Writer Zosia Wand, of Ulverston, has collected flash fiction and poems with a Christmas theme written by herself and fellow local writer:

They help capture the magic and wonder of Christmas and winter.

Zosia Wand

White Warning

Ignoring the warnings, she drove into a tunnel of sleet. Snow was surreptitious, disguising the familiar. Boundaries and markers, erased in a white wilderness.

What had been a roundabout swirled in an endless loop.

The engine stalled. Colour and sound expunged into lonely white against inky black. A space between paragraphs. Hero made victim.

Wiping snow from a road sign with a gloved hand she heard no approach in her muffled world. A voice hanging in the still: “Do you need help?” She sucked in the freezing air. Her heart stalled. The sound of snow crushing beneath his boots as he approached.

Christmas List

Unwind fairy lights.

Struggle with tree.

Blow dust from battered shoe-box

marked Baubles in fading black ink.

Sink hands into tissue parcels and unwrap

glass mementoes of Christmases past.

Write letter to North Pole.

Prepare for Big Red Guy.

Watch glitter dust spiral through air

to settle on Angel’s golden head.

Scan chimney tops for flash of red velvet.

Remember how it used to feel?

Christmas Box

Christmas past nestled in tissue paper snow:

the scent of candles, dust and glue,

strands of rescued ribbon and abandoned lists.

Boxes inside boxes, like those Russian dolls, until

finally, crumpled and yellowing,

their glitter frost sticking to the cellophane panes,

trays of blown glass moments.

A rowdy family gathering in a London house,

the silent snowy stillness of a Polish landscape;

memories captured in a Christmas bauble.

Watch them tremble from the branch of this year’s tree.

Make a Christmas wish.

Keep a Christmas memory.

Katie Hale

Ghost Stories

It was on nights like this, dark and prickling, that she’d told the boys ghost stories. Those were the old days, before the boys disappeared, one by one, from the big house, before they dropped away like pine needles to leave her bare and branching, shivering at small noises.

She tugs at the heavy curtains, her reflection suspended in the dark beyond.

As she lifts the tray from the oven to cool on the rack, the kitchen is full of the smell of creation, buttery and yellow, and she holds it inside her like a flame.

She runs her fingertips across their small gingerbread bodies and closes her eyes. The flame inside her flickers like a candle in a power cut, then goes out.

Caroline Gilfillan

Is that you?

Is that you,

waking at four,

bursting through the bedroom door?

Is that you,

in wintry light

wobbling forth on a shiny bike?

Is that you,

on the battered settee,

lulled by the scent of the tinselled tree?

Still you –

and Christmas, too.

Cumbrian Fell

I climb the stone steps

to the throne of the fell.

A heifer in white robes

blinks at me as I pass.

Below, a brindled sparrow hawk

hovers above young birches.

Crows call and flap. Become

fluffed black balls perched in a tree.

Above me, the first shy stars

pierce the dusky sky.

If I can see them, so can you,

dear friend. So can you.

Milky Way

Just once we bumbled into the rain forest

in a silver-green Beetle.

Got stuck in a ditch.

Boiled a Christmas pudding

over a woodsmoke fire.

The Milky Way rippled above us,

a glitter-gauzy scarf unfurled against the black.

I fell asleep but woke to a fizz

of shooting stars. Gazed upwards, reminded

that brilliance burns throughout the longest night.

News from the North West

The sun, dipping behind dove clouds,

throws handfuls of light across the sky.

His little sister, a translucent bubble,

looks down on a lapis lazuli tide.

As geese fly over, a loosened plait

unravelling across the dusky blue,

a barn owl ghosts along the wood.

My friend, may such beauty come to you.


A salting of stars and

a lean, hawkish moon

guide me down the twisting road

to the coast

where I find the stars

have dropped into the trees and are dotted along the bare branches.

When I see them I think of

you, my friend, gazing at

the same pearls of light.

Late Afternoon Light

A screed of pale blue

is shaken out over the dusk.

Cloud puffs rimmed with sun

bubble into snowy bumps.

The shortest day is still close by,

smoothing its coaldust coat.