On this Christmas Eve Eve, Juliana L. Brandt taps into the Ghost of Christmas Future – pour yourself a glass of wine and enjoy this quick little number…
by Juliana L. Brandt
1 Volcanic rock crunched beneath Claus’s crimson snakeskin boots. Soft grey ash fell about his shoulders.
2 He took another step.
“We don’t gotta to do this Claus,” Frost shouted from behind him.
“No,” Claus took his 3rd step, “I’m sure we do. I gave you twenty-four hours to clear out of town, Frost. You’re still here, so now we duel.”
4 The pistol at his hip weighed against him. Claus kept his steps even.
“This ain’t your territory. I don’t know why you see fit to disrupt the community.”
“I’m merely taking back what was mine to begin with.” 5 “You’ve been naughty, Frost. It’s time the north fell back under Claus rule, and I plan on taking you down.” Claus tipped back the brim of his ten-gallon hat.
“The old rules shouldn’t apply. No one can control all the land.” Desperation snuck into Frost’s voice. “You keep the south. We’ll stop pushing at the border.”
“No.” Claus ground his heel into the earth. 6 steps gone, four left. The clouds above, heavy with smoking embers, hung low. Vapor clung about the shoulders of his duster.
7 Four generations past, no one would have contested his claim to this land, but the Clauses had become lax and the Frosts had snuck in. It wasn’t long before a perimeter had risen and the Clauses no longer reigned.
Frost’s 8th step came a moment behind Claus’s. A hesitation. A pause. “Don’t know why you think killing me will do any good. There are plenty of other Frosts after me.”
“Then I’ll take them all down too. You’re just a good place to start, is all.” He stepped again. 9. “You counting, Frost?” He called over his shoulder.
Claus turned, flicking back the skirts of his coat. The revolver came loose from the holster. His finger found the trigger. A click. The kickback jerked his wrist, but his aim stayed true. Frost crumpled before he had freed his gun from his own holster. Burgundy blood blossomed across his shirt front.
Claus sheathed his pistol. One down. Soon enough, the world would be the Claus’s again. Under one rein. Winter, again, would be his.