The silence was broken…

The sound, drifting melodic and misplaced, broke through the torment of unreasoned thought until it was so loud it couldn’t be ignored.

“They’re here…” The effort of speaking dragged him downward until he stooped like an old man waiting to die. “They’ve come for my soul.”

“No Jed! No! They’re just children. Carol singers!” Hope flooded through her, heavy and intoxicating like mulled wine, the false images dispelled by a truth she could understand. “It’s Christmas Jed. It’s just Christmas!”

He recoiled as if he had been struck…
She reached out to him, her face alight with the warmth of a thousand glowing Christmas lights.

He rose up. Driven by a rage that only the dying can know when faced with the final moment of life he fell on her, pressing his hands around her throat and forcing to look into his eyes.