He was too patient.
Apparently, the Father Christmas thought he could wait me out.
He was mistaken.
I heard this particular jolly old elf humming and singing away long before dawn but well after sunset. A fine snow fell from the sky, and the moon peaked through the clouds now and again. When the wind shifted, as it occasionally did, I could smell his pipe tobacco.
At first, I couldn’t find him, though I searched every yard and carriage house on Washington Street. It was only when he let out a faint snicker that I realized he was up on a rooftop and not waiting for me with his boots on the ground.
Stepping out into the street, I saw him. He was perched on one of the Barkers’ chimneys. Smoking a pipe and peering up at the last of the clouds as they drifted away. This Father Christmas broke out into song once more, a long, low tune in French.
Foul and obscene, the words filled the air and cast a pall about the house.
He sang of innocents and what he had done to them over decades.
The joy in his words sent rage ripping through me, and I drew my Colts.
“Pere Noel,” I called, and he broke off his song to look down at me in surprise.
He stood up and asked, “Who are you?”
The Colts answered.
The heavy slugs tore through his belly and sent him tumbling back, smashing into the slate shingles. He caught hold of the chimney, pulled himself forward, then lost his grip. The Father Christmas and shingles crashed down and landed close to me but a moment later.
The man howled as I strode forward, hammers cocked.
“Don’t you know who I am?” he screeched in French.
I shot him in both knees, and he squealed.
His pipe lay nearby, the tobacco still hot and glowing. I slipped the Colts into their holsters and picked up his pipe. The Father Christmas screamed at me, and I ignored his insults and curses.
Squatting down beside him, I waited until he paused for breath and then I tapped some of the embers into his eyes.
He clawed at his face, and I emptied the rest of the burning tobacco into his open mouth.
Casting the pipe aside, I clamped a hand over his mouth.
“Come now,” I whispered, “let me teach you about torture.”