Beyond the Naughty List
A/N: If you do not like horror-style (Santa is a bad guy) kind of Christmas stories, pass this one. I wrote it as a writting challenge and thought others might enjoy it.
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“Hurry,” she shouted.
I glanced back and saw a flash of red. Terror engulfed me as I gave all I could to running. I didn’t want to die like this. It was just supposed to be dinner and a show. It was supposed to be filled with laughter and cheer. There was supposed to be a chance at a kiss under the mistletoe. What happened was not what was supposed to happen.
The air was arid as I gasped. It left me gasping even more as if the figure behind us had sucked all the oxygen from the area. I didn’t care how it happened but the figure had managed to transport the two of us to this frozen desert. What I did care about was trying to find somewhere to hide, though it seemed impossible out here.
“Up ahead!” she gasped. “What is it?”
I could barely make out the bright red and green lights. A shiver ran down my back and I realized he was closing in. We didn’t have the energy left to continue running, but the endless horrors that came with stopping were worse. The lights ahead shined with danger, but they also beckoned us to its cheerful glow.
In the center of what appeared to be like a cove, stood a giant Christmas tree. Red lights were dripping down the sides of the tree. What had appeared to be green lights were only branches illuminated by the nearby red. Along the tree were figurines. Instead of looking peaceful and blessed, the figurines each looked terrified and in pure agony.
“Ho. Ho. Ho.” A voice drummed out in a chant.
We turned and saw the figure. He was grotesquely obese and his red suit was abhorrent as it started to fall apart. The trimming was as white as his yellow, cavity-filled teeth. His face was sagging and stained red from what I assumed was too much eggnog. His hands were encaged by two black leather gloved. Strapped to his belt was a long black whip dripping with a thick, dark liquid.
“Looks like we have ourselves two who have moved beyond the naughty list.” The voice drummed.
The figure waved his grubby hand towards us as the sound of a lone bell rung through the air. Each ding ringing out as if to dictate the last moments before the funeral march arrived at the grave. Its low, bone shattering bellow matching every third beat of my racing heart. My body begged for a deep breath, but my mind only cared about what the man before us planned.
Another knell of the bell and suddenly the woman beside me started screaming as her skin turned to porcelain. Her writhing body stopped moving as it started to shrink. Finally, the living, breathing woman who had ran beside me was turned into another figurine for the tree. The man looked it over before shrugging and dropping the figurine. I watched as the beautiful woman I had shared dinner with crashed into the ground. Seraphina Caduca, the fallen fiery angel.
“One trouble maker dealt with, now time for the last one.” The man boomed.
Terror filled me as I took a step back. “But you’re... How did... What... When... Why are you... What did we do wrong?”
The man gave a dead laugh that had lost its joy years ago. “Ah, isn’t that the question we all ask when faced with the consequences?”
Pain engulfed me as the world around faded into oblivion.
A Second Chance
**TW: implied suicide, implied death, alcohol, funeral
PLEASE take the trigger warning seriously if any of them apply to you! If you would like to to add a tw, feel free to tell me and I will add it. Scroll past the stars if need be!
The door was thrown open. Hanging from the ceiling was a limp body of a seventeen year old. His clothes were sagging due to him starving himself. His head was drooping. Littering the ground were run, vodka, gin, and several other types of bottles the boy didn’t know but decided to drink anyways.
Mother screamed and Father held her once they discovered the body. Rivers of tears flowed from both of them as they called 911 and waited to see if there was any chance their son would be alive. Calls upon calls came in, sympathizing with them, offering comfort, asking if there was anything they could do to make the loss easier. Mother was barely seconds from tears at any given point. Father was pale and barely there anymore.
The high school held a vigil and councilors insisted that anyone who needed help dealing with his death to come speak with them. Half of his class ended up having some talk with the councilors. It wasn’t a large school, heck, it wasn’t a large town, this sort of thing didn’t happen here.
There was a single question haunting the halls, the streets, and in basic the entire town. Why would he do such a thing?
Mother and Father started packing up the ownerless bedroom, deciding that he would want his stuff donated instead of just letting it sit in the room, never to be used again. Mother couldn’t keep her tears from drowning his clothes, his books, on everything. Father kept having to stop and leave the room. They finally gave up and shut the door, agreeing to get back to work in the morning, though both of them knew that they wouldn’t be able to do so.
The funeral finally took place with the entire town gathered, each in their darkest clothes. Words and tears and flowers filled the area around his casket. The dark mark around his neck was well hidden beneath the collar of his suit as he slept in his eternal slumber. The scars on his wrists were invisible to the crowd under the black sleeves. No one saw how torn down this poor seventeen year old was as they cried for him.
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“Jackson?” a calm and beautiful voice called through the house. “Dinner is done!”
I looked at the rope I was carefully tying around my ceiling fan. My room was still filled with my possessions and everything I’ve ever wanted. My hands suddenly released the rope as I collapsed onto the ground, trembling. Bottles were scattered across my floor, alcohol intermixed with Sprite and fruit punch bottles.
There was a tap on the door. “Jackie? Dinner is done.”
Mother opened the door and looked around, shock filling her eyes. She screamed as she ran over and pulled me into her arms. Father appeared and saw the scene before him. My parents held onto me very tightly.
Thankfully, I was still alive.
Have a (bad) Joke
The howling of wind cannot catch a hurricane's attention.
It lets the rain down, unable to hear the bellows of thunder for help.
All think the hurricane is a terrible friend due to this.
That is, all but the ocean.
The ocean knows to wave, as a hurricane only has one eye and no ears.
"Whoever erases my internet history and wipes my hard drive first, gets to claim everything from my will."
**Fic incorporates lyrics from the song "You Are My Sunshine"
You are my sunshine. Why wouldn’t you be? We were born and raised here, listening to our mothers talk about grown-up things. It seemed as if only yesterday that we were nothing but children, making toys out of what we could find. You brought life to these miserable bones that couldn’t have survived without your smile. You were my only sunshine.
We’d talk late into the night until one of our mothers screamed at us to go to bed. We’d fall silent and wait until we were sure neither would overhear and begin our conversation again. You always talked about how we could be doing so much more, have more than what we currently had.
Then that dreadful day when they took Mother when we were only twelve. Your mother didn’t argue about letting you hold me all night while I cried. You made me happy, even when the sky was gray. It made me forget for a while what had happened to her. With you nearby, I couldn’t think of anything horrible or upsetting.
After all these years, there was always one things I wanted to tell you but I could never find the words to say it. Those words don’t exist in our vocabularies. I eventually learned what I wanted to say because one of the Maleficus told me that I would learn it. Still, you’ll never know, dear, how much I love you.
You had plans on how we could escape this life once they took your mother as well. I can admit it, I was terrified. Yet, you seemed so calm and excited so all I could do was agree to join you. I can still hear the joy in your voice when I agreed. That night we did something prohibited to our rank but it was incredible and my resolve to join you grew stronger. That indescribable feeling was growing each moment we worked towards our escape. You somehow knew so much about how to do it, though there have been few times we’ve been separated.
We almost made it. I can remember the terrifying joy as we reached a nice and cool air that I hadn’t thought could exist. You were having both of us wrap something around our eyes when they caught us. You leapt into action, pulling one of their own tools against them, screaming at me to run.
My mind could only echo the words ‘please don’t take my sunshine away.’ They managed to tie both of us up and dragged us to these strange chambers. I was forced to watch as they tied you up. A blood-curdling splendor appeared and that was the only time I saw your beautiful face. They tortured you before ending your pain.
Mine still exists though. They rewarded me to another slave for his good work. I was told I had to love him or be sacrificed, but I can’t find it in my heart. It will always belong to you, my sweet Solis.
Meet Todd the Alien
**So, before the mess that is to be Sept. 20th Area 51 Raid next week, I decided to share this funny short story I wrote a while ago (as in like two years ago). It’s been one of my favorite little stories and with the Storm Area 51 stuff going on, I find it also ironic now. So, enjoy!
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Interviewer: Welcome to the End of the World Broadcast! Area 51: Alien Experimentation Plant or something else? Today, on our show, we will have a very special guest joining us to explain what is really going on in this secretive Nevada base. Please give an Earthly welcome to *pauses for suspense* Todd the Alien!
**Todd the Alien enters from left stage, waving and blowing kisses out into the crowd of screaming fans.**
Interviewer: Nice to see you again, Todd. How have things been since the last time we met, when we discussed the purpose of aliens coming to Earth?
Todd: Everything is going well, Jim. The wife just had our second offspring, so we’ve been having fun with that.
**Crowd erupts into more and excited cheers**
Interviewer: Congrats, Todd! So, should we just jump right into it?
Interviewer: So word on the street is that there are some experimentations going on in Area 51. What do you think about this?
Todd: Rubbish. Complete and utter rubbish.
Interviewer: Why would you say that?
Todd: If there were actual experimentations with alien kind as the test subject, do you think our kind would willingly come to planet Earth all the time? No! Of course not. There’s a planet like that out in what you humans refer to as galaxy MACS0647-JD, but better known throughout the universe as Maleficence. A bit off topic, but once you humans evolve enough for space travel, if you like your skin and organs where they are, do not under any circumstance go into Maleficence. **Crowd stirs uneasily** But, back on topic, Area 51 is a luxury stop for us. Heck, I was just there a few days ago. The Galactic Council formed a pact with your government to make the stop there in exchange for different kinds of weapons.
Interviewer: Then why would the government attempt to keep it hidden?
Todd: It was part of the deal. They didn’t want other governments across this planet making a similar agreement and we didn’t want any tourists gawking at us while humans learned about alien life. It was a win-win for both sides.
Interviewer: We were told that the aircrafts flying in the sky were test crafts by a military base. Would you say otherwise?
Todd: Of course. The government said that to keep the real purpose of the place a secret. Humans can’t expect us just to walk from galaxy to galaxy now, can they? Normally, most of us remember to turn on our invisibility shields, but then there are those who just can’t seem to ever remember to do so.
Interviewer: Seems that all forms have that section of the population. Now, would you be willing to share, now that the world knows the existence of alien kind, what kind of stop Area 51 is? Is it like a resort or rest stop or even what we call an amusement park?
Todd: I believe you humans refer to this sort of place as a prostitution house.
Prompt: Few know that your character has a dragon living in the attic
Another midnight run. I was honestly getting tired of this. Why can’t that bastard get his own food? At least the guy at the store didn’t think it was the strangest thing. I’m curious as to what Grandfather had told him years ago that doesn’t bring suspicion to the giant orders of meat each week.
Don’t whine about it, Amari. I thought to myself. You don’t have to work a single day for the rest of your life. You’re able to focus solely on your art, just like you wished.
I sighed as I pulled into the lot. I can never be able to focus solely on my art. Not with that thing always causing trouble. Like every hour, I have to go make sure it hasn’t done something to draw attention to us. Why did Grandfather have to pull me into his stupid deals?
“Ah, there you are, Amari.” Jack said. “Was starting to worry you weren’t going to come for your pick-up.”
I smiled easily at the man. “I got held up by some things.”
He nodded. “Alright, let’s load this all into the truck.”
It was hard and laborious work, but I didn’t have much choice. Not if I wanted my life to be spared. It took almost an hour to load it all into my truck. I shook hands with Jack before climbing into my truck. I hadn’t even pulled out my keys when my phone went off.
“Hello?” I answered, wondering who would be up this late at night.
“THAT DAMNED ALARM OF YOURS IS GOING OFF AGAIN!” A furious voice screeched.
I jumped before recognizing it as Old Lady Yeller. “Oh, I’m sorry, ma’am. You’re welcome to go and turn them off. I won’t be home for another hour. Just go into the closet in the kitchen and flip the blue switch. I’ll remove the batteries from the alarms.”
The old woman was not happy. She continued to shout at me for several more minutes before she decided that the fire alarms were even more irksome than I was. I heard her slam her phone down and the slam of a door. I sighed again as I turned off my phone and got onto the highway.
Damn, this was the seventh time this month those damn alarms have gone off. Anymore and I might have police banging on my door. The fire department have already come by twice to inspect my alarms. Though they were baffled as to why they kept going off. Well, of course they would be. The alarms were only doing their job.
I pulled into the garage. Quickly, I got all the meat into the dumbwaiter for when that bastard wanted his next meal. The alarms were blaring once again as I stormed up the stairs, all the way to the attic. What I saw was a fat, bright green dragon cooking what looked to be an old woman’s corpse.
“Damn it, Greg! We talked about this!” I shouted exasperated.
Charms of a Growing Storm
Name: Skylar Stormborn (a.k.a. Morti Pyre)
They/them; family blamed for destruction of world
“I can’t… I don’t remember… What… What is… the feeling of joy?”
She stared at them, mouth hanging off as if she were planning to swallow them whole. “What do you mean? Are you not happy?”
The half-hearted shrug they gave would have looked in place on someone dying. It was a shrug of pure indifference and disinterest that it could have only been a deep breath. That shrug compelled her to look into the eyes that were so aptly focused on anything but her. Their eyes reflected sadness and anger but also fear and loss.
“Joy is…” How do you describe joy to someone who’s forgotten its feeling, its love? “Joy is the feeling of sunshine and a warm breeze after a long and harsh winter. Its that first breath of fresh air as you walk through the park, hearing the screams of children as they race each other on the playground.”
“How is that joy?” they demanded, desperately.
“It’s that moment of peace when you first wake up in the morning, with nothing planned for the day. Joy is the feeling of hot chocolate and fresh-baked cookies on a snowy eve. Joy is hearing the church bells ringing, proclaiming a couple’s love. It is the taste of a homecooked meal with the people you love. It’s the rush you get when your favorite song randomly plays on the radio and you whip the volume to breaking point, singing and dancing like nothing matters. That moment when you finally come home after a long day only to be attacked by your pets, who are going wild at the site of you.”
“When did you become a romantic?”
“You asked what joy is. This is what it is. It’s little bursts of light that shine even on the darkest of nights.”
“Stars. Just say stars for goodness…”
“Joy is completing an arduous project and feeling pride in that work. You can’t separate joy from the terrible or wrong as then joy would never exist. Without joy, you would only see the worst of everyone you met.”
“This better not be a lesson on that Buddhist nonsense.”
Her eyes burned their already shattered soul. “It is not nonsense and it isn’t Buddhist ideology. If you are going to be so rude as to insult a philosophy, at very least, use the right one, and you better not be insulting a philosophy or religion. Ever. Got it?... Anyways, the concept of joy isn’t one that you can simply just define in three words and be done with it. It involves imagery and all that because joy is that burst of light that you save and cling to when things go wrong. You asked me what joy was and I was giving you an answer. Now, I’m going to help you get through this depressive episode–be it through counseling or just being there on your worst days– so that you can try and explain what joy is to me without being a romantic.”
A ghost of a smile brushed their lips. It wasn’t a huge toothy grin or an amused smirk. It was just a faint smile, one that hadn’t existed on their lips in what felt like a lifetime. To her, that was a burst of pride and brighter than the sun. She would help them see the joy in life again, even if she had to wait years.
A Beast-Like Creature
They say there is a beast who roams the forests around our village. A beast with knives for teeth and an impenetrable hide. They claim that it eats Wolfsbane like candy. It can’t be seen if the beast doesn’t wish to be seen with how its matted hide melts into the background of the forest. It is no bear nor hog, but something of a dark magic; a creation from a sorcerer’s lust for power, solidified to harvest those who are unfortunate enough to cross its path for the beast’s dinner. It has horns more destructive than spears. Then, the worst part they claim, is the beast’s eyes: cold, lifeless, beady black eyes that stare into your soul and steals years from your lifespan for its own. That’s what they say.
What I say is that these claims are as accurate as comparing a cat to a dog. There is no horrid beast roaming out there, other than us humans. The “beast” they claim is out there is a sweet and friendly creature. Those teeth are in fact matted white fur from his slobbering-wet greetings. His fur is honestly quite matted, try as I have the past several months to de-mat it. He doesn’t have much in the way for defense other than the various shades of green and brown fur so that he can hide from hungry predators. The claims regarding the wolfsbane are true; his digestive system has evolved to process these poisonous plants, benefitting the lives surrounding his habitat. His horns are too delicate for fighting but they are incredible at knocking down white baneberries, giant hogweed, or even the fruits from a Manchineel tree.
No one knows the origin of this strange creature. I believe that his kind have just been hiding in plain sight, evolving and surviving just as every other creature in these forests. Then again, only a select few have been blessed to see the offspring of these magnificent creatures. I could still remember holding a light green baby–no bigger than an apple–and feeling the wonder and amazement of knowing that tiny baby would grow into a massive creature whose size could easily match a bear’s.
The funniest saying is that of the creature’s eyes. There is nothing lifeless or cold about them. They are the eyes of a caring mother, causally watching her children play in the sun. They were the color of amber when the sun kisses those eyes midday. There is a twinkle of intelligence and curiosity when the creature finds something new. Those eyes are filled with love and warmth; those who claim otherwise, they aren’t looking properly.
One day, people will understand the creature’s beauty. Until then, I will watch over them and offer my protection to the Pecuinum Animans*, the Beast-like Creature.
Pecuinus, pecuina, pecuinum, adj.: beast-like; of cattle
Animans, animantis, n.: animate/living being/organism (other than man), creature; animal (vs. plant)