Christmas Eve, by Amber Keller
The instruments in the lab clicked and whirred, test tubes were filled with various colored liquids, and beakers bubbled.
Simon was weary. He had been working non-stop for days on this experiment. He was determined not to stop until he finished.
Eyes blurry and burning , Simon sat on his stool, waiting to add the crucial ingredient to the compound in front of him. His thoughts drifted to the message he had received earlier from his friend inviting him to a Christmas Eve party tonight. He didn’t notice the flask slip out of his hands until it was too late.
In one quick moment, the liquid spilled, causing an explosion that knocked Simon off his stool. He hit the ground hard, head first.
The sounds of breaking glass echoed inside his skull as he lost consciousness. When he came to, he had no idea how long he had been out.
Lifting his head, Simon noticed that things were different.
The lab was darker, and everything was filthy. Simon struggled to get to his feet, and saw that the equipment was strange.
There was an odd noise coming from outside the door. Simon made his way to find the source of the noise.
He opened the door and couldn’t believe what he saw.
There were great crowds of children tied together, wearing nothing more than rags, being led through a vast tunnel system. Large, skinny bug-like creatures were cracking whips at them periodically.
Simon stood still taking in the scene.
At the back of the room there was a giant throne upon which sat a beast dressed in filthy red pants lined at the ankles with what must have been white at one time, but was now a deep gray. His torso was bare, exposing a dirty, round, bloated belly, which didn’t match the long, spindly arms and legs. Sitting atop a scrawny neck was a big head that boasted a pointed chin covered in wiry whiskers, hook nose, and glowing yellow eyes. Occasionally a forked tongue poked out of a crooked mouth, allowing a glimpse at sharp, yellowed dagger teeth. It looked like some deranged Santa Claus.
Both of them saw each other at the same time.
The beast stood and pointed a clawed finger at him.
It opened its mouth and out came a loud, low tone that rattled Simon’s skull. Simon reached up and pressed his palms to his ears.
Quickly the bug creatures started to make their way toward him.
Simon glanced around himself and saw no real weapon. The creatures were slow and awkward, but they were getting closer.
Simon fell to his knees and began to crawl so that he would be harder to spot.
The children cried and moaned all around him. He could see their sore, worn feet. A feeling of rage spread through him. He would have to get the children out of there, but first he would need to take care of the large beast.
He spotted one of the whips that the bug creatures had been using, and crawled over to it, tucking it into his pants.
It was hard to see without giving himself away, so he tried to head in what he hoped was the direction of the beast.
A loud, “Ho ho ho,” rang through the air. It was almost a screech, and he fought the urge to cover his ears again.
This confirmed his suspicions. It was Santa, but no Santa he had ever seen.
The crowd of children parted, and Simon could see that Santa’s gnarled hand was reaching down to him.
He tried to crawl fast to one side, but the hand scooped him up easily. It gripped him tight and he flew through the air toward the giant Santa’s face.
Santa’s eyes looked like they were lit with churning, yellow flames. The long tongue flicked out again and ran across Simon’s cheek, trailing up over his forehead. He shivered, repulsed by the beasts’ breath.
Simon was able to move one of his hands into the pocket on the side of his coat. He felt around for a possible weapon. His fingers wrapped around a large flask. Wiggling around in the beasts’ hand, he was able to free his arm completely as it continued to lick him.
Once it started to bring him in close to its mouth, Simon acted on his fear, throwing the flask hard into the beasts mouth. It hit the back of its throat, and the creature began to choke.
Simon fell from its grasp as it used its hands to claw at its throat.
Simon pulled out the whip, and in one motion, he snapped it out and wound it around the creatures’ neck.
The surprise of the action caused the giant Santa to lose its balance. It toppled over, and Simon couldn’t move out of the way in time.
As Santa fell on him, Simons world once again turned black.
When his eyes opened, he was back in his familiar lab, lying on the floor as he had been before. The smell of chemicals was strong and he could see the damage from the explosion. Simon gathered his broom and started to clean up.
Believing his strange experience to have been a dream, Simon noticed there were slashes in his lab coat. As he examined them, the sound of bells jingling came from somewhere outside. Glancing at the window, Simon watched the snow softly falling. From behind him came the screeching voice.
“Ho ho ho.”
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.