Sunday, 27 October 2013

A Merry Minion Christmas #AMMC-DFQ Christmas Preparations


My second entry into this year's (hoping it's an annual thing) A Merry Minion Blog Hop for the Dark Fairy Queen and her Minions. The hop has been organised by Laura over at Office Mango Missy over at marissaames Nick at talesfromatightrope and Ruth at It is hoped the entries will form a gorgeous little anthology by those creative people over at Enjoy my story and please, read all the other fantastical tales of Christmas by other fabulous authors by clicking on any of the links above.  x

Title: Christmas Preparations
Author: Lizzie Koch
eBook: Yes
Dedication: To everyone who enjoys Christmas and family time. This is for you. xx

Christmas Preparations

Evie and Leah had done a great job in foraging for holly and fir cones under the watchful eye of Ben. The pile sat on the table. Lisa heard her girls laughing as they cleaned up. Her girls’ laughter was infectious but a rarity these days. Looking at the table, Lisa thought back to the days when she was little and decorated fir cones in glitter for a table centre piece, using the holly to place carefully around thick cream candles. Sometimes she would decorate the candles with images of Father Christmas or angels. Angels were her favourite and at times, Lisa felt she had her own personal angel looking over her. She had to. After what she and her family had been through, had survived, here they were, ready to celebrate Christmas . . . if Lucas came home. There was always an if now.

Lisa wandered over to the boundary of their farm, the winter sun bright but weak in heat as it was every winter. But she was thankful for it as it brightened up an otherwise grey world. A light, cooling breeze rolled over her and brought with it the saltiness of the sea just a mile away. Straining her ears, she thought she heard the freedom of the waves crashing against the stony beach.

“Mum, do we have any glitter?”

“I don’t know Evie, you’ll have to look.” They’d only been at the farm for a month and trying to make it secure was priority rather than searching for arts and crafts. So far, the farmhouse was proving the sanctuary they needed; a greenhouse with seasonal fruits and vegetables, a thriving vegetable garden, two pigs which from the previous owners were pets going by the name plates on the pen; Salt and Pepper.  Once the boundary was secure, the farm made the ideal home.  With vehicles in good working order, they made runs to the nearby town and beyond.

“I’m sure the boys are fine,” Kelly said, joining Lisa at the fence. “They know exactly what they’re doing. I've turned the oven on ready.” Lisa loved Kelly’s optimism; better to have even a pinch of it in this new world rather than the bucket load of pessimism Lisa carried.

“Mum, look what I found,” Evie shouted, running from the house, carrying a plastic box. “It’s full of paints, glitter, sequins and look.” She held up a homemade angel made from a toilet roll, lace and an overload of cotton wool. 
“Can we put it on top of the tree?”

“Sure.” She wiped a tear. “Arg, this is so stupid! But I used to have a box like that. And now we’re using someone else’s memories, living in someone else’s home. It feels wrong.”

“The home was empty, like it was waiting for us. We need a home and to lead a normal life. It’s important for the kids. That’s all that matters.”
The sound of an engine and tyres on gravel made them both rigid; never knowing who was driving down towards the farm until the familiar blue truck came into view.

“Did you get the turkey?” Kelly asked as Lucas and Sam stepped from the truck.

“Not quite. But got us a chicken or two. They’re flapping in the sack,” Sam chuckled.

“You mean they’re alive? I can’t deal with that,” Lisa moaned.

“You’re gonna have to deal with a lot worse; there’s a group heading this way and I don’t mean chickens,” Lucas said, grabbing his holdall. “Get everyone ready.” He never used the zed word with Lisa. Even though they were in the midst of a zombie infestation, the zed word sent her into a blind panic and that wasn’t good to anyone despite face to zombie combat on many occasions.

“Couldn't you pick them off before you got here?” Lisa panicked.

“Too many. We’ll be fine here.” The group gathered as Lucas handed out weapons. With glitter covered hands, Evie grabbed her crude looking spear with ease and stood at her post as did Leah and Kelly’s teenage son, Ben.“Now remember, the head, you must aim for the head, twice to make sure. We've all got each other’s backs so the sooner we do this, the sooner Christmas starts. You good Lisa?” Lucas saw the determination in Lisa’s eyes but her shaking arm was evident. “I can see them. About twenty of them.” Lucas rushed back to the truck and surprised everyone as Christmas music blared out.

It didn’t matter what the circumstances, a blast of Slade wishing it was Christmas every day, lifted everyone’s spirit as zombies snarled and gnashed at the fence, clawing only air before dropping with a head split like a melon.

Silent Night drifted across the farm as the last zombie fell, piled high against the fence. Lucas walked over to Evie and Leah, both bloody but unharmed. Holding their hands, Lucas squeezed tight. “Good job girls,” he whispered, looking over to Lisa. “Seeing as you've just dispatched half a dozen zombies, I think you can handle the chickens,” he said grinning at her. “Come on girls, let’s start Christmas.   


Saturday, 26 October 2013

A Merry Minion Christmas #AMMC-DFQ It's Just Another Day


My entry into this year's (hoping it's an annual thing) A Merry Minion Blog Hop for the Dark Fairy Queen and her Minions. The hop has been organised by Laura over at Office Mango Missy over at marissaames Nick at talesfromatightrope and Ruth at It is hoped the entries will form a gorgeous little anthology by those creative people over at Enjoy my story and please, read all the other fantastical tales of Christmas by other fabulous authors by clicking on any of the links above. Oh and for my American friends, I have used English spelling and the preferred phrase 'Father Christmas' to 'Santa'. x

Title: It's Just Another Day
Author: Lizzie Koch
eBook: Yes
Dedication: There's a little Christmas magic in everyone. Merry Christmas Ralph, Ethan and Charlotte;  hubby, son and sister of a Daughter of Christmas. xx 

It's Just Another day

It had been three days since Ellison collapsed unexpectedly, now laying in a hospital bed. Nothing appeared to be wrong with him, his heart was fine, his brain functioning normally but still he slept. I wasn’t even sure how it happened. One minute we were arguing, the next he slumped into a heap.
But stress had been ruled out; Ellison was fit and healthy.

It wasn’t even a proper row; I only admitted I’d cancelled Christmas due to a serious lack of money after being made redundant. Oh, then I said something about it being just another day. That was mean. It was our wedding anniversary after all. But he must have known what I meant? I just didn’t want the fuss, the families, the huge amounts of debt. It was quite romantic when you thought about it really; just the two of us, celebrating our anniversary at Christmas. But then I went on about not believing anymore, the magic gone.

I glanced out of the window, before leaving for the hospital. The whole world seemed greyer this morning. Even the twinkling lights looked limp and dull. The atmosphere outside felt different. People trudged by with hunched shoulders, ignoring the shops. The charity singers weren't in their usual spot. The decorations on the town’s tree lost their lustre and the tree itself, only a few days up, lost its needles. The radio in the taxi wasn’t even playing Christmas tunes.

“Are you looking forward to Christmas?” I breezily asked the cab driver.

He eyed me in his mirror before turning back to the road. “Just another day,” he sighed.

The hospital was worse. I noticed decorations were missing especially in the children’s ward. There was no tree and the nurse that attended Ellison was now minus her flashing snowman broach.

“How is he?”

“Same as last night. Wish I could tell you something different Bella. But a specialist is coming in later today. All the way from Iceland or Greenland or somewhere like that,” she said as she wrote on his chart, “Let’s hope he has some answers although there doesn’t seem to be any hope,” she mumbled. I blanched. “Not with Ellison, sorry Bella. I meant in general. There seems to be an immense feeling of nothingness.”

“Christmas is around the corner,” I ventured.

“It’s just another day Bella”

What on earth was going on? How could people be so dismissive about Christmas? I clutched Ellison’s hand. He loved Christmas. He was Christmas. Not Father Christmas but he had the spirit of Christmas and it was contagious to everyone he met.

“Bella?” I turned. A short, grey haired man in a black suit walked in, a sweet smile on his creased face. He held out his wrinkled hand. It was warm to the touch and soft. “I have come to help.”

“You’re the specialist?” He nodded, looking gravely at Ellison. “Can you help him?”

He looked at me, his watery blue eyes mournful. “No I can’t. But you can.”

“Me?” My patience imploded. I couldn’t understand the lethargic nature of everyone and now stupidity was joining in. I know I swore. I know I wanted to leave and find a sane doctor but the door closed. It wouldn't open. I know I turned the air blue again but the little man just sat calmly, staring at me.

“Now Bella, I need you to listen. The key to all this is you. Only you can make it all better and Christmas again.” Banging on the door, I yelled for someone to come and get me away from this madman. “As you wish.” 

In a flash of red light, I was standing in an unfamiliar room full of sparkles, the smell of cinnamon and chocolate filling the air. Toys littered every corner. Music echoed through the room; Here Comes Santa Claus. I peered out of the round window. A shimmering, snow covered landscape stretched as far as the eye could see.

“Lovely to see you Bella,” a voice boomed. I turned to see a plump, jolly man wearing red velvet trousers and a white t-shirt. His beard was as white as snow and looked as soft as a pillow. “Yes it’s me. You’re at the North Pole.” I was handed a tray of chocolate and a hot cocoa by what looked like a little girl but was an elf.

“Is Ellison your son?”

“Yes and no. He is a Son of Christmas. Throughout the world there are daughters and sons of Christmas. They are born with the spirit of Christmas in them, have the Christmas gene so one day, one of them can carry on my work when I can no longer do it. Don’t worry; I've plenty of years left in me yet.”

“Why is Ellison ill?”

“Can’t you guess?”

“Because I said I didn’t believe?”


“But thousands of people don’t believe.”

“They’re not married to a son or daughter of Christmas. Ellison and others like him can’t just fall in love with anyone. They are drawn to those who carry true Christmas spirit.”

“And I've lost mine so Ellison is dying?”

“Yes. Come, let’s take a walk.” I timidly followed him around his magical world. The work shop was buzzing, the reindeer resting in beds of fresh straw, the kitchens baking up a storm of gingerbread, cookies and candy canes. As I walked, I felt the gloom embedded within me lift. The grey shadows of my heart faded away as Christmas spirit and magic returned in abundance.

“It’s not just another day,” I realised, “ I was wrong.”

“I know.” He smiled. The red flash surrounded me; I looked down at Ellison, his dark eyes sparkling, the rosy glow back in his cheeks, his smile welcoming. “How do you feel, meeting the Big Man?”

I grinned, my face flushed. “Oh you know, it’s just another day.”




Friday, 25 October 2013

An Uninvited Guest - Daily Picspiration piece

My Daily Picspiration piece. A place where writers post a story fortnightly based on a photo prompt. You can visit and read and comment on this and other stories as well as leaving your comment here. Enjoy. xx 


An Uninvited Guest

Lorna’s Halloween party was ready. She was ready and with broom in hand, she walked down the cobwebbed stairs to greet her guests.

“You look very bewitching,” Mason said, exposing his fangs.

“Not so bad yourself, even if modern.” She untied his tie, letting it hang loose before unbuttoning a button or two, ruffling his black hair. “Much better.” A kiss left him with crimson smudged lips giving him that just fed look as he greeted the guests.

The weather was kind for October, unusually mild and dry and the moon came out to play in all her glory as the clouds shied away, knowing they were uninvited. Candles flickered, bringing to life carved pumpkins dotted around the garden as the party spilled out from the house.

A rousing cheer stopped all conversation and Lorna looked over to the apple bobbing where Mason stood, his black hair dripping, with a shiny red apple locked in his mouth.

“He’s such a good sport,” Tracey cooed, “a few more beers are well and truly needed before Dan even thinks about it.” 

“Mason’s a show off,” Lorna joked.

“Totally agree,” said a woman’s voice who had sidled up next to Lorna unnoticed. Lorna and 
Tracey looked at her. She was captivating. Her long, flowing raven coloured hair framed a pale face where eyes as black as coal sparked like diamonds. She licked her ruby lips, before looking at the two women. “I work with Mason,” she said with a smile bearing the whitest teeth before wandering off to mingle.

Both Lorna and Tracey followed her with their eyes, watching how she entered conversions with ease. “Who the hell was that?” Tracey asked.

“I have absolutely no idea.” Lorna couldn’t take her eyes off the woman as she sauntered from group to group; she seemed to know everyone and going by the response, they knew her. Funny how Mason hadn't said he had a new colleague at the office; something he usually never failed to mention. She coiled around the men in their little group, laughing as Mason cracked yet another punch line. Envy rose in Lorna. She wanted to go over, stamp her scent all over Mason but her pride stopped her being so foolish. It was a party. People flirted. A bit rude flirting with the host right in front of the hostess but flirting was harmless as far as Mason was concerned.

“Who’s the girl?” Lorna finally managed to ask Dan as he helped himself to cold chicken. He shrugged. “You don’t know her?”

“Nope, never seen her before. Thought she was one of your friends.”

“Why do you say that?”

“She said.” He finished the drumstick, picking up another with his zombie made up hand. “Great spread. Better than braaaains,” he laughed as he dragged himself away.

“Looks like you've seen a ghost,” Mason said, taking Lorna in his arms when he finally decide to spend time with her, “although I suspect Dan was telling another awful zombie joke.”

“Do you know that woman, the one standing with Tracey and Dan.”

“No, she said she works with you.”

Lorna shook her head. “No one knows who she is. She makes me uncomfortable. Can you ask her to leave?” From Mason’s expression, Lorna could tell he was about to protest. It was nearing midnight and the party would soon be over save for a few close friends. The woman approached. Lorna wanted to avoid her stare but couldn’t and felt her black eyes penetrate deep within her. She seemed to glide effortlessly, her long, black cloak wrapped around her.

“Great party,” she purred. “I love Halloween. It’s usually my busiest night of the year.” 

“Really? Are you in the trade?” Mason asked innocently.

“Yes. But I've been suspended from the Council of Witches.” Mason laughed. His laugh was contagious, filled with warmth but Lorna clutched him tight, her face as straight as a poker, hard as stone.

“Who are you?” Lorna finally asked; her voice strong belying a fear creeping through her bones.

Clarissa is my name. I am a witch of course.” By now a small group of people had gathered around to hear. Some laughed at her response, others stared, the same feeling as Lorna deep within them. “You know this is true Lorna; which is why you fear me. I can smell your fear. A witch can smell a human’s fear just as she can smell the lust in a man.” She looked directly at Mason. “Those who mock me will want proof.”

“Yeah,” Dan shouted drunkenly along with a few others.

“Very well.”

“No, just leave,” cried Lorna, panic rising in her voice, “just leave.” But Clarissa closed her eyes, raising her arms to the full moon. Her sleeves fell, revealing transparent white skin as she chanted words with no meaning, words with no sense. With one hand, she reached out, touching Mason’s bare chest. He didn’t flinch, didn’t hear Lorna’s pleas to move away, didn’t feel Clarissa’s nails dig into his flesh, didn’t hear the terrified gasp from Lorna. His eyes closed.

Clarissa opened her eyes, wide sparkling, filled with mischief. She let her grasp go and trickles of blood ran down Mason’s chest. He couldn’t move despite Lorna’s touch, trying to pull him away.

“Mason?” Lorna shook him. His eyes opened. Lorna let out a shrill cry as black eyes of a stranger stared back; his beautiful green eyes and their memories gone. The blood on his chest started to run back into his body and the nail marks healed. He grinned. Fangs glinted against thin bluish lips, his tanned glow gone. But white wasn’t a word Lorna would use. Her fear was replaced by awe as the beauty of Mason’s skin captivated her; smooth, lucent, soft to the touch, cold. “Mason?” she whispered. He looked down into Lorna’s wide eyes, tracing her features, down to her neck where he could see her pulse beating a rhythmic, inviting tune.

“Leave her, for now, she won’t be going anywhere.” Mason obeyed Clarissa despite the hunger and desire overwhelming him. “There is more for you to hunt.” A thin smile formed as Mason eyed the guests, hearing every beat of every heart. Screaming filled the night as they ran like ants scurrying out of the rain. “It’s Halloween! Let the fun begin!” Clarissa sang as Mason quenched his thirst in a frenzied blur as Lorna could only watch in a terror filled trance.