Sunday, December 9, 2012

Sam's Sunday Snippets

Continuing to highlight past Christmas free reads, Astra Gets a Lump of Coal for Christmas is from 2010. Enjoy!

In this short Christmas story, Astra is forced to spend Christmas in Satan’s backyard, helping the angels figure out how the green dragons are escaping Hell to terrorize the human realm on Earth. Astra is thrilled. I mean, there’s nothing like Hell at Christmastime. The lovely, scorched earth theme delights the visual pallet while the dulcet sound of terrified screaming serenades the lucky minions within Hell’s fiery grasp.
Astra’s body may be locked in Hell, but her thoughts are a few million miles north, where light and angelic music are the norm. And somewhere in the middle, where bright colors and happy thoughts rule the day.
So what does a kick ass demon hunter do when she finds herself holding a big, fat lump of coal on Christmas day? Why, she thumps an elf , of course!

“So…what’s an elf doing in Hell?”
He spared me a quick glance. “Are you kidding me? This is our biggest coal distribution area.”
I snorted. “Who’d you piss off to get Hades duty?”
“I’ve never been very good with politics,” he murmured.
“Yeah, me neither. What have you got there?”
He grinned at me. “The nice and naughty list.”
I frowned. This was a sensitive subject with me. “Am I on it?”
The elf pretended to peruse the list, his beady black eyes flashing with terminal hilarity. “Astra Q Phelps? Let’s see…oh yes, there you are…in the coal section.” He burst into good-natured laughter, his little shoulders rolling and bouncing with mirth. 
I frowned, not amused. “How’d you know my name, elf?”
He shrugged. “I was told you’d be coming.”
“Who told you I was coming?”
He just shrugged again and pretended to peruse the scroll.
I tried to read over his shoulder but he turned his back on me so I couldn’t see. “Why won’t you let me see the list?”
“Santa / recipient confidentiality.”
“But I’m a recipient. “
He ignored me and continued to read the scroll.
I lay down in the snow and, just for grins, made a snow Tweener. When I stood up to look at it, my Tweener had horns and a tail. I glared skyward. “Very funny.” Thunder rolled across the sky, sounding suspiciously like laughter.
Glynus lay down on her belly and flapped her wings, sending snow billowing over the elf and me. She grunted in pleasure as the snow cooled her enormous belly. I love snow, Mother Tweener.
Yeah, me too, Tadpole.
Glancing back toward the elf,  I  tried a different tactic. “Have you seen a lot of green dragons around here?”
The elf looked up, his dark, sparkling eyes narrowing on me with distrust. “Why do you ask?”
“That’s why I’m here. I’ve been tasked with stopping their escape into the human realm.”
His gaze, which had been harmless and bright a moment earlier, like a puppy’s, was suddenly dark and unfathomable, almost hostile.
I wasn’t aware elves did hostile.
“You do realize they’re being poisoned here, right?”
I opened my mouth to respond but he didn’t give me the chance.
“Their only hope is to get out of here. You would stop them and cause their deaths? You would really do that? No wonder you’re on the coal list.”
Sloughing off the un-elf-like dig, I ploughed onward, seeing a possible end to my stint in maximum security Hell. “You seem very informed and interested, elf. You wouldn’t by any chance be involved in helping them escape, would you?”
He pulled himself up to his full height of about four feet and not much and stuck his little pug nose into the air, puffing up his rosy cheeks. “If I was involved I wouldn’t tell you, coal girl.”
I felt a snarl building in my chest. Power tingled in my fingertips. I clenched my hands to stop myself from flinging a fireball at the vertically challenged rodent. “Look, elf. I don’t really care if you’re involved. I’m not gonna turn you in to the red guy or anything. I just want to stop the spill of greens into the human realm so I can get home and start enjoying the Holidays.”
The look on his face almost took my breath away. Through his beady little eyes I suddenly saw myself. I finally realized what I was saying, what I had been trying to do.
I was willing to sign death warrants for every green dragon in Hell so I could get back to my Champaign and cookies. I was a schmoe, a shmuck, a class A jerk. I dropped my butt onto the elf’s three legged stool and buried my face in my hands. “You’re right. I’m an ass. I do deserve a lump of coal.”
Are you all right, Mother Tweener. Do you want me to thump the elf for you?
I sighed. No, tadpole. I don’t want you to thump the elf.  I may want to do it myself. 
Download the rest of the story here!

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