Look! Christmas can be Murder

How? you might ask. Well, if you’re Taylor Gressman, and you inadvertently go back in time a couple decades, you might find yourself in the midst of the Christmas Killings, the worst killing spree in Dayton’s history. The killers, four of whom were caught and convicted, murdered six people between December 23 and 26 in 1992 for little more than a few bucks, a pair of shoes, and a jacket.

No one’s ever accused me of being too nice to my characters.

This is the premise of my upcoming short story, “Time’s Holiday,” and urban fantasy author Debra Kristi gave me the perfect opportunity to introduce it by tagging me in the LOOK! meme (Thanks, Debra!).

The rules are pretty simple. Just do a search for the word “look” in your work-in-progress, and paste it in with the surrounding paragraph or two. Then, of course, you get to tag others. First, a little bit of “Time’s Holiday:”

She opened her eyes to find a blond girl about her age staring at her from across the small… bedroom, she guessed, although there wasn’t any furniture. The worn carpet beneath her head was an indeterminate grayish-brown, and riddled with what looked like cigarette burns. The drywall above the blond girl’s shoulder was cracked, and someone had punched a hole through it just above her head. “Where…” Taylor began. She swallowed, her mouth dry. “Where am I?”

The girl half-shrugged. “Bill’s place.”

Taylor tried to shake off the lethargy. “Where’s… that?”

The girl cocked an eyebrow. “You don’t remember coming here? Man, you must’ve gotten some strong stuff.”

Taylor struggled to brace a hand on the floor. Had she been drugged? Finally, she pushed herself up. As she caught her breath, she looked down.

She still wore her black peacoat, her frilly black skirt billowing from beneath it. Her granny boots remained laced on her feet. A tiny, red hair clip shaped like a buttefly lay beside her. She lifted her hand to her head–ugh, why was it so hard?–and patted her hair. One of her ponytails had come out. And she realized that the girl across the room wasn’t blurry, so she still had her glasses on. “I…” Taylor stared at her hands. “No, I don’t remember.” The last thing she remembered was going to Courthouse Square to look for her angel, then some bum handing her a flyer…

Thanks again, Debra, for the tag!

image from Microsft Clip Art (office.microsoft.com)And now I get to tag people. I’ll just do a few, since I’d love to get a taste of what these authors are working on:

If you don’t have time or something ready to share, no worries!

My goal with “Time’s Holiday”  is to give those who’ve already read the Saturn Society books a fun glimpse into a minor character’s backstory, while piquing the interest of those who haven’t read the books.

On another note, when I did my search, the word “look” or a variation of it appeared24 times in 23 pages. Too much? What do you think? Do you like holiday stories? Is this too gruesome a topic for one (there’s no on-the-page violence)? While it isn’t the swee goodness and light that many holiday stories are full of, it does have its moments of Christmas cheer and goodwill.