With the nights drawing in and Santa giving his sleigh an MOT before the big day, I’m winding down the writing ready for some time off with my family. I’ve set some goals for 2020 and taken plenty of time to reflect on the decade as a whole, not just this year.
It’s been a good one. I’ve met my soul mate. Spawned a beautiful daughter. Obtained a bonkers cat.
No doubt there will be more reflections on the writing side of it once we tick into the new decade.
To round off the year, I wrote a story about the best part of Christmas dinner. That’s it, sausages wrapped in bacon. Two of the most amazing foods out there having a cuddle and clogging my arteries. A dream come true
It was intended for a flash fiction contest, which it didn’t win but as Christmas is a good time for horror, what with dark nights, supernatural beings climbing down your chimney and hanging out with distant relatives, I thought I’d post it here to give readers a quick shudder.
This will probably be my last post of 2019 so enjoy yourselves over the Christmas break. Be kind to each other and enjoy the time off work. I’ll be back here to set some goals and kick off 2020 in style. Thanks for reading.
Pigs in Blankets
Until you make your own, you’d never guess how hard it is to make sausages. But when it comes to Christmas with the family, spare no effort. My arms ached from grinding the meat. It took an age to get it into the casing. Still. To see their faces when they eat them, it’ll be worth it. One of them has my own signature blend of herbs and spices in, just to make it extra special.
I wonder which of my guests will get to sample it? Perhaps I’ll even keep it for myself.
None of them want to be here. One less of us every year.
I open the door in my tuxedo, and they look at me as though I’ve gone mad again. They shuffle in. One at a time.
Grandma first. Bent and gnarled like a windswept privet.
Uncle Roger. Upright and corpulent. A blimp of a man.
Cousin Eric. Sallow skinned and small eyed. A ferret in a knitted jumper.
They sit in the living room and I pour the sherry. “Fairytale of New York” plays in the background. Grandma tuts and I smile. The others say nothing. What’s left of our family.
After the customary prawn cocktail, I serve the Christmas dinner. Everything in its own dish. Sprouts with bacon. Goose fat roast potatoes. Honeyed carrots. Pigs in blankets – four fat sausages wrapped in bacon.
I stand at the head of the table and carve the turkey. Not father, so sadly departed since last year. I give myself a leg. Grandma and Eric want breast. Uncle Roger wants a mixture of everything. And why not, he’s got enough room for it.
I keep the pigs in blankets next to me. Roger smacks his lips as he looks at them. My stomach rolls as he whets his lips. I’ve seen that look before. The look he had when he first took me to the shed in his garden. The look he had when he closed the door behind us. The look my father wore when we came back. Me white faced as I watched him shrug with agreement.
Grandma eyes them too. The same way she looked before she used to jab me with knitting needles when I stayed at her house as a child. Different to the look of innocence she gave my mother when the questions started.
Eric’s beady eyes rest on them too. Rodent eyes. Like the squirrel he killed with a BB gun and blamed on me. The reason I got sent away to boarding school. The reason no-one ever meets my eye.
Just four of us left. One large banger each, including the special one, laced with my traditional Christmas treat.
I pass the plate and watch it go from Eric to Grandma to Roger and then back to me.
Whose turn will it be this year?
I cut into the pig in its bacon blanket and hope it will be mine.