From Christmas

‘The Winter Child’ by Jo Mazelis

The boy never goes outside so his skin is as pale as the moon. Beside him on the sofa, two cats are curled, one purring and rubbing its rasping tongue against his hand, its fur warm and soft, while the other is stiff and dead. The boy strokes each cat in turn. He makes no…

‘Pasterka’ by Dan Coxon

Outside The Goat’s Head he stops and spits, the ball of phlegm steaming on the frosted pavement. The bouncer eyeballs him, so Henryk pushes his tongue out between yellowed teeth. Raises a dirty middle finger, the nail cracked and bloody. A blackness swells around his heart. This is the true meaning of Christmas: drink, maybe…

‘The Woman Who Shagged Christmas’ by Camillus John

Being always so goose-pimpled, luminous and hush-hush-hushy-it’ll-be-grand, she could make him cry at the drop of an eyelash. And all because Father Apollo had spat into her mouth at choir practice once, when she was a teenager. But he couldn’t say anything to Mrs. Phelan, or Cassandra, as she liked him to call her, not…