Day 5 | Advent Calendar
The Dark Side of Christmas by Melanie Noell Bernard
With the world outside the window a backdrop of darkness, the Christmas tree shone like a beacon of hope. A warm glow emanated from the twinkling lights. They illuminated the living room in a soft orange hue. The small living room danced to life with the glitter of the presents under the tree, the sheen of the white marble over the crackling fireplace, and the sparkle of bobbles and ornaments hung from the pine.
I curled up on the sofa. With my legs tucked up against my chest, a mug of steaming cocoa warming my fingers, I gazed at the scene laid out before me.
It was perfect.
The stockings hung from the mantel filled to the brim. The train sat on its tracks, waiting to circle the tree with a myriad of Christmas songs and tiny train whistles. Yet, the best part of that evening was the hush in the air. The quiet silence was like the world holding its breath in wait of the joy of Christmas that was to come.
A smile tugged at my lips as I raised the mug and took a sip of my cocoa. The warm chocolatey taste was that little something extra that completed my night. But the night wasn’t done.
Behind the tree, something moved. My eyes snapped to window. A shadow flashed by, disappearing back into the darkness. Panic clenched my chest. My fingers clenched around the mug of cocoa, thankful it was ceramic and not china. I pulled my legs even closer to my chest. I pressed myself into the back of the couch. My ears perked for noise while my eyes set about scanning the blackness before me.
It zipped by again, closer this time.
My heart slammed inside my chest. Adrenaline shot through me, spurring me to my feet. My hands slammed the mug down on the coffee table, sloshing cocoa onto the polished mahogany. I didn’t offer the mess even the slightest glance as I backed away from the window. Fear told me to run, to hide, to look away, but I couldn’t. My eyes locked on the glass.
Pausing, my heart began to settle. Foolish. I’m being foolish. It was probably just an owl, or a neighbor’s dog. Perhaps even a child out laying in the snow. The tension in my shoulders eased.
The figure snapped into view faster than any natural thing should move, and plastered itself against the glass.
A gasp cut off my scream. Fear threw me backwards, slamming me into an armchair. I toppled into the seat, landing on my back. Scrambling to right myself, I threw my attention back to the window.
It was gone.
Even so, I couldn’t forget what I saw. The black-furred face, gleaming white grin, and long, twisting horns protruding from its head stayed burned on the inside of my eyelids.
Melanie is a graduate student resarching genetics. While this keeps her very busy, she still makes time for reading books, writing novels, and blogging. Sometimes she even combines the three. Her favorite genres to read, write, and blog about include YA, scifi, and fantasy, but sometimes you’ll find her branching out. To find out more about Melanie, check out her blog, or get in touch with her on Twitter and Facebook.