Two weeks ago, I mentioned the A Merry Little Apex Christmas Flash Fiction Contest (DW). Alas, I didn't win, but you can see the winning stories at the Apex Magazine site. But wait, there's more.
As I wrote back on the 10th, "any stories which don't get picked, will grace these pages instead". So here's the first. Merry...
"The Long Night That Never Was" by Dr. Philip Edward Kaldon Jorge stepped out of the stasis tube -- and into confusion. "Is that clock right?" he asked the nearest assistant. The woman looked at him like he was crazy. "It's linked to the ship's atomic clock. It damn well better be right." "I meant the date." "What's wrong with the date?" "We left Earth in October. It takes about two weeks to get up to jump speed and two weeks to decel. It should be November. It should be Thanksgiving." "Is that all?" The crewman laughed. "You forgot this was a two jump run. That's two months in space, not one. You missed Thanksgiving." Jorge pointed at the display. "It's the twenty-sixth -- I missed Christmas, too!" "I wouldn't worry about that too much." "I was supposed to be with my daughter for Christmas. I was supposed to already BE on Laeyk IV!" "ALL HANDS, ALL HANDS, PREPARE FOR PLANETARY SYNCHRONIZATION. IN THREE... TWO... ONE... SYNCHRONIZE." The calendar display rippled. DEC 26 changed to DEC 24. "Merry Christmas," the crewman said. "Thanks to the vagaries of time synchro during jump. You'll be on time for your daughter, after all." She clapped a hand on Jorge's shoulder. "Now get out of here and catch your shuttle." Stunned and relieved, Jorge finally ran toward the hatch. He stopped and looked back. "Merry Christmas to you." "G'wan. Get outta here." And Jorge was gone.