well, I guess we’d have to warm ourselves by the glow of your ‘I told you so,’ wouldn’t we?” I shake my head and inspect the shimmering interior of our energy bauble. “Greatness, dear boy, dies in the absence of confidence.”
Only the greatest could say such a thing. Turning back to Daero, I chuckle. “See, it’s perfect!”
His eyes widen. “The field’s flickering!”
“Beautiful, isn’t it?”
The device begins to hum and vibrate.
“Sir, we should run!”
“Nonsense! It’s just–”
A pop, a boom, a blinding flash. I’m knocked off my feet, eyes burning, ears ringing. Stinging snow blasts my face.
Oh, blithering bother!~ Michael Erasmus
Marit and I laughed out loud at this entry. From the clear voice (“oh, blithering bother!”) to the snow forcefield to the experiment’s humorous failure (pride goes before a fall!), we adored every word. Michael Erasmus (@michael.c_erasmus) wowed us yet again.
I paused before the fireplace, studying the stocking before me. The cloth hung ragged, stained black and fraying.
I knew this stocking well. It belonged to Graham Steinerbook, and unlike others, this Christmas stocking was never meant to store gifts. How could it when the recipient was on the most wanted list for the murders of countless innocent lives?
But despite that fact, Graham still hung his stocking each Christmas. Maybe it was the irony of it, or maybe there was a small part of him that wished things could be different.
Each year, I stood here, somber, every jolly “ho-ho-ho” far from my lips. Each year, as I slipped a piece of coal into the worn stocking, I added a note too. I paused, glancing over the words once more:
_I’ve never given up hope on you, Graham. It’s not too late to make the right choice._~ Rebecca Edwards-Ronning
What a unique perspective on Santa. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so somber. Yet, there was hope in this entry as well–hope for even the worst person, that they too can change and begin to do the right thing. Rebecca Edwards-Ronning (@through_rebeccas_eyes) did a wonderful job with her Christmassy flash fic.
Also, my regal lioness, Holly, decided to help me promote that prompt. So here she and I are with a stocking. She does love to pose.
I plan to stick with my every-other-month schedule for prompt contests, so watch out for another contest in February! It should be a fun one.
2020 is almost over, friends. Praise God. Let’s hope next year is better.