All Broken Up, by Amber Keller
His parents had come in to check on him a few times already, and each time he had pretended to be asleep. You definitely did not want to get caught staying up to see Santa on Christmas Eve.
He had tried to do this last year, but fell asleep. This year, he was going to do it. His best friend, Chris, had been giving him a hard time at school, saying there was no Santa. He was determined to prove him wrong. He had taken his older sisters camera earlier that day and now he gripped it tight under the covers.
Thomas knew there was a Santa Claus. He knew he was real. Seeing him was the real treat, but getting pictures of him would be an added bonus. Thomas imagined how famous he would become when everyone saw the pictures. His little mind spun at the thoughts.
A scraping noise above him caught his attention.
Thomas sat up in the bed. Another noise.
This time he jumped out of bed and ran to the window.
The moon was full and high in the sky, lighting the night with a silver glow. Thomas could see shadows moving on the lawn. There was something on the roof.
His heart pounded in his chest, and he held his breath, temporarily.
It had to be Santa.
Thomas went to his door and peeked out. There was no one moving around. He crept slowly out into the hall, clutching the small camera. Making his way toward the living room, he saw a multi-colored net cast on the floor from the Christmas tree lights. It was empty and Thomas felt uncomfortable.
The fireplace, which was usually so warm and inviting, now seemed like the mouth of some strange animal. Open and waiting.
As he watched, small streams of soot began to fall. Thomas’ eyes opened wide. Now he would get to see Santa!
More and more soot fell, and the sound of something coming down the chimney was getting louder.
Thomas readied the camera, holding it in front of him, looking at the fireplace through the small digital screen.
One black boot emerged first, then another. Red legs and a huge belly followed them closely. It almost seemed like Santa was stuck. His legs pointed out of the fireplace and he thrashed to release himself from the holds of the tight chimney.
Before Thomas could help him, Santa’s large body popped out of the fireplace, and he lay sprawled out on the floor.
Thomas thought it was a little strange that it didn’t happen smoother, more easily than it had, but he snapped off the first picture anyway.
The flash lit the room for a second, and Santa lifted his head.
He wasn’t happy.
There was something strange about Santa. His skin was gray, and his eyes were all black.
The odd Santa stood, clumsily, and paused to sneer at Thomas. Next he leaned his head back, looking up at the ceiling.
“Santa?” asked Thomas.
Santa began to tremble. As Thomas watched, his gigantic body started to break apart into pieces. Thomas, in shock, accidentally pressed the button to take a picture.
Now Thomas could see that Santa wasn’t breaking apart so much as separating into small versions of himself. The smaller Santa’s had sharp teeth and claws, and they started screeching at the light.
Falling to the floor, the smaller Santa’s began to run toward Thomas who was still snapping off photos. The tiny creatures screamed and shielded their faces with their arms.
Thomas started to back up, but the creatures had reached him and were quickly climbing up his legs and torso. Their claws dug into his flesh, and everywhere they pierced him it felt like he was on fire. He started to scream and one of them stuffed itself into his mouth.
Thomas fell to the ground, hitting his head hard on the floor. The creatures were all over him now. He was groggy and his vision was fuzzy. He could make out that the smaller creatures had once again joined to make the large Santa form.
Santa reached down and picked Thomas up like a ragdoll, stuffing him inside his big burlap sack.
Thomas could smell ashes and knew Santa was dragging him back up the chimney. He began to get enough strength to start yelling and kicking a little. Santa ignored him.
When they reached the roof, Santa lifted the sack and dumped Thomas out into a dark box. Once he regained his balance, Thomas could see that there were many other children in there with him, some whimpering quietly.
As he sat staring at the others, they began to move.
Thomas strained his neck up to see where they were going, but all he could make out was the night sky with its beautiful, twinkling stars.
Back in the living room, the Christmas tree had been knocked over, ornaments shattered on the ground.
The next morning, Thomas’ family found the room in shambles. As they looked throughout the house for Thomas, his sister found the camera on the floor.
She turned it on and saw that there had been pictures taken. Pictures of strange little creatures, dressed like Santa.
“Ho Ho Ho,” she heard and spun to see who had said that.
There was a strange looking Santa standing by the fireplace, with a small elf that looked a lot like Thomas, except it had very sharp teeth.
They grabbed her before she could scream.
Posted on December 22, 2011, in Issue 2: Creepy Christmas and tagged creepy christmas, e-zine, flash fiction, horror, microfiction, short stories, The Were-Traveler. Bookmark the permalink. 3 Comments.