250 words

2015 Christmas Invasion Flash Fiction Finalist

Trigger Warning:
Some readers may find this story disturbing


Each year, I watch you sleep.

I like that you are still, and breathing, and quiet, and it’s a game to keep you that way. Sometimes I’ll move closer—carefully, carefully—running a finger across your sleeve. Touching my tongue to your hair. Letting my beard brush your forehead.

If I can, if I think you won’t wake, I’ll open a drawer. I’ll press a thumb into the contents and smile that you will wear my touch, unknowing, on your bare skin. Maybe I’ll open a closet. Maybe I’ll move something on the dresser, just a little. Maybe you’ll notice; I like that you might not.

The cookies I’ll eat, because why not? I’ll think about you, slumbering in the other room, and lick the crumbs from my fingers. I’ll hold the plate on my lap. Let it rest there.

Eventually, I’ll fill your stocking. Each gift I’ll handle carefully, tenderly, before slipping it inside. I’ll picture you, in the morning, finding what I’ve left, and sometimes I’ll have to pause and catch my breath. I’ll think about this time last year, and the year before. Each year is better than the last.

Before I leave, I’ll take a last look at you. I might whisper to you. I might lean close to your face and breathe, hot, into your ear: “Merry Christmas.”

See you next year.





Gina L. Grandi is a doctoral candidate and adjunct professor in the Educational Theatre program at New York University. In her former life, she was a public school teacher, a teaching artist, and arts administrator. She is currently the co-founder and artistic director of The Bechdel Group, a new play development company dedicated to challenging the role of women on stage. Her writing has been featured on 100 Word Story, The Postmasters Podcast, and in the literary journal Fine Linen.


  1. Great story!

  2. What a surprising story. Truly enjoyable!

  3. Wonderfully creepy. Glad I waded in past this Trigger Warning for this Invasion!

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