November/December 2012 Writing Contest Finalist- Jon Recluse


As stated in the contest announcement, I will be posting the finalists’ stories  individually each day (this being the final day).  The third one to be revealed is Jon Recluse for his story, Blue Christmas.  These are being posted in the order in which they were entered.  Please read each one.  After they have all been posted I will open the contest on December 19th with a voting poll where readers can decide which one is the best.  All the stories will be linked back for reference.

Please remember, this is not a popularity contest. If contestants wish to send their friends/family here to read their entry, they should let them know to check back and read the others as well before the poll opens.   I would appreciate everyone’s cooperation in this.

Blue Christmas

By

Jon Recluse

It was just after dark on Christmas Eve when I found myself outside the park. I paused at the entrance to let the spirit of the season wash over me as the snow gently fell and two old biddies beat each other senseless over a parking spot the size of a Matchbox car. Heartwarming as the scene was, particularly after a quick belt of holiday cheer from my flask, I had to move on to the business at hand and afoot. I lit a cigar to help warm my cockles, and entered the park.

The whole thing seemed simple enough, which should have been ample warning that it wasn’t, but a case was a case and I wasn’t one to let knowing better keep me from risking life, limb and what was left of my sanity to make a buck.

I cut across the park in the direction of Saint Stan’s church as I considered what I knew about the case. Recently, the suicide rate had shot through the roof, which was par for the course during the holidays, but the numbers were way off and most of the dearly departed were reaching the end of their ropes, belts and shoelaces in the stand of trees located on the rise behind the church, at the edge of the old cemetery. Where Agnes Snit was planted, almost a century ago, the only occupant in that patch of unhallowed ground. A suicide.

Simple enough, really. A mournful spirit, whose pain touched the depressed and the sensitive even after all this time, and tipped the emotional scales in favor of imitating a Christmas ornament. A quick word and old Agnes would shuffle off to judgement.

“…….come to me……..”

I stopped dead in my tracks. I knew all the voices in my head, and that wasn’t one of them.
“……so cold…..so lonely…..”

I was over 100 yards away from my destination, and a couple of chills chased each other down my spine. This wasn’t right. She couldn’t be that powerful. That’s when I saw a pair of figures making a beeline for the trees off on my right. Two of the local homeless population, Smiley Jackson and Marbles, were heading for a self inflicted dirt nap.

Tossing my cigar, I started running, trying to intercept them. As I closed in, I could feel the pull from the rise getting stronger, as waves of despair and hate washed over my mind. This wasn’t going to end well.

I reached Smiley and Marbles halfway up the hill, and, yanking their coats, sent them sledding back the way they came. With them safely out of harm’s way, I headed for Agnes’ grave. As I reached the top, I got my first look at her. And wished I was somewhere else. She floated above her unkempt grave, looking like an old photo against a piece of rotten lace. Word was, she had been a beauty in life. It remained, in death, a surface sheen, like scum on stagnant water, while her black eyes were alive with need. And pure, blind hate. A hate that staggered me, like a strong wind. This wasn’t some confused, lonely spirit, looking for companionship. This was a vindictive she devil, hunting the weak. The souls of her victims huddled behind her, chained by mist to Agnes’ headstone, acting as an audience and a battery for her.

She smiled at me, and my knees began to buckle under the onslaught. I wanted to lay down. I wanted to die. I wanted a drink, so I caught myself and tried to keep moving towards her. She reached out to me, and I was blinded by tears of sheer despair. I was going to be found swinging in the breeze tomorrow morning if she kept it up.

And the church bell tolled. The bell Father Flaherty rang to call his flock home for a holiday feast and a warm place to sleep. The place where my two friends were heading.

Agnes whirled around at the sound, and her concentration broke. As her grip on my mind broke, I leaped across her grave, slamming the communion wafer I held against her headstone, which collapsed like a sand castle. Freed from Agnes’ psychic anchor, the souls of her victims winked out like candles in the wind, while Agnes cut loose with a scream that nearly lobotomized me. I watched as she came apart like wet tissue paper, scattering in the snowflakes.

I quickly spread some salt over her grave, shutting her only entrance back, and sat down hard, my head ringing. Smiley and Marbles approached slowly, dazed by their contact with Agnes.

“You okay, Mr. Chase?”

“Yeah, Smiley, I’m good. Help me up before my ass catches cold, okay?”

It took a couple of tries for me to get to my feet, but I got the hang of it soon enough after a couple of snorts from my flask, which I promptly passed to my companions.

“What just happened, Mr. Chase?”

“Nothing to worry about, Smiley. We just shared a brain fart, y’know?”

They didn’t look like they were buying it, but they nodded and smiled.

“C’mon, let’s get you fellas to the church. You don’t wanna lose your places.”

We walked together to the rectory doors and I slipped them a little holiday green.

Marbles looked at the money and then at me.

“Thank you, Mr. Chase, but I think we already got our Christmas present tonight.”

He made to hand the cash back, with Smiley bringing up the rear.

I waved them off, as I turned to go.

“Merry Christmas, fellas. I got my gift already too.”

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~ by Suzie on December 18, 2012.

2 Responses to “November/December 2012 Writing Contest Finalist- Jon Recluse”

  1. […] here to […]

  2. […] second place winner, Jon Recluse, did an amazing job as well.  He wrote “Blue Christmas” which was a holiday crime solving story filled with danger.  This is the third story he has […]

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