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“A Morbid Christmas to All” by Seán Tate

When people think of star-crossed lovers, their minds tend to gravitate to Romeo and Juliet, the famed couple of Verona whose family’s distaste towards one another sought to drive the two lovers apart. As we all know, the Montagues’ and Capulets’ hatred only drove Romeo and Juliet closer. Yes, they were close for the briefest of moments before Faith grew bored of their romantic exchanges and put an end to them; Faith is fickle like that. One minute it’s fascinated and engrossed, the next minute it’s white washing a masterpiece and replacing it with a crudely drawn still life of an old man eating a boot.

I could go on, but I have a story to tell of two lovers whose devotion will replace the names of Romeo and Juliet on everyone’s lips with Tom and Lucy.

Who are Tom and Lucy I hear you ask? Well, Tom and Lucy were the perfect couple. They went and did everything together, hand in hand like lovers were supposed to. People would always ask, “How did you two meet?” The answer was always the same. First, they would gaze into each other’s eyes, then Lucy would tell the story. “Oh, it’s really quite silly,” she said blushing. “We were both in a coffee shop waiting for our orders. You see, we had both ordered cappuccinos. One cappuccino was placed on the counter and we both reached for it. Our hands touched and well, the rest is history.”

Most people wish they hadn’t asked. Lucy loved to tell that story and Tom loved to hear it. It never got old for them.

Christmas was fast approaching when it happened. There had been a bitter frost the night before. Old Man Winter had been out doing his rounds and had coated the roads with ice and froze the condensation on the single glazed windows of the Georgian houses around Dublin.

He took great pride in freezing water pipes and being a right inconvenience if we’re being honest. A recent fascination of his involved footpaths.

Tom and Lucy had been making their way along the west side of St. Stephen’s Green, hand in hand as always. They gazed into each other’s eyes as they walked and were completely oblivious to the impending doom that Old Man Winter had imported for this year’s inconvenience.

Lucy lost her footing, twisted her ankle, and fell onto the road. Tom attempted to remain upright, but the slippery stretch of ice beneath his boots offered no support and sent Tom atop of Lucy. Old Man Winter was feeling particularly malevolent towards couples this year.

A horse and carriage had been making its way along the road. The driver whistled to himself and the bells on the horse’s harness stifled the surrounding commotion of the festivities…and the discomfort of Tom and Lucy. It didn’t help that the driver’s eyesight was fading, and the horse’s was none the better. They both failed to see and hear the couple ahead of them.

The horse’s hooves met with the couple and nearly caused the horse to lose his footing and topple the carriage. The driver, swearing unmercifully, struggled to bring the carriage under control. As the driver calmed his horse, he looked behind him and unleashed more profanities.

There Tom and Lucy’s corpse lay, no longer moving, no longer holding hands. Their hands you see had been severed and lay clasped together a few feet away. It was oddly touching if one considered the severed hands of lovers clasping one another touching.

The driver looked back once more before moving off. “Ah, buggerit!” he exclaimed. “Same as last year.”

Seán Tate is a writer and proud bald man from Dublin. His favourite authors are Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett. When he’s not putting pen to paper you can find him locked away in his bedroom recording his podcast, Bald Man Stories. Seán joined Cupán Fae about two months ago and is our newest member.

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