Latest Flash

The Last Christmas

On the third Daze of Christmas, 

Kurt Newton reminds us the end is nigh.

The Last Christmas by Kurt Newton

Jacob lay awake in the dark. He had stayed awake by keeping his eyes focused on the  twinkling lights of the small Christmas tree his mom had set up earlier in the evening.

But there was something his dad had said about the lights that troubled Jacob. The words "Why bother?" circled over and over in his thoughts.

His dad had been acting strange lately, and when he said it, his mom had told him to keep his voice down.

Jacob sat playing with pieces of a board game when the words made him look up.

His dad was walking away by then.

His mom mouthed the words, "I love you," and tried to smile, but it was all twisted like she was about to cry. 

His mom and dad were now asleep, like all the others, in a sea of bodies beneath thick blankets.

Jacob listened to the snores that rose above the drone of the generator. He didn't understand how all of them could sleep. Weren't they the least bit curious? After all, he had heard their whispers. It's coming. It will soon be here. And tonight was the night: Christmas Eve.

He thought about all the things he wanted for Christmas: a remote-control car, a superhero action figure, a two-wheeled bicycle. He wondered if his parents were going to surprise him with presents. Although, he couldn't see how since they hadn't gone outside since that night the sirens sounded and the policeman came and told them they had to leave and come here. Santa would still find him, right?

Jacob felt a rumble from beneath the cot, and heard what sounded like a distant boom. All the worry his mind had manifested melted like the snow on the sidewalks when the sun came out. He didn't care if he got into trouble, he had to chance a look.

He climbed out from beneath his bed covers and quietly threaded his way between the rows of cots to the exit. He was still young enough to believe and old enough to open doors, even big, heavy metal doors.

While the others slept, sealed in their basement shelter, Jacob climbed the hundred steps that led to the stars. There, on the rooftop, he watched wide-eyed as the sky descended over the city in fiery bits and pieces. He didn't know Santa arrived with such fireworks. This was better than the Fourth of July. This was better than any lighting of the Christmas tree.

Jacob sat in the snow, whisper-singing his favorite Christmas song, and watched as the world crumbled around him.

You can find more Kurt Newton flash fiction at The Arcanist and in the pages of Hinnom Magazine. His first novel, The Wishnik, was recently released on Kindle.