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Authors: Darren Humphries

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The Man From U.N.D.E.A.D.'s Christmas Carol

BOOK: The Man From U.N.D.E.A.D.'s Christmas Carol
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The Man
From
U.N.D.E.A.D.’s

Christmas Carol

 

By Darren Humphries

(
with
apologies to Charles Dickens)

Also by Darren Humphries on Kindle

 

Fiction

The Man
From
U.N.D.E.A.D.: The Curious

Case
Of
The Kidnapped Chemist

The Man
From
U.N.D.E.A.D. – Zombie

Apocalypse Now

The Man
From
U.N.D.E.A.D. – Do Dragons

Dream
Of
Burning Sheep

One Small Step
For
The Man From U.N.D.E.A.D.

 

The Man
From
U.N.D.E.A.D Trilogy

 

New York City Legend

The Sword
In
The Tree

Stormwreck

The Great Rock N Roll Doomsday Tour

An Orc Not
Like
Others

To Infinity (and maybe that’s far enough)

 

Short Story Anthologies

Sharing
A
Fence With The Twilight Zone

A Goodreads Gallimaufrey (contributor)

A Splendid Salmagundi (contributor)

 

Non Fiction

The Sci Fi Freak’s Guide
To The
Televisual Galaxy

Goodnight Dear: The Unsentimental Diary
Of
A Bereaved Husband.

This book is copyright to Darren Humphries 2012

 

This book is a work of fiction (which should be obvious to anyone reading it) and all characters, events, and names are fictitious. Any resemblance to real world places, companies, people or events is purely coincidental except where people may have been mentioned for comic effect. In these instances, no inference should be made about the real person from the contents of this book.

There are some real world locations used, but these are used in a fictitious context and no inference should be made about the real place from this book.

 

All the stunts in this book are carried out by specially trained fictional characters and should not be attempted at home (especially messing around with rocket jetpacks without even reading the manual).

 

All rights reserved. Please don’t reproduce or distribute any part of this book without the express permission of the author.

Thanks
to my Quality Quartet of Kath, Susan,
Patti
and Geoff
without whom Charles Dickens would have turned in his grave a good few more times.

The Man
From
U.N.D.E.A.D.

s Christmas Carol

 

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all over the house nothing was stirring ... except Veronika making eggnog in the kitchen.
I had learned
the hard way
that t
he Bevilacqua clan take their
eggnog
very
, very
seriously and Veronika
had marked out the room as her personal territory until she had
gotten this batch
just right. I could see her through the window, her brows furrowed in concentration. It was endearing
,
really
,
that a woman who every day dealt with the most dangerous, vic
ious, evil and downright mischie
vous creatures on the planet got so stressed over
something
as mundane as
the preparation of a party drink.

Sometimes folk are just strange.

I deposited the bag of rubbish into the wheelie bin
located
down by the garden wall and headed back to the house. Internat
ional man of mystery and kicker of
demon
arse I might be, but I still have
to take out the rubbish. As I approached the house
, however
, I couldn

t fail to notice the eerie orange glow that surrounded the door knocker above the holly wreath. It was a brass knocker shaped in the face of a lion with a rin
g hanging from
the jaws
. I didn

t like the thing myself
and had always made do with a doorbell
, but my Brazilian girlfriend had thrown herself into the whole traditional British thing with a vengeance
since coming to live with me.

C
urrently
, that
meant Christmas
.

Hence the holly wreath

…a
nd the tree lights twinkling through the living room window.

Now don

t get me wrong, I

m no Scrooge who believes the whole Christmas thing to be humbug of the most commercial kind (although there is certainly more than an element of
truth in
that). T
his particular fes
tival
, however,
is overlaid onto a whole bunch of older
, pagan winter
festival
s and t
hat
means there are
a few
supernatural elements that are more than a little
peed off at
this time of year for
being set aside to make way for
a man in a red suit with
a team of
flying reindeer.
These are the kind of s
upernatural elements that come with the usua
l
teeth, claws and magical powers, but also a side
order of burning, since Yule happens to be
one of t
he C
eltic fire festivals (which is why you get a
yule log and not a yule candyfloss
,
for example).
They can get more than a little uppity at this time of year.
Since my job is resolving H
umanity

s differences with just these kinds of
cre
atures (usually by resolving said kinds of creatures into
pile
s of ash
), my enthusiasm for the season is somewhat dampened.

Seeing an ethereal glow washing over even a small part of my front door was not a welcome occurrence.
It wasn

t a usual occurrence either.
Any sensible person would have given the entrance a wide berth and call
ed the appropriate authorities. Unfortunately, I happen to be
the appropriate
authority in situations like this and so
I approached the door carefully. The glow
didn

t seem immediately malevolent (evil usually prefers a blood red or sick green for its glows
rather than comforting warm orange hues
), but I wasn

t taking anything for granted.

Inside the glow, the shape of the door knocker was being twisted, bent out of shape and slowly morphing into
human
features that I recognised.


Waaaarrrdddd,

the face of ex-Director Grayson (though surrounded by a lion

s mane,
which was a look that not many people could have managed to carry off
) called in unnecessarily ghostly tones.

Waaaarrrrddddd!

Then, suddenly, whoever (or whatever) was handling the astral transformation managed to get a fix on things and Grayson

s face snapped into shape and his voice took on its normal, clipped form.


Oh that is so much better,

he commented, contorting his face through a series of exaggerated expressions to work the kinks out.

This is a very strange experience
,
I have to tell you.


Oh no you don

t,

I promised him.

Really.


You should try it from this side.


Oh, no I really don

t think I should thank you very much,

I demurred before asking,

Is there a problem with the phones where you are?


You think I

d be doing this if I didn

t have to?

he demanded irascibly. I supposed that being fused with a brass door knocker in the shape of
a lion would be enough to make most people irascible
. I didn

t have any empiric data to support the theory though.


I guess not,

I allowed.


Damn right not!

he asserted.
“You couldn’t just happen to have been standing by a TV or in the same room as a radio now could you? Oh no, that would have been too easy.
Now listen to what I

ve got to tell you because
they’re not all that good at this
astral projecting
over here and
I don

t think that I

ll have time to tell you twice. A lack of interruptions would be appreciated, though hardly expected.

Grayson and I had shared a strained relationship during my time as an agent under his Directorship
,
based
mainly
on a mutual dislike and lack of respect. The respect part had grown a little, but the dislike continued.


I

m currently stuck in, well I

m not supposed to say where
I’m stuck,
but it

s cold and snowy,

the lion/ex-director/door knocker continued.

I

ve been tak
en by something claiming to be the spirit of Yule
.
It wants me as the centrepiece to its followers’ celebrations.
Apparently they like to burn someone alive as an affirmation of their faith.


Sucks to be you
right now
,

I commented.


Yes it does,

he agreed,

but there is one caveat in the whole

human sacrificed as kebab

thing. I am apparently allowed to
nominate a champion to undergo a few trials
in order
to save me.


I suggest Mettles,

I said, quickly naming the Agency

s Chief of Security in the hope that this
conversation
wasn

t going where I rather thought it was going.


Too late,

he said with a grin that could have been described as leonine,

I already nominated you.


Oh well, thanks a bunch,

I said sarcastically.


Call it an early Christmas present,

he added.

Now listen, during the night you will be visited by three spirits...


Are you kidding me with this crap?

I demanded.

Did April Fools

Day come early in your time zone?

“Three spirits … pay attention!”
Grayson insisted.

I am deadly serious here, the

deadly

applying to me and you both. If you overcome these spirits then I get to walk free and they burn one of their own
instead
. If you don

t ... well we both pay the price.

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