Short Story Title: Merry Christmas From The End – A Night Portals Short Story, Season 2
Author: Ernie Howard
Publication Date: November 30, 2020
Available On: Amazon as an eBook and as a paperback
Indie Athenaeum Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars
Brant has suffered tremendous losses and her life has drastically changed forever as a result of a worldwide nuclear war. As she ponders her bleak existence and tries to survive, she wonders what she has left to live for. Running out of reasons to hope, she thinks of suicide and the relief from her unending emotional pain that it will bring. But she discovers something unexpected, the last thing she thought she would stumble across. Will it help her find what she yearns for?
It’s a terrific plot that held me spellbound with Brant’s story and what happened to her. Brant has experienced the worst that life could throw at her. Forced to find her way in a now apocalyptic land, the only thing that helps her survive for the next couple of years is knowing that her family is with her. That family, consisting of her husband and her twins, sustains her, gives her the strength and purpose to carry on.
I really felt for her, walking in her shoes, one weary step in front of another, being weighed down by her burdens. I experienced the slow crushing of her soul, bit by bit with every tragedy she endured. As she questioned whether she had transformed into a bad person, someone unrecognizable from her former life, what she finds will surprise her.
The discovery of that unexpected something and how it impacts her was profound. It was also the most perfect and appropriate way to end this short story.
This tale is perfectly structured from beginning to end and how it shares its jaw-dropping revelations. It enraptured me with its grim circumstances, the devastation a woman faces after unimaginable losses, and the unadulterated love of family. Combine that with the holiday season and this story demonstrates the pure magic of superb storytelling.
Finally, if this story was a televised Christmas special, I would probably give it the title “It’s a Night Portals Christmas, Charlie Brown.”
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Previous Indie Athenaeum book reviews about stories by Ernie Howard include “Together We Cross The River,” “Ruby – A Night Portals Short Story,” “We Are Mist – A Night Portals Short Story,” “Ding Dong Ditch – A Night Portals Short Story“, “The Pool – Omnibus Edition“, “Bus Stop: A Short Story“, “On Holiday with an S.O.B“, “Gramps: A Time Travel Short Story“, “Night Portals Boxed Set – Books 1 – 8“, “Melody 8 – Books 1-3 by Ernie Howard,” “Melody 8 – Book One: The Day of the Song“, “Melody 8 – Book Two: The Musical Witch of the South” and “Melody 8 – Book Three: A Sound for the Deaf.”