The Creepfest has taken over! Not even quaint, sleepy little towns are safe from the devious minds of your favorite horror, dark and speculative fiction authors.
Bloody Bookish asked author Janet Sked how she would create the ultimate Creepfest-inspired Christmas village.
Here is her splendidly sinister take on this holiday tradition.
The road is gritted and wide, the pavements gently steaming from an under-ground heating system that means no embarrassing slips or slides. Embarrassment tastes bitter, and taints the meat.
Here is the bakery, with the scent of cloves and ginger warming the air, and the cutest little gingerbread men hung in the window by their necks, little icing tongues protruding through puffy sugar lips, and the baker himself, waving cheerily as you stroll past the window, ancient eyes crinkling under his bandages.
In the little park across the way from the shuttered church someone has set up an ice-skating rink, and the local kids are playing a game of ice-train, led by a howling child with a face like melting taffy. They are watched over by a grinning white wolf. It glances over at you and drops one eye in a sly wink, before casually extending a paw and tapping its claws on the ice, and the train reverses obediently.
They’ve decorated the shop windows: bundles of tinsel and clusters of feather fountains, some gently twitching. The street lights are cobwebs, studded with gems and miniature cages with candles. The centre piece is a spider the size of a Great Dane, bundled up sensibly in a cheery red and white speckled scarf.
A little further up is The Cottage, renowned for an egg-nog that sears the throat and sets a fire in the belly on a cold day. Potash will do that, every time.
Your host, a jolly looking fellow in red, will take your coat and lead you into the main room, past the sacrificial tree with the fairy lashed to the top branch. Here folk keep to the old ways, and fairies bleed for some time without running out.
Let him bring you a plate of ladyfingers, lightly dusted in castor sugar (if you’re a regular, the nail polish will match on all of them), and drowse gently by the fire, watching him drop beetles and worms into the stockings pinned above it. One lucky child gets a garter snake.
Task complete, he’ll join you watching cities burn and fall in the embers, and as your eyes drift closed, will raise your wrist to his lips.
J. H. Sked lives in London, England, with several hundred books and a long-suffering flatmate.
When not writing, she reads, paints, works at a day job and is completing a university degree.
Every now and then she finds time to sleep.
WolfSong is the first book in a planned trilogy of fantasy. Basement Blues is a collection of short stories, and introduces the characters from the Blue Moon Detective Agency. The first full length book, Die Laughing is scheduled for release in early 2012.