The Christmas Present

A little like my offering last week (Impatient Earth), this is an out-of-season scribbling for one of the last remaining empty chapters for the “Outcast and Other words” anthology.  That being said, Christmas will be here soon enough. *Sigh*.

Written for Weekend Writing Prompt #34 – Christmas. A horror Christmas story…but definitely not in 250 words or less.  This one ran away from me, but I had fun writing it.


Moira had a secret. A dark secret. One that kept her awake at night. One she didn’t dare breathe a word to anyone about. The only person who knew about it was Moira herself, and that was the way she intended to keep it. It was a heavy burden to bear, and the stress of wondering if anyone would find out ate away at her.

As the days passed and no one said anything, she couldn’t help but think maybe…perhaps…she had got away with it. However, she didn’t dare to hope and the anxiety remained.

The days shortened and the nights lengthened. Autumn turned to winder, rain to snow. And still nothing was said. It seemed Moira had got away with it and the secret was hers alone. As long as she could keep it to herself…as long as she didn’t confide in anyone…it was as good as if it had never happened. And, if she was the only person who knew about it…was there a chance she had made it up? Was it all just a bad dream?

Christmas was only days away. Moira wrote and posted her Christmas cards and bought presents for her family and mailed them. The Christmas tree and decorations were put up, adding warmth and colour to the long wintry nights. Moira felt her spirit lift. It was, after all, her favourite time of year. And, in amidst the seasonal cheer, her secret was forgotten.

A knock on the door on Christmas Eve disturbed her evening of mulled wine drinking and A Christmas Carol reading. She found a place to stop, put the book down and went to see who was there. But the doorstep was empty, except for the present, all lovely and wrapped and topped with a glittering bow, sitting there on the mat.

It must have been from her sister, Moira reasoned. She was always in a hurry. Perhaps this evening she couldn’t wait?

Moira picked up the present and put it under the Christmas tree. Then she went back to her mulled wine and book.

The next morning, she got a call from her sister. “Sorry, Moira. We’ve not have time to drop the presents off yet. Are you in this morning?”

Moira paled. Trying to sound normal, she made arrangements with her sister for later that morning. Then, full of suspicion – and a large dose of fear – she went to the Christmas tree.

She removed the present and, with trepidation, unwrapped it. She looked inside. On top of layers of tissue paper was an envelope. She opened it. It was just a normal Christmas card: village church, lots of snow, robin in the foreground. She unfolded it to see who it was from. There was no name. Only a message.

Want to talk about it? A secret shared is a sin halved.

Moira felt the world spin.

“No,” she whispered. “No. It’s not possible. No one knows. No one.”

Carefully she peeled back the layers of tissue paper to find out what had been so carefully wrapped and placed in the box. She screamed.  And then she screamed again.

Somebody did know. They knew everything.


Any thoughts on what Moira’s secret is, or what’s in the box?  I would love to hear your thoughts…

10 thoughts on “The Christmas Present

  1. Namaste Sammi 🙂

    The suspense is killing me 🙂 What has she done, what does she know? You must write part 2!

    My guess at what is in the box: an invitation to a murder weekend in a Transylvanian castle written in blood signed by ‘Death’, a syringe containing an unknown bright yellow liquid, an ice-pick, a rosy red apple, two freshly-removed rat’s tails and a dead scarab-beetle lacquered in red? What made her scream was the human skin in which these objects were parcelled.

    Enjoy the rest of your week. Take care.

    Namaste 🙂

    DN

    Liked by 1 person

    • Wow – there’s a lot in that box, Dewin. I’m trying to put your clues together to try and work out what it points to…a vampire rat catcher from ancient Egypt? Hmm, but that doesn’t account for the apple, the ice pick and the syringe. I must keep thinking…
      And yes, I can imagine the human skin wrapping paper (perfect for Halloween :-/ ) would have made Moira scream – a lot!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Namaste Sammi 🙂

        I’ve no idea at all what these varied items all point to or indeed how they define her dark secret, my hope was that you’d know! 🙂 Vampire rat-catcher from Egypt sounds pretty cool to me, a good guess for sure and perhaps a lead deeper into this mystery?

        Regards the human skin wrapping paper – I forgot to mention the unique tattoo inked on the skin. It was proof enough for Moira to know someone else knew of her dark secret.

        Will you write a part 2? 🙂

        Have a great weekend. Take care,

        DN

        Liked by 1 person

      • Hey Dewin!

        Glad you liked the vampire rat catcher from ancient Egypt lol. That sounds like a story in itself! It does beg the question how it can possibly tie in with Moira’s dark secret, that along with the human skin. Maybe the latter was part of a sacrifice…

        The tattoo is a great clue – seeing that and knowing for sure who it belongs to would be terrifying. Poor Moira!

        Will I write part 2? At the moment, I guess probably not because – here’s the big secret…I don’t know what is actually in the box or what Moira’s secret is…I know as much as everyone else 🙂

        Have a great weekend, Dewin. Bright Blessings! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Namaste Sammi 🙂

        Really? You don’t know? How that disappoints as we are left dangling for conclusion 😦

        But I think you are just fooling with us and deep down inside you know her secret because Moira shared her dark-tale with you whilst on her death-bed. You met her by chance whilst enjoying a week away at a remote Country House Hotel with a writing-group studying the macabre. Moira was the lady always dressed in a black veil who sat alone in the Orangery. That is until one afternoon when after lunch with the group her mystery overwhelmed you and you introduced yourself to her as a writer. She was kind and considerate and only to happy to divest herself of memory before her dying day. Indeed the two of you seemed to hit it off straight away. It was uncanny, almost as if the two of you were meant to meet.

        One wonders if her tale will be one-day be written?

        Hoping you’ve had a great week. Take care to enjoy a wonderful; weekend.

        Namaste 🙂

        DN

        Like

  2. Pingback: Excavating the Archives: The Christmas Present | Sammi Cox

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