This is a very short story (fewer than 250 words) written when a member of one of my writers’ groups sent out a challenge. The first four and last three words were sent out as a story prompt to people who entered the CBC Literary Awards contest last fall.
The snowman grinned malevolently as I hurried up the front walk. I shuddered and turned my eyes away from the grotesque thing, to see a wreath of thistles and briers hanging on the door, with a tiny skull peeking out from behind a bright red bow.
Only the thought of Joe and his dare made me keep going, the snowball in my right hand behind my back. Somehow I knew it would stick to the wool of my mitten when I went to throw it, and then I would learn things I couldn’t even imagine.
Joe’s taunts or the door? I raised my left hand to knock, but the door opened by itself. Just a crack, then after a couple of seconds it started to swing wider. A little laugh came out, a dry giggle, like a rusty sewing machine. “Come wish me a merry Christmas,” it sang. “Come right in, snowball and all. We’ll have a ball. Hee, hee, hee, hee…”
My feet got me all the way down the walk before I knew what was going on.
“Chickenshit!” That was Joe yelling from down the block, thinking he’d won the bet, but I didn’t care. I whizzed past him, hot for home.
There was a weird clanking and whooshing sound behind me, then a yell, choked off suddenly. Later they told me there was an accident with a snow plow, but I knew better. The snowman got Joe instead of me. He was buried alive.