[Note: this piece of genre fiction is my latest entry in Loren Eaton’s wonderful Advent Ghosts series, in which a variety of writers gather to swap chilling stories in the bleak midwinter.]

“Daddy, we’re waiting! It’s CHRISTMAS!”

You almost curse. Damn girl could’ve died, running like that! Too much rubble. “Darling, some things are important,” you explain. But could she understand the so-called Wenceslas slaughter? She doesn’t know a thing.

And your wife! The bitch is down there singing, of all things, along with all the freeloaders who fled to your home. Cooking, too. What the hell use are guns if you let so many in?

Bells sound—Mrs. Smith leading “Silent Night.” You almost stop to listen. Then you forget, spying out the corpse-strewn wasteland surrounding your home, waiting.

[Originally posted on 12/23/2012]