Flash Fiction Challenge: Special Guests

flash fiction writing prompt copyright ksbrooks 275 mr and mrs claus at ladells 12202014
Photo copyright K. S. Brooks. Do not use without attribution.

Every year, Mabel set out milk and cookies for Santa. Every year, she threw them away the next morning.

This year, the milk was still there but the cookies were gone. Her refrigerator door was open, and what was left of her Christmas ham was out on the counter.

As dawn brightened, Mabel saw the silhouettes of reindeer in her front yard. She rubbed her eyes, wondering if she was dreaming. But them she saw the trail of empty beer cans and cookie crumbs leading into the living room…


Welcome to the Indies Unlimited Flash Fiction Challenge. In 250 words or less, write a story incorporating the elements in the picture and the written prompt above. Do not include the prompt in your entry. The 250 word limit will be strictly enforced.

Please keep language and subject matter to a PG-13 level.

Use the comment section below to submit your entry. Entries will be accepted until Tuesday at 5:00 PM Pacific Time. No political or religious entries, please. Need help getting started? Read this article on how to write flash fiction.

On Tuesday night, judges will select the strongest entries, and on Wednesday afternoon, we will open voting to the public with an online poll so they may choose the winner. Voting will be open until 5:00 PM Thursday.

On Saturday morning, the winner will be recognized as we post the winning entry along with the picture as a feature. Then, at year end, the winners will be featured in an anthology like this one. Best of luck to you all in your writing!

Entries only in the comment section. Other comments will be deleted. See HERE for additional information and terms. Please note the rule changes for 2015.

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11 thoughts on “Flash Fiction Challenge: Special Guests”

  1. ***FINALIST***

    Draped over the settee, flat on his back, was Santa Claus.

    His red coat was thrown open, revealing a pale chest covered with what resembled the pelt of an Arkansas razorback. The faint outlines of an anchor tattoo could be seen through the matted hair. The belly was indeed rotund, and showed years of dietary abuse.

    His legs were over the furniture’s back. A wine bottle was suctioned to one big toe, while a partially unlaced boot clung from the other foot. His arms were covered in scratches.

    Ham grease and white chocolate macadamia crumbs coated his beard. His hat was balled up in one hand and was covered in vomit. Santa was a train wreck.

    Mabel made a decision, and set to work.

    Santa came to after several hours. His head was throbbing, but as he tried to press his temples, he discovered he could not move. He opened his bloodshot eyes to find himself in a small cage, hands tied behind his back.

    Mabel was dressed as a reindeer.

    “Merry Christmas, you old sea dog,” she began with a smile. “I hope you like my outfit. I made it with real fur… Enjoy your stay, cause this is where you’re going to make wishes come true. My wishes.”

    Santa panicked. All he had to do to escape was lay his index finger beside his nose. One touch, and all this could disappear.

    “I don’t think so, Claus,” said Mabel. She slipped a cigar clipper around finger number one…

  2. ***FINALIST***

    She tip-toed to the closet to get her trusty baseball bat before quietly continuing to the living room where she found a rosy-cheeked, white-bearded and completely comatose man dressed as Santa.

    Getting closer, she was shocked to see that it was Vernon, her estranged husband who had left her on Christmas Eve over seven years ago. He had a history of taking off without a word and this last time was more than Mabel could bear. She reported him missing to the police, but the case grew cold. After many years of waiting, Mabel had him declared legally dead.

    Now here he was on her brand-new sofa, passed out and stuffed to the brim with the ham she was going to take to her boyfriend’s home on Christmas Day. Instead of welcoming him with open arms, years of anger welled up and Mabel could no longer contain all of the hatred that she had for this man.

    He was always a drunkard, eating too much and disappearing whenever he felt like it. Heck, he probably had another wife and family somewhere else. No, Mabel was not going to take him back this time. She had finally gotten over him and would never let him back into her life again.

    As she swung the bat towards Vernon’s head a reindeer materialized, knocking the bat out of her hands. In an instant, Vernon and the reindeer disappeared up the chimney.

    Mabel quickly realized that Vernon wasn’t lying. He really was Santa.

  3. Slowly, she inched to the door. There he was snoring and asleep on the couch. One leg dangled over the edge. She knew from the size of his stomach it had to be her husband, all decked out in a Santa suit, white beard and all. The fir trim of his hat covered his eyes. One hand held a crushed beer can.

    Mabel reached in and grabbed the broom. The miserable worm. She moved closer.
    The ungrateful drunken fool.

    “Get up you lazy bum” she screamed as she swung the broom knocking the beer can from his hand and the cups and plate to the floor.

    He jumped up. “What! Who? What time is it.”

    “You miserable wretch of a husband. Eating all our cookies and ham,” she continued.

    “Oh, the ham was delicious, but, no, no, no.” he pleaded racing to the door. He stumbled out into the falling snow and climbed onto the sleigh. The reindeer shuddered.

    And those were real reindeers she saw. Her hair stood straight out..

    “Come on everyone. Let’s go,” he called out. “Better late than never.”

    Mabel trembled as she watched a lively bunch of elves hop out from behind the couch and scramble out onto the sleigh around Santa.

    “Which one of you is the designated driver” he called out offering the reins.

    A sharp crack of the whip and off they flew, happily rested and well fed.

  4. The trail of crumbs and beer cans led Mabel to a heap of red velvet and white fur trim. Kicking the heap with her slippered toe, she wondered if she would she find a naked Santa sleeping on her couch? Peeking through the doorway, she spied a head of white hair and a full white beard snoring and drooling on her needlepoint pillow. Scanning the length of the sleeping elf, she released a breath. “Thank heaven he has his long underwear on!”

    Backing away from the door, Mabel rolled her eyes. Donning her boots and own red velvet wrap, she headed outside to tend to the reindeer. The harnesses were hung up and each of the eight reindeer were comfortably bedded in the neighboring barn with fresh hay.

    Once back in her warm cozy kitchen, Mabel settled at her small lace adorned table. Sipping her tea, she heard the grumblings of Santa from the living room. His burps and farts from a large helping of ham were loud and offensive. Mabel giggled to herself as she heard the fat elf come to life.

    Entering the kitchen, Santa’s face was red with embarrassment. “I did it again didn’t I Mabel?” The big elf asked with a sheepish look.

    “Yes Santa. My sister Martha is going to think you and I are fooling around again. Now hurry and get your butt back home to her!” Thank goodness Christmas came but once a year.

  5. As Mabel pulled into her farm driveway, she heard on her radio, an APB about a gang of thieves dressed as elves, wrecking homes and stealing reindeer this Christmas.
    She spotted a sleigh with starving reindeer on her snow covered lawn. Then once inside, she never expected to find her living room full of short drunks disguised as elves. All passed out under the remains of her once beautiful Christmas tree. Quietly she snapped pictures of this debauchery and emailed the sheriff.
    Mabel slipped outside and led the reindeer into her barn, and feed the poor things. As she headed back into her party wrecked home, she mumbled, “Those little monsters are going to pay for this.”
    She slipped into her bedroom and loaded her pump shotgun with rock salt shells. Then she headed into the living room, and shouted, “Party Time Boys! Merry Christmas!”
    She fired off two quick blasts into the ceiling, and the rock salt stingingly rained down on to the drunks. She was amazed at how fast they moved to get out the front door, but not fast enough to get away from Mabel’s wrath, as she repeatedly pumped their backsides with rock salt.
    When the Sheriff pulled up, he was treated to the welcome sight of seven sore dwarves all cooling their rock salted butts in the snow banks. Mabel stood over them with her shot gun, and she grinned just like Santa with a special delivery Christmas gift for the Sheriff.

  6. ‘Twas the night before Christmas and Mabel was there, stirring her eggnog with the utmost of care. She whirled and twirled and added some rum, got dizzy she did to the beat of her hum.

    Star cookies lay on the tray over there, with sprinkles that twinkled and caught in her hair. Milk did fill a couple of jugs in case her guest needed mug.

    Reindeer ready, festooned in their gear, as hers was a relay house for Santa this year. A peek out the window shone a clear winter night; all set, yes ready for a fabulous flight.

    Jittery, twittery she looked at the clock; midnight it said, it’s twelve o’clock.

    Another peek shone a starlit sky, no Santa, no reindeer, no where in her sight. A glance at her memo confirmed she was right, yes 2015 would be her night.

    Discouraged and tipsy from the nog she did sip, asleep she fell, cookie crumbs on her lips.

    What’s that? she wondered, shaking her head. Bells? Reindeers? Maybe a sled?

    She tugged on her apron, her hair in a tuss, she tripped on some beer cans that lead to the muss.

    No cookies, no nog, a stripped Christmas ham, lay open and gnawed in the seat of a pan.

    She’d missed him, the man in the red and white suit, but happy she was ‘cause he left both his boots. Black with soot and worn from flight, she’d keep them ‘till next year, for next Christmas night.

  7. As Mabel rounded the corner to the living room, she could hear mumbling of some sort. The closer she crept, the more terrified she became.

    Instantly, the house becomes eerily quiet. So quiet that she can only hear her mantel clock ticking above the fireplace.

    Mabel started slowly backstepping towards the door through the kitchen, then she heard, “I wouldn’t do that if I were you.”

    She didn’t answer.

    Mabel had a plan. She’ll sneak to her neighbors house and call the police. When she turned her attention towards the exit, he was already standing there with his arms crossed against his chest. He held a bloody knife, which appeared to have been used very recently.

    She panicked, threw the phone at him and ran toward the front door.

    She entered the living room, only feet away from her escape, but there he was again.

    “What do you want!? Please leave me alone!” She screamed

    “But Mabel my dear, you’ve made the naughty list. Just like John.” He calmly mutters, stroking his white bushy beard.

    “What did you do to my husband!” Mabel kicks the man squarely in the stomach that sends him back. She darts towards the side window, dives through head first and lands in the bushes.

    She climbs out of the bushes, and thinks she is in the clear. Her neighbors house was only 30 feet away!

    Before Mabel takes her third step, her mantel clock shatters as it makes contact with the side of her temple.

  8. She got on her hands and knees before crawling towards the living room. What she found when she got there surprised her. Instead of finding a drunk Santa, she found her uncle Earl clearly unconscious. She had never trusted him, so just to be sure she sat beside him until he woke up.

    “Ho ho ho,” the old man said lazily.

    “What are you doing here?” Mabel asked with confusion.

    “Just doing Santa a favor. I ate your cookies so he didn’t have to.”

    “That still doesn’t explain the beer and ham. And when did you start doing people favors?”

    “I…I…. Ok, I got in a situation last night and needed a place to stay.”

    “And you chose my house!”

    “Well I was just down the street and you had always been so compassionate in your childhood.”

    “That was in my childhood. I’m different now!” Mabel practically screamed.

    “I can tell,” Earl murmured.

    “Well you know what just get out!”

    “Fine, nice to see you again too,” he said before stomping off.

    As the man walked off, Mabel noticed his round stomach and red hat. It looked vaguely like the one that she had seen Santa wearing in all of the Christmas movies. She wasn’t convinced until his belt came into full view. Black leather circled his plump tummy with a gold square in the front. He slammed the door and Mabel understood that she had made a mistake.

  9. ***FINALIST***

    “H- H-”

    Weak and worn down, his throat could not muster the strength to push the words past his desiccated lips. His last meal — a morsel, a trifle — now was a distant memory.

    The door at the top of the stairs opened, casting a pittance of light upon his swollen face.

    “Finally awake, eh fat man? You just couldn’t resist the trap, could you?”

    “Why are you doing this?”

    “I thought you had all the answers, Nick.”

    “It’s about the horse, isn’t it?”

    The shadowy figure, now halfway down the steps, said nothing. That had to be it. The details were coming back. The notes. The pleas whispered in his ear.

    “I’m right? Aren’t I?”

    “Of course it’s about the horse!” she screamed. “It’s the only thing I ever really wanted. Year after year I asked you for a horse And what did you give me? Barbie dolls. Coloring books. Underwear.”

    “Your mother and father didn’t want you to have one.” Nick said softly. “You forget. I know what everyone wants. That includes parents. They simply couldn’t give you a horse.”

    “They call it an evergreen tree because it ‘survives’ the winter. But once you cut it down, it’s dead. Even if the tree thinks it’s still alive,” she said over her shoulder as she ascended the stairs.

    “So that’s your plan, Mabel? To keep me here until I’m dead.”

    Mabel stopped, and turned.

    “It’s December 27th, Santa. Christmas is over. You missed it. You’re already dead. To them.”

  10. ***FINALIST***

    As Mabel closed her refrigerator door, a man said, “Mark, did you leave the fridge open?”

    “I don’t remember. We were up for what, thirty-six hours? I was tired. Sorry, ma’am. Oh, I’m Mark and he’s Bill.”

    “I’m Mabel.”

    “We apologize for the mess. We’ll clean up and pay for everything. We had to stop because one of our crew’s not acting right and the team won’t budge.”

    “Maybe they know I’m a vet. Let’s go look.”

    “Come on, Mark.”

    “Here’s the problem,” Mabel said, removing a thorn from the right front foot of the lead reindeer.

    “Of course,” said Bill. “He pushes off with his right. I thought he got awfully close to that big thorn bush coming in. He gets a little cocky sometimes.”

    “How much do we owe you?” asked Mark.

    “No charge, but I am curious.”

    “Bill?”

    “She’s been really nice, Mark. I think the boss would understand since we owe her.”

    “Well,” Mark said, “we’re some of Santa’s roadies.”

    “Roadies?”

    “Even he can’t do it all by himself.”

    “Why doesn’t he eat my cookies?”

    “He’d be ill if he ate at every stop.”

    “That makes sense.”

    “We better clean up, Mark.”

    “Aren’t you late already?”

    “We called a backup crew.”

    Mabel left cookies the following year because it seemed proper. When they were gone in the morning she thought the roadies had returned until she saw a note beneath the empty plate.

    Mabel,

    Delicious cookies! Thanks for everything.

    Yours always,

    – S.

  11. ***FINALIST***

    “Santa?”

    Mable stared at the man in the red coat passed out on her lawn and the overturned sled, ignoring the reindeer munching on her shrubs. Empty beer cans, cookie crumbs, and scraps from her Christmas ham littered the ground. The man’s eyes cracked opened, then slammed shut.

    “Hey. Wake up.”

    “Turn off that damned light,” he groaned. “Let me die in peace.”

    “I can’t turn off the sun,” said Mable. “Get up before a kid sees you.”

    “Quit nagging. You sound like Mrs. Clause.”

    “Well, she’s probably worried sick about you.

    Santa belched. “I doubt that very much. She threw me out after the company party last week. All because of one little kiss. Okay, maybe a bit more than a kiss, but it’s not my fault. Someone spiked my milk and covered the ceiling with mistletoe. I couldn’t stop kissing everyone.”

    Mable didn’t believe what she was hearing. This was not how she pictured jolly old Saint Nick. “So explain that to Mrs. Clause.”

    “I tried, but she just can’t get past the surveillance video. Neither can the elves. The restraining order says I can’t go within 500 miles of the North Pole.” Tears ran down his face. “I’m never drinking milk again. You have to help. I’ve been set up.”

    “Me? What can I do?”

    “You’re the one who wants to be a detective. Here’s your chance, detect. Clear my name.”

    Instead of being happy, Mable winced. Her first case was going to be a doozy.

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