I have a confession for you, this was the story I was going to write for you last Christmas. Yes it's late. You look surprised, I've been consistently slap-dash ever since I started this blog two years ago... Yeah I know, where have all the good times gone? Since it's the season of goodwill to all men (unless of course you happen to work in retail and everybody wants what you've just sold out of) you will have to forgive me. The reason that I've finally got around to writing this story is a simple one, I was wandering through the interweb reading some of my favourite blogs, when I stumbled across the flash fiction contest on "Terribleminds" Chuck Wendig issued the challenge - "CHRISTMAS IN A STRANGE PLACE" to which I answered with a scribble. If I get the chance I may post again in time for New Years... But I wouldn't hold your breath if I were you. So I wish you all 'Seasons Greetings' and a hope that next year will bring you some joy and happiness to call your own. Enjoy!
‘If I could just get a bloody signal I wouldn’t be in this mess.’ James shivers, as he fumbles to put his phone away, his hands clad in both pairs of his spare socks lack their usual dexterity. ‘At least I’m not as cold anymore, that’s something right?’ He tells himself as he presses on through the snow. ‘Jesus what a state to get into… Two pairs of Y-fronts don’t make much of a hat.’ He tugs at his head gear, trying to close the gaps where they do not quite meet. He staggers on, the wind blowing hard now causing the snow to sting his face, he prays they will find his car before the spring.
‘I can’t die here, not today…’ he promises himself. His mind starts playing evil little games of what-if? What would they tell the kids? He was so late now she would be thinking he had decided not to bother. ‘And Beth’s only just started talking to me again after last year; I fucked that one right up. I probably deserve this, I should’ve known better… What a twat.’ Adjusting the tape that holds the plastic bags up over his shoes, James wishes he had some snow-shoes. At this point he would have settled for the chest cavity of some freshly killed snow beast. He knew if he could just make it out of the valley he should be able to get a signal.
Slipping over in the snow, James tried to get his bearings, why had he decided to go cross country rather than staying to the road. ‘Worth a try.’ He had said full of bravado. That was then, now he sits in the powder and smacks himself about the head. ‘C’mon then. Move you cocky prick… anytime now.’ He manages to stagger on for a few minutes, in what he thinks is the right direction. ‘Jesus snow stings. Bloody wind.’ James tries his phone again as he lays in the snow. ‘So tired, maybe after a nap... I wonder if they’ve started lunch without me?’ His red tartan dressing gown flaps about him, clutching his overnight bag to his chest like a child he fumbles, praying to a god he does not believe in for a Christmas miracle.
Beth stares out of the window across the snow covered moor, holding herself, she wonders why she is willing to forgive him. No that’s not quite right, she tells herself, it should be how could she forgive him. Leaving her for that slut and at Christmas. Beth had never felt so degraded. The children were too young to understand, for a while she had wanted to tell them ‘Daddy was in heaven’. For a long while she wished he was. That was too good for him; she had wanted him to burn. It was for the children’s sake she had agreed to let James come and visit. But now she thought he must have gotten cold feet. They had eaten their lunch alone, done the dishes, the children were now playing with their new toys in front of the tree. Beth looked back at the moor, why did she have such a sick feeling growing inside her. The phone made her jump, she had not realised how quiet the house had become. Just before she picked up the receiver she paused, did she want to listen to more of his excuses.