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Yule Dig It!

by Steven Holding

 

He loathed the season of goodwill, but festive choirs congregating upon his doorstep really got his goat.

Red-cheeked warblers, arriving unannounced, expecting pennies for their impromptu performance!

Dozing, jarring harmonies awoke him. “The Twelve Days of Christmas”! He grimaced, determined to ignore the lyrical list of gifts being delivered at his door.

It got worse with each verse, until line number five. Like a broken record, the same three words repeated.

Barging outside, he shuddered at the sight of pale strangers bearing presents.

Five gold rings on five severed fingers, held in the cold dead hands of five carol singers.

Steven Holding

Steven Holding lives in the United Kingdom with his family. Most recently his work has appeared in the collections Oceans and Ancients from Black Hare Press and the anthologies Trembling with Fear Year Three and TWF More Tales from the Tree Volume Two. You can follow his work at www.stevenholding.co.uk

The Old Switcheroo

by Steven Holding

 

All it took was one look at her hook nose and Danny knew that his granny was a witch.

A familiar black cat, dark pointy hat, although her number of nipples remained firmly under wraps, despite Danny lurking on the landing at bath time, desperate to administer a dunking.

He took no risks, smashing his eggshells at breakfast, stopping her from setting sail upon the seven seas, sinking fleets using sorcery.

Granny was suitably distressed.

“Don’t you love me?” she pleaded. “Warts and all?”

“Oh, Nanna!” sighed Danny.

She hugged him.

Then bunged the little bastard straight in her oven.

Steven Holding

Steven Holding lives in the United Kingdom. His work has appeared both online and in print. Most recently, his piece Route Thirty-Three won the 2019 H.E. Bates Short Story Prize award for best story from a Northamptonshire-based writer. You can follow his work at www.stevenholding.co.uk.

Bleeding, Blending, An Ending With The Living Dead

by Steven Holding

 

Slow shuffle, like a senile senior citizen. Shoulder to slumped shoulder. Your own odour, Eau de decay, bothers you no longer.

You’re at one with the crowd now.

Amidst this apocalypse, you experience an acceptance never found in life: not inside, doing time, nor in padded asylums.

The herd swerve, having heard a scream, moaning, closing in.

A young girl swings, smashing skulls, crushing brains. It’s not enough to save her.

The pack collapses while attacking.

As she’s torn in two, you catch her eye, offering a smile as you dig in.

Happy that your appetite can finally be satisfied.

Steven Holding

Steven Holding lives in the United Kingdom. His work has appeared both online and in print. Most recently, his short story “ROUTE THIRTY-THREE” won the 2019 H.E. BATES SHORT STORY COMPETITION prize for best story from a Northamptonshire writer. You can follow his work at www.stevenholding.co.uk

Liquid Diet

by Steven Holding

 

Fluids feed us, true enough, but not all rely upon the claret for sustenance.

Divergent breeds born with differing needs; consequently, some thirst for more…eclectic refreshment. The Lachrymose relish the taste of tears, breaking a heart or an arm before a feast. A Perspiration Prince favours the flavours of an athlete’s fresh armpit, whereas some poor suckers simply sup upon the seed of a man.

Myself?

All that is required is one fleeting glimpse of my true countenance. The sight of such delights and everyone soon feels the lukewarm tickling trickle of fear.

It’s a piece of piss, really.

 

Steven Holding

Steven Holding lives with his family in the United Kingdom. His stories have appeared both online and in print. He is currently working upon further short fiction and a novel. You can follow his work at www.stevenholding.co.uk

 

Pin This Picture Upon the Refrigerator

by Steven Holding

 

Furious scratching as crayon scrapes paper. Daughter is immersed in art; screwed-up face displaying utter concentration.

“Whaddaya doodling?”

Attention shifts from the multi-coloured masterpiece.

“Silly! Drawing everyone in our house!”

Such effort warrants closer inspection. Leaning in, father finds the four people depicted puzzling.

“Who’s that?”

Upturned pencil marks an invisible line, linking each person.

“Me… Daddy… Mummy…”

A pause.

“Skinnyman!”

It’s more scribble than figure. Father swallows. Repeats his name.

“Yep! Lives in the shadows”

“What’s he doing?”

A giggle.

“Watching… Waiting…”

An ice-cold shiver descends father’s spine.

“For what?”

Daughter smiles.

“For you to close your eyes…forever.”

 

Steven Holding

Steven Holding lives with his family in the United Kingdom. His stories have appeared both online and in print. He is currently working upon further short fiction and a novel. You can follow his work at www.stevenholding.co.uk