My Countdown to a Horror Holiday
A (not so) Sweet Christmas Story
THIS IS THE time of year when most writers sit at their desks and try to think of things to pen that would give holiday readers a warm, special feeling. Well, as you may or may not know, I on occasion love to write horror. Gory, tense, heart-stopping terror. For some reason or another these types of stories seem not to be appropriate for the season. So for this post I’ll eschew all my impulses toward the macabre and try my damnedest to write a sweet Christmas story. Here’s one of my ideas:
Billy stood in the cold December wind, his face bright red, scorched raw by the frost. He was hurt. Hurt mentally because it was Christmas Eve and his parents couldn’t afford to buy him any gifts. They didn’t even have enough money for a decent meal. He was also hurt physically because of his small size and his vulnerability to all of the cruel things the bigger, richer kids did to him.
Every day it seemed a group of rich kids would kick Billy around until they had him writhing helplessly on the ground. Today was no exception. He had, in fact, just picked himself up after being tossed into the snow by a rather large boy, and was now standing there, his eyes glossing over as the boys ran away.
He knew they’d be back, and issued a curse under his breath. A curse of hatred and revenge. A curse of instant punishment. In one cataclysmal prayer, he called to the gods of sweet retribution for help.
And, while the tears streamed down his frozen cheeks, his call was answered. A blinding light appeared in front of him, soaring into the air until it finally stopped and took the shape of a shimmering door. The door opened and out stepped a grey old man dressed in a long, flowing robe.
The man carried a box adorned with all kinds of colorful, whimsical patterns. He set it down and said, “This is a magical Jack-In-The-Box. If you crank the handle until the Jack comes out he will grant your every wish.”
Billy could only stand there, eyes wide, jaw gaping. Before he had the chance to respond the old man was gone, vanished as quickly as he’d appeared.
Billy picked up the lavishly designed box, glancing over it just in time to see the group of thugs closing in on him again.
He knew the kids were going to hurt him, so he feverishly turned the crank on the box. The gang of kids seemed to race with the box’s music as it quickly played its tune:
“Da-Duh Da-Duh Da-Duh-Duh Da-Duh, Da-Duh Da-Duh Da-Duuuuuh-Duh, Da-Duh Da-Duh Da-Duh-Duh Da-Duh, Pop! Goes the weasle!”
The scowling kids reached Billy just as the Jack sprang from the box. It looked around at the would-be attackers. They paid no attention to the toy. They grabbed Billy but he held tight to the box.
The Jack looked at Billy and said, “What is it you require, oh gracious master?”
Billy was being choked by several people at once, yet he still managed to cough out the words, “Kill them!”
The Jack wasted no time. An intense beam of twisting light shot from its fingers, tearing holes into the stomachs of three thugs. Two more beams followed. Six attackers went down, their bodies mangled and spewing blood.
Some survivors of the initial attack started to run. The Jack pointed his fingers, and in a flash—wait a minute. What am I doing? I promised I wouldn’t write this kind of story. I guess I can’t help it. Sorry.
Maybe I should try again for Valentine’s Day or something. Merry Christmas, anyway.