Note from the editors. We’re putting this one out with a lil warning. There is a fine line between what the narrator says and what the writer (or us) think. Some of these words may be offense. If so, we apologize in advance. If you are angry–okay, maybe take that anger and donate to a charity. With that said…we hope you enjoy the ‘Halloween bonus’ story.
The hillside was covered in smoke and bodies; blood-stained grey uniforms lay tattered and torn next to the blues. A cannon exploded in the distance and more soldiers fell to the earth, scattered among the dead. The brave struggled onward, but we know that’s just shit. The field stunk of it. Shit. Shit, piss and blood. Shit, piss and blood on the Union side; shit piss and blood for the Confederates. The only things that like war are maggots. Piss, shit, and blood are more their element.
No maggots yet to squirm. Not yet. That will come later. Now is the time for screams, battle cries and death wails—one and the same. Some knew this and that’s what kept them alive thus far. Another charge by the North—this time to reclaim land they held earlier in the day. One man cried out from under a pile of bodies; he was using them for camouflage but was trampled on by the rushing soldiers. A boot to the gut is better than a knife. He got up after the rest had passed him only to see more bodies added to his hiding spot.
One next to him, newly crimson, cried out. He couldn’t tell if it was for water or just out of pain. He didn’t dare move closer to find out. This was his plan—let the darkness come over them all and then crawl away. He wanted to rip his uniform off and just crawl away. North—South—it didn’t matter who found him if his uniform was off. Or so he thought.
The new body, a kid, as far as he could make out, no older than his own boy at home, cried out again. This time he was closer and a few words could be made out. It sounded like ‘I’m sorry, Momma’. Over and over again, the words came out—half moan and half sob. The man wanted to ease the kid’s pain, but there was a part of him that just wished he would die. Maybe choke on his own blood and leave him in silence. Silent piles of the dead don’t get a second thought, but one dying kid squirming and crying for his mother would cause an investigation; an investigation that would bring more pain and blood. The man stayed still and the kid’s cries became louder. They were for water this time. The man was thirsty too, but he stole a water skin off one of the torsos he used for cover.
The decision was hard, or at least it should have been. He had to quiet the kid. He could toss over the skin, but that might draw attention of others. Even if he gave the kid water, he would still be a bloody pile of gunk crying for his mother. The hysteria would not stop even with the water. An alternative would just let him die slowly.
The man turned his head and shoved the water down under a body. He crawled on his belly; a knife rattled in his teeth. There was another way to quiet that kid. There is no safety in war. Just piss, shit and blood.
The battle raged—all but one fell, and he had his head shoved deep up a horse’s ass.
‘Horse’s ass? Louey! Cut!’ Big Wayne yelled. Midgets in various stages of feigned death, some with their faces stuck in ghastly poses while others, the ones to die early, fast asleep, started to roll down the hill towards the food cart. Louey, dressed as Abraham Lincoln, not only trotted out early into frame, but was firmly stuck up a horse’s ass; again. I could explain this part—why a group of little people were re-enacting a Civil War battle—I could even explain why it had to be little people and even why Big Wayne cut his hair the way he does, but this isn’t a story about Deano betting Block that a midget couldn’t fit up a horse’s ass, or even the elaborate cleaning procedures needed to actually remove the head from the ass, nor the logistics of breathing once the head is fully inserted, but rather a story of deception and a jail break. A jail break and a little Frenchman named Gene.
‘38, 39, 40…four still missing, well three if you don’t include Louey sitting the night out.’
‘So, which three are missing?’
‘Hector, Gene and 3C3.’
‘God have mercy on us all.’
The nearest town to the Midget Ranch was Boulder City, Nevada—population 301—and on this Halloween the town grew by three. Hector, the luchador midget, wandered down the road, his red and gold lucha libre mask securely tied to his head. He looked over at Gene and sighed. ‘Tu culo francés, ¿Por qué estás tan cerca de mí, mis cojones todavía huelen a tus labios.’
Gene, pencil thin moustache and all, looked over at Hector and shrugged, ‘Suce moi.’
‘Jub jub.’ 3C3 said. 3C3, often poetic, was the midget with the most acting experience. By the age of seven he appeared in all three Star Wars movies as an Ewok. Fame is a harsh mistress, and being a child actor is a huge burden for most, but to be a midget child actor, known only when wearing that squinty eyed, fury, gorilla scrotum smelling outfit, then life is damn near the 13th circle of hell. Before Big Wayne found him, 3C3 was on the street turning tricks trying to pay for his boob job; just how Big Wayne found him in that condition, or why Wayne was cruising 53 and 3rd at 3:21 am, is for another story.
The house, a replica of a 17th century bordello done in an off-white, stood out as the lone house with the light still on. Orange, red, and green flashing bulbs, covered with spider webs, flashed out morose code into the lonely night, beckoning trick or treaters to pay homage similar to the effect of a lighthouse to a half-drunken sailor. Mini-pumpkins, painted in fluorescent colours, decorated the driveway and came up to Gene’s knees; they guided the trio to the front porch. Hector, the brave, rang the doorbell. An elderly woman, adorned in black lace with a pointy hat to the front, came to the door. A small red-headed girl, feet covered in a puppy-dog footie pyjama complete with a tail and hood with dog ears, clung to the woman’s leg. A black cat poked out from her other leg and ran out the door.
Hector held out the bag with the help of Gene.
‘Awww, how cute! And you must be one of them Spanish wrasslers I see on TV! You look mighty fierce! Here is a handful for you! Oh, and your friend! You must be John Waters! My, yes, I can tell just by the moustache!’
‘Tite Fille! Combien pour la petite fille! Ta Fille! Ta femme, je veux acheter ta femme!’ said Gene.
‘Oh, the little devil speaking that voodoo tongue! Isn’t he cute, Emilie? To think a little lady like me having such visitors like you tonight! Now, where is your yeti friend?’
Hector looked over at 3C3 and smashed his own forehead with the back of his palm, ‘Que esta tratando de joder tu gato.’
‘Oh, that’s nice, dear! You have such a lovely accent! If you do find him soon, maybe you can give him this handful for me?’ Betty dished out another scoop of Sweet Tarts, half dissolved after years of mistakenly being used as a Polident substitute. With a wave, Betty fixed her witches hat and went back behind her screen door.
‘Je veux acheter ta femme!’ Gene shouted after Betty.
‘That boy is yakking up a storm! Must think you have a pretty costume the way he keeps pointing at you. Wave goodbye, Emilie!’ The granddaughter does and follows Betty back into the house. ‘Mr Figgles! Where are you kitty kitty? Mummy has a nice surprise for you!’
Hector and Gene went after 3C3. By the time they caught up with him, the Ewok was covered in cat scratches and appeared to be talking to a lawn gnome that was sitting on a mushroom in a look of contemplation.
‘Jub jub cawala jub!’ said 3C3.
The gnome was silent.
3C3 didn’t take kindly to being snubbed by the statue and started to poke it with a stick, ‘jub jub.’ The statue rocked back, almost falling, and then snapped towards 3C3, falling in his direction. Gene saw the statue headed for his friend and tried to save him, but a pesky over-coat, a left over from yesterday’s laundry, enveloped him and put the would-be hero into utter darkness. Hector, within a nanosecond, had to decide which friend to save first—3C3 about to be crushed by a statue, or Gene being suffocated by old laundry. He did the only thing a true hero could do in his situation; he sat and ate the candy.
Hector, on the bottom, walked steadily through the bar door while 3C3, in the middle, pushed the door wider with his arms, Gene, the top, ducked his head in order to avoid hitting a low hanging beer special sign which declared ‘All Drafts 99 cents.’ The monstrosity in the long brown over-coat shambled through the bar. To the casual observer it looked like a man, with a pencil thin moustache, tiny hands and feet, with breasts.
The bar was empty save the bartender, a slim girl wearing a nylon top barely legal in most states, and a guy in the back wearing what appeared to be a pair of white gloves, no shirt, and rainbow suspenders attached to a thong; his shoes were military issue and black. The guy winked at head of the monstrosity and Gene, as matter of reflex, winked back.
Dave, the suspender wearer, came over to the bar as the 3 midgets tried to coordinate their efforts enough to sit down on the stool, but with the legs arguing with the middle, sitting was out of the question. The monstrosity stood there, swaying like a belly dancer, all parts moving independently, to no music at all.
‘So, what will it be?’ asked the blonde bartender.
‘Why don’t you serve them up a house special, Krissy? Put it on my tab.’ Dave said while brushing his hand across 3C3’s head. The hair felt a bit bristly; maybe a bad wig or some cheap Halloween mask Dave saw in the candy Store as a kid. ‘That is, if it is okay with you, Sweetie!’
Gene nodded his head while, under the coat, he smacked 3C3 before the midget could bite the man’s hand. The three of them stacked on top of each other reminded me of an old comedy. I would have told the boys it wouldn’t turn out well for them, but who am I but an old narrator. Nobody listens to me anymore.
‘My, with that trench coat on, you must be dressed as the midnight flasher! Do you really have nothing under that coat?’ Something in Dave’s voice betrayed a childhood trauma bubbling beneath his mascara.
Gene nodded and smiled at Dave again. The bartender put the drink down and 3C3’s hands picked it up, placing it somewhere near Gene’s face. Gene, forced to use the straw, began to suck the liquid slowly with some awkward pauses while looking at Dave.
‘Oh, the strong silent, type! I like that in a man! Still a few hours left of Halloween, do you want to come back to my place for a little trick?’ The word trick rolled off the tongue; a bit too practised—a wink from the mirror.
Hector peeked out from under the coat and spotted the restroom. The monstrosity’s feet started to move while the middle shoved another piece of candy into its own mouth. Gene started to answer Dave when he found himself being moved across the room. The look on Gene’s face was that of shock mixed with an urgent need to pee. The trio made their way into the bathroom; 3C3’s inability to push the door open the first time seemed to be a signal for Dave to follow them in.
The bathroom was a series of three urinals, two stalls, four sinks and one empty dispenser of soap. No towels or other methods of drying the hands were in sight. Graffiti covered the walls, most of it having to do with sporting scores and numbers to call in case of emergency. The monstrosity stopped near a urinal; Hector climbed up 3C3 as Gene held on the adjacent stall in order not to fall. With a fury of unzipping, both Hector and Gene started to pee. Double streams, one coming from the middle of the monster and one from where the chest should be, came flowing towards the urinal; it was at this moment that Dave worked up enough courage to enter.
‘I couldn’t wait either! We won’t be bothered in here…wait, am I seeing double or is that two penises I see!’
Gene looked over at Dave, ‘Qu’est-ce que cinq doigts disent à une face?’
Hector’s stream subsided.
Dave looked at Gene, ‘Oooh, a French man! Oooo la la!’ French men had soft hands and softer lips.
‘Qu’est-ce que cinq doigts disent à une face?’ repeated Gene.
‘I don’t know what you are saying, but it sure sounds hot!’
‘Slap!’ Yelled Gene as he stomped on Hector’s shoulder. Hector turned his body around and swung his hand at Dave’s face. The slap missed and the momentum spun the mid-section and head around. 3C3, off balance, fell to the ground. The other midgets followed. Sensing something was wrong, Dave tried to back out of the bathroom, but tripped on the bent over 3C3; the midget was hunched over throwing up sick from all the spinning and the candy in his stomach. Gene landed indignantly on his butt while Hector, on a complete sugar high, rushed Dave. Poor Dave was knocked to the ground, but Hector wasn’t done with him yet. The midget straddled Dave’s chest, and while one hand pulled the front of Dave’s hair, bucked and rode the man like a bull screaming, ‘Aye Papi! Arriba! Papi chulo!’
By the time the cops came in, there was one, very traumatized Dave; one broken sink; two smashed urinal cakes; and the place smelled like sugary piss. The smell lingered on Hector and 3C3 for days. The only one to escape semi-piss free was Gene, but not even Big Wayne knows what happened to him. For that, is another story.
Some Bewitching Line Drawing by Jennifer Weigel
This month we are going to explore more fun marker art from Jennifer Weigel, starting with black and white line drawing. Jennifer is getting ready for her big Life Is Brilliant solo show in March and has snuck in a few spookier themes, so she wanted to share them with you here.
The magic is strong in this Witch Way line drawing with its fun witchy head-topper, complete with striped hat band and star dangle. No self-respecting wizard’s ensemble would be complete without it.
And now the adorable Kitty Witch will don the Witch Way hat and cast a spell of cuteness on you. You gotta wonder just how the hat stays on but best not to question these things. We all know it’s magic…
The devil is in the details in this Not Today Satan line drawing, and boy is he pissed!
This She Devil is just plain goofy. Maybe she’s coyly playing innocent; it’s not a look most devils can pull off, seeing as how innocence really isn’t their schtick…
This little spider came down to your tuffet to remind you to Hang in There. She is very well-intentioned and is only looking out for you. I guess maybe she’s not so little though, she is an Argiope after all…
The Twelve Nightmares of the Holidays: Home for Christmas by J.M. Brannyk
In 2020, Haunted MTL brought you the 13 Days of Krampus. Now we offer another exclusive series of holiday horror stories: The Twelve Nightmares of the Holidays. It’s day (coughcoughcough) of 12 Nightmares of the Holidays. If you missed it, check out the others so far: here for Jen’s, here for Nicole’s, here for Phil’s, here for T.T.’s, here for Court Court’s, here for Eve’s, and here for Nicole’s.
This is a continuation of Christmas Dinner, which can be found here. It can be stand alone, though. It’s a year after the events in the first story.
Christmas is about traditions and family. And Dr. Virginia ‘Ginny’ Kostyshyn is making up her own this year – frozen chicken nuggets for dinner every night, crying while playing Roger Whitaker’s ‘Home for Christmas’ on repeat, glasses of Riesling wine while watching ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’, and dodging Dr. Katherine ‘Kate’ Wright’s texts.
Work is harder to dodge Kate, though, since they work in the same lab, in the same office and on the same experiments. And Kate doesn’t like to tiptoe and pussyfoot the way Ginny does.
But thanks to Ginny’s insistent avoidance and quietness, they’ve reverted back to last names. All while Subject 205 a.k.a. Greg, now an off-hand lab assistant, watches the situation darkly.
And he’s not apt to get into other people’s business, far be it from him, a year-old reanimated body. However, he has vague memories of last Christmas with Ginny. Fractured recollections of tinsel, eyes glaring at him, skin sliding off, mashed potatoes, Roger Whitaker…and Ginny crying as she stitched him back up.
He also remembers wiping away a tear and apologizing. For being who he is. For being what he is. For ruining everything like he ruined in his first life. And he recalls her hands being so warm, as warm as her smile, as she told him that they had nothing to apologize for.
And tonight is Christmas Eve, with Dr. Wright putting on her coat, coldly silent, and Dr. Kostyshyn slowly shutting down her laptop and hesitating.
“All right, Greg,” Dr. Wright says, her clipped accent echoing in the white, clean lab. “Have a good night. Dr. Woodruff is on call. He’ll be in tomorrow. Have a holly jolly and all that.”
“Yes,” he grunts and his eyes peer over to Dr. Kostyshyn, the offset orbs wide and inquiring. He earns a stern look for it, so he concedes, “You, too.”
Dr. Kostyshyn peeks up, but Dr. Wright just nods, “Dr. Kostyshyn.”
Ginny Kostyshyn’s face falls and she nods in return. “Yes, good night. Have a happy-”
But Dr. Wright is already walking out the door. Ginny can feel her chest clench, another new tradition. She gathers her coat and scarf listlessly. “I’ll come by tomorrow, Greg, don’t worry.”
“I don’t worry,” he says, feeling some of that heartache. He doesn’t worry, though, when he has a plan.
“Ah, good. Then…I guess have a good night.”
Ginny checks her phone but no texts to dodge tonight. Not from Kate and not from her family. One text from Bath and Bodyworks telling her about a special and wishing her a happy holiday season.
At least someone cares.
She sniffles as she flops into her couch and searches around for a half empty bottle she left last night. This isn’t like her. She knows that, so why can’t Kate know that?
The last argument they had, Kate told her to grow up and stop pining over a love that wasn’t reciprocated. Just like that. Ginny’s family didn’t love her.
Yes, maybe it’s true. Maybe they haven’t called her since last Christmas. Maybe they hated her. Maybe they’ve blocked her on social media. Maybe they never would have her come back. Maybe she’d never have her mother’s lasagna again.
Stupid things like that seem so much more significant.
Stupid, stupid traditions she could no longer have, but still remember.
And after the bottle is empty, the tradition of crying herself to sleep begins again, as it did the night before, and the night before that.
Kate is angry and getting piss drunk, looking at her phone again. It’s useless, she knows, but still.
She sighs and puts it back into her pocket. Along with other lonesome losers, she’s in a dive bar, watching some American football highlights from a game twenty years ago. Her parents are already asleep in Birmingham, six hours ahead of her.
She tries to watch the television, but it’s just flashing images. It’s just lights and muted sounds. It’s not real, doesn’t feel real. Merry Christmas.
She’s been away from her family for ten years now and she was half-hoping, now that Ginny’s family was bust, that maybe, just maybe, they might have gone to her hometown. It’s been five years since she’s gone back and even though she calls and Skypes, it’s about as real as the television. Just flashing images. It’s not the smell of her mother, the warmth of her father, and the sassy gleam in her granny’s eye. It’s all different.
But when she vaguely brought up the holidays, Ginny shut down.
Ginny shut down, but worst of all, shut her out.
She taps the counter for another and the bartender nods. “‘Kay, but then you’re cut off.”
“Got it.” She had a long, quiet few days ahead of her. It wasn’t so much she was angry at Ginny, it was just hard to have someone keep grieving and not know what to do. Kate had never been the shoulder to cry on. She had put all of her efforts into school, career, study, science, and technology. She wanted to be one of the best.
But being one of the best made her one of the lonliest and she thought those days were over when Ginny somehow wormed her way into Kate’s life and heart.
She thinks about the gift in her desk, sitting there for the next few days. For an eternity, perhaps, unopened.
How soft and stupid.
She finishes her drink and cashes out.
One empty bottle later in Ginny’s home and one cold, drunken walk later to Kate’s home, and suddenly they both get a call. A call from the lab. It rings to both of them, at opposite ends of the city. It wakes Ginny up and startles Kate into falling off the sidewalk.
“H-hello?” Ginny stutters into the phone, frizzled hair in her mouth.
Kate is still picking herself back up and then joins. “What?”
“Oh, hello,” Greg says, monotone, as usual. “You both may want to come back to the lab.”
Sighing, Kate replies, “Dr. Woodruff is-”
“He’s dead,” Greg states, looking down at the man split in two. Shame, really. Woodruff wasn’t too bad. Just opened his mouth when he ate and clipped his toenails in the lab. “Remember the man-pig hybrid Dr. Chuz is working on?”
“Yes,” they say in unison but with alternating inflections.
“Oh God,” Ginny exclaims.
“What happened?” Kate asks, looking for a cab or something to get her to the lab. It’s hard with everything spinning.
“It escaped…somehow,” Greg quietly explains. “I think it’s a bit sick, though. Reanimated meat probably didn’t do it any good.”
“Greg?! Are you okay?” Ginny asks and gets up, tangling in her coat and scarf.
He looks down, legs half-eaten and chartreuse blood pooling around him. “Hmm, I’m still alive. The legs need work, though.”
“We’re on our way,” Kate tells him, and still looks around at an empty street, “…somehow. I can’t drive. Ginny, can you pick me up?”
“Uh…” She looks at the empty bottle on the ground. “Unfortunately…I probably shouldn’t drive.”
They both sigh.
“Let’s get cabs and meet there. Greg, is it still in the building?”
“Oh yes,” he states, as the mig- er pan, whatever it is, is heaving in the corner, vomiting up bits of the doctor and vile parts of himself. Greg eyes the bits and bobs in morbid fascination. “I don’t think he’s going anywhere for a while. I think I didn’t agree with him.”
“They keep a shotgun upstairs, so we’ll come down with that.”
“A shotgun, Kate?! While we’re- uh…”
“I’m not- Oh, no, I’m just tipsy.”
“And I’m losing blood,” Greg calming brings them back on point.
“Right. Since you’re ‘just tipsy’ and American, you can call, well, shotgun.”
“Oh, Kate,” Ginny admonishes as she flings her shoes on. “Don’t worry, Greg. We’re on our way.”
And just like that, his plan is in action.
When they both make their way to the underground lab, Ginny faring better than Kate’s weaving and swaying. However, they find a horrific mess. Just…a mess. Everything is turned upside-down. Blood on the walls, on the floor, on the ceiling and doors.
Calmly, in the mess, Greg is leaning against a desk, playing a word game on his phone. His legs are torn asunder and remain only in strings of cartilage, bone, and muscles. It reminds Ginny of oozing and meaty string cheese. Looking up, he nods. “Merry Christmas.”
“Jesus H!” Kate breathes out.
“Where is it?” Ginny says, shotgun shaking in her hands, almost the size of her.
“I think it’s dead,” he tells them and points to a hidden corner. “I heard gagging and struggling…Serves it right.”
Ginny goes to peek while Kate remains. “Aren’t you a bit calm?”
They share a glance to size up each other as Kate sways and refuses to acknowledge it as much as Greg refuses to acknowledge his string cheese legs. There’s a pause before he says, “Why wouldn’t I be? I’ve done nothing wrong.”
After her investigation, Ginny breathes in relief. “It’s dead! I think it died by aspiration.”
“Hallelujah,” Kate sarcastically replies, still glaring at Greg, who is almost at the next level in his game.
“Well,” Ginny sighs, pulling off her coat. “I guess we, uh…”
She gestures to the bits of Dr. Woodruff, the larger pieces of him, the vomit, the lab, the everything. “Greg is first, I suppose.”
“I guess, the wanker,” Kate mumbles, slipping off her own coat, then having to find the coat rack in the calamity. “You don’t deserve us, 205.”
He shrugs as he contently plays on his phone, continuing to ooze out, without real concern now that the scientists are here.
Ginny puts 205 up into the examination bed and sedates him while Kate goes into her desk to get some supplies. That’s when she finds her present to Ginny with a frown. It seems as good a time as any.
Before they need to scrub up and put on surgical gowns, she tosses it to Ginny. “Merry Christmas. It’s after midnight.”
“Oh, sorry. Your present is at my apart-”
“Just open it.”
It’s small. Very small. Box-shaped. And Ginny is nervous and afraid. It could be something that she’s not ready for. What if it’s a tone-deaf, ‘let me be your family since you don’t have one’? What could she even say if it’s a ring? It just feels cruel.
With shaking hands, she opens it slowly, relieved to find a key instead. A key? To where? Kate wouldn’t be so cheesy as to say to her heart. It’s not a car key, thank goodness.
“It’s to a cabinet,” Kate explains, seeing the confusion. “Remember when we were here the first year and there was that cabinet and you lost the key?”
Blinking, she half-recalls. Honestly, she just remembers being scolded for it and the panic afterwards.
“And you kept looking for it and I got annoyed and just took a crowbar and sledgehammer to it. Remember?”
Ginny laughs. “Oh, yeah. I thought you were crazy.”
“You called me impatient at the time.” Swaying, but sobering up, Kate sighs and walks over to Ginny. Sees the little key in her green-bloodied hands, shining like the star on top of a Christmas tree. “You said it’d turn up eventually.”
“God, that was years ago, though.”
Kate’s hands curve around Ginny’s carefully. “I know that you’re upset with your family. It’s not what you wanted or expected. They’re being shits about it and it hurts to be on the outside.
“I found the key recently and I just wanted to give it back and remind you that sometimes it takes time. You were right. Sometimes you have to be patient. Maybe with them. Maybe with yourself…Maybe sometimes even with me. But you’re going to get back what you lose. Not always in the moment you want it, but you’ll find it. You just have to be patient and remember what you have now.”
Ginny purses her lips so she doesn’t cry like a sop, but leans forward to touch her forehead to the chin there. With a long breath, she replies, “Thank you.”
“Of course. And maybe if you’re not too busy…you can come back with me and meet the Wrights. My mum collects ugly porcelain swans, my dad has the worst jokes, their dog is full of farts, but gran isn’t so bad. And I’m not saying that as-…I want you to meet them. They’re much more normal and better people than I’ll ever be.”
A stray tear falls as Ginny sniffs and chuckles. “You’re not so bad.”
“I’m about to sew up a reanimated corpse that was half-eaten by a pig-headed abomination…I’m not great. But…I’ve got you here, so it’s not awful.” She leans down to punctuate her gift with a kiss.
Ginny smiles and accepts the offered kiss warmly, realizing how much she’s missed it. “Mm, and when we’re done, we get to clean up the body of the aforementioned abomination and get to break the news to Dr. Chuz.”
“That’s okay. I’ll do it. I don’t mind ruining his Christmas; he misspells my name constantly.” Kate smirks and kisses Ginny’s cheek.
“Merry Christmas, Dr. Wright,” Ginny quietly says, hugging tight onto her girlfriend.
“Merry Christmas, Dr. Kostyshyn,” Kates replies and holds her back, just as tightly.
The Twelve Nightmares of Christmas Holidays: Midnight
It’s midnight, officially Christmas Day, and Aly is sitting outside on the cold pavement outside her house. Thick snowflakes fall on her hair as she stares at the Christmas lights on the roof, a dance of reds and greens and blues and golds. Her robe is damp from the wet snow, her once fuzzy purple slippers are now crispy and hard to the touch after years of use. Her dad’s BB-gun, which he let her practice sometimes and did a terrible job hiding in the garage, lay right beside her.
She has been waiting all night for her friends to come home. Her babysitter, who fell asleep hours ago, has no idea that she’s outside right now. Her twin brother’s snores rippled throughout the house as she snuck out. His room, on the second floor, has a window that faces the street. It’s the window she’s staring at right now. Her parents are out, won’t be back until late. If Aly’s lucky, her friends will come before her parents come home. She’s been waiting for hours now, for her friends to crawl across the roof and lift up her brother’s window, pop open the screen, sneak inside and slither across his room, through the wooden floors in the hallway, down the stairs and into the stockings hung above the fireplace. The babysitter is so glued to her phone in another room in the house, and sometimes she sleeps when she has to stay late, so she wouldn’t notice Aly’s friends, who will sneak in quietly and think no one knows they’re there. But Aly knows.
For years, things died in her house on Christmas day. It was small at first, just a houseplant or two. But then two Christmases ago, her friends got greedy. The family woke up to a house full of dead plants, to all five fish floating at the top of the fish tank, the latter of which ruined Aly’s entire winter break because she felt so terribly sorry for them. Last year, the family got a cat over the summer. Christmas morning, Peanut was nowhere to be found. Aly still doesn’t know what happened to him; thinking about it too much scares her.
But her friends made a mistake last year. Before realizing the cat was missing, Aly and her brother were filled with nothing but joy on Christmas morning. She was even feeling especially generous and ran into her brother’s room to get a toy for him when she saw her friends escape. They slammed the window shut, the screen lay outside on the roof. She watched them slither, pink goo trailing behind them. When she told her mom about the broken screen and the friends she saw, her mom ignored the bit about her new friends and popped the screen back in, thinking Aly’s brother must’ve been messing around with it again. Aly tried to tell her brother about the friends, but he wasn’t interested. She tried to tell her dad the friends stole Peanut, but he insisted the feline must’ve ran away. Aly was always making up stories, and they were all tired of pretending to believe them.
But this year was different. Aly didn’t know what these friends were going to kill next and she refused to find out. She didn’t care how much snow was falling, how cold it was outside, how freezing her ears and toes had become. She’ll wait and wait as long as she could. She was ready.
Check out more of our holiday stories here at HauntedMTL and have a very happy and haunted holiday season!