Today is the third occurance of the weekly 'Tis More Blessed Christmas give-away. I'll be giving an eCopy of my short story collection, A Series of Ordinary Adventures, to one randomly selected commenter every week, and posting excerpts from the seasonal story 'Charmed by Prince Charming'. So, here's the third excerpt:
They walked between the overhanging Tudor houses on Market Street, a crisp packet crackling beneath Colin's sole and a pile of blankets marking the spot a rough sleeper might yet return to if the hostel was full for the night. They crossed the cobbles of Market Square, still slippery from the previous day's dropped and forgotten fruit and veg. They turned down the wide pavement on the High Street, empty of people though evidence of their earlier presence remained, past the mixture of medieval, Victorian, and modern shops. Some shop windows had Christmas displays, some were advertising their mid-autumn sale, and a few hadn't moved on from their Back to School promotions.
The council had strung lights from every available hook, but none were lit. Some demi-celeb would be switching them on, come the first of December, with fingers crossed that none of the bulbs blew until after they collected their appearance fee. Colin walked alongside Ash past the castle, not yet decorated, but with gaudy posters advertising holiday events pasted haphazardly across the notice board where its opening times were displayed. They passed the second-hand car dealers—vehicles with one careful owner and several not so careful—and the burger van that no one visited until the end of an evening's drinking.
Down at this end of town, the street lamps were more widely spaced, and not all worked. Walking alone on this part of the route, Colin would speed up in the patches of darkness, slowing again when he reached the comparative safety of the next pale orange pool of light. With Ash, he felt able to stroll at a steady pace, nothing hurrying them save the need to reach warmth and that promised pint of beer. There was a movement in the shadows. Colin glanced across Ash, just in time to see a hairless tail disappearing inside an overflowing rubbish bin. Even the rats must be feeling the cold tonight, since normally he would have spotted two or three eating in the open by this point on the journey.
Then, there in front of them, lit up like a particularly bad-taste Christmas tree, was the Toast and Marmite in all its tacky, flat-roofed, late-1960s splendour. The rainbow flag didn't so much fly proudly above the door as it hung limply, like a piece of wet washing on a windless, sunless day. The windows hadn't been washed in years on the inside, and not since the end of summer on the outside, and the flyer tacked to one of them—facing out onto the street—was advertising the Pride festival that had taken place fifty miles away and five months ago.
To be entered in the draw, just tell me where you'll be spending Christmas. Make sure you include your contact details. Winner to be drawn on Tuesday.
Full list of today's participating authors is here, and a list of all authors due to participate during the month can be found here.
All about A SERIES OF ORDINARY ADVENTURES:
A wander down a country pathway, a cruise vacation in the Mediterranean, a school reunion, a sandwich eaten in the park – in the stories of Stevie Carroll, the mundane becomes tantalizingly magical. A footballer’s mistress gets more than just an apartment when her lover tries to keep her in style; a rock-and-roll bass player finds out that second chances aren’t all they’re cracked up to be; something sinister lurks beneath the trappings of a travelling carnival.
Candlemark and Gleam: http://www.candlemarkandgleam.com/shop/a-series-of-ordinary-adventures/