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2022 February Flash Fiction Challenge: Day 13

Write a piece of flash fiction each day of February with the February Flash Fiction Challenge, led by editor Moriah Richard. Each day, receive a prompt, example story, and write your own. Today's prompt is to write about something being possessed by something...unnatural.
Flash Fiction Challenge

I heard someone say something this past December that I can't stop thinking about: "I'm possessed by this holiday spirit." That statement has my mind galloping off in a million and one directions—if the holiday spirit could possess you, what else could?

For today’s prompt, let's write about a character being possessed by something ... unnatural.

Remember: As mentioned yesterday, these prompts are just starting points; you have the freedom to go wherever your flash of inspiration takes you.

(Note: If you happen to run into any issues posting, please just send me an e-mail at mrichard@aimmedia.com with the subject line: Flash Fiction Challenge Commenting Issue.)

Here’s my attempt at writing a possession:

Holiday Spirit

“Oop!”

Christy laughed as she wiped the puff of flour off her cheek. Jake’s mouth was pulled up in an impish smile and Christy felt her heart flutter looking at him.

“A tragic Christmas cookie casualty,” Jake said. He flicked a little more flour her way.

Christy grinned back and looked down at the table in front of her. There were hundreds of cookies cut and placed perfectly on trays and ready to go into the oven. The smell of warm sugar and chocolate filled the air.

“I can’t wait until the Yule Ball,” Jake said. “It’s really what this town needs to come together this year.”

“Right,” Christy said…but then she paused. “Jake?”

“Mm?”

“Why does the town need to come together again?”

Jake’s expression went a bit funny. “Well…it’s Christmas.”

“Yeah, but, like, when was the last time it wasn’t Christmas?”

The only sound was the ticking of an oven as it heated. Jake stared at Christy, his eyes almost glazed, before a beep let them know that the cookies were ready to go in.

Jake startled before letting out a strained chuckle. “Feeling a little…grinchy, are we?”

“No!” Christy fiddled with a strip of parchment paper and forced a smile. “No, you’re right, there’s no reason to ruin our holiday cheer.”

“Exactly.” Jake set a few trays into the oven and closed the door. After a moment, he pulled out his phone and gave it a little shake. “I’ll just call Julie and let her know we’re on track to save the day.”

Christy nodded and returned Jake’s smile as he turned and left the kitchen. It was almost fortuitist that Julie, the owner of Festive Treats, was so behind on the baked goods for the ball because it allowed Christy more time to spend with Jake.

Jake. Sigh. There certainly wasn’t anyone like him in the big city! Christy was just daydreaming about his eyes and the funny obsession he had with plaid flannel shirts when a thought occurred to her…what big city is she from, again?

“Julie is singing our praises! Expect a lifetime supply of free donuts, because I can just feel that offer coming around the bend,” Jake said, rubbing his hands together as he came back into the room. One look at Christy’s expression had him frowning. “You okay?”

“Yeah, I just…how did I get here again?”

Jake’s frown deepened. “You were on a holiday-themed assignment for your advertising firm but the airports closed due to the storm, so you thought you could drive—”

“But then my car broke down outside of town and the sheriff picked me up,” Christy said. “And I thought maybe I could make this town my assignment instead since it’s so obsessed with Christmas.”

“Right, exactly.” Jake rolled the tension out of his shoulders and took a peek in the oven. “Looks like these are just about done!”

“I’m sorry, it’s just that coming here, the town, even you just all feels like something out of a Hallmark holiday movie, you know?”

“Hallmark?” Jake’s voice was distracted as he hunted around for oven mitts.

“You know, the cheesy movie channel?” At his confused glance, she laughed. “C’mon, you have to have heard of it.”

“Probably something that we don’t get here in Festive Falls,” Jake said. “We’ve just got the three major channels, really, this being such a small town.”

Festive Falls? Could that really be the name of a town in…wait…what state were they in again?

“Hey, you two!”

Christy shook her head as Julie burst into the room. Her smile was a little manic, and Christy groaned. “Don’t tell me there’s been another change to the dessert menu.”

“Oh, no, sweetheart, nothing like that,” Julie said.

“We just wanted to check in, see how you were doing.”

Christy smiled as Judd came into the room, dusted with snow and looking as grumpy as ever. “Well, that’s certainly kind of you, Sheriff, but I know you’re really here to snag a few treats ahead of schedule.”

No one laughed. Christy looked from them to Jake, who was a little too busy with getting new trays into the oven. Julie fiddled with her red and white striped scarf, eyes a little too wide.

“So, how’re you feeling, Christy?” Judd asked. “Full of, uh, holiday spirit?”

“Oh, how could you not be, in a town like Festive Falls?”

“Yes, absolutely.” Julie nodded vigorously.

“I was just thinking how perfect a name that was for this town,” Christy added. “Like something from a Hallmark movie.”

Judd and Julie shared a glance.

“It’s quite something,” Judd said.

“And just, you know, so perfect that I happened to get stuck outside town right before the storm hit so that I could get to know all of you,” Christy continued. “Like, suspiciously perfect.”

Julie’s shoulders drooped. “Not another one.”

“E-excuse me?” Christy slipped off her stool as Judd rounded the corner of the island and came toward her.

“It’s alright, Christy,” Jake said gently. “Don’t be afraid.”

“What’s going on? Don’t touch me!”

“Just a bad case of the grinchies, Chris, nothing to worry about.” Judd took a firm hold of Christy’s arm, just above her elbow.

“If you don’t let yourself really relax, Christy, you can’t really let in the holiday spirit as much as it deserves,” Julie chimed in. “I was like that too when I first got here! But it’ll clear up in a few days, as long as you don’t resist it. Soon you’ll see that your life, out there…it doesn’t matter. Here is where you’ll learn the true meaning of friendship and family and community. And then you’ll want to stay here with us forever!”

“Yeah, Christy.” Jake’s smile was bashful. “I think we’ve got a good thing going on, you know, and it’s been a while since anyone wandered through. You just have to be receptive to it.”

“What are you talking about? What’s happening?”

Jake grabbed her other arm and she started to struggle and helped Judd pull her toward the door.

“You’ll be right as rain in a few days, Christy!” Julie called after them. “Just in time for Christmas!”


Remixing the Classics: Writing New Flash Fiction From Old Stories

During this live webinar, award-winning writer Ran Walker will teach you how to find and mine ideas for your flash fiction. He will show you how to take stories in the public domain and “remix” them into new stories. Ran will also show you how to put your own spin on these ideas and make them truly yours.

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