By: Amber Fallon
"Die Hard is NOT a Christmas movie!" Anne Larson crossed her arms over her White Christmas tee shirt and pouted, glaring at her boyfriend as he popped the disc into the couple's DVD player.
"You said we were going to watch a Christmas movie!" Anne's normally high pitched voice rose in octave as she whined her displeasure with the evening's movie selection.
"What are you talking about?" Cameron Rosenthal rolled his eyes and flopped down on the couch, throwing one arm around his girlfriend and acting like he didn't notice her stiff posture. "Die Hard is TOTALLY a Christmas movie! There's a Christmas party and everything!" Cameron leaned forward and grabbed the big bowl of buttered popcorn off the coffee table and brought it to his lap. He dug in to the fragrant kernels as the credits began to roll.
The tree they had just finished decorating was reflected merrily on the screen of their old school tube television, right next to Anne's bitterly sour expression. "I don't want to watch this!" she groused, scooting to the opposite end of the couch.
"And I don't want to watch 'Merry Matchmaker' or 'Santa's Sweetheart' again. You said I could pick anything I wanted, as long as it was a Christmas movie. Die Hard is a Christmas movie, and that's what I want. End of story."
"Yeah, well you can just watch it by yourself!" Anne got up off the couch, still wearing a scowl, and began stomping across the living room, deliberately choosing the route that took her right in front of the TV to maximize the impact of her dramatic gesture. Cameron shrugged and stuffed another handful of popcorn in his mouth, used to her tantrums. Then there was a deep booming noise from somewhere nearby and the floor shook, knocking Anne off balance. Her furrowed brows and lip-twisting scowl were instantly replaced by a look of fearful concern.
"C-cam?" Anne's voice trembled. "What was that?"
Cameron set the popcorn bowl down on the coffee table, ears alert for the noise to be repeated.
"I'm not sure. Maybe a car hit something down the road?" Cameron reached for the remote to turn off the television so he could investigate, but before he could the noise came again, louder. Their apartment shook so hard pictures fell from the walls, DVDs shook loose on the shelf, and the bowl of popcorn fell off the table, sending a cascade of fluffy white detritus onto the floor and their Christmas tree.
Anne shrieked. "It's an earthquake!!!"
Cameron, who had grown up in California and knew what an earthquake actually felt like, as opposed to his girlfriend who had never been out of New Hampshire and thus had no idea, tried to calm her. "It's not an earthquake," he said, getting off the couch slowly, alert for the even to occur again.
"Then what is it?" Tears slid down Anne's cheeks as she braced herself in the living room doorway. "This is because I fussed about your stupid movie, isn't it?" she accused.
"Okay, seriously? You think I did this?" Cameron's annoyance was interrupted by another booming noise, one that shook the walls hard enough to topple the television set, which crashed to the floor amid a scatter of cables and DVDs they hadn't yet put away. A tendril of smoke curled up from the back of the set. Two of the windows in the kitchen broke, cabinet doors flew open, and dishes rained on the floor, shattering into splinters of multicolored glass and ceramic. Anne screamed again, cowering as the sound of things breaking and settling died down. Car alarms cried in the distance.
Cameron pulled his phone out of his pocket and dialed 911, only to a receive a "This call cannot be connected" message before the warbling tone interrupted the animatronic voice.
Christmas in New Hampshire and the snow had yet to fall. It was cold and clear outside, the pre-afternoon sun shining through the windows, making the huge shadows that passed in front of them stand out in stark relief.
Cameron's eyes widened. The shapes outside were human, or at least humanoid, and they were huge. They carried what were obviously weapons in their hands. Even from their shadows, their bulging muscles were apparent.
Anne screamed upon seeing the foreboding shapes. Cameron tried to silence her, but she wouldn't stop screaming, loud and shrill and full of panic. Her screams only intensified as one of the shapes stopped and turned towards the source of the sound, shadow growing larger as it loomed nearer.
Cameron stood frozen in shock, his girlfriend in screaming hysterics, as an enormous pale fleshed hand holding some kind of shiny dark metal spike shattered the window, glass raining down over the couch in sparkling shards.
The hand was followed by a muscular arm with equally pale flesh, then a chest and shoulders in short order. A massive head, the face from a thousand nightmares, thrust into the opening, its enormous mouth open in an ear shattering roar.
Anne collapsed into a fetal ball where she stood, falling to the ground and heaving with sobs. Cameron grabbed the first thing that came to hand - the remote control for the now useless television - and hurled it at the beastly creature as it forced its way into their living room, crushing the couch beneath the weight of its substantial bulk. The remote bounced harmlessly off the thing's chest and clattered across the coffee table.
In one swift motion, the creature plunged the spear up under Cameron's chin, lifting him off the ground with the force of the blow. The sharp tip poked out from his sandy brown hair. Cameron gurgled, jerking spasmodically in death as more of the creatures barged into the small first floor apartment.
Anne didn't stop screaming until the creature landed a crushing stomp, silencing her forever. Then it turned and looked inquiringly at the tree Anne and Cameron had spent the morning decorating, curiosity wrinkling its Neanderthal brow. It plucked a shiny ornament with a picture of its victims cuddling beneath the words "Our First Christmas" from a branch and sniffed it once before crushing it into dust.
About the author:
Amber Fallon, formerly known as Alyn Day, lives in a small town outside Boston, Massachusetts that she shares with her husband and their two dogs. A techie by day and a horror writer by night, Mrs. Fallon has also spent time as a bank manager, motivational speaker, produce wrangler, and apprentice butcher. Her obsessions with sushi, glittery nail polish, and sharp objects have made her a recognized figure around the community.
Amber's publications include The Terminal, So Long & Thanks for All the Brains, Daily Frights 2012, Women of the Living Dead, Zombie Tales, Here Be Clowns, Horror on the Installment Plan, Zombies for a Cure, A Quick Bite of Flesh, Daily Frights 2013, Mirror Mirror, Operation Ice Bat, Painted Mayhem, and Return to Deathlehem.