Friday, December 14, 2018

A Krampy Holiday Part 2

Today’s post is a writing challenge. This is how it works: participating bloggers picked 4 – 6 words or short phrases for someone else to craft into a post. All words must be used at least once and all the posts will be unique as each writer has received their own set of words. That’s the challenge, here’s a fun twist; no one who’s participating knows who got their words and in what direction the writer will take them. Until now.

At the end of this post you’ll find links to the other blogs featuring this challenge. Check them all out, see what words they got and how they used them.

I'm using: meaningful encounter, holly, creature, pod, clay, hidden treasure

They were submitted by:

I wasn't sure if I'd be writing a second part to this. I felt okay with leaving it as a standalone drop-in kind of story where we see a few moments and never get real "closure" or an ending, but I had a couple of asks about the rest and the words I had really lined up with a second part, so here we are. I like Estelle as a character. I'm glad I got to write her a little more. 


Estelle was a little rough around the edges and had a tendency of isolating herself. She hadn’t had the best life. Throughout life, whenever the chips were down, she had learned she was the only person she could count on…which, she also knew, was, at least partly, because she was terrible at asking for help. It was a tough cycle to break. But things had kind of changed when she became a Memaw. She had a different outlook on letting people in and not pushing them away. Things in her life had finally fallen in place, and when she’d looked on their little red faces in the hospital, she felt things she hadn’t even with her own kids.

She snuggled them a little harder thinking back on that moment. Lucy, half awake, sighed and demanded, “Memaw finish telling us about when you met…when you met that creature.”

“Child, you fall asleep every single time before I finish.”


“Oh yeah, then why were you sleeping just now, missy?”

“memaw, my name is Lucy not missy. And I was resting my eyes like you do after lunch.”

“You mean your name isn’t HOLLY? I thought it was Holly this whole time!”

“MEMAAAAW! WHAT?” Lucy giggled loudly making Leo stir a little, but he fell right back asleep with his finger up his nose like he was digging for buried treasure. These two, night and day, made her heart so full.

She took another sip of her cider, cleared her throat, and got ready to finally finish this story for at least one of these kids when she heard Lucy snoring lightly. She couldn’t help but chuckle. It was kind of tradition for her to not be able to finish the damned thing now.

She slid slowly out from between the two, lay them on either end of the couch, and tucked them in. She had a feeling that sleep would elude her like it often did lately. She wanted some coffee, one of the caramel vanilla pods she bought for the fancy Keurig her kids had sent for her birthday a couple months ago and headed for the kitchen.

She was a bit lost in thought about that day, the day she saw the Krampus. She’d really thought it was the end of the line for her when he jumped off that bus. He stood there pushing hot air through those flared nostrils staring her down. She was too terrified to scream, too terrified to move. She sat there in the snow, ball melting in her hands soaking her gloves while waiting to be eaten.

He hadn’t moved, hadn’t spoke. She had spent time taking in all his features, hyperfocused on him, memorizing every wrinkle. The lines in his goat-like face had been so deep she could have sworn he was carved out of clay. His ears had been pointed like an elf’s, and she could see the tips of sharp, serrated teeth through the small parting of his lips, lips that didn’t look much different than her own. His fur had been a deep brown with grayed streaks especially in the thicker mane that surrounded his face. His coat looked like the rough, wiry fur of the Bergmans’ dog that had lived down the street from her house. Toby was his name and petting Toby had kinda been like petting a dish scrubber, but he had been nice and had licked her face sometimes even though her mom hated that. The creature had no clothes, but like Toby, he was hairy enough, shaggy enough that his fur looked like pants hanging down over part of his hooves in the snow. She had been horrified even more when it had finally dawned on her that she was staring at the Krampus from that old story her mother had told her every year ‘round Christmas. Santa would bring her gifts if she behaved, but if she didn’t…the Krampus would come and take her away.

But she hadn’t been bad. She knew she hadn’t been bad. She hadn’t been spanked all year at school or my her mother. She did her chores and made good grades and never talked back even though it almost killed her, and the more she thought about it, the madder she got.


He turned his head to the side like an animal hearing an unfamiliar sound curiosity getting the better of him. “You have not?” His voice was deep and grumbly sounding both human and animal-like at once.

“I HAVE NOT. I’VE BEEN GOOD. VERY GOOD. SO NOW WHAT?” She’d felt braver than she ever had before in her life. She had cried all the way up to age 8 every time they saw Santa at the Christmas parade.

“Who said you have been good?”


“Well, I suppose bad grammar is no reason to have you for my dinner.”

“I’d probably taste bad anyway. My mother made asparagus last night, and it makes your pee smell funny. Maybe it does that to your blood, too, and taste funny.”

“I suppose you have a point there, Estelle Kalinda Sizemore.”

She shivered when she heard her name but held her gaze on him steadfastly. “Um, am I supposed to wish you a Merry Christmas or not?”

“Actually, I’m not quite sure. No one ever lives this long.”

“Well, it seems rude not to, so Merry Christmas, and thanks for not taking me.”


She had waved until he was out of sight, and of course, not a single one of her family had ever believed her no matter how much she had cried and swore she was being truthful.

Estelle had almost finished her cup of coffee by the time she snapped out of the memory. Reflecting back on that story always made her feel…like some kind of badass. She’d faced the Krampus and lived to tell about it even if it hadn’t really been a meaningful encounter. It didn’t change the course of history, but it did change her. She was certainly no scaredy cat after that. When she wanted something, she went for it. She stopped sleeping with a night light even.

As she washed her mug still reveling a bit in the memory of that day she thought she saw a little of herself in Lucy, that same sassy bravery and loudmouthed way of getting answers at least, and she smiled. One day they really would have to hear the rest of the story.


Links to the other “Use Your Words” posts:

Baking In A Tornado

On the Border

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script

Part-Time Working Hockey Mom

Friday, December 7, 2018

A Krampy Holiday

Welcome to a Secret Subject Swap. This week 8 brave bloggers picked a secret subject for someone else and were assigned a secret subject to interpret in their own style. Today we are all simultaneously divulging our topics and submitting our posts.

My prompt is: It was a cloudy cold day in December...

It was submitted by: 


Two pair of pattering feet hit the hallway floor seemingly going from 0 to 60 mph in the blink of an eye. The twins were up again. Of course. They never managed to stay in bed the entire night no matter how often they stayed with her, and they so rarely got to stay (at least in her opinion) that she couldn't help indulging their every whim.

"Memaw, can you tell us the story again?"

"What story???"

"Meeeemaaaaaaw," Lucy giggling, "you KNOW the story."

"I don't have the slightest idea, sweetheart. To which story are you referring?"

Leo rolled his eyes and sighed, "ME. MAW. You do know. You're just being starcastic. "

"I think the word you're looking for is 'sarcastic.'"

"That's what I said, starcastic."

Lucy nodded in agreement, her little curls bouncing with the movement. "Memaw, you know. We can't say his name."

The older woman, known as Estelle to pretty much everyone but these two, smiled to herself but feigned shock. "Oooooh you mean--she lowered her voice conspiratorially--you want the story of how I met Krampus."


"Hush now. I told you *I* can say his name since I saw him and lived to tell it, but you two cannot."

In unison, an exaggerated "oooooohhhhhh" caressed the air in that half whisper of relief. It was the same every time she told it like some sort of ritual. If they asked every time, maybe it would help keep him away.

Estelle gave them a moment to get settled, grab their respective blankets and snuggle in beside her while she sipped her hot cider.

"It was a cloudy, cold day in December..."

"How old were you then, Memaw?"

Lucy. That child was always full of questions.

"I told you I was not much older than you two. You're how old now? 34?"

A ruckus of giggles delighted her ears. "MEMAW! You know we're 7. Boths of us. We're twins!"

"Oh yes that's right! 7! I must have been 9 or 10 at the time. We lived in North Dakota then..."

"Is that near the North Pole?" Lucy again.

She smiled as she feigned a scolding, "do you want to hear the story or ask questions?"

"BOTHS!" she shouted in her little chipmunk squeak giggling all the while. No surprises there. No book could be read, song sung, or story told without Lucy asking her questions. Leo was the quiet one usually pondering over it all and never letting anyone know what was really on his mind until it was absolutely made up about things. The two of them could not be more different.

Estelle began her story again, "It was a snow day that day like the day before it. There had been a snowstorm, and we'd gotten a couple feet of snow overnight, but it was finally slowing down just after lunch, so my mother sent us out..."

"What's a snow day again?" Leo, this time actually.

"It's when it snows so much traveling to school is dangerous or when people are snowed in. You don't have those here in Florida really."

He nodded looking wise well above his years, so she continued. "We went out all bundled up with our sled to the middle school a few blocks from our house so we could take a few turns going down the hill behind it. It wasn't the biggest, but we still had fun and got to stay close to home to be back in time for dinner."

"Wait, you just go down a hill on snow? Do dogs pull you like in White Fang? How do you stop? What if you crash?"

"Whoa there! Are you practicing for your future career as a game show host, Luce? Are we in the lightning round?!"

"Memaw! It's not storming!!"

"One of these days you'll get my jokes, sweeties."

Leo, bless him, studied her for a moment all too seriously. "Jokes are supposed to be funny, Memaw."

"Touché, kiddo. Now, where were we? Yes, sledding means sliding down a hill on a sled, but it's different than a dog sled. There are no brakes on these kinds of sleds, so you have to pick a good spot, know what you're doing, and be very careful not to get hurt."

Two little chipmunk voices in unison, "WE WANT TO GO!"

"Of course you do. What about this story first?" They settled back in beside her snuggling in close. It was cool out for a December night in Florida. She didn't have much in the way of a heating system--just a couple of small space heaters. It never really got so cold she needed more, but on this particular night they were hardly keeping them comfortable. She might have to bring them all into the living room and sleep in here with the kids just to make sure they didn't get too cold.

"Pete, that's my brother, and I got tired of sledding pretty quickly. It being such a small hill really didn't give us the action we needed after being cooped up all day the day before, so we decided to have a snowball fight. Now, our mom was deadset against them. She just knew one of us would accidentally roll up a rock or worse and really nail the other one, so that element of taboo added to the fun..."


"Lucy, these questions! Heavens sake. No, no, no. 'Ta-Boo' not 'tat-Too." Taboo means something you're not supposed to do or someone you're not supposed to be around."

"So like how Mommy doesn't want us playing with James across the street?"

"Right. Sort of. But James is an asshole, so you not being allowed would not make it more fun to play at his house."


"My mom passed a long time ago, honey. But I will tell you like I told your mom when she was your age. Those words are not *bad.* They're just for adults. Adults know when to say them sorta like adults are better at driving."

"So you need a lishentz to say asshole?"

"LUCILLE KALINDA MORRISON. Watch yourself! And no you don't need a LICENSE. You need to be an adult. Let's get back to this story before I fall asleep telling it. Where were we?"

"Snowball fight, Memaw." Leo, the angel.

"Right. So we went to the two buses in the parking lot. They were a few spaces apart with small snow drifts all around, so it was a perfect spot to take cover and have plenty of ammunition. I hid behind my bus and started putting together my stack of snowballs. I'd made maybe 5 when I heard something on top of the bus, a clanging sound with weight. I thought it was Pete though I have no idea how he would have gotten on the bus, so I yelled out calling him a cheater. He yelled back from across the way right about the time the Krampus jumped from above and landed a few feet from where I sat. I took one look at him and was too scared to even scream. He had black hooves shining like leather boots, a furry body with goat legs, and two massive horns coming out of his head. He was dressed on a weird old coat that split in the back to make room for the weirdest tail I have ever seen in my life."

Estelle paused to take a sip of her cider and looked down. She had fully expected more questions by now. Both of them were passed out holding hands across her lap. She hadn't made it to the end once.


Here are the links to the rest of the entries!

Baking In A Tornado

The Lieber Family Blog

The Bergham Chronicles

The Blogging 911

Cognitive Script