Written by: Matt Molgaard
Christmas is hours away at this point, but I’ve opted to squeeze in as much holiday horror coverage as possible. If you follow the site, you’ve seen a load of stellar Christmas themed shorts covered over the last week and a half. Well, I received a polite email from a gentleman by the name of Andrew Pettit with a simple request affixed: give my Christmas themed short, “Nipping at Your Nose” a try. I’m all about unearthing the unfamiliar treasures, so I thought, what the hell, it’s Christmas, let’s check this guy’s story out!
My decision to bump a story from the planned lineup proved fruitful. I’ve delivered you loads of coverage about vampires and werewolves this holiday season, but I’d yet to cover any thematic zombie tales, which is exactly what we’ve been gifted by Pettit; a nice swing in momentum.
Andrew introduces a strong family, holed up in a stranger’s abandoned abode on Christmas Eve. Gus, son to Natalie and Joe, is a an avid gun fanatic at just six years old, his sister, Aubrey is just three months old, and both are the beloved burdens of two parents fighting to survive a zombie apocalypse, all the while hoping to maintain some semblance of holiday cheer. But the undead pounding and clawing at the cabin’s doors, walls and windows have left tensions running full-steam, and as merry as the holiday should be, Santa Claus is one of the last things on anyone’s mind… except Gus, who’s managed to hold onto his faith, despite the atrocities roaming about.
I won’t spoil the story’s spin, because it’s an enjoyable climax to a solid little tale. I will say this however: a little belief can go a long way, even in dire times. Gus knows it and whether his parents are oblivious (real life kicks everyone in the ass with time, and we all become jaded as the realities and responsibilities of adulthood settle in) or not, faith pays major dividends for this troubled quartet. It also leads to quite a seasonal bundle for little Gus.
Pettit writes in relatable fashion. He tells a very deliberate story that proves effective for the right reasons, and while “Nipping at Your Nose” isn’t the most thought provoking or ground breaking concept to see release, it’s a memorable piece of fiction that’s earned the praise being hurled at it.
My lone complaint… well, I wouldn’t even call this a complaint, to be completely honest, lay in the technical aspects of Andrew’s writing. I like this guy’s style. I think he’s got a great future, and that’s exactly why I’m going to share with him a piece of advice that a buddy (and well respected author of numerous novels) of mine gifted me after reading an excerpt from one of my upcoming stories: “edit, edit, edit, edit once more, and edit again.” There are a half dozen small typos and errors (omitted or repeated words being the primary issue) to be found in this quick read, and while they don’t do much to distract readers from an otherwise gratifying story, they shouldn’t be there, plain and simple. Andrew is a better writer than that.
I understand that in today’s literary landscape there is a wealth of us writing and self-publishing: we don’t all have the power and resources afforded by major publishing houses. We don’t all have editors on deck to ensure our works hit stands fault-free. So Andrew, take this not as criticism, but simple advice from one young writer to another: you’re a talented guy, keep giving us enjoyable reads, but “edit, edit, edit, edit once more, and edit again.”