A Christmas Short Story — Yicheng Liu

yicheng_spiderHello there, dear fans of epic fantasy and writing! I am…probably the only science fiction writer on this entire blog. I want to tell you that I blend in about as much in a fantasy writing blog as a sheep in the Pacific Ocean. But that doesn’t mean I can’t offer anything fresh or funny about epic fantasy or the craft of writing. Both subjects are something I intended to write about in great length and insert unsolicited puns into. So let’s get that ball rolling without me sounding like I just broke out of a mental asylum, okay? Let’s get to it.

While I may be a science fiction writer, I do know my share of epic fantasy stuff and probably know just about enough for me to be qualified to talk about it. I don’t have a license to kill, but I do have a license to write. I believe there are places out there that still hand out the “I can do it” certificate. I don’t think it costs more than ten dollars.

Fantasy and world-building are a big part of all the things I was interested in a few years ago. Obviously, there’s also sci-fi, but I am kind of going to tell you about my love of EF and all thing geeky right now. So I’d stared into the genre from that unforgettable Christmas (the story of which is coming up soon, by the way) when I’d received a book called The Hobbit, written by J.R.R Tolkien. It is just about the geekiest thing I owned back then (I don’t have an entire bookshelf full of discarded toys yet). I pored over it and soon started my love of this kind of thing with my first LOTR book freshly borrowed from the library. Then there was Harry Potter by J.K Rowling, and then Eragon by Christopher Paolini, and so on and so forth. I consider myself an epic nerd, others call me a maniac whenever an obscure reference or dig at a speculative fiction book/movie/comic book comes up. Obviously, big fan.

I can hold my own when it comes to talking about epic fantasy. That I can promise you. But am I really a good writer worthy of your attention? Well, let me show you how good I am. Since Christmas is coming up, let me tell you a quick short story…

…It wasn’t the fat, crazy god wearing red, wielding a flamethrower made of charred, disembodied toy/doll parts and wearing welding goggles that scared me. It also wasn’t the weirdest thing that I had seen in the sleepy town of Old Churchcreek. It’s a city that knows how to keep its dark secrets. But during Christmas season, all hell breaks loose.

Seventeen days ago, I accidentally shot down an androgynous elf/robot thing that works for the professional fat man in red which I had mentioned in the last paragraph. Apparently, it interprets whimpers of fear as a sign of hostility, because it had lunged at me. A sharp red glint of light reflected from the chrome shell that is the thing’s head as it turned toward me, as the beast closed in for the prize (me) … the smell of diesel fuel exhaust hit me in the figurative sense. It’s something strange yet familiar, whatever the robot might have greasing his hinges or keeping him moving obviously isn’t going to be rainbows and lollipops. What terrified me isn’t any of that, what terrified me is the inhuman sounds that robotic abomination made as it rose over the tip of the hill and homed in on me.

Left with no choice, I relied on my instincts and shot the thing’s head clean off with my trusty shotgun which I had kept besides me on the veranda in case of intruders such as that thing came to destroy the peace, because the unfortunate thing about this town is that it’s not the first time something like that happened. As to why it was prowling around my house … that is another story altogether involving way more dead bodies and hell than I’m altogether comfortable with.

The usually dignified march of technological progress here had become interrupted due to it incoherently stumbling into the gaping maws of the Christmas God of eternal nightmares in this sleepy old town of Old Churchcreek, where the residents live in constant fear and pooping one’s pants or dress had long since become socially acceptable.

Panicked, I did what I usually did when stuff like this happened: I buried the body in the cold, snowy night in an unmarked grave that I had occasionally contributed to every once in a while, though I am pretty certain most of them aren’t human and I didn’t kill them.

See, this town isn’t normal. No one had ever came out of this town as a well-adjusted sane person; no, everyone in this town is the exact polar opposite of sanity. I am quiet simply the person who handled the whole better than anyone else. But I have help.

The demonic God of nightmares that some idiots mistakenly call Santa Claus appears every year during the Christmas season to take sacrifices from the townspeople and let his “workers” roam the desolated streets, but he also occasionally make threats against me and seeks me out with a vengeance. The last time that happened, I had to hack more than a few bodies in half with a rusty axe. While he doesn’t take kindly to people who kill his little creatures, he just uses that as an excuse to fight against me again. This is how I spend my Christmas.

A few days later, he finally realized what I had done and had sworn vengeance and dark curses upon me and my immediate family and friends (again). I probably should’ve gotten the hint and moved right the hell out of this damned town the first time he started sending creepy messages written in dried blood on goatskin parchments, or the vials of poison and reanimated, disembodied hands that came down the chimney and into my house. That happens every year. But hey, I can’t leave my cat behind.

So I did the second best thing, I called the local sheriff to ask him for permission to use the gigantic stockpile of firearms and explosives I had in the house again. Unsurprisingly, he granted me permission before I had even finished speaking since he knew I would ask this question every year; I personally think he was getting a bit bored of me asking the same damned thing over and over again when I already knew what he was going to say.

Then I called my friend Ethan to come to check if my house could stand the hypothetical damage of “a thousand marching zombie abomination beings that being in the fiery pits of hell wielding the firearms of the dark God of everlasting eternal nightmares and sacrifice”. Frankly, he said no and instead volunteered to stay at my house for the next twelve days to help me fend off what most people would have correctly defined as “the post apocalyptic events that no one ever had the guts to make movies about”.

DIE! You maggot!” A voice that bellowed from the dark clouds shouted as my trusty friend arrived. He responded by showing the terror-inducing face hovering in the clouds with an apt magic trick that turned one of his fingers into a bird. So he flipped the god of all that is horrible the insulting middle finger, is what I’m saying.

Wow. You’re are in some serious trouble again. What did you do this time? Take another trip to the dark side and steal his teddy bear?” he said, whistling in admiration and mocking in equal amounts.

Nothing much. I just killed one of his minions. I don’t think he got my formal letter of apology,” I said jokingly.

He signed, and proceeded to lift out several anti-aircraft guns and ground-to-air missile launchers from the back of his pickup truck, and proceeded to install them onto my front lawn. I could only help by shouting encouraging words and moving a few tripod stands for the heavy-duty weaponry he was installing.  

Right. So are you sure this is enough, mister Ethan-the-oh-so-great security consultant?” I said, trying my best to not be afraid of the inevitable showdown between me and a dark God of Christmas.

He snorted. “Right. So you are saying that you will face off against an army of darkness in Christmas Eve and three automatic machine guns; two rocket launchers designed to take out small planes and enough weaponry to start a small war isn’t going to be enough? Tell me again, have anyone in this town ever heard of the word ‘overkill’? Because even if we don’t survive through December, we are definitely going to turn at least half the town into a mass grave again. Remind me again why I agreed to this. I told you last year when I found a great white shark swimming in your basement that I am through with all this.”

Um, because we are friends and this is not the first time I asked for your expertise in stuff like this? After all, I thought you are an expert in designing security systems and being all bodyguard-y,” I said, nostalgic of the simpler times when the only thing I had to ask him about were serial killers wearing loincloth, toting around decorative laser swords. “Besides, you know that you can totally sell the scrap metal from the fallen robots for cash. I promised that no one will get injured injured this time, these days everyone else is either too drunk or too scared to go outside during Christmas Eve. You know how we spend Christmas here.”

He grunted what I had hoped was a grunt of approval as he rigged up something resembling a fence that will keep absolutely everything from trespassing onto my property. In this town, if your last line of defense is a fence, then now would be a good time to say your goodbyes with your immediate family. The evil dark god people occasionally call Santa needed to conserve his strength to appear in the mortal realm on Christmas Eve, so he could only send his minions to harass me and my security consultant friend. I had explained most of this to him before, but he still occasionally needs me to re-explain the situation to him.

I imagine it won’t take much imagination to figure out what happened for the next eleven days. We battled the evil elf-robots of darkness who kept throwing gift-wrapped explosives at us. Eventually, it got so bad that I needed a small army to keep me guarded while shopping for good groceries.

When it was finally the day before Christmas, there weren’t any more evil minions stalking the boundaries of my humble abode. But I’m still tending for the final battle of year, because I kind of realized that it’s only the calm before the storm. Ethan went to buy more bullets and duct tape as I went to the more obscure parts of the house that I urgently needed to repair and install traps in. After all, I have every intention of staying alive for a few more decades.

Ethan didn’t get back from doing whatever he is doing until well after twilight, when the sun had set. I was getting increasingly nervous and stuffed down a few cans of tuna mixed with some fresh fries that I had cooked in the oven. I know that the fat god in red had terrorized the town for more than three centuries now. But there’s only three cases where someone had survived an encounter with him, which doesn’t exactly boosts my chance of survival at all.

Of course, I saw his truck making its slow way up the hill. But it’s too late, I already heard the ghastly jingles of the bells that signal the arrival of the dreaded thing. Or more specifically, the bells are part of the collar he keeps around the necks of all the misshapen abominations created in his lab in the cold poles of hell. Rumor has it that he keeps some to pull the gigantic funeral van that he rides in through the sky. Well, I can tell you now that I know first hand that this rumor is unfortunately true and gave me an irrational desire to douse my eyes with bleach.

HO-HO-HO! Prepare to die, you puny maggot! You killed my pet! Do you know how expensive it costs to create another machine-spawn?” he shouted, casually burning one of his minions to ashes using his flame-thrower made of charred, disembodied toy/doll parts.

Uh…you just killed one of your own minions,” I said, stalling for time, feeling pathetically inadequate with the tiny taser in my hand. It’s probably a bad time to rush back into my house and get a bigger, more threatening weapon and I have no idea how to activate the bloody machine guns and other long-ranged weaponry sitting there. I could only hope Ethan arrives back in time.

Details!” he roared, “you think you are clever, but you won’t stop me from tearing you apart and turning you into one of my pets that I will unleash onto this blasted town. Someday, I will leave this place and fight the pathetic mortals with my dark army. BUT YOU WILL DIE FIRST!”

It was then I saw the gigantic black portal looming over my house. Five seconds after the fat god of evil finished speaking, an army of eight hundred or so machine-made creatures poured out of the rift between realities and flew down to my front lawn. Oh dear, I’m battling a god with an unhealthy obsession of choreographing the unnecessarily melodramatic appearance of a pants-wettingly large number of evil elf-robots.

Thankfully, Ethan had a good sense of timing and rammed his truck into a few row of robots before putting a few well-timed bullets into the trusty heads of a few more. I took this opportunity to courageously run back into the house and get something more dangerous out. Which didn’t end well as I realized that some of them were climbing down the chimney to infiltrate my house.

I rushed towards one of them and tasered it to death as another rushed towards me. It might’ve been the end of me if it wasn’t for the slippers lying around. The thing slipped on the slippers and fell to the floor. Hard. That’s two down and seven hundred something more to go.

In a flurry of frantically lobbing hand grenades and just generally being violent, I didn’t realize that I was just standing right behind Ethan and gave a startled cry as our backs touched briefly. “Geez. Don’t scare me like that.”

It doesn’t count as me scaring you if you scared me and distracted me from saving your life. Also, you owe me roughly two hundred and eighty-eight hours worth of my wages. I am definitely going to need more monetary motivation to hack down six hundred something evil robots from hell,” Ethan said before slamming the door onto the skulls of a more robots. Oh, and did I mention the automated machine guns and missiles are constantly firing in the background? Because they are and they are loud.

Thankfully, the robots are still as brittle as they had been last year and crumpled easily under the barrage of bullets. Angry, the dark one stepped down from the chariot/funeral van he had been riding and tried to take care of this himself. He shoved aside several of his minions and crushed a machine gun with his bare hands as he approached the house and threw literal fire and lightning at us. Ethan and I hid behind the thick walls of my house as he grabbed one of the gimmicky weapons I had “borrowed” from the man in red trying to kill us, and shot him in the chest a few time. Each time it seemed to weaken him a bit.

Soon, we both realized it was useless. It’s Christmas, and the god is the strongest during Christmas Eve. It would be damn near impossible to banish him back to where he came from, unless…

Having a brilliant idea, I plugged my phone into a set of speakers and blasted Justin Bieber songs towards him. Well, no one likes Justin Bieber songs, and apparently even the creatures from hell cant stand it. In fact, it seemed to damage them. I picked up that little tidbit a few years ago when I was holed up in a music shop with a horde of giant, flaming spiders with low-hanging genitals.

I set down my phone and speakers and snatched the weapon from Ethan and started pumping the Santa full of black balls of energy (because when you are literally the god of all things evil and creepy, you can totally start manufacturing weapons that fart and poop horror). Ethan didn’t stand around and do nothing, he went inside and grabbed a kitchen knife, proving that when you are in a situation where you are grinning like a madman while your shirt is ripped to pieces and are half-covered in machine oil, holding a kitchen knife isn’t going to be the creepiest thing about you and paradoxically will make you look sexier. He stabbed a few more robots on the way out to prove that metal from hell and metal from China are significantly different; because when hell manufactures horror and heaven manufactures light, China must hold a monopoly on plastic bullshit and metal-ware to feel adequate compared to them.

Then Ethan lazily stabbed the evil bearer of extreme darkness in the chest, effectively banishing Santa Claus from wreaking havoc on the world (or at least the poor town of old Churchcreek) for another three hundred and sixty four days. It was then that I realized there weren’t any more screams of torment; only silence.

So, do you want to eat Christmas dinner?” Ethan said, cleaning blood off the kitchen knife with his sleeve.

Oh hell yeah,” I said, kicking away a gigantic robot monster lying slumped on the doorstep. Dead, obviously. While some may have escaped, it’s not really my concern right now. I’ll go and look for them tomorrow and bear in mind that I’m on Santa’s naughty list for the third year straight. Not that I’m complaining or anything, the fat old geezer probably isn’t going to give away anything more than death anyways.

The end?


YichengLiu-bioBorn in the peaceful land of China, Yicheng Liu is a guy who had made the sadistic decision of moving to the dangerous land of Australia at a young age and had since then enjoyed recklessly darkening pieces of dead, processed wood with ink and maniacally laughs as he darken computer screens with pixelated text when he can’t find processed dead wood. When not doing any of that, he is making stupid jokes and hanging out on twitter under the handle @liu_liu0074 and making pointless Youtube videos on his channel (link:https://m.youtube.com/channel/UCKQ50oIOUWwhLvtt1L4kOsw).

Also, he would beg you to preorder his funny science fiction thriller book onInkshares: www.inkshares.com/projects/the-remains-of-civilization

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