Milk and Cookies

Christmas time was always a tough time for Randy, he tried to get into the spirit of it, but he couldn’t. He always left milk and cookies for Santa Claus and he always tried to be good. Hell, he even kissed people under the mistletoe and helped decorate the tree. But something just felt funny to him.

Then, he heard the tale of a Christmas gone wrong. It was the story of every child’s nightmare; truly every parent’s nightmare as well.

Christmas Eve goes as planned; loving parents and child sing carols and watch the old movies that we all love. When it’s time for bed, everyone goes their respective ways. The morning comes quietly and the parents tiptoe into the den, expecting to see their child, all aglow with excitement, but what they found will tear at the heart strings of every mother or father for a lifetime to come. Their child was in the living room alright; the lights on the tree still blinking, the stockings hung with great care along the wall. Their child was all over the tree, literally. His head replaced the angel atop the tree, his limbs and extremities placed neatly beneath the tree and worst of all, his intestines hung from the limbs of the plastic tree like garland. The blood glittered under the sparkling lights.

The story grabbed international headlines and the media ate the story like starved hounds around a fresh pile of scraps. The blamed eventually landed on the father, as usual; they placed the culpability upon one of the closest family members. Randy didn’t believe it.

It was a lie, a big cover-up and he knew it. The government could have been in on it as well, but it’s truly un-telling. The story had been covered up, but the truth of it all had been leaked out over the internet; the broad spectrum of media largely ignoring the truth for the easier to swallow, candy coated falsehood. But Randy McCormick knew the truth.

The truth was a hard tale to hear, a sickening and nearly maddening reality. The authenticity of the story was never questioned among the fans of the online blogs and independent websites where it had been published. It was a tale of horror, more than a creepy Christmas tale, more than a worried parent who shuddered at the thought of their child sitting on some pervert’s knee.

The original published news reports told the story of a deranged father, a closet schizophrenic and alcoholic who lost it one Christmas Eve. The article went deep into the man’s background, searching for a reason as to why he would do something like that to his own son. It was a bloody Christmas morning. The man claimed that he awoke to the gruesome scene in the den that morning. The mother confirmed his story to police. He was arrested and charged with murder, the mother was charged as an accomplice. They were both convicted and now sit in prison.

The story that was soon posted on the blogs told a different account of what happened. It was true that the boy had been found murdered that morning. His intestines strung on the tree like ropes of garland. His head replaced the angel that topped the tree. The rest of his body neatly placed beneath the tree on the skirt. The scene was like a sick horror movie, one could envision the title A Cannibal Christmas. The account on the blogs told of a murderous Santa Claus. Not the Santa at the local hardware store, but the Santa Claus. How else could a man live hundreds of years without being more than a man?

You see, Randy was not your average fourteen year old. When he would surf the internet, he didn’t worry about trying to find nude pictures of girls. He didn’t try to chat with women and convince them that he was older than he is. He stayed on the gossip channels, looking for conspiracies, he surfed the horror sites, looking for real life horror. He had a strong fascination with the macabre.

The online tales told a Santa who was a real-life monster. Not just a man, a saint with a very giving heart, but a monster who rewarded good children with presents and bad children with coal. Why coal? No one knows for sure. Some say that the coal was a warning. If one was to think about it, there are a lot of house fires around Christmas time. But what could prompt such a horrendous attack? Randy had been thinking this over and had compiled a mental list. There are a lot of rules to follow at Christmas time. In no particular order they are: don’t be awake when Santa comes, leave milk and cookies; don’t pout or cry and the biggest rule, the kicker, is to be good. Well, for the most part, Randy had been good for the whole year, he rarely cried or pouted when he didn’t get his way and thus far he had never actually seen Santa Claus placing presents under the tree. Every year before, he had left cookies for Santa. But what if that is the thing? What if Santa Claus was getting pickier?

One blogger even went as far to suggest that leaving milk and cookies was like ritual sacrifice, a feeding of the gods. He spoke freely about it and said that perhaps the beast that is Saint Nick is cracking down on the followers of Christmas and there would be more horror in store for those who didn’t leave milk and cookies to appease his appetite.

Either way, Randy was determined to find out. It was Christmas Eve and his parents were finishing the supper dishes. He was sitting on the couch in the living room. The tree lights blinked and flickered. He thought about the boy who was strung up on his own tree. He hoped that tonight would not bring him that same fate.

“Honey, don’t you want to leave some milk and cookies for Santa?” asked his mother.

“No, Mom, I’m too old to believe in that crap anymore,” he replied.

“Don’t say crap honey, it doesn’t sound good.”

Randy nodded.

“You better hurry off to bed before Santa catches you awake,” his mother said, shooing him down the hall and into his bedroom.

He lay awake in the bed, quietly reassuring himself that he would be able to stay awake until the Fat Man arrived. He told himself that until he was unable to stay awake any longer. The clock read ten-fifteen and his breathing was rhythmic, sleep had taken him.

The sounds were quiet; no one would have heard them unless they had a mission to accomplish. Randy awoke with a jump. He heard the faint jingling of bells from outside. It could have been a passing car, it could have been his mother or father putting out the presents, but either way, it woke him and it sounded as it were coming from outside. He rushed to the window and peer out. There were no passing cars; the neighborhood was dead, dead quiet, everyone in their homes, everyone fast asleep. A light dusting of fresh snow had fallen on the blanket of the other three inches that they had already gotten.

He heard shuffling in the other room and he froze. Should I go investigate? His mind was wandering, the dead boy – intestinal garland. What would be his fate tonight?

He crept quietly through the darkness across his room and turned the knob on the door. It creaked quietly and he hoped that no one heard it.

In the hallway, his heartbeat sped up and his mouth went dry, so very dry. He wished now that he had left some milk, so at least he would have something to quench his parched throat. The rustling was a little louder now and he could see the twinkling of the lights from the living room further down the hall.

At the end of the hall, he slinked along the wall, until he was right at the edge of the corner. He peeked around and to his surprise; he saw the outline of a man standing in front of the tree. A long red coat hung from his shoulders. He wore a hat with a ball on the tip, a big sack sat on the floor beside him.

He wished now, more than ever, that he had left the cookies and milk. There was nothing left to do now but confront the beast, or the man, or whoever was in his home.

He stepped into the room, not knowing what else to do. He had to know the truth.

“Santa Claus?” he asked as he stepped even closer.

The stooped silhouette in front of the tree rose up. The figure turned slowly and that was when Randy knew that he should have left cookies. Hell, he should have bought the store out of cookies and milk and left them all.

In the dim glimmer of the flickering lights, he saw the face of Santa Claus. The beard was bushy, the nose, large and round and the eyes were deep black pits, a small glimmer of light set deep in the sockets. It was then, that the Santa opened his mouth and it was then that the face contorted and opened up into a snarling set of jagged teeth. The man was not a man, but a monster, just like the blogs had said. Randy could smell the rancid odor of death hanging in the air like a stale gas.

And a tear ran down Randy’s cheek.

The End.

Copyright 2009 by Taft Sowder

Milk and Cookies

Taft  Sowder

Somerset, United States

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Artist's Description

A Christmas tale of Terror! You may change your view of the Jolly Fat Man!

Warning: Horror! Not suitable for everyone!

Copyright 2009 by Taft Sowder

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