There was once a print magazine called NFG (Canadian, eh?) which ran a regular competition called the Great Sixty-Niner. You had to write a story in exactly 69 words. This one didn’t win the competition but it reached the level of being printed in the magazine.
Harry smoothed his Santa suit and climbed the ladder. He loved Christmas Eve.
He tapped on the window until the curtain opened and a small face appeared.
Ruffling his beard with one hand, he watched delight bloom in the child's eyes, then he scowled and pointed a finger.
"You're getting nothing," he said, laughing at the tears as he descended the ladder and moved it to the next house.
Okay, to sane people it won't look like anything worth getting excited about but if you've been trying to write horror or dystopia stories and finding the morning news is way ahead of you, it feels like a little triumph.
Just for once I got in there before real life did. Assuming smug mode for a moment, please be patient...
My silence lately has been due to working on a Christmas tale that is both delightfully vicious and entirely gore-free. Nobody even gets bruised. Nobody does what the mother in the Mail story does - nobody uses their child's distress to force a company to give them free stuff while claiming the moral high ground. Even Clive Barker wouldn't have come up with something that horrible.
I, however, hope to have done so. I'll have to edit and check it but it's December so here comes the humbug man. It will be part of the Christmas collection but it's too nasty not to spread as a freebie too ;)