The Tell-Tale Christmas by Jason Darrell

"And that's it: tour complete, Ebenezer," declared the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come. 

“Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point," Ebenezer mused, "answer me one question: are these the shadows of the things that Will be, or shadows of things that May be, only?” 

"If you persist in your ways, Ebenezer," the ghost warned, "that lonesome gravestone will be your sole epitaph. At your passing, the misery you've spread will dissipate like mist on a summer morning. Choose wisely." 

"So, Spirit, if I understand correctly," Ebenezer frowned, cracking the icy crust forming like a pregnant avalanche upon his brow, "if I change my outlook, I can make people happy?" 

The ghost nodded. 

"Yet, maintain my miserly ways," Ebenezer pondered, the thought visibly forming beyond his frosty forehead, "upon my death — which now cannot be so distant — these paupers will also make merry?" 

It was the ghost's turn to frown. "Yes," it acquiesced. 

“Well then, cold, rigid, dreadful Death," Ebenezer scowled, "set up thine altar here! Dress it with such terrors as thou hast at thy command: for this is thy dominion!" he stormed, the avalanche crumbling onto his bony hands, which tenderly tended his headstone. 

"And that is your heart's final answer, Ebenezer Scrooge?" the ghost demanded, his countenance morphing into the Grim Reaper. 

Scrooge stood proud, 6 feet above his own bones, chest swelled, "Aye!" 

"You won't be needing this then!" the Reaper declared, plunging its skeletal hand into Scrooge's proffered chest, whence it retracted gripping a cold, pumping heart spraying kaleidoscopic spectral crimson spots onto the crisp white snow. 

The two smiled at one another as Scrooge's body billowed, becoming smoke, before whirlpooling into the grave upon which the miser had stood. 

The Reaper nodded, and whispered "A merry Christmas to everybody!" 

Published in Issue #21

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