Halloween is over… but Christmas is coming

Goddammit, where the bleeding hell did Halloween go?

Where did all the cobwebs and pumpkins and ghost stories around the campfire go?

(Well, maybe not campfire. Maybe electric heater next to worn armchair, your legs covered by a blanket and one hand grasping a glass of wine.)

Either way, why is everyone talking about Christmas already?

It’s ages away.

And, no – I don’t want a daily reminder of exactly how many hours are between me, right now, and the morning of the 25th December. I don’t want to know how many of your children have landed the lead role in the school nativity. And I definitely don’t want to even think about Christmas shopping yet – that is a job best left for Christmas Eve. Obviously.

So to wash away the sickly sweet taste of the Christmas adverts (wishing all penguins get bought a lady penguin for Christmas, because… um… that’s completely ok) I’m looking for your best Christmas, or winter themed, horrors.

For me, I’m straight to thinking about a book of wintry short stories I read as a child. I can’t remember the name of the book, nor, unfortunately any of the details of the authors or stories held within its pages. I can, however, remember two scenes. One was a scene where the main character was forced to eat crackers with no butter (or any sort of spread for that matter). The dry squares leeched the water from his mouth, jagged corners catching in his throat. In another scene, the horror that presented itself had needles for teeth that glistened in the candlelight, saliva dripping in long trails of sticky drool – the creature smiling over you, eager for your blood.

I wish I could remember what this book was. The pictures it left me with still feed my nightmares. I feel a trip in the loft of my parent’s house might be in order – that’s where the books go to hibernate.

But what seasonal stories send shivers up your spine? What books are your antidote to the excessive good cheer and your neighbours’ overly zealous light display? Share the spooks in the comments below… because it’s really not time for Christmas cheer just yet.

Grind Spark – out now

Longlisted for the Bath Novel Award 2014, Grind spark is a near-future dystopian novel about growing up in the years leading up to the end of the world. It’s about pretending to be the perfect family. It’s about whether you want to survive. Treat your eye portals. Pick up your copy here.

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