Winter Gatherer, MicroHorror, December 2010

Snow fell throughout Christmas Eve, and next morning a group of young children began building a snowman on the green in the center of the retirement complex. All dressed identically, in black coats with hoods, they worked in silence, with none of the exuberance associated with children at play. In fact, Emily thought, from some angles, they didn’t particularly resemble children at all.

When the snowman was complete, they stood for a moment in silent contemplation, before trooping off in single file, leaving no footprints in the snow.

From her window, the snowman’s head was in profile, facing old George’s bungalow. There was something decidedly unfestive about the glittering coal black eye Emily could see, and she shivered.

The following day she saw a stretcher being carried towards a waiting ambulance. Later she learned that George had slipped on ice, and had died, alone, in his garden during the night. No one knew why he had ventured outside.

The next morning Emily noticed that the snowman appeared to be facing in the opposite direction, towards Thea’s house. She rang Thea to ask if she had noticed any change in the snowman’s position, but Thea laughed and suggested Emily should take a bit more lemonade with her nightly sherry.

Emily was embarrassed, and went to check on the sherry bottle. Still half full.

Two days later, another ambulance was waiting, this time for Thea, who appeared to have slipped on a puddle of water in her kitchen, and had fallen victim to hypothermia overnight.

“Hmph,” grunted Emily. “More lemonade with the sherry, huh?”

More snow fell on New Year’s Day and at nightfall Emily looked out to see that the snowman was now facing her house, his coal black eyes glittering malevolently, and his pebbled mouth forming an evil grin.

Horror clutched at her heart as the lights suddenly went out and the bars on the electric fire turned from orange to red, before fading away altogether.

Emily wrapped herself in a blanket, and sat down to wait for her caller.

  • Copyright: © 2010 Sandra Crook
  • Published December 2010, by

About Sandra

I cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and write fiction and poetry. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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