Being abandoned by his family every Christmas as a child had set off the downward spiral. Thirty years later, he had finally hit rock bottom.

Cassandra lay naked on the bed, her skin blotchy and bruised, the needle still hanging out her arm.

He shelled out the notes from his wallet and left them on the bedside table – the last money he had. Cassandra would kick him out when she found out he was broke. She didn’t work for nothing.

She stirred as the door creaked and he went outside. The heat dizzied him as it hit, eyes blinded by the bright light, the first daylight in how long? He scratched his grizzled face, the warm air beat his emaciated, haggard body.

The tacky festive decorations were anomalous in the dry, dusty desert land, depressing rather than uplifting. It made him think of Chicago and the old family house, brightly lit in the snowfall.

Maybe it was time to head home, if he could get over the border. The cartel were sure to be looking for him. They couldn’t allow a mule who used the product himself to get away without reprisals.

He might get one final Christmas with his family before his past caught up with him. Wouldn’t that be nice at last?

Copyright Susan Spaulding

Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Susan Spaulding. For more details visit HERE.

To read more of the stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and a Great New Year to all, especially those who have read, liked and commented on my blog throughout the year, and have provided me with endless stories to enjoy in return. And a special mention to all those who have taken the time to buy and read my novel – thank you so much, it means so much to me. Here’s to the next year of blogging fun! Iain.

My novel, ‘A Justified State,’ is available in Paperback and on Amazon Kindle.
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download‘a first class read from start to finish’ – reader review
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  1. Merryy Christmas to you too and happy writing in 2019.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Linda, the same good wishes to you 🙂


  2. One last laugh, right? Lovely story. Merry Christmas to you, Lain

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Neel, same to you Neel 🙂


  3. Merry Christmas and joy to you, Lain. A realistic and very tragic tale!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, and the same to you 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A sorrowful tale with a just glimmer of hope at the end. Wishing you and your family a joyful Christmas Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you Keith, and the same to you and yours 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Merry Christmas, Iain. I saw a little blip on AOL that Macauley Culkin is now doing commercials based on his Home Alone character for one of those “Alexa” type machines and that for years he avoided going out around the holidays because too many people stopped him.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I saw that too! We do watch it every year at this time, it is a favourite from my younger days 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Gritty crime Christmas drama.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gritty, although if you know the Home Alone films, a little dark satire too.


  7. Happy Christmas Iain – looking forward to more tales in the new year.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, and the same to you. Thank you for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  8. A grim reminder about how lucky and blessed we are, even though we keep cribbing about our lot constantly.

    A Merry Christmas to you and your family Iain, have truckloads of fun 🙂


  9. Bad Christmas for him. No money, mafia looking for him, a terrible situation. His time is up.


  10. Very plausible outcome for someone who was traumatized every year during the holidays. Hope he gets that one good Christmas in before it’s too late.. Happy holidays Iain..


  11. Christmas is a time to reflect, I hope that your character escapes his past. Wishing you well this Christmas


  12. Have a wonderful holiday season!
    :snowflake: ❄️
    Wishing you and your loved ones peace, health, happiness, and prosperity in the coming New Year. Thank you for your kindness and caring.

    Chilling story. Great imagery.

    – J


  13. A very tragic tale, I am sure unfortunately all to real for many. Wish you a Happy Christmas and a wonderful new year to you and yours!


  14. In turn, wishing you a Happy New Year and a year full of writing inspiration.


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