Advent Train Stories – A Christmas Wish #flashfiction #Christmasread

Welcome to the Advent Calendar Story Train, where you can read through 24 stories under the theme The Gift. Thank you for reading today’s story. The next one will be available to read on December 18th, titled “A Special Visit“.  The link will be active tomorrow when the post goes live.

If you missed yesterday’s you can go and read it here.

A Christmas Wish

‘Attention everyone.’

Cassie watched as her boss, red-faced and tipsy, pranced across the makeshift karaoke stage at the back of the pub. He tapped the microphone, which crackled and screeched.

‘Sorry.’ He shouted just as someone turned down the Christmas music.

‘Grab your drinks and gather round.’

Cassie took her wine from the bar and stood at the back. Lynn, her best friend, sidled up beside her pulling a face. ‘This’ll be good.’

Cassie hid a snigger as Derek launched into his speech. Polite laughter followed his lame attempts at humour. Not that Derek was a bad boss, he just wasn’t very inventive – same venue, same food, same speech every year.

She hid a yawn behind her hand.

Lynn nudged her. ‘You’re slow tonight.’ By the slur in Lynn’s voice, Cassie knew she’d already consumed enough alcohol for them both.

‘I’m not feeling it.’ She stifled another yawn; she needed the two-week Christmas break. Lie in’s, no commute – bliss.

‘Where’s Cassie?’ Derek’s words filtered into her thoughts.

Lynn waved helpfully. Cassie wanted to melt into the floorboards along with the sticky stains beneath her feet.

‘Cassie’s been working on a special project for me. Thanks to her, tonight is an extra celebration. With this new contract secured, I’m pleased to announce this year’s Christmas bonus is doubled!’

Enthusiastic cheers rang out and glasses were raised in her direction.

‘When I step down next year, I know the company will be in good hands.’

Cassie forced a smile, her cheeks blazing. Ten years she’d coveted that role but now she only had one dream, and it wasn’t being CEO of Derek’s company.

‘The next round’s on me.’ Derek’s words sparked a mad scramble for the bar.

Disco lights flashed and the music throbbed. The smell of party nibbles and spilt beer mingled, and she fought back nausea. ‘I need some air.’

Lynn took her arm and barged through the throng of people to the door. Outside cool, fresh air washed over them.


She nodded.

Her friend sipped her drink, rubbing a bare arm as the winter chill wrapped around them. ‘I’m booking myself a winter sun getaway with that bonus. What about you?’

‘IVF. We’re going to start trying again in the new year.’

‘Oh Cass.’ Lynn squeezed her hand. ‘It’ll happen one day.’

She tried to smile but there was an empty ache inside her only a baby could fix. ‘Two years we’ve tried. It’s like we’re not meant to be parents.’

‘Rubbish, you and Scott will be great parents.’

‘I hope so, otherwise it’ll be me up there making awful speeches every Christmas.’ When did she lose her passion for the job? Around the time her biological clock kicked in she supposed.

Cassie sipped warm wine. Grimacing, she tossed it away.

‘Are you sure you’re okay? You’ve been looking peaky recently.’

‘Just overworked. I can’t wait to spend the day in bed.’

Lynn downed her drink. ‘Best have something to recover from then.’ She cackled, her laugh always turned filthy after a few rums.

‘Actually, I’m heading home.’

‘You can’t leave me. I wanted your help putting the moves on Hot Harry.’

‘You don’t need my help. And I’m tired. I might be coming down with something.’

Lynn squinted at her. ‘Are you sure you’re not pregnant already?’

‘It’s hardly likely. I’ve been working too hard to bother trying.’

‘My sister acted like this when she fell. When was your last period?’

‘I don’t know… a while ago. They’re so irregular I lose track.’

‘Maybe it’s a Christmas wish come true.’

‘Don’t.’ She didn’t want to get her hopes up, but anticipation fizzed in her belly all the same.

Lynn disappeared inside and returned with their coats and handbags. ‘There’s a late-night chemist up the road.’

‘I can’t do it now.’

‘Course you can.’

Ten minutes later Cassie found herself back in the pub, perched over the toilet peeing on a stick.

‘Hurry up, I’m busting,’ Lynn called through the door.

Cassie left the stall, pregnancy test hidden in her bag. Suddenly overwhelmed, she couldn’t bear to find out while surrounded by drunken colleagues. ‘I’m going home.’

‘Wait, I can’t stop mid-flow.’

‘Sorry. Call you tomorrow.’

Cassie snuck out the back of the pub. She squeezed the strap of her handbag as she ran to the tube station, too scared to look at the result. Every negative took her closer to the CEO role and further from her dream of motherhood.

She needed to get home. Scott knew how to make the darkness go away.



Scott looked up from watching TV. ‘That finished early. How was it?’

‘When you’ve been to one piss up…’ She shrugged. ‘Fancy putting the kettle on while I get changed?’


Upstairs she stripped off the party dress that emphasised her flat, empty stomach and tossed it on the bed. Pulling on her favourite flannelette PJ’s, she felt a little better though her hand still shook as she reached for her handbag.

Two cooling cups of tea waited on the coffee table when she eventually returned. Scott lifted the throw, and they snuggled together on the sofa.

She handed him a small parcel.

‘What’s this?’

‘A gift.’

‘It’s a week until Christmas.’


Scott grinned and tore at the Christmas wrapping paper like a little boy. Two plastic sticks fell onto his lap. Turning them over, he stared at two sets of identical blue lines.

‘Does this mean…’

‘We’re pregnant!’

He squeezed her in a hug. ‘My god, how?’

She laughed. ‘You’ve had enough practice to work that out for yourself.’

‘I can’t believe it.’

‘Our wish finally came true.’ The words caught in her throat. This time next year they’d be a family; the promotion would have to wait.

‘This is the best gift I could ever ask for.’ Scott nuzzled her neck. ‘I’ll miss all that practice though.’

Cassie kissed him, all trace of tiredness gone. ‘I’m still up for a little practice if you are.’


Thanks for reading. If you want to check out all the other blogs involved see Ari’s blog post for The Advent Story Train (containing links to all the blog).

If you enjoyed A Christmas Wish, it’s part of my Christmas short story collection which published on 3rd December 2022. Please take a look on Amazon – A Christmas Wish. The collection is only 99p. The audiobook will be out before Christmas too!

Happy Christmas everyone!

Suzanne Rogerson – Author of epic fantasy and heart-warming romance

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#AtoZchallenge S – Spirit Song #flashfiction

For S in the AtoZChallenge I’m so happy to be sharing this flash fiction story that came third in the flash500 comp in 2013.

Judge Steph Patterson – Senior editor of Crooked Cat Publishing stated,

‘Unusual, emotional, warm, surprising — a warm, unusual story. It moved me when I read it. It has an air of esoteric.’

Have a read and let me know your thoughts…

Spirit Song

Cecilia no longer saw the faces of the dying. They were merely shells cast off at the last to free the soul within. But, in the moments before death, she often wondered what happened to their spirits.
Sensing the man’s time was drawing near, she picked up her lute. Her fingers plucked the strings, dancing like raindrops over the notes, filling the room with fluid harmony. Slowly, the man in the bed responded. The music rose to a crescendo as he took his final breath, and she wept as his spirit lifted clear of its bonds to embrace the light. Cecilia let her fingers fall from the strings, while the haunting resonance of the song echoed around her. She cradled the lute in her frail hands and allowed the stale sickly air in the room to dry her tears. The intrusion of another broke the spell, and she opened her eyes to blackness.
‘He’s gone, Cecilia. But he died with a smile on his face,’ the nurse told her softly. ‘Come on, let’s get you back to your room.’
Cecilia shook her head. ‘There’s another down the hall…’ She rose on unsteady legs, clutching the lute possessively against her body.
‘At least let me help.’ The nurse took hold of her arm, but Cecilia recoiled from the touch and the strength of life flowing through the younger woman.
‘I can do it myself.’ She felt her way to the door and shuffled along the corridor with her hand trailing along the wall. Finally she reached the right room and slipped inside. She plucked the familiar notes of the spirit song until the dying woman floated away into the healing light.
Cecilia slumped to the floor, hugging the lute to her chest. Exhaustion tugged her towards sleep and she dreamt of the place beyond death.
She awoke in bed and sensed the nurse at her side. A warm hand squeezed her cold bony flesh.
‘My lute…’ she croaked and felt feebly for her beloved instrument.
‘Have a drink first.’
A straw prodded her lips and she sucked at the water, choking as its coldness flooded her constricted throat. The covers shifted under the weight of the lute and her hand scrabbled to lay across its neck. She stroked the strings with her fingertips, too weak to pluck a note.
Cecilia drifted back to sleep. The music swelled inside her, its poignant melody leading her spirit away from its dying shell. She travelled through a tunnel feeling weightless and pain-free, and cocooned by warmth. Bright light blinded her and cold air caressed her naked body. The shrill cry of a new-born filled her ears. Cecilia forced open her eyes and stared up into a stranger’s face.
Before the memories of her old life faded away, she finally had her answer.

spirit song light

The story behind the story;

Spirit Song holds a very special place in my heart. I wrote it when my Grandad was admitted into a hospice. At the time I was attending creative writing classes and the prompt for that week was Cecilia, the patroness of musicians.

I sat in bed with my notebook and closed my eyes to think. When I started to write this piece seemed to flow onto the page almost fully formed and I instantly fell in love with the character.

I entered it into the Flash500 comp. The critique stated it was a lovely character study, but not a story.

I couldn’t let Spirit Song go, or maybe it wouldn’t let go of me. I rewrote the end and gave it a starting point that tied in with the conclusion. Then I re-entered and this second attempt was placed 3rd in the Flash500 comp. I felt like that was a turning point for me, a time when I could really start to believe in myself as a writer. Two years later, I self published my first novel.

Did you have a defining moment when you realised you were a writer?

(If you want to find out more about the Flash 500 Quarterly competition, click here. It’s well worth paying for the critique, my story would never have been placed without that important feedback.)

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Tomorrow T for Titles.

Check out some other AtoZ posts here