An Angel in the Freezer – Sue Houghton

2800 words Christmas Story

It’s almost Christmas and Mel is feeling neglected. Her daughter, Ellie, has flown the nest and husband, Pete, is busy with a heavy work load, so when Mel finds an angel in the freezer it sparks all kinds of emotions. Is Mel’s flushed appearance purely down to ‘her time of life’. Or is it something magical?

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I found an angel at the bottom of our freezer. I’m not entirely sure how she got there, but there she was, firmly wedged between a packet of frozen peas and an out-of-date chicken Kiev, her wings firmly stuck by the ice to the plastic wrapper. I prised her off and now she’s got ‘with extra garlic’ traced in green lettering down her left wing. She’s an odd-looking thing as angels go and I was going to sling her straight in the waste bin but something stopped me. And it got me thinking. This year we’ve bought a fat Santa to straddle the upper most branches of our Christmas tree, complete with fibre optic beard and glowing red eyes.

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Santa’s Little Helper – Sue Houghton

2700 words Christmas Story

Expensive stock is missing from Hempshall’s department store and the finger of blame is firmly pointing at Santa and the Snow Princess. 

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“I look more like a hooker than an elf,” said Amy, struggling to zip up thigh-length boots. The tiny red mini-skirt didn’t do much for her thighs either and the froth of white fur decorating the sweater’s neckline kept tickling her nose. Hempshall’s department store usually hired in seasonal workers, students and the like, to man Santa’s Grotto, but this year due to cutbacks, George Hempshall had come up with the idea that members of staff take turns in the grotto. An hour or so here and there on a rota, he’d suggested. Expensive hired costumes were out, too. They’d have to make do with what they could lay their hands on, which in Amy’s case appeared to be several unsold sale and lost property items circa nineteen eighty five.

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The Secret of Echo Cottage – Sue Houghton

5400 word Ghost Story

Alison and Jason have no regrets about moving to England and now they’re expecting a child the dream appears complete. Except someone, or something, is trying to wreck their happiness. Alison’s life and that of her child could be in danger unless she can solve the secret of Echo Cottage.

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“Jason?” Alison called, pulling her dressing gown tighter around her to shield against the cold. Stepping out onto the dew-soaked lawn in front of Echo Cottage, she called out again, her breath vaporizing in the foggy night air. “Jason, is that you?” She cupped a hand to her ear and listened. A fox barked in the distance. How wrong her friends had been when they’d said the English country life wouldn’t suit her. Being two miles from the nearest village was bliss as far as Alison was concerned. The only thing to mar the tranquillity was the loud, but infrequent, roar of planes overhead. Compared to the noise and pollution of city traffic where they’d lived before, living beneath a flight path was a small sacrifice.

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