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The Gingerbread Man

A Novella by


Lindy runs into an unexpected snow storm on the way to her fiance's on Christmas Eve, but will the charming, kindly gentleman who comes to her rescue turn out to be more saccharine than sweet?

Note: This story originally appeared in the anthology Shivers

Warning: This title contains graphic language, sex, and elements of horror.


"Come on, come on, come on." She pressed her foot down on the gas pedal, hearing the sound of the tires spinning in the snow. "Please."

It was no use. Sighing, she reached for her cell phone, flipping it open. It read "Low Battery" in the window still. She flipped through her "contacts" and found the eight-hundred number for AAA. Surely someone would be working, even on Christmas Eve? If the phone would work for just a few minutes...

"Please." She pressed the "talk" button and waited. Ringing! She sighed in relief, closing her eyes and leaning her head back against the seat.

A rapping on her window made her gasp and jerk her head up. She flicked the window lock and pressed the button, waiting as the glass slid down, revealing a man in a long, wool coat, pulling it closed against the snow and wind. He wasn't wearing a hat and his salt and pepper hair was covered in a melting sheen of snow that was replaced by new flakes almost immediately.

"You need some help, miss?" The man bent his tall frame in to peer at her. "I saw you spin out. I live across the road there."

"Oh yes, thank you so much!" Lindy sighed in relief. "If I could just use your phone..."

She rolled up her window as she struggled with the door and the man helped her pull it open through the drift of snow. They were only able to get it halfway and the car was at such an angle he had to grab her arm to keep her from falling as she stepped out. She gave him a grateful smile, glad she had worn her sensible boots. Ever practical, she reached back in to grab the keys and her purse.

"I can't thank you enough!" She closed the door and locked it. "My cell phone died and I didn't know what I was going to do."

"That was some spin-out." He shook his head, holding her arm as they carefully crossed the icy pavement. "You're lucky it wasn't worse."

"I know!" Lindy let him help her as they walked carefully down the road. "That's the second time tonight... I should have just stayed home."

They trudged up the street, both of them hugging their coats around them, heads down to the wind. The snow, which Lindy had been sure was going to ease up, had resumed in full force, and she turned her collar up to it. It wasn't until they reached the walkway that she recognized the house, the old Victorian all decorated for Christmas.

There were so many lights on the house, it was like a beacon in the gray afternoon. Rows of red and white peppermint candies with lights in their centers lined the huge wraparound porch and each window as well. Fat multi-colored lights rimmed the roof and each ridge and cupola like Jujubes. Candy canes as tall as Lindy lined the walkway, each less than a foot apart, and she smiled up at the sign hanging over the door: "The Gingerbread House."

"I won't meet an old witch inside waiting with a hot oven, will I?" she teased as the man helped her up the stairs.

He flashed her a brief smile as he opened the door. "Not unless your name is Gretel?"

"No, I'm Lindy." She laughed, following him. The house was warm and inviting, but it was the smell she noticed first, the sweetness of baking, something like cake or cookies.

"Well, I'm the Gingerbread Man..."