My place in the Tortive Theatre advent of flash fiction 😊 💜 🎄

I’m struggling to believe that I’m writing this post on December 15th. We are, officially, 10 days from experiencing the most expensive and extravagant commercial holiday EVER. Wow. I’m 2 weeks from asking “where has my small amount of cash gone?” and “why are the kids more interested in the toy boxes than the actual toys?”.

Christmas. What a ride.

But seriously, putting my inner grinch aside, it’s always been my favourite time of year (as I’ve said before, i know!) but it’s become even better because I get to see the pure joy and belief in magic that only small kids really appreciate and shit themselves with excitement over 🤣.

Nonetheless, I was excited to get stuck in to some new and unusual festive stories. It makes sense that several of my entries for this competition had an alternative theme, but I was still surprised that Tortive Theatre chose the story called ‘Black Christmas’. It’s very opposing to the usual picture perfect family Christmas that gets rammed down our throats every year.

I found it difficult to come up with alternative ways of talking about the big event, especially after overloading on sickly sweet Hallmark Christmas movies 🎥. But after watching some terrible/gritty trash tv and soap operas (by accident!) ideas slowly formed.

I’m a bit sad to say that some of the detail from this story comes from direct experiences of christmases ruined by nasty, selfish and usually drunk members of my family.

But despite having direct experiences like this, it wasn’t easy to write. Again, as someone who often writes what they know, in this case it meant digging up memories that were buried in my grey matter. It was sad to remember. It was even worse when I had the passing thought that everyone there is now long passed. I’ll never get to ask questions or understand what happened and why.

I’ve made a promise to myself not to dig up my own difficulties for a few stories now. To be honest, it’s just so tiring and definitely effects my brain health.

Anyway, back to the comp. It’s the usual format of 101 words exactly – a challenge that isn’t as simple as it sounds, and ‘Secret Santa’ was given as the theme.

This month of flash fiction at Tortive Theatre is being published online with a new story appearing daily. It’s an advent of flash fiction. I was thrilled to see my name and story appear a few days ago.

Proof of my inclusion in the theatres advent of flash fiction can be found here, and the story is below for you to read through. It’ll take one minute, so I hope it’s brevity still allows it to be enjoyable. Maybe even poignant.

**********

Black Christmas

She heard voices in the hall. What were they up to? It was 11pm on Christmas Eve. Aged 4 and 6, they were understandably excited.

“Come on you two. Time for bed.”

“Mum, we can hear him downstairs. Listen.”

All she heard was the familiar clink of the brandy decanter being opened clumsily.

He was home.

*Smash*

“He’s busy. Come on. Back to bed”

She lied. Santa, aka Dad, was drunk. Again.

She crept downstairs later and found him passed out surrounded by a fallen tree and their smashed treasured baubles.

Christmas ruined again.

By New Year’s Eve, Santa was evicted.

Published by stephc2021

Hi! I'm Steph, an amateur writer and illustrator specialising in Mental Health and being a self-confessed Spoonie. My website is home to any successful fiction I create, with stories that have won so far covering difficult subjects such as baby loss and mental health in grief as well as some funny and heart-warming tales when I get the inspiration. Every drawing and picture on my website was created by me. I spend a lot of time coming up with illustrations to accompany all of my posts and pages. I try to create original content across all of my channels, whether I'm writing about my own fiction or just generally musing on mental health or my own issues. I want to be part of the change because I believe the understanding of MH in the UK is getting better, but has a very long way to go. By being honest about my own struggles and symptoms I think others will relate and hopefully it will encourage them to talk to someone and get the help and support they need. Long term my goal is to help children too, help them understand their own mental health and how to help with the mental health of those around them. I live in the UK with my partner, daughter and dog, I swear frequently and I adore a well made, traditional, gooey, chocolatey, delicious brownie.

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