by Carol Ryles
“Ta-da!” Lucinda gestured to her newest creation: a tree adorned with taxidermic hummingbirds, cygnets, sparrows, and ducklings.
Dorian chuckled, then guzzled his third goblet of merlot. “That takes stuffing the turkey to a whole new level. Is it finished?”
Lucinda almost lost herself to his hypnotic gaze.
“What the—” He dropped the goblet, staggered, collapsed.
Lucinda’s camouflage faded, revealing the furry snout, reptilian tongue, and horns of a krampus. She knelt, lowered a talon to Dorian’s eyeball. The perfect bauble!
Detaching the sclera, she broke into joyous, triumphant song.
“On the second day of Christmas my boyfriend gave to me…”
Carol Ryles hails from Western Australia. Her short fiction has appeared in over a dozen publications, including Eidolon, Aurealis, and The Year’s Best Australian Fantasy & Horror. Her debut novel, The Eternal Machine, was independently published in 2022. You can find links to her work at carolryles.net