December 14, 1895

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I found the musically inclined bastard.

Father Christmas had given the horn to Marvin Thomas, a good boy who lived on the far southern edge of town where the sea sometimes met the shore. He and his sisters, much to the confusion of their parents, had awoken to the sight of Christmas presents. The Thomas’ being well-familiar with some of the peculiarities of life in Cross, relaxed when the toys didn’t turn around and attack anyone.

The family, being far enough away from any of the town’s burial grounds, were also unaware of the rising of the dead.

While Marvin was somewhat distressed at the loss of his horn, he was thrilled with the replacement I offered, a small birding rifle his mother – one of the finest shots in town – would teach him how to use properly.

I was given permission to set up shop in the parlor, and the Thomas family went into Boston courtesy of me. They would spend the night in a hotel and enjoy the theater.

I didn’t know how long I would need to kill the Father Christmas, who had gifted the horn.

The instrument was no mean thing. It was an off-shoot of Gabriel’s and too dangerous to be out in the open. The horn’s presence gave me a sense of unease, and I fretted over the idea of what else the Father Christmas might unleash on the town through the children.

I was right to worry.

He showed up close to midnight, a pack of toys on his back and the rank odor of the charnel house about him. I recognized miniature versions of terrible items. There was a pair of war drums from a Hessian unit from the war against Britain. A guillotine from Robespierre’s great experiment and a cat’s cradle made of nooses.

Oh, he was here to play havoc, and that was fine.

So was I.

I had promised Mrs. Thomas I’d not damage her house, so the Colts stayed in their holsters.

When Father Christmas clapped eyes on me, he snarled, but it was too late.

I was already up against him, pressed close with my Bowie knife. My wrist snapped out twice, and he went down, hamstrung and bleeding into his boots.

He fought me the whole way out, but out he went.

Then, as the night passed, I expressed my displeasure. #Christmas #horrorstories

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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