Chris Curtis woke up on a lovely Christmas Day in his lovely and warm terraced house. He was twelve years old, as he had been for the last 30 years.

He pulled his legs out of bed and wriggled his feet into his warm, fluffy slippers. A mug of hot drinking cocoa was sitting on the study next to his bed, coated generously in marshmallows and dusted lightly with cinnamon.

He sipped the hot chocolate, feeling happy and contented as he always had, without ever feeling anything else. He pulled his bedroom curtains back and looked up at the morning moon. It was, of course, a full moon. No, a crescent moon. Waning and waxing. It was both, of course, and always had been.

He pulled his curtains shut and stepped away from the window. He didn’t like looking at the morning moon very much, anyway. It always gave him a strange sense of unease that he couldn’t quite place.

He walked downstairs, glancing over at the thermostat as he descended. He adjusted it slightly, but it didn’t seem to move. That was fine, of course; sometimes it took a while to adjust.

Downstairs, he found the Christmas tree and he began opening his presents with childish glee as his parents sat on the sofa, as they did every day, smiling down at him.

And Chris never wanted them any other way. The Christmas tree gleamed and flashed as Chris opened up his brand new skateboard and screamed with delight.

His brother Jonathan was sitting on the other sofa. He’d already finished opening up all of his presents and was sipping some orange juice.

And holding the spoon.

Chris laughed as Johnny grinned. His parents laughed as Johnny began to tap the spoon against the glass.



Just like that, followed by a pause.

And then again,



At this, they all laughed. Chris wasn’t sure where the Christmas tradition of Johnny banging his spoon against a glass of orange juice had come from, but he remembered it from the other 10,950 Christmases that had happened.

Or was that right? Chris wasn’t sure. His head hurt slightly and his mother dropped a headache tablet into his outstretched hand as his father passed him a tall glass of soda water to wash it down with. His headache cleared right up.

After the presents were unwrapped and the wrapping paper all cleared away, they sat down for Sunday lunch.

It was, as always, delicious. Large slices of turkey, three boats of gravy, heaps of steaming potatoes next to mounds of hot spinach. Chris’s mouth watered and he began to attack the food, stopping only once to pull the cracker that his brother had handed him.

The cracker snapped with a loud bang and Chris’s vision grew hazy and dark. He couldn’t quite see what was in the cracker; mostly likely a paper hat and a small plastic knick-knack, or maybe one of those lame Fortune Fish that always curled up in your hand no matter how you held it.

He looked on the floor for it, but couldn’t see it. He saw something else, moving around on the floor of the dining room, but he didn’t like it. So he looked away.

Chris’s mother yelled at Johnny for the loud bang of the cracker, her loud voice sounding strangely like a klaxon in the dining room, and Chris eventually managed to calm her down.

After that, his father proposed a toast. The glass of white wine effervesced as his clinked the spoon against it.


And a pause.


It was evening.

Chris wandered up to bed, happy and contented. Possibly. He felt a little hungry, but didn’t want to badger his parents for more than his fair share of food. To do so might seem greedy, he reasoned.

As he climbed into bed, he heard his mother enter his room. The headache was back.

His mother lifted his bedroom window, which scared him at first, and so he shut his eyes.

But then she placed a hot water bottle under the blanket, good ol’ fuzzy Panda.

It was a bit leaky, but it was an old bottle of comfort.

He held it tight against his chest as he drifted off.

Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night.


In his defence, it was actually Christmas.

On December 25th, 2536, thirty years after the hidden subterranean Moon Kingdom had made itself known to humanity and began their conquest of Earth, the cryosleep pod of Colonel Christopher Curtis of the Moonblast Battalion went into red alert.

The moonflies had almost breached the venting case on the back of the pod, after three decades of their feral and stony lunar teeth mashing against the hard chrome. The mindless swarm continued to cham on the hard metal casing.

His was the last pod left, with the other twelve million spread all over the planet all being smashed, destroyed, overheated, compromised by moon flies, crushed by falling rocks, or simply empty of soldiers or civilians.

The first glare of the broken moon, rumbling with life in the ancient sky, shone down into Chris’s eyes as he tried to close them. It was futile.

The glare pervaded through the glass and through his eyelids.

The metal storm doors had been thrust open by a winged Moondevil, clearly led by the flurry of moon flies that had been burying through the small holes they’d made in the surface with their acid saliva.

The moonflies were blind, but could detect heat from any computer or human and could detect cavities under the Earth using an advanced echolation that paid no heed to solid ground of any thickness.

The Moondevil, dressed in the royal purple vestments worn by high-ranking individuals of the Moon Kingdom, clacked his horns together and rubbed at his pincers. He let out a howl before diving into the pit, his hair-like teeth bristling with anticipation.

Colonel Christopher Curtis, 60, hairless, and wrinkly, snuffled behind the glass. His eyes were flickered open and shut. The monitor behind him gently beeped. He sucked and chewed at the food straw ranging near him mouth like a newborn, as a diminished amount of nutrient paste slid down the tube.

The Moondevil stared in with sympathy, and then looked down at the floor. There was a dead body at the foot of the pod.

The swarm of moon flies nested in the bowel cavity of a battalion solider made the corpse shake. They were digesting his bones, crumbling them into dust with their miniature mouths. As the body shook, its arm flicked against the side of the pod.


A pause.

The body shook once more.


The Moondevil raised his insectile arm and waggled his three stubbed fingers, covered in sticky hairs, and the moon flies left the body, rerouting to the back of the pod in a buzzing fog as the rest  of the flies joined him.

A medicine tube began to intravenously feed Chris an antibiotic, followed by a hiss of steam from the water tube, which left Chris suckling at the air for the few drops still left in the generator.

An alarm sounded within the pod as the moon flies breached the back of the case and began to work upon the electrical systems of the cryosleep pod and the wasted man was roused, his body panicking and flailing about.

He caught the alarm cable and snapped it off.

Only it wasn’t the alarm cable.

The door opened with a metallic swish.

The air played upon the body of the man, washing over him for the first time in three decades.

“Skay-bo,” came the voice from the husk inside the pod. “Mommo gives me skay-bo for Crismis.”

The Moondevil stares at the pathetic creature, thinking of the vast space mural painting across the front of Mars that the Grand Lunarch had created to commemorate the grand space war commencing in 2506.

Their noble race of bipedal insects with their glass sceptres and honourable religious creeds against the horrifying humans, hairy and apelike with their torches and obsession with a man they themselves killed and symbolically ate.

The man opens his mouth to say something, but the Moondevil drives his mouth into the chest of the man and begins to liquify his organs.

The man doesn’t seem to notice, his mouth opening and closing as his drugged eyes search off into the distance.

After he’s finished, the Moondevil leaves the cave, where the spacecraft is waiting for him.

“υ φ χ ψ ωভ ম য র ξ ঃ অ আ ?” says Krik’tok.

“ξ,” replies Trak’neb.

But really, Trak’neb doesn’t feel ξ.

He doesn’t feel ξ at all.

He was told to hunt down these evil people and has only found an old and scared man in a cave living like a beast.

Krik’tok hands Trak’neb some food, two white apples and a green banana from the lunar plantation they both grew up on.

Trak’neb eats them, secretly wishing he could eat more fruit in his diet.

Of course, he doesn’t tell Krik’tok, because then he’d call him a massive pansy.

Trak’neb looks out of the window as Krik’neb waves at the shell of Earth and clicks off a “Merry Christmas” in his own tongue.

Trak’neb punches his friend on the side of the carapace. He looks outraged for a moment before he begins his laughing throatclicks.

Trak’neb the Moondevil looks out at space and sighs.

He didn’t really want to be a solider. He’d much rather have been a painter.

The spaceship soars beck to the Moon Kingdom.

Merry Christmas to all.

And to all, a good night.