7 Short Stories About New Years
New year, new beginning, right? But, where there’s a beginning, there also has to be an end.
This week I read stories about new years and new beginnings.
This week’s stories included two strangers beginning new lives, an unhappy wife, a husband coping with the loss of his wife, a girl who finds herself 100 years in the past, a man doing Amazon product reviews, a zombie turning up at a party, and a niece doing something nice for her estranged uncle.
These are the stories I read this week and what I thought.
** I’m not here to criticise any writer. The fact that these writers have put themselves out there and made these stories available for me to read for free is amazing and I thank you.**
Sunday: To New Beginnings: A Short Story
To New Beginnings: A Short Story by Howard Chai. Published on Medium.
“To new beginnings”, Mindy said, smiling as she finished her drink.
What it’s about: Mindy and Max are beginning new chapters in their lives.
Mindy is about to start a new job but she’s struggling with the change. Max has moved to a new city and is eager and positive about his new life.
A nice story to start off the week.
Monday: The Green Knight’s Wife
The Green Knight’s Wife by Kat Howard. Published in Uncanny Magazine, Issue 13
And then one year, the boy doesn’t show up. It is two days after the New Year and snow is falling outside, and the cameras are waiting and my husband, green and wild, is pacing back and forth, axe in hand.
What it’s about: For as long as people remember, at a particular time of the year, the Green Knight challenges men to cut off his head, then he’ll do the same to them. Now, it’s become a reality tv show.
The narrator is the wife of the Green Knight— the legendary spirit of the woods.
The time-honoured tradition of challenging men to cut off his head, so that he can do the same to them, has become a reality tv show. The challengers get to cut his head off first but, of course, he doesn’t die. They then have a year and a day to come to him in the heart of the forest so he can do the same to them.
They always come, thinking they can beat him, but the green man has tricks up his sleeve as part of the game; tricks that involve his wife. One day, one of the men doesn’t show up. Two days after New Year, the wife offers a solution.
This one’s my pick of the week.
Tuesday: The New Year’s Eve Party
The New Year’s Eve Party by Wayne Scheer. Published in the Short Fiction Break website.
At the stroke of midnight at the Evergreen Pines Retirement Village’s New Year’s Eve party, Herb kissed his wife, Florence. Then he turned to a friend and said, “The best thing about being married is you always have a date for New Year’s Eve.”
What it’s about: Herb and Florence have been married for years. Then Florence dies.
A glimpse into true love and heartbreak and the recognition that at some point you have to move on, but it doesn’t have to be until you’re ready.
A clever use of New Year’s Eve to show how endings lead to beginnings.
Wednesday: A New Beginning
A New Beginning by Morgan Douglas. Submitted to a Reedsy short story prompt competition.
Candice Everglades spent New Year’s Eve partying hard and dancing all night with her friends at her glamorous downtown Los Angeles loft.
What it’s about: Candice wakes up after the party and finds herself in 1920, rather than 2020.
Candice wants to be an actor like her father, but hasn’t managed to score a leading role yet. She loves the glamour and the style of the 1920s. She reflects on that when that type of music plays for a short time at the party.
She wakes up the next morning to discover she’s in 1920. She manages to score the leading role in a silent movie that her father always liked.
There are some long paragraphs, but the story moves along at a good pace.
Thursday: Leave Your Review
Leave Your Review by Mike Hickman. Read on the Flash Fiction magazine website.
New Year’s Eve sees Alan logging back in to review his six-piece combination wrench set, newly unwrapped because it’s only now that he can face unwrapping it.
What it’s about: Alan leaves reviews on goods he’s bought on Amazon.
Alan seems like a sad, lonely guy, expressing himself the only way he feels he can: through product reviews.
I was a bit confused by the end but I guess you can read into it whatever makes sense for you.
Friday: Kitty’s Zombie New Year
Kitty’s Zombie New Year by Carrie Vaughn. From an anthology. Read on TOR.com.
“I’d refused to stay home alone on New Year’s Eve. I wasn’t going to be one of those angst-ridden losers stuck at home watching the ball drop in Times Square while sobbing into a pint of gourmet ice cream.”
What it’s about: Kitty goes to a friend’s New Year’s Eve party but things don’t turn out quite as she expects.
Kitty Norville is a radio DJ with a call-in show about the supernatural. When a zombie-like woman turns up at the party, Kitty has to deal with it since she’s the one with the knowledge of freaky stuff.
A fun well-written story.
Saturday: Uncle Richard’s New Year Dinner
Uncle Richard’s New Year Dinner by Lucy Maud Montgomery. Read on the American Literature website.
Prissy Baker was in Oscar Miller’s store New Year’s morning, buying matches — for New Year’s was not kept as a business holiday in Quincy — when her uncle, Richard Baker, came in. He did not look at Prissy, nor did she wish him a happy New Year; she would not have dared.
What it’s about: Prissy Baker hears that her estranged uncle will be spending New Year’s Day alone and decides to do something nice for him.
A predictable story about the foolishness of hanging onto old grievances and how a simple piece of kind-heartedness can initiate a new beginning.
This week’s short stories about new years, in the order that I enjoyed them.
- The Green Knight’s Wife by Kat Howard (Urban fantasy)
- The New Year’s Eve Party by Wayne Scheer (Love story)
- Kitty’s Zombie New Year by Carrie Vaughn (Urban fantasy)
- To New Beginnings: A Short Story by Howard Chai (Contemporary)
- A New Beginning by Morgan Douglas (Contemporary)
- Leave Your Review by Mike Hickman (Contemporary)
- Uncle Richard’s New Year Dinner by Lucy Maud Montgomery (Classic)
I’m fascinated by short fiction. I write it and I read it.
As well as reading longer-form fiction, I try to read at least one short story every day. I select out-of-the-way stories and authors I’ve never read and sometimes never heard of.
Sometimes I pick competition entries, often ones that didn’t win. Sometimes I find random personal websites where someone has published their own stories. Sometimes I seek out professionally published stories from hardcopy books or online magazines. Sometimes I look for really old stories that are out of copyright and available online.