I saw the note under the tree late in the afternoon. Mike was cleaning up after brunch. The kids had already toted the loot to their rooms and were busy discovering every adventure the molded plastic and their imaginations could devise. The note was near the empty cup and crumby plate where we’d left the traditional yearly offering. The parchment was stiff and dry on my fingers as I began to read the small cramped handwriting.
I have only a little time before my errands (it said). The cat, the collective misunderstanding of millions of high school physics students, twines about my legs while lying dead on the hearth, mewling softly. I don’t count for him – or he for me – no matter how much we look at each other. He meows again, and I pour a saucer of milk for him. I’m sick of milk and cookies – a hot coffee and muhallebi would suit me better – but I keep the stuff around for the cat.
I submitted my story “Tis the Season to be…” into the Spec the Halls contest. Spec the Halls is a contest for speculative winter holiday-themed fiction, artwork, and poetry. You may find guidelines and links to other entries at http://www.aswiebe.com/specthehalls.html. Part of the spirit of the contest is to share the holiday spirit, so works must be publicly accessible. A small teaser of my story is below; you can read the whole thing here.