The Reason for the Season
Peace on Earth. Goodwill to all men. The birth of a child destined to be King of Kings. Are these the meaning of Christmas? The reason for the season?
No! Christmas is about horror, fear, spectral intimidation of us mere mortals, the visitation of wraiths from beyond the veil to exact revenge or to teach us a lesson lest we be damned for all eternity!
At least, that’s a British Christmas. Consider the popularity of A Christmas Carol, where an elderly man is terrorised by spectres sent from hell by his dead friend, so that he may avoid a similar fate.
Or the works of MR James, a Cambridge University don and provost of King’s College, who gathered students and fellows on Christmas Eve to gather round the fire in his rooms, and listen to him read the latest ghost story he had penned for the occasion.
When Jim Bronyaur put the shout out for writers to take part in 12 Days 2010 (a selection of stories inspired by the song The Twelve Days of Christmas, I quickly fired off an email and asked to have a crack at “Five Golden Rings”, and was accepted.
I didn’t have a clue about what to write. I just knew I wanted to try my hand at something dark, something disturbing, with a thick vein of HP Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe and MR James in it.
And one day Five Rings crawled out of the dark recesses of my mind.
Go check it out. And while you’re there, have a read of the other stories, they’re fantastic!
PS: While some may debate the true meaning of Christmas, my wife is insistent that this is the true reason for the season: