Ghosts and mythic beings populate this holiday-themed collection of eleven tales to read by candlelight. “Holiday,” a story of all holidays for a dead girl and the man who sees her, is followed by New Year’s Day and “Memoir of a Deer Woman,” a woman’s transformation into a deer leaves her husband desperate for her words. Valentine’s Day is celebrated with “Journey into the Kingdom,” winner of the World Fantasy Award, where a young girl falls in love with a ghost. A May Day wedding in “The Machine” is a tale of innocence lost and terrible revenge, a story not for the faint of heart. Mother’s Day brings us a future where women who have had abortions are punished in “Evidence of Love in a Case of Abandonment: One Daughter’s Personal Account.” Father’s Day is marked by asking what is lost forever when a stolen boy returns, in “Don’t Ask.” In a story for Independence Day, a nine-year-old girl’s first act of independence is also an act of revenge, in “Traitor.” Not all anniversaries are happy occasions and in “Was She Wicked? Was She Good?” one family copes with the damage that remains after being victims of a home invasion. A surreal Halloween story, “You Have Never Been Here,” asks if the body is the mask we all wear. A Veteran’s day story, “War is Beautiful,” features a soldier in the Vietnam War who befriends a local girl—or is she a ghost? The collection ends with a Halloween to Christmas tale, “The Christmas Witch,” where a lonely, little girl struggles to survive in a town of children that collect bones.
Holidays are days of honor. These eleven tales, eerie, mysterious, and creepy, honor the human experience of death and redemption. They might keep you up at night, but why not extend the celebration?