Elizabeth: 3rd Annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge

Santa and his sleighWelcome to another edition of Friday Writing Sprints here on the blog.  It’s time to wrap up another week and, if you are so inclined, participate in your holiday celebration(s) of choice.  Whatever your plans, I hope you enjoy them.

Curling up under the blankets with a good book is my plan for at least part of the day but, in between that and some cookie baking, I think I’ll make time for a little Random Word Improv to make sure my creativity stays in top form for those New Year’s writing resolutions that are sure to be forthcoming.

Plus, it’s fun, and who doesn’t want that?

As Kay mentioned in her post yesterday, we’re kicking off this year’s Christmas Week Short Story Challenge in today’s edition of Random Word Improv.

The rules are simple – write a short story set in (or around) the specified location and include at least three of the random words on the list; extra points for including more than three words and extra points with sparkles for Christmas references. During the course the coming week, several of the Eight Ladies will be posting their short stories based on a these rules.  You can catch story Mistletoe Reboot on Wednesday.

The words for this year’s challenge are:

Location:      A cabin

Words:         Snuggle            impress         mask               collapse

                      icicle                 regret            famous            sneeze

                      scandalous      spark             impulse          fantasy

In the past we’ve had a 500-word limit, but this time around any length is fine – a few sentences, a few paragraphs, or an entire short story – the possibilities are endless.

If you can’t wait for this year’s stories, you can always check out these 2014 entries (Runaway Match, , The Christmas Wager,  ‘Twas Daybreak on Christmas, and How Bunny’s Camera Became Magical) or these 2015 entries (A New Year of Possibilities, The Trip, Lost Hearts in Copenhagen,  The Libertine’s Legacy, and Bunny Blavatsky Arrives in New York)

Even better, try your hand at today’s words and post your results in the comments for all to enjoy.

Okay.  Are you ready?  Go!

*whistling aimlessly while you are off being creative*

Ah, you’re back.  Kind of fun, right?  Can’t wait to see what you have come up with.  Hope you enjoy what we come up with during the week as well.

Peace and happy writing to all.

5 thoughts on “Elizabeth: 3rd Annual Christmas Week Short Story Challenge

  1. You know what? I’m going to try and do my best to come up with something brand new for Christmas Eve — or at least my same old things in brand new drag (-:. Let me finish the story I’ve been developing since your November Writing Sprint
    Part One: https://eightladieswriting.com/2016/11/25/elizabeth-friday-writing-sprints-the-black-friday-edition/
    Part Two: https://eightladieswriting.com/2016/12/02/elizabeth-friday-writing-sprints-holiday-party-edition/
    Part Three: https://eightladieswriting.com/2016/12/09/elizabeth-friday-writing-sprints-baby-its-cold-outside/
    Part Four: https://eightladieswriting.com/2016/12/16/elizabeth-friday-writing-sprints-santas-workshop-edition/
    And here is the rather longish Part Five:
    Mr. Clock led Jack and Olivia and the three worker elves through hallways and up and down strange staircases. “This place used to be a log cabin when himself started out, I read in the company brochure. Then they started expanding organically, so getting through the place is like travelling through a log octopus.”

    Olivia was starting to get winded. Damn, these boots were not made for running through frozen hallways, she thought. Usually, the form made up for the less-than-optimal function, but maybe tonight she should have chosen tennis shoes. She slipped on the spiraling stairs, and Jack caught her.

    “Careful, darling,” Jack whispered.

    Mr. Clock shushed them. “We’re here! The workshop! Go down the hall, and the fifth door on the left will get you into the control booth, where Santa is. Keep him busy until I get the rest of the elves rallied.”

    “Oh, we’ll keep him busy all right,” Olivia said. Something was very un-right here at the North Pole. The elves had been drugged and tricked into unfair labor contracts, and Jack seemed to think that Santa himself was a high-quality animatronic robot. Olivia herself had only been a supernatural Judge since November, but since she was the only Judge on site, she was ready to get down to the bottom of the problem. “C’mon, Jack.”

    “Right behind you, darling.” He placed his hand at the small of her back, and walked on her left side, ready to fend off any surprises from the intervening doors.

    The door in question was unlocked, and Jack opened it swiftly and smoothly . . . and Olivia saw the shocking sight of the back of Santa, opened like the hatch of a giant red space rocket, and inside a little elf was lounging, eating a cheese sandwich. She sat up straight, and slammed shut the flap. The Santa robot (for so it was, children!) slowly rotated around with a grind. “Dixie! Pixie! Cottontail!” the ersatz Santa yelled.

    Olivia spun the Santa with surprising ease, and opened up the flap. “It’s too late, whoever you are! We know you aren’t the real Santa!”

    Jack shook his finger at the tiny elf. “What have you done with him?”

    The little elf growled. “I haven’t done anything with him. You people . . . or whatever you are,” and she eyed Jack suspiciously, “shouldn’t be here. Now, if you don’t go home right now, Christmas will be cancelled, and none of us want that, do we?”

    At that moment, Mr. Clock and a crowd of elves burst through the door. “Santa! You must give us our raises or else . . .!” He stopped. “Adele! What the hell are you doing inside Santa’s back?”

    “Back off, you elves! We’ve got to get Christmas done! Why don’t we talk about the contracts after I get back? A little midnight Cristal Brut and some truffles . . . .”

    Mr. Clock looked furious. “That’s always done the trick before, but not this time! We’re not doing anything until we get this settled.”

    Olivia murmured, “I just had a horrible thought. Santa, er, Adele said to stay away from the freezers when she captured us the first time. Do you suppose she’s fridged Santa?” She shivered from the thought.

    “I have not fridged Santa! What do you think I am??” Adele protested. “Scandalous! I’d like to put an icicle through Clock’s heart right now for delaying Christmas, but I’m not going to do it.”

    And at that point, SANTA EX MACHINA. The jolly old elf walked through the doors. “Ho, ho, ho, what the hell is going on here?”

    There was a babble of tiny piping voices as all the elves tried to grab his attention. Santa seemed to hear it all, though, and he yelled, “Silence!”

    Olivia took Jack’s hand and sidled a little closer to the door. Things had blown up awfully quickly, and it might be good to have an escape route from all the chaos.

    Santa pointed to the little elf inside the robot. “Adele, I left you in charge. What has been going on?”

    Adele collapsed into tears. “It’s been fifty freaking years since you went off to join ZZ Top and became a rock-and-roll star. You have no idea the things I went through trying to keep this place together! Competition from China, and then the video-game revolution happened, and I had to keep costs down. It’s just been insane!”

    Santa patted Adele on the head. “It’s all right, I’m back. Well, I can’t complain about leaving you in charge, but you’ve let Christmas get out of hand. Let the children’s relatives buy the expensive stuff. We’re going back to the basics with blocks and dolls and wooden trains next year. Elves, next year, I think you’ll find we’ll have enough to pay you your proper raises. We’ll talk about it over milk and cookies after I get back.”

    Mr. Clock made a little face. “What happened to Cristal Brut and truffles?”

    Santa roared, “Keep your head about you, elf! We’ll have milk and cookies, and you can buy your champagne and ‘shrooms with your own money and get high on your own time.”

    “End of an era,” Pixie muttered. Dixie said, “I suppose we’ll lose our North Pole credit cards, too.” Cottontail beamed. “Santa’s back. No regrets!”

    “It’s a deal,” Mr. Clock said. “All right, let’s finish up this job, and here’s to a new year!” The elves, including Adele, filed back down to the workshop floor and finished loading the sleigh.

    Santa turned to Olivia and Jack. “Thank you for coming. As you can see, there’s nothing to see here. We’re all fine.”

    “But, but,” Olivia protested. “How can you have taken a sabbatical for fifty years? Are the elves going to be treated right, or tricked into a new, bad contract? Isn’t Adele responsible for some of this mess?”

    “Ah, little Judge, I will take care of my elves. I have for many centuries. Even a god needs a break once in a while.” Then he gently touched Jack on the forehead, and his eyes crossed, and he slid to the floor like a melting icicle.

    Alarmed, Olivia said, “You can’t do that . . . !” And then he touched her on the forehead gently and she was asleep.

    Olivia snuggled up with Jack in the Uber sleigh. “I’m so impressed! A Christmas eve moonlit sleigh ride above the clouds! How beautiful! How did you ever think of it?”

    Jack frowned slightly. “I thought you ordered the sleigh. Oh well, it doesn’t matter whose idea it was, it was a grand one! The clouds look like a cotton-candy fantasy.”

    Jack kissed her, and a simple spark turned into blue and gold fireworks, exploding in front of her eyelids. Nothing like a little sleigh ride after crumpets, Olivia thought. They’d put the long winter’s nap to good use tonight! She felt like she was forgetting something, but then Jack stroked her face, and she didn’t worry about it anymore.

    In the distance, there was a ho-ho-ho, and a little red light that could have been an airplane taillight glowed. Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.

  2. Pingback: Jilly: Mistletoe and Ivy – A Christmas Short Story – Eight Ladies Writing

  3. Pingback: Elizabeth: Mistletoe Reboot – A Christmas Short Story – Eight Ladies Writing

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