A short flash fiction story…Holiday Horror
Here’s a flash fiction piece for the Holiday.
By Michael Thomas-Knight
It takes me a minute to realize I am in real trouble. I grip the side of the chimney, thirty feet in the air, with a length of lit Christmas lights in my hand. I wanted to wrap the light string around the chimney from the side that was accessible from the roof peak to the side that stood in open air. I had attempted to throw the wire around the chimney like a lasso but it got caught up on the chimney cap. I reached out to get it and slipped off the roof shingles.
My arms strain to the threshold of pain as I try to regain purchase on the roof with my left foot. My right foot clings to a small nub in the brick, thirty feet in the air. I have no choice; I have to jump. I may sprain both ankles or even break a leg but I’ll deal with it. I notice how the colored lights illuminate the chimney and the skin of my arm, soft colors; red, green, blue and yellow. It would have looked fantastic if I had finished decorating, better than the Johnson’s house across the street. I finally had something that Ted Johnson couldn’t copy, a way to differentiate my home from his. His chimney is at the back of his house.
My arms can’t hold on any longer. I decide to push off with my feet so I won’t land too close to the chimney and scrape my face. I count to three and push. I fall a few feet and my journey is interrupted. I feel a hard tug on my neck and my body bounces back against the chimney brick. The string of lights is wrapped around my throat and cutting into my flesh. I kick my feet frantically to find some kind of purchase or to kick myself loose, either one. I try to grab the wire but it is embedded too deeply into my neck. I can’t breath and I gasp for air. My face turns red hot. I pull on the little twinkle bulbs to get my fingers under the green wire. It doesn’t work. I find the hanging end of the wire and pull on it forcefully, hoping to snap it and help it to unravel. It pulls plastic from wire and I feel jolts of electric current stiffen every muscle in my body. My body quivers a few moments and I feel heat. Flames rise before my eyes as my clothes catch fire. My vision fades and I pray the strangulation will take me before I feel the excruciating pain of my burning flesh. The flames engulf me. I hear the Johnson’s Dodge Durango pull up across the street and the doors open. Then I hear Ted Johnson say, “Holy Shit!”
I’ve finally topped his holiday decorations. I win.
This story is part of a series of flash fiction I am writing that deals with the ‘moment of death’ for my characters. Another of the stories is posted on Halloweenforevermore.com (Eight Seconds of Torment). I intend to title the full body of work, Moments of Death or 99 Ways to Die, or something like that. Let me know your thoughts 🙂