Killer Holidays

A John Seraph Mystery - Holiday Collection

by C.G. Eberle

They say the holidays are murder and for John Seraph it's the truth. In this eight story anthology John deals with mysteries & murders before & after the events in Family Ties, Family Plots, & the upcoming Family Education.

Killer Holidays is an eight-story anthology where John deals with a headless motorcyclist in All Hallow's Evil; a murdered co-worker in The Fight Before Christmas. In Fashion Statement John must clear his sister of a murder charge, then a mysterious secret admirer pursues John in Hearts Afire. John fights hard to stop a Northern Irish terrorist in Caught Red Handed, then he deals with someone snatching Easter baskets in It's Rabbit Season. In No Child Left Behind John's forced to rescue the girl, who could have been his daughter, from a pedophile. and finally John looks at his life, the direction it has taken, and where it is headed in Reflection.

Plus a Christmas poem, The Fight Before Christmas written by the hero of the anthology, John Seraph himself!


Valentine's Day

February 14th

I almost did the un-thinkable, thank God I stopped myself before I pulled the trigger, literally. At Buffalo State College I’m majoring in English Education, to earn my teaching credentials. Eventually, I’d love to teach at the college level. I’ve been at it for three years now and for the most part it’s interesting, and has been rewarding at times, especially when I get to work with kids. Currently, this semester, I’m tutoring grade schoolers at Truman Elementary in Lackawanna, NY. It’s a nice situation because Truman isn’t far from my apartment in South Buffalo, so I’ve a short drive, but let me start at the beginning at what made this Valentine’s Day my most unforgettable one ever.

My normal, part-time job is manning the checkout desk at the E.H. Butler Library at Buffalo State, but last month I picked up a paid tutoring position through school to work at Truman, and I like the job for a number of reasons. First, it fulfills a course requirement, but mainly helping kids is rewarding and I love working with them. I don’t want to sound cliché, but it’s true, when you see the spark of understanding ignite in a child’s eyes, and then they’re able to comprehend, well the feeling in indescribable, besides the extra money never hurts. I tutor on Tuesday and Thursday, from 2:45 to 3:45, and that’s on top of my Monday-Wednesday-Friday four hour shifts at the library.

Today was Valentine’s Day and my plans were set when I got up. School in the morning, head to Truman at two o’clock, home for dinner, then settle in for my annual Valentine’s tradition, make some popcorn, open a bottle of Diet Pepsi, and watch My Bloody Valentine, the original 1981 slasher flick, not the 2009 remake. I do have my standards, but it was a decent remake. Romantic? No, but there have been some major problems with two special ladies in my life, so I didn’t make any romantic plans, with either of them, as much as I wanted to.

At 1:30 I lunched at the Butler Library; I opted for a pair of the finest humus wraps and a Diet Pepsi, vintage 2014, a fine year, then drove to Truman Elementary. The ride didn’t take long in mid-afternoon traffic, plus the weather finally broke out of a pattern of recent lake effect snows we had since Christmas. Now there was blue skies and sun, but it still felt like the inside of a walk-in freezer, but the sun made it nicer than before.

It was twenty-five after two when I swung into the parking lot, grabbed my assignment folders then I ran inside after being buzzed into the building. School was going to be dismissed in a few minutes, and I could hear the kids clamoring behind the closed doors, like race horses at the starting gates. I rushed past all the red, pink, and white decorations lining the hallways on my way to the library, after I signed the visitors’ log, and it was there I had my first surprise of the day.

Mrs. Cavendish, one of the secretaries greeted me, wearing a red sweatshirt, with a massive pink & white heart and naked, fluttering cherubs all over it. “Afternoon, John, care for some Valentine’s candy,” she offered. On her desk was a plate with candy hearts, chocolate kisses, and marshmallow hearts. I declined with a simple shake of my head as I wrote down my name and arrival time. “Oh, before I forget, we’ve got something for you here.” My curiosity changed to confusion when Mrs. Cavendish brought out a small, heart shaped box of Valentine’s candy.

“Are you trying to tell me something? You’re a charming woman but I just don’t want your husband trying to unload some buckshot in my backside,” I joked. I knew the sixty-something year old grandmother didn’t have a thing for me.

“Flatterer,” she joked back, looking past her glasses at me. “Actually, John, we found this outside the office this morning, with your name on it, and John, it was left anonymously.” My tuning fork went off, it usually tells me when something’s wrong or I should wake up and pay attention. “Looks like you’ve got a secret admirer,” Cavendish teased. Suddenly I was no longer in a joking mood.

“Ah, thanks, Mrs. Cavendish,” I said as I left the office with the candy and my folders. I walked into the main hallway that was properly decorated for the holiday. I noticed there was a small heart shaped card on the box and once I got to the library I read it.


Violets are blue and roses are red;

You’ve entered into more than my head.

You’ve no idea how you’ve affected me,

Before long you will finally see.


I didn’t know what this meant, but someone was playing games. It’s been my experience someone’s playing games things get messy.

Considering I didn’t know who I was dealing with, what they wanted, or what the stakes     were, I suddenly became on edge.

I put the secret admirer out of mind because I had nine students from the seventh and eighth grades I was to help. Three eighth graders and six seventh graders were either assigned to me by their teachers because their grades were poor or they asked for assistance. I knew even before I began who wanted my help they were the ones who took my lessons seriously.

"Killer Holidays" by C. G. Eberle



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