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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 and here for Phil’s.

This story takes place in the same universe as my other story, Meat Cute, but with new characters. I hope you enjoy.

To All a Goodnight - with deer and moth in background

Rude hated this time of year and also, hypocritically, loved it. He grew up loving it. The snow. The cold. The silence. The dark. The peaceful blinking of lights on pure, fresh mounds of snow. The way that blood would steam in the cold air, just like breath.

Christmas is a magical time.

It’s also the time where he feels the loneliest. 

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He really isn’t like these other two-bit serials out here on MONSTR – the dating app for the vile, the diabolic, and the creatures who go hump and bump in the night. And sure, he even had dated a few killer Kringles over the years. 

But they were so egotistical and never had room or time on their slay-sleighs for Rude. 

Rude was on his own.  

Two weeks ago he had a horrible Yeti date that ended with a broken table, a few normies 6-feet under and a lifetime ban at Bennigans. It stung his pride, especially when the Yeti roared it should have eaten him for dinner instead of the overcooked steak, if he wasn’t such a freak.

Rude sighs, looking through the dating app. The people who are trying to get with him are abysmal. Bottom of the barrel. All Santas at the end of their rope or looking for an ironic kill. 

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Except one. 

Not even a holiday-themed date. 

A mothman. 

Rude pauses. He’s into Yeti, sure. They have a lot of bulk, lots of fur. Even though the Santa body-type does drive him a bit wild, especially with a real beard to pull- hoo, boy.

But the profile seems a bit mysterious and Rude is starting his descent into desperation.

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Finally he replies to the mothman. 

text message that reads: so you looking for a lay, slay, or both?

Thankfully, it doesn’t take long to get a response back.

Text: A conversation. Thoughts. Moon. Snow. Maybe blood. But connection.

Rude reaches up to touch a pointed antler on his head in thought. He’s not sure. Sounds pretty hippy-dippy. Pretty pathetic. Chewing on a carrot, he considers his next steps, but then another ping alerts him.

Text: Your profile said you're looking for something more than the norm.
Test: something beyond labels and conceptions. I seek this, too.

Shifting uncomfortably, he types back.

Rude's text: waht do u have in mind?
Text: Sitting in the bleak night. Watching the moon rise.
Text continues: Feeling the air on our skin and howling into the darkness.
Dots like he's thinking (the mothman)
Text continues: maybe drinks or parcheesi

It sounds…weird. Rude checks the clock. 8 P.M. on Christmas eve. And he’s alone. 

His nose does that weird thing it does when he’s worried or excited, that flutter of life. Red and jittery like Morse code. 

Fuck it. Life’s too short to be moping, right?

Rude's text: Let's meet now. Where?

Directions were promptly sent.

***

The mothman is huge. Much bigger than Rude imagined. And built. Like, must do bench presses and sit ups every day – completely shredded.

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And at first, Rude can’t help but be a bit disappointed by that. He likes, well, bellies that wiggle like a bowl full of jelly. He likes red and white – mothman is a deep black. He likes soft and round – mothman is sleek and gaunt. He likes a gay little twinkle and a loud, “Ho, ho, ho, you’ve been a very bad boy this year!”

Mothman is quiet, stoic. Still and solid like a wall, keeping the cold breeze off of Rude. 

But the way mothman’s eyes glow red, hypnotic almost, like dual hearts beating in the empty sockets of his eyes…well, it’s a bit endearing, Rude admits. 

They sit together in the woods.

Rude has no clue what’s going on. 

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He looks around for victims to kill, like maybe there’s a trap somewhere close by, but it seems like it’s just them. Them, the snow, the woods, the wind…and the moon. 

A buttery, full moon which makes everything look pallid and sharp.

“You…are human?” Mothman asks, in very slow rumbling words. 

“Oh.” Rude pauses. He usually doesn’t get this question from Santas. They understand it. Or maybe not. Maybe just act like they do. Maybe don’t care enough to understand it.  “I was part of a genetic experiment. I was human. But now, I’m…not. I’m a freak hybrid.”

Mothman reacts in surprise. “No…you are you.”

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“Oh, like, I meant that as a ‘let the freak flag fly, man.’ I don’t mind. In fact, I kind of signed up for it. I always wanted to be a part of Christmas, part of the whole naughty and nice. Who lives and who dies kind of thing. I just got the reindeer genetics, not the jolly fat man genetics. The down side, not the upside.”

Mothman tilts his head, a little like a dog trying to understand. “I don’t think Christmas…is about death…?”

Rude chuckles. “You’re grossly misinformed then. It’s all about life and death. About baby murder and the baby that was going to be murdered later on…plus, you know, my own folks. It just happens.” 

He shrugs and his nose does the nervous flutter. It does that whenever he thinks about his parents, murdered on this very night, so many years ago. 

“Oh, nose!” Mothman is transfixed. 

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“Yeah, that’s a side effect from the mutations, unfortunately. Weird glowing nose.” Rude is starting to realize it’s easy to talk to the mothman. He seems mellow. Live and let live, which is unusual for a monster. Usually Rude’s used to monsters like the Yetis, who yell and throw their weight and power around. But here’s the mothman, sitting beside him on a fallen tree, hunched over to be closer to Rude. Sheltering him from the cold like a gentleman. 

Nice…nose glow.” Mothman quietly murmurs and Rude’s nose shines brighter from that.

“Ha, ha, um…yeah. So, you like to kill for sport, leisure, pleasure?” He tries to change the subject, very aware of his nose now.

“I eat…nothing more…Blood comes from Earth…becomes Earth again. No more.” Mothman says quietly, and the rumble of his voice sounds like the movement of snow under your boots. Soft and constant. Lulling. 

“Ah, yeah…” Rude says awkwardly, usually excited for the thrill of the hunt with other serials. But. But maybe this is fine, too.

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He looks up at the moon, his breath curling into a mist. He’s never had a Christmas like this – slow, quiet, and thoughtful. The last few were an utter bloodbath of rage and testosterone. Of trying to find himself into places he didn’t fit and into relationships where he didn’t belong. 

“I think I was angry for a while,” he offers, “Maybe I still am. I’m angry a lot at other people. How they can put away their serial clothes and be normal people. How monsters have their own community. I don’t have that. I just have myself, you know? 

“And this time of year is always hard. I just keep looking for something, you know? When does Rudolph get his Christmas? When does he get to say, ‘I told you assholes so’? When do I get to be happy when everyone does it so easily-”

He doesn’t even realize Mothman creeping closer and closer until there he is, right there – one claw held up. And very carefully, with that outstretched claw, Mothman takes it and gently pokes the glowing red nose on Rude’s face. A soft, unexpected boop. 

It’s such a silly and random gesture, Rude’s besides himself. Wide-eyed, he looks to the mothman, utterly bewildered. “The hell?”

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“Nice…shiny nose.” Mothman murmurs softly. Shyly. 

Oh…maybe…maybe Mothmen are drawn to lights? 

Rudolph can’t help but laugh, the noise gliding over the bare trees and smooth snow of the forest. The mothman tilts his head again at the sound and he doesn’t smile, perhaps can’t, but there’s warmth there. 

A warmth Rude hasn’t felt for…maybe most of his life.

“Hey,” he says with a chuckle, ”after we howl into the darkness, you want to get some hot chocolate and you can teach me Parcheesi?”

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Very gently, the mothman touched his frozen claws to the warm human hand besides him and nodded slowly. His red eyes avoiding Rude’s gaze shyly. 

And that Christmas, there were no missing children (although perhaps a few missing stray animals because one must eat), but a bond was formed. And hot chocolate was drunk. And Parcheesi was played poorly by two unlikely monsters on what started out as a lonely evening for both of them. 

When not ravaging through the wilds of Detroit with Jellybeans the Cat, J.M. Brannyk (a.k.a. Boxhuman) reviews mostly supernatural and slasher films from the 70's-90's and is dubiously HauntedMTL's Voice of Reason. Aside from writing, Brannyk dips into the podcasts, and is the composer of many of HauntedMTL's podcast themes.

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Weigel

    December 18, 2022 at 8:58 pm

    I love this series. I love how it speaks to longing and how the monsters are more human than we ourselves are at times.

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Original Creations

Snails a Whorl Whirl Whore World…

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So a friend and I made some artsy snails awhile back. Essentially this was in response to her granddaughter proclaiming that her favorite animals are whorl snails. My friend heard “whore snails” and was a bit perturbed that the child would use such a word so nonchalantly, whether or not she knew what it meant. But then again toddler-speak is like that sometimes… Anyway, it stuck.

So we made some whore snails, all glammed up and ready to go. We started with these flat metal snails and then painted and decorated them, to whore them up a bit. I figured this would be apropos after my recent Valentine’s Day posts and that the end results were horrifying enough to appear here.

My friend's whore whorl snail
My friend’s whore whorl snail

This is my friend’s creation. I especially like the David Bowie star and cherry bling to match her cherry red lipstick. The purple shell is a great color on her too. I think my friend went back and decorated her shell more after the fact, but I didn’t see the snail after those changes.

My whore snail
My whore snail

And here’s my whore snail. She’s a bit more of an ice queen with her deceptively lovey-dovey eyes and mouth full of poison darts, like the underwater snails do. I believe I called her a Hoar Whore Whorl Snail as when the discussion first came up I heard “hoar” and thought of hoarfrost. Hence the ice queen take…

And another friend joined us via Zoom just to visit and have fun making art together.

Another whore snail, drawn by our friend over Zoom
Another whore snail, drawn by our friend over Zoom

This little Zoomed in snail is kinda cute, like she’s out on the beach in her bikini… Mixed media on paper.

So if that wasn’t disturbing enough, check out my inappropriate Shrinky Dinks posted here before, or maybe this Eye Candy Peeps Easter basket, both taking some innocuous thing(s) turning into something… else…

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Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

Feel free to check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites. Her friends will remain anonymous for now…

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Original Creations

Have a Dystopian Girls on Film Valentine’s Day

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So it’s finally actually Valentine’s Day, and thus marks the final segment of our dysfunctional dystopian romance. So far, we’ve survived both Gen X and Krampusnacht, what else could possibly be in store? Girls on Film…

Valentine's Day card Girls on Film
Girls on Film Valentine’s Day card from Jennifer Weigel

Image description: Video camera umbrella shower succubus stares through the lens at the viewer, surrounded by eerie Cthulhoid horror embellishments with text.

Text reads: Happy Valentine’s Day; lipstick cherry all over the lens as she’s falling; give me shudders in a whisper; take me up ’til I’m shooting a star; (she’s more than a lady)

OK so this Valentine’s Day dystopia ends in a Duran Duran video, because of course it does. If the video doesn’t load properly, you can find it by following this link. Girls on Film.

Duran Duran official video

Here’s the camera eye succubus all by itself, for your viewing pleasure. Actually this is the original original image from an Unselfie performance art piece in the shower before I decided to forego the umbrella. Girls on Film.

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Unselfie performance art video still
Video still

Feel free to check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites.

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

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Original Creations

Krampus and Jennifer Weigel wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day

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Krampus got a little confused and decided to celebrate Krampusnacht for St. Valentine instead of St. Nicholas. So Happy Valentine’s Day, as it were. No real surprise there, the whipping can go either way…

Here’s a before image of a doll like this one started as, one of those Christmas caroler figures.

Working Boy caroler figure - Before the makeover
Working Boy caroler figure – Before the makeover

And here are some after images to burn into your brain through your retinas.

Krampus’ eyes and horns are black light sensitive. The pin is a hand beaded piece that I lucked into at thrift and was perfect for this, nice and gaudy. Because even Krampus says you gotta have bling – it is Valentine’s Day after all.

Caroler turned Krampus - detail of cape
Detail of cape

And here’s a detail shot of the cape so you can see the chubby cheeky angels. Just like on all those Italian ceilings, these angels love to look down upon you in bed not sleeping, just like they would do. Such pervs. Perfect for creepy Christmas and Valentine’s Day alike…

If you want to check out more of my altered dolls, I have posted several to Haunted MTL here:

Fashion Zombies

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Heartbreak Hotel

Mummy Dearest

Catharsis

Fairy Wands

She Wolf

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Queen of Everything

More Altered Dolls

Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.
Portrait of myself with dark makeup and crow skull headdress, backlit by the sun.

Feel free to check out more of Jennifer Weigel’s work here on Haunted MTL or on her writing, fine art, and conceptual projects websites.

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