"Pay attention to the world." -- Susan Sontag

Three Days To Christmas: Angels, as the Dog Watches Over Them

From “A Christmas Tree” in A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings by Charles Dickens:

“What images do I associate with … the Christmas Tree? Known before all the others, keeping far apart from all the others, they gather round my little bed. An angel, speaking to a group of shepherds in a field; some travellers, with eyes uplifted, following a star; a baby in a manger….”

From “A Christmas Carol” in A Christmas Carol and Other Christmas Writings by Charles Dickens:

“I am as light as a feather, I am as happy as an angel….”

From A Boy and His Dog at the End of the World by C. A. Fletcher:

“Dogs were with us from the very beginning.

“When we were hunters and gatherers and walked out of Africa and began to spread across the world, they came with us. They guarded our fires as we slept and they helped us bring down prey in the long dawn when we chased our meals instead of growing them. And later, when we did become farmers, they guarded our fields and watched over our herds. They looked after us, and we looked after them. Later still, they shared our homes and our families when we built towns and cities and suburbs….

Of all the animals that travelled the long road through the ages with us, dogs always walked closest.…”

Four Days To Christmas: Winter Solstice

From On Looking: A Walker’s Guide to the Art of Observation by Alexandra Horowitz:

“It was December twenty-first, the winter solstice. The business of being a pedestrian in the city had changed: any mosey that crept into people’s summer gait had been replaced by the determined fast stride of the winter walker. It was cold out, and I hunched my shoulders in a futile attempt to warm my ears and bully the chill away.”

From Winter Sunshine by John Burroughs:

“[It] may be later in the season, well into December. The days are equally bright, but a little more rugged. The mornings are ushered in by an immense spectrum thrown upon the eastern sky. A broad bar of red and orange lies along the low horizon, surmounted by an expanse of color in which green struggles with yellow and blue with green half the way to the zenith. By and by the red and orange spread upward and grow dim, the spectrum fades, and the sky becomes suffused with yellow white light…”

Five Days To Christmas: The Bright Lights Are Coming From Inside The House!!

From NOS4A2 by Joe Hill:

Without any warning, the great Christmas tree lit all at once, and a thousand electric candles illuminated the children gathered around it.

“A few sat in the lowest branches, but most — perhaps as many as thirty — stood beneath the boughs, in nightdresses and furs and ball gowns fifty years out of date and Davy Crockett hats and overalls and policeman uniforms. At first glance they all seemed to be wearing delicate masks of white glass, mouths fixed in dimpled smiles, lips too full and too red. Upon closer inspection the masks resolved into faces. The hairline cracks in these faces were veins, showing through translucent skin; the unnatural smiles displayed mouths filled with tiny, pointed teeth….

“One boy sat in a branch and held a serrated bowie knife as long as his forearm.

“One little girl dangled a chain with a hook on it.

“A third child … wielded a meat cleaver and wore a necklace of bloodied thumbs and fingers.

“Vic was now close enough to see the ornaments that decorated the tree. The sight forced the air out of her in hard, shocked breath. Heads: leather-skinned, blackened but not spoiled, preserved partially by the cold. Each face had holes where the eyes had once been. Mouths dangled open in silent cries. One decapitated head — a thin-faced man with a blond goatee — wore green-tinted glasses with heart-shaped, rhinestone-studded frames.

“Children began to spread out from beneath the tree … forming a human barricade…. Or inhuman barricade, as the case might be.”

This post’s title, in case you aren’t familiar with it, was appropriated from the classic 1979 horror movie When a Stranger Calls, starring Carol Kane. The movie has nothing to do with Christmas but the idea for this post and these crazy-ass photos got stuck in my head when I recently saw a reference to the line of dialogue “the call is coming from inside the house” from this movie.

NOS4A2, on the other hand, quoted above — Joe Hill‘s book and the recently released Hulu series — IS about Christmas, presenting a deliciously wicked version of the holidays that could only come from the mind of a blood-relative of Stephen King. 🙂

What would Christmas be without a wee bit of horror? or should I say ho!-ho!-horror?? Have you finished your shopping yet?

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