Time was never my friend.
Any kind of deadline... it usually didn't end well.
Four, five month deadlines for anthologies and I crashed and burned.
But there would be no dishonour in failing to meet a 10 day deadline. Because that's obviously impossible, anyhow, right? So I opened up TextEdit—because unlike Word that meant I wasn't really serious, clearly, was just jotting down random thoughts—and before I knew it had close on 800 words.
Pasted it into Word and thought: this looks like a story... what did I just do???
In fact "Needles" took me just less than two days from first words to finish. The fastest thing I ever wrote. It seems impossible deadlines are the ones that suit me the best.
As to where the idea came from...
Conifer forests, the natural habitat of Christmas trees, are dark and forbidding. Not much undergrowth, as if the trees have sucked all of the life out of the soil and left nothing behind. Which isn't wholly untrue: the needles conifers shed don't decay easily, like the leaves of deciduous trees, but instead break down only slowly, dumping acidic tannins into the soil that make it hard for other plant life to thrive there. And promoting a failure to thrive is only a stone's throw from... you will have read the story to find out.
Twisted: Ghosts of Christmas