Wind and snow ghosted high
above him and huge wet flakes began to swirl down. They spun into his
reddening eyes and for a moment the Christmas lights, decorations, the
crowd, and reflections melted and formed crayon scenes of a massacre.
Something bright came around the corner, and as his vision cleared, he
recognized the man as Santa.
Sheltered by an alley doorway
and a garbage bin, jolly Santa lit a cigar and pulled a bottle of cheap
sherry from his sack.
As he frowned at Santa, he
remembered his father saying - Santa is a bad man, teaching children to be
greedy. Yes, he’s a bad man, he thought as he crept up and swung his metal
bar, cracking Santa on the head. Santa, the nasty fella must pay, he said as
he hit him again and again, watching some chocolates, cherries and mints
rolling in the spattering blood.
Inside in the washroom he
washed the blood out of Santa's costume, then put it on and strolled across
the tiled floor to the exit. Adjusting his suit, he looked across the mall
and focused on the fake reindeer and Santa's booth. Sticky gumby men,
sugarplums and the instruments he’d use in a New Year's torture chamber fell
through his mind as he walked to Santa's throne.
He was early, no lineup yet -
an adorable little blond girl came out of nowhere and jumped to his lap, and
he couldn't spot any parents with her. The only person watching was a nasty
looking freckle-faced boy.
Lucky day, I've found a stray
already, he thought, as his eyes went to her ghostly pale face.
What’s your name, little
girl? Angela, that's nice. And where are your parents? Oh, you've run off
from your mom. So that's why you’re so pale. Well, well. How about telling
Santa what you want for Christmas?
As she spoke, he really felt
like Santa, soaring with his sleigh through a shaken bubble of blue and
flurries. Cones, needles, wreathes, presents showering down as he flew. But
the people below were greedy, their uplifted faces twisted mean, and his
good gifts turned to fluttering money and a shower of gold coins. Angered,
he swooped down, grinding hooves and runners into the crowd.
Blood showered his dreams, no
one was watching, he was about to stuff a sock in the little girl's mouth
and thrust her into the bag. Then it would be off to the North Pole and his
But the weird little boy was
still watching, and in an uncanny way. The vile urchin had teeth like cat
fangs and he grinned like he was hungry for a taste of Santa’s leg.
White Christmas was playing
in the mall -- he was somehow picking up on the boy's thoughts, and he shook
his head, trying to get rid of the images. But he couldn't, and he saw
things through the boy's eyes - the colorless faces in the crowd, pale
reflections in shop windows, eyes full of tinsel and silliness, mouths that
were an empty stamp. Then there was Santa - his nose a pink-veined knob,
cheeks like rosy wine, a plump bottle of sweetness. Santa brightened
Christmas with red firelight. And he longed to sink his teeth into . . . .
A sudden bang and shattering
glass startled them, and the girl cut her wish list short. Gunshots; it was
a robbery over at the fur shops. A wounded clerk was falling, his face
mashed to cherry pie by a shotgun kick right between the eyes. Two masked
crooks flashed their sawed-offs as they fled with some goods.
All eyes were on the armed
men. It was Santa's moment - grabbing a sock he moved to stuff it in the
little girl's throat. And he was just getting it in when the little boy
landed on him.
He howled -- his best Santa
yell, but the kid had the strength of a tiger. Fangs penetrated, Santa could
choke, but he couldn’t shout. His blood flew up in ribbons as he kicked and
slid down in his throne.
Pinned on the floor, he had
the feeling of looking up from the bottom of an immense black chimney. The
little girl was above him with the Christmas stocking in her hand - pale and
ghostly, she floated straight up to the higher levels. And he heard her
singing as the hungry boy growled and sucked his blood.
Deck the halls with boughs of
holly, fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. ---The End---