Christmas, White as Bone

By Line Henriksen

               The snow rises and falls out there, on the frozen ice,

It’ll be a white Christmas, and we’re all packing our bags.

                gathering and dispersing like shattered teeth stirred by

                the wind.

In the kitchen, father is preparing the roast, and gran is stirring spices into the glögg.

                It pulls up shadows,

I set the table, and my siblings decorate the tree.

                a sense of depth in the veils of white.

“I see them now,” sister whispers, sitting in the windowsill, her red bows wilting at the sight. We pause at doors and windows and see them too,

                The snow peels back, revealing bones and tattered

                cloth whipping around slow feet, steering towards the

                well-lit windows that shine like guiding stars.

and suddenly everyone moves faster than before. The table is set in no time, the last bits of clothes packed, the candles lit by trembling hands, and in a flitter of scarves and coats, we depart just in time.

                The guests are here.

We watch from the car as every window fills with them, warm light spilling out on the snow from between withered ribs and cracked skulls. Torsos sway stiffly, and legs kick upwards in dance, knocking grins from gnarled shoulders. As we drive off, we hear the beating of music, and the tapping of hardened feet.

I fear them, the bone-white Christmases when the lake freezes over, and the dead come back to claim the house for a night.

First published here.

About the author:

Line Henriksen has a PhD in Gender Studies, and has written articles and book-chapters on the subjects of monsters, hauntology, creepypasta, and ethics. Her fiction has appeared in, among others, Clowns: The Unlikely Coulrophobia Remix, freeze frame fiction, and Pankhearst: Wherever You Roam. You can visit her here, or tweet her pictures of puppies at @_linehenriksen_