Each week, we pick a short fiction piece from our Fairlight Shorts archives to feature as our story of the week. This week, we’ve chosen a story about responsibility by William Lewis.
William Lewis took early retirement in 2011 after a wide-ranging career in further and adult education, and learned to fly a helicopter. He also joined a samba band and, in 2018, a writing group. Despite recent restrictions, he continues to enjoy the opportunities of life and the possibilities of creativity.
William has always enjoyed writing, from professional reports, book reviews and educational materials to poems and lyrics for songs with bands he’s been in. He also enjoyed writing amusing sketches for staff parties but had never attempted any story writing. However, the discovery of flash fiction opened a doorway for him and he much enjoys the economy and opportunities of the short form. He particularly likes reading them aloud. He has read some of his stories on local radio stations, and has had some published on online writing sites.
‘Santa, is that Really You’ follows a girl as she encounters an unconventional Santa Claus.
Santa stared disconsolately at his Ofsant report: ‘Quality of presents: good. Workshop and warehouse staffing: poor, due to decline of elderly elves and growth of demand. Business critical. Immediate action required.’
The wind howled around the eaves of the house. Lightning crackled across the moor. A distant owl, unsettled, hooted uncertainly. Edgar Allen Poe turned slowly in his grave. At 11 The Crescent, a child stirred in her sleep, and woke to see a recognisable figure.
‘Santa, is that really you?’ said Emily.
‘Ho ho ho, yes my child. I am Santa. Have you been good?’
‘Well, mostly,’ said Emily. ‘But I thought you were my dad, with his usual pretence of a fake beard.’
‘Ho, Emily, no; you deserve better. See this candy sugar cane I have brought for you? Your presents are waiting for you, up on the roof with the reindeer. Come with me, we will fly through the clouds of night, and I will bring you back before morning light. Bring your sister too.’