December 11, 1893

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He wasn’t the smartest one I’ve met.

It was close to dawn when I heard noise in the parlor.

Armed with a coach gun, I left my bedroom, shooed away the few ghosts who complained about the disturbance, and double-checked some of the closed doors. A few of my kin had been anxious of late, and they’d made their displeasure known. The Hollow had been especially active the past few years, and they could feel it. Those few creatures imprisoned in the house did, too, and it made for some noisy evenings.

None of them had slipped free of their rooms, though, and so I could only imagine what fresh hell awaited me in the parlor.

The sound of cheerful singing reached my ears, and by the time I stepped into the parlor, I knew what I’d find.

Father Christmas.

Again.

This one stood on a chair by a tree which had definitely not been in the parlor a few hours before when I’d gone to bed.

He was decorating, and the gleam in his eyes was one of madness.

When the man saw me, he did not slow down, nor did he seem particularly concerned.

“Duncan,” he chortled. “You’ve been a bad boy this year.”

I raised an eyebrow and adjusted my grip on the coach gun. I didn’t want to shoot him in the house since there would be damage to the walls, but if he was too difficult, I’d have to.

“Do you want to know what you’ve done?” he asked.

“Nope.” I brought the gun up to my shoulder. “I’m well aware of what I do, Father Christmas.”

He snorted. “You should change your ways.”

“You should step down off that chair,” I replied, “and be careful as hell when you do it. This close, and I’m liable to take you off at the knees. I’ve no desire to clean up blood.”

Father Christmas laughed, shifted his weight, and one of his boots slipped off the edge of the chair. He reached out to steady himself, missed the branch and fell forward. A length of garland wrapped around his throat, and he clawed at it, twisted, and crashed toward the floor.

But the tree was stronger than it looked, and it stood true as the old elf was hanged.

I lowered the gun, waited until Father Christmas was dead, and left the room.

There’d be no burial until after a cup of coffee.

Maybe two.

#Christmas #horrorstories

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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