Season's Creepings by Theresa Derwin
Cover art Stephen Cooney
Filled With Joy and Holiday Cheer...or Screams
If you're looking for some new Christmas stories to read aloud in front of the crackling fire while everyone sips at hot chocolate, these might not be the stories you're looking for. Do people still do things like that with their families? I'm just going to assume that they do. Maybe I'm wrong. Maybe these are precisely the stories you want to read to children and extended family as everyone gathers for the holidays. I'm not one to judge those things. Theresa Derwin has assembled a lovely collection of Christmas-themed horror with Seasons Creepings. Perhaps it is a bit unusual that I was reading this in February, but I didn't judge you about sitting around a fire and reading these stories to your children, so I'd appreciate it if you extend me the same courtesy. The collection begins with the amusing Fifty Hades of Grey. A group of middle-aged women gathers together to exchange Christmas gifts, but one of those presents isn't quite the innocent gag gift that it seems. A lady doesn't reach a certain age without knowing how to handle a surprise or two, though. 'Twas the Night provides us with a new interpretation of the familiar poem, replete with scathing social commentary. With The Red Queen, we're introduced to a new acquaintance and admirer of Charles Dickens, as she nudges him along in the writing of A Christmas Carol. Some stories live on forever, and maybe it's fitting that the authors do as well...assuming they keep writing. Night of the Living Dead Turkey shares an epistolic account of the zombie apocalypse brought about by infected turkeys. Unfortunately, this zoonotic virus might be more dangerous than the standard avian flu. For proof that revenge isn't necessarily a dish best served cold, Last Christmas is a tale of infidelity, friendship, and the perfect holiday meal. And finally, A Contemporary Christmas Carol provides us with a glimpse of Mr. Scrooge's regrets as he witnesses his former life of wealth and comfort eroded thanks to the interference of ghosts and the writing of Dickens himself. Sometimes our characters aren't quite as enthusiastic about what we put them through as we portray them as being, and this is a fine example of that. Theresa Derwin has compiled a terrific little Christmas collection that's sure to be perfect for the dysfunctional family gathering. I only wish I'd read this a couple of months ago instead of waiting until I'm either two months late or ten months early.