Merry and Bright by Matt Henshaw

This story begins with what appears to be a charming little family gathered together near the tree to open presents on Christmas morning. Of course, knowing that this is a story from Matt Henshaw should give you pause, and provide some indication that things will not remain so tame and prosaic.
It isn’t until grandma and uncle arrive with three presents left near the front door that things begin to change for the worse. Driven by compulsion, the trio of Daniel, Sally, and Billy start unwrapping the presents with disastrous consequences.
A lump of coal is just fine with me if that’s an alternative to what happens to this family when they find themselves on Santa’s naughty list. Thankfully, Henshaw isn’t in R&D at Santa’s workshop, because Christmas would be a rather different experience for a lot of people.

This story was released as part of the AntiChristmas event at for December of 2021. You can obtain it for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the Godless app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below:

Three Family Portraits by Matt Henshaw

Matt Henshaw provides us with a rather unique series of snapshots, showcasing a dysfunctional family at three different stages. The parents are awful, disgusting, and happier apart. As it turns out, they receive a child that almost perfectly resembles the state of their relationship and the household he’ll soon be joining.
We begin with the premature birth of Mother and Father’s new son, as labor begins during Mother’s shift waitressing at the diner. Father, unfaithful and almost certain the child isn’t his, finally arrives in the delivery room to witness the excruciating birth of a child neither parent could have anticipated.
We skip forward eighteen months for our next glimpse of the family trio, witnessing further descent into chaos. While they’ve been blessed with something that is not the child they expected, Mother insists on struggling to do her best while Father distances himself to a greater extent.
Skipping forward one final time, we are treated to something repulsive and insane, a household fully descended into madness, filth, and decay. You’ll have to read it for yourself if you want to know more. I can’t tell you anything else because sharing any further details would spoil the whole experience.
Henshaw hits us with a raw and visceral nightmare of parenthood. Tapping into something I think might be more common than a lot of people think, he paints us a textual portrait of the fears and terrors that plague all new parents as they await the birth of their first child, or maybe every child, taken to an extreme that leaves the reader repulsed.

This title is part of the 31 Days of Godless event, released on October 24th, 2021. You can obtain it for yourself by going to the website or by downloading the app to your mobile device of choice. The link is below: