I found him in Old Jake’s bedroom.
I could smell the pipe tobacco and knew it wasn’t mine. The ghosts in the house were irritated and told me, in no uncertain terms, that they weren’t pleased with having an unannounced guest.
I checked the loads on the Colts and went upstairs at the behest of several insistent dead relatives.
By the time I reached the upper hall, the scent of fresh cookies had joined the tobacco. The dead were gathered around at Old Jake’s room at the far end of the hall, and I paused to shake my head.
Whoever was in the room was a fool.
Old Jake didn’t appreciate guests.
When I reached the room and peered in, I saw it was festooned with Christmas garlands. A Father Christmas sat there, looking at a book and pretending to ignore me.
“Duncan Blood,” he greeted me. “Will you not come in?”
“Nope.” I remained in the hallway and folded my arms over my chest.
“Afraid?” he asked.
“Not of you.”
“Then come in the room.”
I shook my head.
“I want to talk with you,” he said, leaning forward, the smile falling away. “You’ve been killing some of my kin these past years.”
“Only those that need killing,” I replied.
He frowned at me. “None of my kin need killing.”
“More than a few,” I argued. “Not only need it, but they deserve it. Figure you do as well.”
“And will you be the one to try and kill me, Duncan Blood?” His voice was low, the words slick and smooth.
“Not me,” I smiled. “No need.”
“Oh, there is a need,” he snapped. “I’ve come for vengeance.”
“You’re a fool and a soon-to-be-dead one at that,” I remarked.
“If you won’t be the one to try and kill me,” Father Christmas snarled, “then who will?”
“Old Jake,” I replied. “You’re in his room, and he doesn’t care for it.”
Before I could answer, Old Jake appeared. Or what I could see of him.
A dark shadow pulled away from beneath the tree and swarmed over Claus. The man tried to scream, but Old Jake poured into his open mouth and nose, choking Claus to death as he did so.
The fresh corpse crashed to the floor and the body pulsed for several minutes until Old Jake ate his share and then crept back into the darkness.
My home is always interesting.