The Christmas Invasion
by Jason Schindler
I was placing my old family Christmas photos around the house, the one tradition I could still stand. I couldn’t bring myself to celebrate the holiday anymore myself. Old ways must die, just as they had.
It was the lights behind the image of us in front of the tree, fully decorated, that made me touch it. A shimmering, like water, I thought odd and unremembered. But my hand felt no resistance and into the photo it went. I reached through space past my elbow before my fingers touched something soft and squishy. I reeled, yanking my hand back out.
My arm was slathered in a bright crimson and ivory goo, shiny and swirled. It effervesced on my hand, a wave of mint wafted over me, I rose to run and wash it off, fearing acid or worse. What had been behind the photo, a wormhole? Another dimension? I was startled by the impossibility, the spacial dysphoria, the spirit of the season, the lull of sweet peppermint; or was it something more subtle, conniving, that gave me pause. I gave it another sniff first. And then a lick. And then another lick. It was melty, minty sweet—buttery even. And just a little metallic. And then the lights behind my eyes shone brighter. And I could see behind all the photos.
That was how they found their holiday host. In me. And I would peppermint the world.