The first of my submissions to the 2014 Advent Ghosts collection comes from a true event in history. On Christmas Eve 1914, on a World War I battlefield, soldiers on both sides declared their own armistice and celebrated Christmas together before returning to the fight two days later.
Both of these stories were inspired by stories in the December 2014 issue of National Geographic Magazine.
The Advent Ghosts project is Loren Eaton’s I Saw Lightning Fall effort to keep the tradition of telling holiday ghost stories around Christmas and the Winter Solstice alive. Read more here. Read past year’s contributions here.
A glass of wine
The two men met in a field. They were wary at first, sitting on a burned out tank, but were finally able to relax.
“Merry Christmas, Henrik.”
“Merry Christmas, Dale. It is good to meet you.”
Dale brought out a bottle of wine taken from a French farmer.
“You probably killed my buddy.”
“And you probably killed my colonel. That is war.”
“At least I won’t have to worry about facing you when Christmas is over.”
“Why is that, Dale?”
“I poisoned the wine.”
“But we agreed we would stop fighting for Christmas.”
“I don’t celebrate Christmas. I’m an atheist.”
“I recently read an article that said some parasites change the brains of their hosts when it’s time for the parasite to move on. The host does crazy things without even realizing it. Don’t you think that’s fascinating? The parasite doesn’t care about the original host, just its own survival.”
“Sort of creepy. But what does that have to do with us?”
“Oh, nothing I guess. It doesn’t matter. I just wanted to give you this gift…it is Christmas you know.”
“Wow, this is impressive. Thank you. But, wait, can you afford to give this?”
“I can’t afford not to.”.