DECEMBER 2023 -- 75 Word Writing Challenge -- VICTORY TO M. ROBERT GIBSON!

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The Judge

Truth. Order. Moderation.
Staff member
Nov 10, 2008
nearly the New Forest

Write a story inspired by the chosen theme and genre in no more than 75 words, not including the title

ONE entry per person

NO links, commentary or extraneous material in the posts, please -- the stories must stand on their own


All stories Copyright 2023 by their respective authors
who grant the Chronicles Network the non-exclusive right to publish them here

The complete rules can be found at RULES FOR THE WRITING CHALLENGES

Contest ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 23 December 2023

Voting ends at 11:59 pm GMT, 28 December 2023

We ask all entrants to do their best to vote when the time comes

But you do not have to submit a story in order to vote
as we encourage all Chrons members to take part in choosing the winning entry

The Magnificent Prize:

The Dignified Congratulations/Grovelling Admiration of Your Peers
and the challenge of choosing next month's theme and genre


The option of having your story published on the Chrons Podcast next month!




Magic Realism

Please keep all comments to the DISCUSSION THREAD

We invite (and indeed hope for) lively discussion and speculation about the stories as they are posted,
as long as it doesn't involve the author explaining the plot

** Please do not use the "Like" button in this thread! **

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The Ghoul of Godthåb

You’re not welcome here, Qivittoq.

Nobody has dared name me that for a millennia.

What do you call yourself now? Juulimaaq?

They call me Claus.

Why did they banish you, CLAUS? Why did my ancestors send you into the Uummannaq hills?

I took the last flame from the Winter hearth.

Ah, you’re the one that delivers toys to all of the children of the world.

Not all the children. Not the poor ones. He laughed.
The Snow Geese

People would await their arrival, but now most ignore them.

“Listen, they’re coming this way.”

“I hear them, Dad.”

“There they are!”

Flocks of Snow Geese flew over as sparkling snow of the Yuletide followed behind, frosting the cold winter’s night.

“Wow! There’s so many of them!”

“Hold out your hands!”

Glistening, feathery diamond snow landed around us, like the brightest of stars. The look of ecstatic glee on her face warmed my heart.
A Yuletide Miracle, 1920

In the Appalachians, the Ewalds were celebrating Christmas morning. The twins were unwrapping their presents when they spoke.

"Hey, Maw," they said in unison, "You should use your miracle."

"Okay, give me your toys," Mrs. Ewald said. She touched one and said, "Voilà!"

Their toys were duplicated. Then she duplicated the duplicates.

The twins cheered, then went about breaking every copy of their toy, only keeping the original.

She was wont to flaunt her "wealth."
Peppermint Candy Canes

The wand was an oak leaf's stalk the creature flicked about while flying over town, coating the night in hoary frost.

The glowing town square drew its attention to a tree adorned with baubles, lights, and multicolor sticks.

The creature landed, sniffed then licked a cane, wings flashing so joyfully it'd shame hummingbirds.

From a pouch it drew spider-silk twine, tethering itself to the candy.

It flew away into darkness, the cane swaying underneath.
Santa Claus is coming to town… hopefully!

All the Elves were in panic mode.

The naughty list update had crashed the system, and it wouldn’t reboot.

With everyone listed as nice the demand for presents had ballooned, with unrealistic schedules and threatened strikes.

The Sleigh team were desperately redesigning the drive system, while reindeer activists complained of animal cruelty and chained themselves to the skis.

Even the Department of Christmas Affairs were too scared to tell Santa, who never liked computers anyway.
The Lantern

Tadia sorted through the box from the executor: tattered personal documents, half-ruined photos, and the star lantern, come from across the sea. The one her parents hung in the window as days grew short.

“To call back the sun,” mother said.

A strange superstition whose time had past. Tadia had never hung one in her city apartment.

Yet, this year the cold nights seemed endless. Maybe the sun did need a reminder.
The eternal’s night off

I'm sitting by a fireplace in complete stillness as if the world outside didn’t exist.
Holding a hot coco, in my favorite armchair. Covered in a blanket, with my lovely pets…
A moment like this truly lasts forever.
There is a knocking on my door.
“Excuse me, Mr. Helios,” the quiet voice of my neighbor pierces my idyllic bubble “Shouldn’t you be at work?”
“Nope,” I shout with joy “I am having a night off!”
Meet the Team: a Handful of Haiku

Each year Santa’s sleigh,
Circumnavigating Earth,
Rescues Christmas Day.

Comet and Cupid:
Faster than the moon-beams fly,
Speed across the sky.

Vixen and Prancer,
Stronger than hope and laughter,
Fight on through each gale.

Donner and Blitzen -
Proud pacers, stepping smartly,
Strut above the snow.

Dasher and Dancer
“Strictly Come Dancing” victors,
Strike a winning pose.

Rudolph’s team rejoice
When their master says at last,
“That’ll do, my boys!”
Marital Holiday

I didn’t believe you were my wife, though I had no evidence to support that belief, except that you started to put our love first. Twinkling, erotic.

I went through each day, smiling, happier. That was because I liked you better than I had liked her.

But now we have a child. It looks a bit like me and a bit like you.

The old you seems to be back, and I am secondary again.
Siegfried on the Shelf

Siegfried was going to tell Santa off. “Elf on the Shelf” was HIS horrible idea!

Siegfried's invisibility spell only lasted 10 minutes an hour. But he could move some while hiding and “aiding” Santa’s “omniscience.” But now the woman would hide him, and the children would look for him and think about Christmas.

Standing still all day sucked!

Here she comes.

“No! Don’t stick that tree branch between my legs!”

Someone was in TROUBLE!!
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Sol Invictus

It was midwinter and I was half asleep when the dragon crawled from my left ear muttering “Tootie frootie al rootie”….. and then….. I heard the angels singing, their choruses echoing wondrously within the stillness of the night.
Awopbamboom” said the dragon nuzzling deep inside my heart, sending ripples of joy radiating everywhere.

I realised the sun had signalled its return, breathing new life into us once again, even into this old heart of mine.
Sometimes wishes come true.
They found an abandoned dog today, a pitiful thing.
At the animal sanctuary she was lead to the kennels. She didn’t want to go in, the handler got rough, dragging and kicking her. The dog snapped.
They decided she was vicious, not suitable for re-homing, euthanasia was best.
Lily begged them not to, she would take her. No they said, not safe.
Safe or not, the dog was there when Lily got home.

The flight to Quito was tedious. I passed the time by counting the lizards aboard. One hundred thirty-seven. Dozens of skinks, several iguanas, and one Komodo dragon.

The thin air triggered a migraine, so I paid little attention to the lizards as they transferred to the plane that would carry them to the Galapagos. Their human companions waved farewells, some laughing, some weeping. I hoped the lizards would enjoy their holiday from our species.
The young girl took out the single tear-drop of a jewel. It was nothing more than frost covering a stone, but it seemed to have an almost magical glow. As she held it tighter in her hand the forest around her started to fade. The jewel didn’t stop time, or cause wishes to come true. No, it turned things to stone, the way her mother could. This is how Perseus really found Medusa.

A Green Return​

It had to be the future. Climate change threatened all, including himself, and he’d do his bit for the environment.

The elves had wanted to go electric, but that didn’t solve the reindeer question.

He couldn’t cast aside his faithful servants. So, he turned their disadvantage into an advantage. Their flatulent nature became a solution, a methane propelled SleighX the answer.

Santa hit ignite and cried out, “Ho ho ho. Merry Christmas one and all!”
Just One Day, How It Used To Be

Silent Night and Dad’s nutmeg eggs filled the kitchen. “Breakfast? Just us, I think.”

I didn’t look to Mom’s pristine uniform and folded flag behind the tree, but at Henry, embalming with his new GamePad - Santa’s Gift, Dad couldn’t afford that.

“Merry Christmas.” I didn’t hear her enter. Draped over my shoulders, a warm drip from her towel-dried hair rolled, salty, to my lips. “So, what did you ask Santa for?”

“Merry Christmas, Mom.”
A Magically Realistic Christmas

Last Christmas disappointed Betty Bunny. She had ventured to the village pie shop in search of a festive treat.

“Eeeekkk!” screamed the proprietress, fleeing. “A talking rabbit!”

While dispiriting, this at least gave Betty the opportunity to take several of the juiciest pies. However, it later transpired that none were carrot based.

She decided that this year she would visit Gertie Groundhog. Even with Gertie’s strange dialect and constant burrowing, it could hardly be worse.
Bears Discover Christmas

You’ve heard the rumors. Bears were spotted in the woods decorating evergreens with colorful trash. Questionable news organizations declared, “Bears Discover Christmas!”


My buddy Terry said, “Not safe for camping. Sightseers.”

We went camping anyway.

Wouldn’t you know it? Some bears showed up. Not for food. That’s locked up. No, they actually left stuff. A gold-colored trinket, a powder, a broken perfume bottle.

What in the world got into those bears?
Invisible Holidays

Third Cousins’ Day: Track down everyone who shares your great-great-grandparents. Give them a card.

August 4th, 2035: The last remaining pristine temporal preserve, off limits to time travelers.

Midpoint’s Eve: The night before the day that separates your life into equal halves. You feel a looming weightiness, without knowing why. The day itself will seem unremarkable.

Blue Wednesday: Look back on your many purchases, yet feel unfulfilled.

Hanukkah (Day 9)
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