Copyright © by Rick Yost

“Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
Our children were hidden under their beds, hoping by morning they wouldn’t be dead.
My wife and I sat, weapons in hand, if need be we would die making our stand.”

Welcome to Far Pass, Montana. Just far enough beyond the outer edge of anywhere to be nowhere. Far Pass is a rural community of three hundred hearty wilderness folk living off the land by trapping and fishing. Shadowed by the Northwest Peak of the Purcell Mountains, we’re seven miles South of British Columbia, and twelve miles East of the Idaho border.With nine months of winter weather a year, this secluded enclave is out of the reach of civilization. Far Pass is bereft of any modern technology or communication. Santa Claus doesn’t even make it out to Far Pass. However, we do have a visitor every Christmas. Every generation here has grown up fearing him, though no one living can say when his reign of terror began or why.From high in the mountains, he comes every Christmas Eve- swift and silent in his rust covered 1950 Studebaker coupe. The vehicle has no engine, no transmission, and no wheels. The top has been cut off with a torch. The one reclining bucket seat is covered with duct tape. There’s a bobble-head Jesus on the dashboard, a “Debbie Boone Christmas” CD dangling from the mirror, and an “I Still like Ike” sticker on the rusted rear bumper.Six, two hundred pound Rottweilers pull the evil vehicle through the air by way of magic dust. They circle their target and slam the cruiser down atop the snow-covered roof ridge. It can only be a wicked magic that holds it teetering without falling to one side or the other. It must be this same sorcery that gives the dogs their sure footing.With no apparent rhyme or reason, every year he chooses a different house to attack and force his way into. Once inside, his victims try to defend themselves, but he has a demon’s magic and no weapon can harm him.Survivors give accounts of a skinny old man with great physical strength. Even in freezing temperatures he wears only boots and a ragged brown poncho over his naked body. He smells as if he’s never bathed. His eyes are sunken, yellow orbs with gray pupils. He is mostly bald with a long stringy white beard. What’s left of his brown teeth give him a sick, decaying breath. With his phlegm gurgling, gravely voice, he speaks in only the foulest of language. Yet, as hideous as he is, his deeds are far more revolting.He will drag children out from where they hide and molest and slobber all over them. He will rape women in front of their husbands who have no power to stop him. He has even been known to molest men on occasion.Efforts have been made to defend the village. Two years ago another attempt was made by three brave men with guns. They sat up waiting Christmas Eve. Once he arrived and made his choice of homes to invade, they approached intent on killing him. However, before they could fire a shot he wiggled his red bulbous nose and their weapons were instantly rendered useless. Then, after he had beaten all three of them unconscious, he proceeded to enter the chosen home and continue with his night of terror.Last year he chose our neighbors house. The parents were tied up and forced to watch their little girl being molested and beaten. She lived but the family dog was killed and hung above the fireplace. It was horrible.The year before that, it was another family just up the hill. The mother was raped and locked in the pantry. The children were bound, gagged and their entire bodies were licked, but they were not injured. The father was knocked unconscious, stripped naked and hog-tied with barbed wire.He has been known to kill, but it seems only as the result of a would-be victim’s fight to the death.Through the years he has raped or otherwise physically abused half the families in this town- one house and one Christmas at a time. Curiously, he never repeats his visits on the same home. Once he’s had your family, you’re apparently safe from then on.As a community it’s such a horrible and frustrating ordeal. After the holidays and then into spring and summer we live in quiet and peaceful harmony with our neighbors. Things begin to change with the first chill of fall. The closer it gets to Christmas again, the more nervous and frightened we become. Our attitudes toward each other change. We become short-tempered. We turn argumentative and confrontational. By the time Christmas Eve arrives we’re at each other’s throats.Each family spends Christmas Eve night huddled in the dark with their loved ones, praying their house will be spared. When morning arrives we all do what we can for the victims. Then life slowly begins to return to normal.We envy the rest of you. Never take for granted your ability to share the real spirit, joy and brotherhood of Christmas with each other all year long.And now it is Christmas Eve. We’ve done all we can. The windows are shuttered. The doors are locked and barred. The children are all hidden. We’ve built a roaring fire in the fireplace. My wife and I wait.“Listen!” She whispers. Our eyes open wide and we look to the ceiling, as if endowed with x-ray vision to scan the roof.“I hear him.” I say as I run to the window, pull back the curtains and throw up the sash. “He’s here! God help us woman! He’s chosen our house!” I exclaim with panic.“Oh, Jesus,” She says with tearing eyes. “I guess our luck is with the others tonight my darling.”We reach for the comfort of each other’s arms, instantly fearful for our children and ourselves. I say to her with a trembling yet hopeful smile, “Merry Christmas to you my love.” And she replies, trying her best to be brave, “Merry Christmas to you too.”And he was heard to say as he flew out of sight, “Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night.”


Rick Yost

Dallas, United States

  • Artist

Artist's Description

Flip-side of joyous visit from ol’ St. Nick

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