Monday, December 14, 2015


Welcome back! I hope you're feeling festive this week as we're getting into the Christmas spirit early (or late, depending who you ask). For those not in a festive mood (Not to worry, I've jingle bells and candy canes to spare!), she left tons of wiggle room for you to make of it what you will. So have at it, friends! I'm excited to see the stories your mind dreams up!

If you haven't read the full version of the rules, go here. Otherwise, here's the short version:

1. Start with the given first sentence. (Allowable alterations listed below)
2. Up to 500 words (exclusive of title)
3. Keep it clean (nothing rated R or above)
4. Optional Special Challenge
5. Stories submitted must be your own work, using characters and worlds that you have created. Sorry, no fanfiction.
6. Include: Twitter/email, word count, Special Challenge accepted
7. The challenge is open for 24 hours on Tuesday EST
8. Only one entry judged per round. If you write/post more than one story, you need to indicate which you would like judged. If you fail to indicate, it will be the first one posted.
9. Winner judges next round.

Oh, and feel free to change pronounspunctuationtense, and anything in brackets to fit the story/pov/tone. I'm not going to be TOO picky... Our judge however...

Our Judge today is Steph Ellis. Read her winning tale from last week hereSteph writes flash, short stories (usually horror), poetry and has a novel lurking in the background.  She has had some stories published in various anthologies and magazines and a few more a scheduled for release this year.  She loves being part of the flash community and is proud to have been included in the upcoming Flash Dogs charity anthology, due out in the summer.  She can be found at her website My Playground and on twitter @el_Stevie.  The Flash Dogs can be found at  Check them out.

 Your first sentence for FINISH THAT THOUGHT #3-24 is:

There was a clatter of [hooves] on the roof and a loud [Ho, Ho, Ho].

 Your SPECIAL CHALLENGE from the judge is:

Include the TITLES of at least THREE well-known Christmas carols or songs.



  1. Hearing Things
    By Audrey Weinberg
    word count: 485
    Special Challenge accepted.

    There was a clatter of hooves on the roof and a loud ‘Ho Ho Ho.’

    I looked over at Joe. His hand was posed just above his strawberry blond curls, a short quick movement into them, a quick scratch and out again.
    “Joe,” I said loudly, competing with the ‘Driving home for Christmas’ booming out of the stereo.
    “Did you hear that?” I asked.
    “Sorry, what?” he asked, looking up from his phone.
    “That Ho Ho Ho. I hear it again.”
    “Hmmm…” Joe said and went back to his texting.

    I had read once that Oliver Sacks said that auditory hallucinations didn’t just happen to people who were crazy. I got up and got on my running shoes. This time I would find out for sure.

    The streets were deserted; a silent night. I jogged around the block. I was a dragon puffing out clouds of steamy breath. My chest and thighs burned but I kept on running, into the forest near the house. I heard the crunch of ice under my feet.

    In the clearing, I shouted loudly, “Ho Ho Ho!” And then I heard it ripple back. My heart was pounding visibly through my running jacket.
    I took some deep slow breaths, and swallowed a few drops of Rescue Remedy. The crisis center said that running, fresh air and staying calm would work.

    Running back through the tunnel next to my house, I shouted again, “Ho Ho Ho!” Again, the sound echoed back to me. I wondered if Joe was already in bed, and if he’d shut off the lights downstairs. Did he think I was losing it? Or was he just busy doing his work and texting his beer buddies? There was a good chance he hadn’t even noticed I was gone.

    As I neared home again, I noticed how most of the neighbors had already put up their decorations. It was starting to look a lot like Christmas. I breathed the night air in and swung my arms back and forth. Raising my serotonin levels did help, I realized.

    As I entered the house, I realized how cold it was inside. The heat was off and the room dark and empty. I ran upstairs, looking for Joe. He was nowhere to be seen.

    I called his number, wondering if he’d gone out, but the voice message said the number had been disconnected.

    I sat down on the floor, next to my bed. Something fuzzy peeked out from underneath it. I reached in and pulled out a dusty Santa costume. And a dustier card. ‘Fire the cleaning lady,’ I said to myself, as I tore open the envelope.

    “My dearest, what a tragedy to befall you on Christmas Day! Joe will be sorely missed!, Love, …”

    “Ho Ho Ho!” I heard it again, and the clatter, not of hooves, but of glass shattering.
    I wasn’t crazy after all.

  2. @GeoffHolme
    Word Count: 392
    Special Challenge Accepted

    Festive Spirit

    “There was a clatter of tambourines, Carol, a blare of trumpets and the raucous rat-tat-tat of The Little Drummer Boy from next door. Then a choir started singing. Well, I say singing… it sounded more like a bunch of tom cats caterwauling on the roof. And a loud cacophony it was too!”

    “Not exactly Angels From The Realms Of Glory then?”

    “Far from it! I said to our Vera, ‘Do You Hear What I Hear?’ But she was too engrossed watching ‘Strictly’ on TV - Anton du Beke and Katie Derham dancing a foxtrot to a calypso tune... A Calypso, Carol!

    “Then there was an amplified voice saying they were from The Lions Club, collecting for charity. Shortly after that there was a rap on the door.”

    Christmas rapping! Eh? Eh?”

    “Mm-mmm. When I opened it, I couldn't believe what I saw.“

    “Ooh, I know this one - got it out of a cracker last Christmas. You looked out and the pavement was covered in Black Forest gateaux and the road in sherry trifle… The street was desserted!”

    “Oh, ha, ha! Very funny!”

    “Come on, lighten up. I’m only trying to bring a little Joy To The World.”

    “If you’ll let me finish… It was my friends, Barney and Charlie.”

    “Do I know them?”

    “I don’t think so. We all support Leyton Orient Football Club, we all come from the same town in the Midlands and we’ve all got the same surname.”

    “That’s quite a string of coincidences.”

    “Yes. And to top it all, We Three Kings Of Orient Are all Driving Home For Christmas!”

    “Where is home, Alan?”

    Coventry, Carol.”

    “So, what did they want?”

    “They'd come to discuss the best route to take. So, I invited them in, and I got the malt whisky out… It was Past Three O’clock before Vera got a Silent Night.”

    “You know they’re forecasting bad weather next week, don’t you? A lot of the white stuff.”

    “I’m not worried, as long as we can get there safely. After that… Let It Snow.”

    Let It Snow?”

    Let It Snow! Why not? Indoors, we’ll have everything we need: turkey and mince pies, Mistletoe and Wine, The Holly and The Ivy. You doing anything special?”

    “Jack and I are off to Scotland on a hiking holiday.”

    “The Cairngorms again?”

    “No. This time, We’re Walking In The Ayr region.”


    13 Christmas carols / songs (14 if you allow the pun in the last line!)