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Black Snow

Cristina Jurado is a bilingual (English/Spanish) author of science fiction, fantasy, horror and other hybrid genres, as well as editor and translator. She studied Advertising and Public Relations at Universidad de Sevilla (Spain) and holds a master's degree in Rhetoric from Northwestern University (USA). In 2019 she became the first female author to win the Best Novel Ignotus Award (Spain's Hugo) for her novel Bionautas. Her recent fiction includes the novella CloroFilia and her collection of stories Alphaland. She has edited anthologies such as Alucinadas, Spanish Women of Wonder, WhiteStar, Infiltradas, and The Apex Book of World SF #5. In 2020, the European Science Fiction Society (ESFS) honored her with the Best European SF Promoter Award.

Black snow, the same black as the night sky.
Lilly shivers, not because of the cold, not because dagger blades are seeking shelter inside her bare feet.
It is just the drug withdrawal, much less poetic.
"Not to worry," she thinks. "He will provide."
Father Christmas will deliver her fix of Snowflakes tonight. Millions of doses, all over the planet, addicts of the world joyfully stoned.
Peace and goodwill to the world and drugs with pretty names.
Rudolf is what Julius injects himself with. Side effects include a burning sensation under the eyelids.
Randy fell for Mistletoe out of high school. The result of years of consumption is the customary protuberance in the front of the skull, making it look like an aborted reindeer antler.
Cooper used to get high on Carols until his brain switched off. Now he vegetates in a state clinic, connected to machines until doctors decide there are no more organs worth salvaging.
Lilly shivers. The black pain is a familiar presence: the metal worm picking at her brain.
"Father Christmas bring me m' dope."
The house looms like a pop-up from a children's book of ghost stories. The facade is deep dark, nearly the color of dried blood.
She has brought ginger cookies for Father Christmas. The door is a few feet away, the loud sounds of junkies whirling behind it. Her dose is there, premier quality, the one night Father Christmas gives it away.
At sunrise, her frozen body lies in front of the door, surrounded by ginger cookie crumbs.
The End
This story was first published on Monday, January 18th, 2021


Author Comments

I hate the hyper-commercial aspect of Christmas. In sync with this feeling, I've always imagined Father Christmas as a dealer of people's hopes, trafficking with their dreams and wishes, just to have them hooked for life to a never-ending spiral of dependency. The idea to make him a drug lord came soon after: snowflakes as falling dope is all I needed to think about to materialize my dark retelling of Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl."

- Cristina Jurado
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