December 29, 1926

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It took me a year, but I found them.

With the death of the last Father Christmas, I spent each day in the Hollow. Neighbors helped with my harvests, and the dead watched over Blood Lake. Even the fey lent their hands to the task of caring for the orchards, and more than a few bodies were buried beneath young saplings as I hunted through the Hollow.

This morning, I found the house the Father Christmas had spoken of.

The grand building was bedecked with lights, pine wreaths, and garlands. Smoke curled up from the chimneys.

I did not hesitate to approach the house.

Elves and sprites, brownies and nixies saw me and darted away. They fled from the house to the tree-line, and soon others raced from the home.

They knew who I was and what I’d come to do.

Soon, I climbed the stairs to the broad porch and forced the door open.

A tall, thin elf saw me, raised a rifle in shaking hands, and died as my Colts roared. He was blown backward, bones and flesh spraying out through his now tattered coat. I stepped over the fresh corpse and gunned down another elf that sprang out of a doorway with a large piece of cutlery.

At the far end of the grand hall, a pair of doors swung open, and a trio of elves came howling through them. They carried nothing but kitchenware, no match for my guns.

I stood my ground and pulled my triggers.

Brains were splattered across the wall, and the bodies rolled toward me.

From the upper floor came a cry of rage and despair, and more elves appeared. There was fear in their eyes, though not of me.

My Colts were not as fearful as their master, and that was fine with me.

The .44s jumped in my hands, the long barrels spouting flames as the slugs tore from them, and I butchered the elves.

I killed the last, reloaded, and went in search of the missing children.

I found them in the dining room, gathered ‘round a long table decorated with a Christmas tree, the children in their holiday finery.

They looked at me with disbelief. Some knew me, others did not.

“Come,” I said. “It’s time to go home.”

The elder children scooped up the youngest, and I led them all from the Hollow.

#Christmas #horrorstories

Published by

Nicholas Efstathiou

Husband, father, and writer.

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