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How Zombies Stole Christmas

Author(s): Sidney Bristol

Every creature in Haven snuggled down in their beds, ready for another Christmas, they liked it a lot. But not everyone in this magical land shares their holiday cheer. . .

Evelina Frost is a woman used to staying in the shadows, but this year Christmas needs a hero, and with Santa away, it’s up to her to save the holiday from ruin.

A figure dressed in white cast a spell and from the frozen land, ghastly zombies appear. “I’ll take their Christmas, their cheer and their hope,” the figure says, as the zombies descend on the Snow Palace, ripping the trees and presents from the hearth.

Kameron is a creature out-of-place in the frigid land, but he’s carved out a life, away from his Highland moors and pastures, happy to live alone. Until a woman barges into his life, and awakens urges he hasn’t known in centuries.

Together, Evelina and Kameron delve into the history of their land, fighting a magical blizzard, ice zombies and an all-consuming lust for each other as magic seeks to create another fairy tale from their lives. They must fight together against the odds and save Christmas, though they might lose their hearts in the bargain.

Excerpt


More than enough time to rescue a pampered fae and return a deadly Guardian weapon.
No sweat.
Yeah right.
Evelina adjusted her clothing and glanced around. She couldn’t see her dog anywhere. Huskies were fantastic dogs, but not the most obedient.
“Damn dog,” she whispered. “Maddox?” Evelina didn’t dare raise her voice—not with magic so heavy on the air she could practically taste it. Only fitting that at this time of year the flavor was warm sugar cookies and pumpkin pie. Not traditional Russian fare, but she’d never been much for tradition.
Silence.
Her heart beat painfully as fear danced over her nerves.
“Maddox?” she said a little louder.
Evelina cast her beam of light around, searching for a flash of tail, the glow of his eyes, or some other sign of where he’d gone. His tracks were small, and his ability to stay on top of the snow was so good that any paw print would be wiped away almost immediately. Evelina stabbed her pole into the powder and put on a little speed. No one could get into trouble faster than Maddox. She loved and hated that about him.
Ahead of her, a dog whined.
Maddox.
Her heart clenched, and she tasted bile.
Evelina did her best to run through the powder, but it sucked her feet down deep and held her there with each step. She pushed through a low hedge of brush and into a clearing. Three creatures with vaguely human forms gleamed under her light like freshly polished glass. They held Maddox down, their fanged mouths thrown open in ecstasy as they sucked the warmth and moisture from the husky.
Evelina had tended to the poor souls the zombies had left in their wake at the Snow Palace. Frozen husks of the fae she’d known.
Fucking ice zombies.
“No!” Evelina swung one trekking pole and knocked the closest zombie off Maddox. She kicked the second back against a rock, and the creature shattered.
Well, that was unexpected.
Maddox scrambled to his feet, growling and snapping his mouth at the third, who couldn’t seem to decide who to go after—Maddox, or her.
All around them, shadows began to move, and the sound of groans and moaning broke the pristine night.
Adrenaline and fear shot through her. She reached out and touched the snow, driving all the magic left within her bones into the fresh powder. It hardened into a disc of ice. Evelina jumped on it and grabbed Maddox’s harness as he circled close to her, his fangs bared at the ambush. Her flashlight dangled from her wrist, casting drunken pools of light around them and illuminating more horrors in the night. The husky didn’t wait for her command. He charged ahead, pulling her ice sled along as he’d done a million times.
Maddox snapped at a zombie who got too close, and Evelina used her trekking poles to bludgeon the creatures away. The snow thinned, revealing the crystal limbs and icy stares. There were more. Lots more.
The zombies forced them to weave through the trees, but each jarring turn seemed to have them doubling back to end where they’d begun.
“Come on Maddox, good boy,” she chanted.
Two zombies lunged for them, and the husky swerved.
“No, Maddox!” Evelina yanked on the harness but it was too late.
The sled hit a rock, and the thin ice shattered. Evelina tumbled head over heels, rolling and crashing into zombies, trees, and bushes alike. Her head reeled, but she shoved to her feet as soon as she could get them under her. She glanced around, searching for something to help defend herself. Her magical reserves were gone. Completely shot. She didn’t see Maddox. One of her trekking poles lay nearby—a little bent, but it would work. She dove for it and brandished her make-shift weapon at an over eager zombie, its teeth chomping at her.
There were too many. Her light glinted off at least fifty different ice zombies, and she had a hunch that the blizzard concealed more.
A bark, followed by growls, let her know that Maddox was still nearby. She couldn’t worry about both of them. She stood a better chance on her own.
“Maddox, go!” she yelled. “Ukhoditʹ!”
The fray parted for a moment, and Evelina could see him. Everything stilled. He stared at her, ignoring the zombie gripping his harness. Confusion had his ears back and the whites of his eyes clearly visible.
“Ukhoditʹ!” she cried again.
Maddox twisted and bit the arm of the zombie clean off before speeding through the forest. Away. To safety. Without her.
What a time for the damn dog to actually listen to her.
Evelina swung her trekking pole in a wide arc. It cleaved the leg of an ice zombie clean off. The creature’s limb shattered, and its mouth gaped open. Its hissing scream was one of many. She kept moving, no time to focus on the one foe when there were so many.
She spun again, whacking one creeping up on her from behind. It gave her a small opening and she rushed to put her back against an old tree. The higher ground provided her a fraction of a better vantage, but the view crushed her.
The herd of frozen dead surrounded her, stretching through the trees in every direction. If she tried to make a break for it, she could outdistance a few of the shambling creatures, but there were too many. Her only other option meant climbing. Getting above them, but then what? She’d hang on until she fell asleep or froze to death, and they’d have her then.
Sweat trickled down her spine, and the fine hairs of her hat stuck to her brow.
Was this how she would die? In an attempt to rescue the Snow Maiden?
Again Evelina struck out, but her foot slipped on the snow and ice. Something snatched her coat, pulling her further off balance, and she tumbled into the snow. She rolled and kicked her limbs, fighting the grasping hands that rushed in for a chance to taste her warmth.
“No,” she screamed.
Her meager magics were gone, almost all the moisture in her body bled dry. Sharp fingers bit into her skin, seeking more warmth, more moisture, anywhere it could be gained. Even from her blood.
A hand tightened around her throat, and her body went tight, bowing upward as she flashed cold. So cold it hurt.
The gaping, sightless eyes of the ice zombies leered down at her, their mouths full of razor sharp, icicle teeth.
She grasped for something, anything, and came up with only snow. Evelina threw it in their faces, but the zombies merely closed in, hungry for the taste of life they once possessed in another time.
Overhead, the winter moon circled the Siberian sky and broke through the thick clouds, shining brightly. How ironic; she would die in the middle of winter by creatures born from the same kind of magic that had created her.
Her father’s people, the winter fae, were cruel. She didn’t expect them to revere her, or even for her father to notice her passing, but this wasn’t what she’d wanted.
Blood rushed in her ears, drowning out the keening cries of hunger. Snow pelted her body, and a white cloud rolled over her vision. The cries rose, heralding her last breath . . . but then the zombies scattered.
Evelina sucked in a deep breath, her lungs aching as she clasped both hands over her throat. The roar continued, not in her ears, but from something in the forest.
She sat up, coughing and groping for her trekking pole when the cloud turned a blue-veined face toward her. Great, dark orbs stared down at her, and a large mouth full of yellowed fangs gaped open. The creature’s hot breath formed little clouds as it panted.
Evelina’s warming blood turned to ice all over again.
The yeti.
The creature roared and swung its long arms, backhanding a half dozen of the zombies away. It kicked up snow and used the cover to charge the mass of frozen flesh, forcing them back.
Evelina scrambled to her feet, but they were numb. Her knees gave way, and she fell into the snow again. Her teeth chattered, and her extremities refused to obey her command to flee.
There was a new reason to fear now. There was only one abominable snowman in the Ubezhishche, and it was a creature of legend and nightmare.
She used her pole to stagger away from the fray, where ice and fur and fang flew. Desperate for survival, she slapped at her throat for the dog whistle. Maybe she could summon a little magic and get away.
An icy hand slapped her across the face and dragged her down into the snow.
She was really getting sick of this.
Evelina rolled with the zombie. More hands grabbed her clothing. She was not going out like this. She thrashed and knocked at least two heads together, but there were more.
A roar ripped through the night, and the zombies scattered. Evelina flopped onto her back and sucked in a breath.
Could she hope the yeti was too distracted with the ice zombies to mess with her?
She levered herself up and glanced around. The blizzard hid the fleeing zombies, but there was an unnatural stillness she could feel despite the storm.
Evelina used the pole to get to her feet and dug out the dog whistle from around her neck. Either it was her imagination, or the wind suddenly raged harder, threatening to blow her over. She blew a few short bursts on the whistle. She needed a get-away ride, and Maddox was it.
The flashlight still hung from her wrist. She clicked it off and limped away, not caring which direction she went, so long as it was away from where the yeti was.
A snuffling, almost growl like sound kicked adrenaline into her system, yet she froze.
That was not Maddox.
Something was on her left, outside of her line of sight.
The yeti was stalking her, not the zombies.


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ISBN (Print):
ISBN (Electronic): 978-1-62916-016-0
Genre: Paranormal
Date Published: 12/05/2013
Publisher: Taliesin Publishing

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