This is a very short story about a man named Leo and his best friend Marvin and what happened to them on Christmas Eve, four years ago when they were cutting across the field to the Sollie Farm for the Sollie’s annual Christmas Party.
They could have driven over, but they had spent a few hours at Marvin’s house drinking Marvin’s homemade beer and then they had gone to Leo’s and smoked Leo’s homegrown- um, tobacco. Sure, we can just go ahead and call it Tobacco.
Anyway. They were in no shape to drive and instead of asking one of their many friends who were headed over to the Sollie’s for a ride, they decided to walk it and halfway across the snow covered field they came across an eight foot tall, fully decorated Christmas tree.
It was decorated with glass ornaments of all sorts of shapes and sizes- there were bells and trees, snowflakes and birds and they all twinkled like stars in the sky.
The tree was lit with white and silver candles that were glowing, but the flames pulsing at the tops and around the candles weren’t really yellow or white, they were a light icy shade of blue.
” Did you put that up? ” Marvin asked Leo.
” No. Man. Really? Me? “Leo laughed.
” How about your Mom, could she have put that up? ”
” My Mom still uses the same aluminum tree her Great Aunt gave her. She wouldn’t know how to decorate a real tree. She probbly couldn’t even decorate a fake one with the decorations already stuck to them.
” Yeah. Her tree is pretty damn ugly. Plus it smells funny. ”
” Drop dead. ” Leo told Marvin.
They walked up to the tree, they got close to the tree. Marvin reached out with one gloved finger and poked at one of the ornaments. ” It’s made from ice. Check it out.”
Leo put out his hand and then he said, ” My Grandma used to tell me this story about these cannibal witches that used to set up these campfires at the side of the road and -”
” What, they ate you? ”
” That’s what cannibals do, dimwit. Anyway. These travelers used to tell each other never to leave the road and never go near the campfire, especially when the flames started to turn blue no matter how cold and lost you were, or the witches would get you. That was how you knew they were close. The fire froze and turned blue.
They watched the blue flames on top of candles pop and hiss and spark. They couldn’t have looked away if they wanted to, let alone run for it.
Leo asked Marvin, ” we’re screwed aren’t we? ”
Marvin put his hand to the back of his neck because the hairs on it were standing up and he was so cold, colder then he ever had been in his life.