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Bad, Bad, Bad – Patrick Winters

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Bad, Bad, Bad

Patrick Winters

Grace eased out of her slumber, rubbing a hand over her eyes. When she opened them, she realized that night had fallen, the living room now covered in shadow and moonlight. The TV was on but its screen was black, the movie they’d been watching long since over and the Blu-ray player having shut itself off.

Blake was snoring lightly beside her, his head hanging over the top of the sofa, face pointed up to the ceiling. So much for their romantic rendezvous.

Grace yawned, her breath fogging up before her in a wisp. She shivered and rubbed at her arms, finally noticing just how freezing cold it had become inside.

A harsh wintery wind blew against the house—and across Grace’s face.

As her sight grew sharper in the dark, Grace looked off to her left, towards the sliding glass doors leading out to the deck. One of the doors had been opened, the drapes around it blowing and snapping about as the December wind kept up. Snowflakes were dancing through the air, a fine dusting of them already covering the floor before the doors.

Grace began to rise up, as did her confusion. How the hell did — ?

She hadn’t even made it off the sofa when she noticed, out of the corner of her eye, a shadow that shouldn’t have been there. A figure loomed over them from behind the sofa, with large protuberances sticking out of its head. It was raising its arm up high, a thin, pointed something clasped in its hand. The shadow brought it slashing down as it let loose an enraged and inhuman growl.

Grace screamed as the weapon cut straight into Blake’s throat, a splash of his warm blood streaking right across her face as it flew out from the wound. Her boyfriend jolted awake, his eyes wide, his body convulsing, and a nauseous gurgling noise creeping out of his gaping mouth.

The figure wrenched the weapon out and again brought it piercing down into Blake’s neck. His limbs ceased to shake as a final choked gasp trailed off into stillness.

Grace jumped off the sofa and made to run across the room, to flee. She hadn’t even made it past the end of the sofa when the figure came dashing around, tackling her to the ground. They landed on the snowy floor, Grace on her back, the figure straddling her as it brought its weapon to bear with another snarl.

In the moonlight, Grace could see wild eyes staring at her through a twisted, animalistic mask of papier-mâché. Strands of long white hair had been glued onto it to make a stringy beard and matching mane. The long shapes coming out of the masked man’s head were horns, painted black, likewise crafted from papier-mâché, and tied about his head with string. He wore a ragged red bathrobe which smelled of both feces and antiseptics.

The thing in his hand was a birch stick, one of its ends sharpened to a point that was now coated with red. He brought its other end smacking across her face, the wood stinging her cheek and bringing more tears to her eyes.

“You’ve been bad . . .” the psycho said, his voice gruff and muffled by his mask. “Bad, bad, bad . . .”

He gripped her throat and raised his bloody stake over his head. “And bad boys and girls must. Be. Punished . . .”

The killer jumped as a scraping sound raked across the ceiling above, followed by an enormous thump. He and Grace looked up, both confused by the strange racket. A lighter thump echoed through the wood and plaster, followed by another, and then another —as though someone large were walking about up there.

A moment of silence crept by. And then a metallic rattling rose up from within the chimney across the room.

The masked psycho hollered and fell away from Grace as a flurry of rusted chains came shooting out of the fireplace like long, lethal cobras. They came right for him, twisting around his neck and his shoulders and dragging him to the fireplace as he let out some screams of his own. His stick clattered to the floor as he was pulled up and into the chimney, his slipper-covered feet kicking like mad.

Then, in a burst of falling soot, he went shooting up the chimney, his cries echoing upwards.

Grace lay there a moment as she heard more footsteps across the roof. That scraping sound struck up again, punctuated by a monstrous roar that hurt her ears.

She glanced out the sliding doors, peering into the cold night at what looked to be a sleigh soaring through the skies and across the glow of the moon. It was pulled by what looked like reindeer, and in its driver’s seat was a hulking figure with huge, twisted horns of its own.

It gave another ferocious roar as it disappeared into the night, carrying off its masked captive, who sat screaming in the back of the sleigh, calling for help.

 

About the author:

I am a recent graduate of Illinois College, in Jacksonville, IL, where I earned a degree in English Literature and Creative Writing. I have been published in the likes of Sanitarium MagazineThe Sirens Call, and other such titles; my first novel, I Was a Teenage Gila Monster, is set to be released shortly through Frith Books. A full list of my previous publications may be found at my author’s site, if you are so inclined to know: http://wintersauthor.azurewebsites.net/Pages/Previous%20Publications.

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Krampuslauf – Patrick Winters

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Krampuslauf

Patrick Winters

Monsters and devils went skulking through the streets of Graz—and crowds had gathered to cheer them on and scream at their wild antics.

It was the night of the Krampuslauf, or the “Krampus Run,” a longstanding tradition in many Germanic cities come wintertime, and a practice that was steadily sweeping into others across the world. In this macabre extravaganza whose roots stretched to decades passed, revelers dressed as Krampus—a proverbial evil Santa figure of folklore—and indulged in the morbid fascination and sensationalism that the figure had garnered through the years. While celebrants sported an array of costumes and masks ranging from the whimsical to the terrifyingly grotesque, each evoked Krampus’ classic half-man, half-goat representation, leaping and prancing about like imps before the people lining the street-ways.

Alfie Wood stood among the onlookers, a smile on his face, a bottle of schnapps in hand, and another bottle’s worth already in his stomach. He’d cheered and jeered in kind as the event played out, his tourist showing—not that he cared in the least. It was the perfect way to wrap up his holiday before returning to another year at Brighton; he’d stayed behind in the city for a full day longer than he’d intended, all just to witness the parade. He knew he couldn’t pass it up.

“Have a butchers at that!” he called out with a laugh, pointing his bottle to a hefty performer with a rather crudely-made Krampus mask. “That’s an ugly one right there!”

Another celebrant came bounding by then, a bundle of birch sticks in their hand, whipping it fiercely at the bystanders. The person wore a shaggy bodysuit of black hair and a matching mask, horns of white curling about its leering visage.

“Oy, there! Watch it now, watch it!” Alfie hollered his Cockney tones at the performer, who was now singling him out for a whipping.

He stumbled back from the swishing sticks, knocking aside others as he went and nearly tripping over his own feet as he broke free of the crowd. He gave the costumed man and the bystanders a sneer before moving along down the street, taking another swig of his schnapps and looking for somewhere else to stand and watch the festivities.

As he looked about, a darkened alley to his side caught his attention; but it was the figure that stood within its dimness that held it. A great big person dressed in quite the Krampus get-up stood there, watching the parade with a grim look on its gray, white-bearded mask. The person’s contacts glimmered with a tint of red, enhancing the mask’s severe, rather judgmental look. The person’s bulky frame (easily seven feet tall and some change) was covered by a red cloak as big as a tarp, a hood raised over his head from which two black, elongated horns tore up and out of. The cloak’s folds covered the person’s torso and legs entirely, their ends stretching down to the street and swaying about his concealed feet.

“Oy! Why ain’t you out there cel– celebratin’, you big bastard?” Alfie said, stepping up to the performer and admiring the successful costume.

The performer simply looked at him, groaned, and turned around, striding off down the bare alley.

“Are you taking the piss?” Alfie said angrily, not taking well to being ignored. He followed after the man, the alcohol bringing fight to his veins.

“I’m talking to you, you cunt!” Alfie shouted when they were halfway down the way, the cheers from the parade rising up behind him.

The tall man continued on, saying nothing.

That’s when Alfie pitched his bottle forward, sending a splash of schnapps across the back of the performer’s cloak. Finally, the tall man stopped.

“Right!” Alfie said with pride. “Now, then . . .”

The performer spun about, sending the folds of his cloak flying and revealing hairy legs and cloven hooves for feet; his enormous arms and clawed hands went reaching for Alfie. The hands clasped his face and his neck, and as Alfie yelled into the giant’s palm, the performer ripped his head clear off with one superhuman show of strength.

Alfie’s body fell to the concrete, its legs twitching.

With a satisfied huff, Krampus—the one true Krampus—dropped the head down beside the corpse, the bits of spine hanging from the bloody, rent neck cracking as it landed.

Then, Krampus went on his way, pleased enough that the mortals still knew his name, and that such deeds as he’d just performed gave them ample reason to know it—and better yet, to fear it.

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Bad Girls Have Plenty to Fear For Krampus Christmas is Here!

Krampus is here. Do not bother running. Do not bother hiding, and do not bother deleting your internet history. Rest assured that Krampus knows everything you’ve done, and there is nothing you can do about it. Don’t believe me? Read the stories featured in Deadman’s Tome Krampus Christmas to get an idea of what’s in store for you and any and every deplorable friend you know.

Deadman’s Tome Krampus Christmas contains six demented horror shorts perfect for those that get sick from all that Holiday cheer and pages of hilarious Krampus art such as this:

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Half-Gifts – Andrew Robertson

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Half-Gifts

Andrew Robertson

“The sack is too full, there’s no way all these gifts are going to fit!” Simcock exclaims, pushing down on the large boxes and cloth bags in the enormous, red velvet sack. There is a sound of crunching, popping adhesive and decorative foil paper and bows crumpling as the contents are forced deeper.

“Careful,” Grizel clips. “You’ll ruin them. They are wrapped all nicely for when he comes. I don’t want them all ripped and crushed and broken.”

“More than they already are?” He asks, giving a brown-toothed smirk. “And this one is sticky and smells off. It’s right whiffy!”

She frowns slightly, considering his question, and wrinkles her nose at his breath. It’s definitely worse that the smell coming from the leaky gift. She resumes handing him wrapped presents. There are only three more to fit in the sack, heavy and oddly shaped but not impossible. They will slide in like little soldiers, all side by side.

The cottage is warm with a roaring fire, which Grizel chopped the wood for, and the kitchen table is laden with all manner of treats, which Grizel made, and the house is clean, because Grizel cleaned it, and the list of items Grizel needs for the coming year is tucked into her apron pocket. Just like always.

Every year he comes on Christmas Eve, and Grizel has never let him down. For her trouble, her guest fills her pantry with the various tools of her trade. Every year, Simcock benefits and every year he does fuck all. But Simcock has never been punished, probably because Grizel always got their guest the best gifts she could find, travelling great distances to find exactly what he would want.

“Some of them may be a little banged up, but it was a long drive in that sled and I didn’t have time to be as delicate as I wanted to be.”

“Yeah, when you threw the first set down the basement stairs yesterday I’m sure that helped.”

“Be helpful or don’t,” she replies. “I know you are only here to try and get some credit; a gold star beside your name and a share of the cookies when the night is over. He works hard the whole night long and you couldn’t even go out and get him a gift. Not even a small one. He will know. He always does. He knows you are a lazy fucking shit.”

Simcock’s face is struck by a gurny shadow realizing that he hasn’t been all that helpful this year. Or last year. Then panic rises in his throat like a warm lemon gurgling in his windpipe.

“Tell him I did good, Grizel. Tell him I’ve helped you. I don’t want him to be mad at me.”

“Why would I lie to him?” She counters, shaking off a chill that runs down her spine like a cold chain. “Every year it’s the same thing. I do all the work travelling all over the countryside to get these gifts, I give them the sleeping tea, and I wrap them up all lovely. You sit at home touching your awful little toadstool. And he will know anyway. Now I need to go and change, I don’t want to be a mess when he arrives. Tie up the sack tight and don’t touch anything else!”

Simcock sat on the floor despondent, knowing that one year the guest would call him out on being a sad and useless cunt. But the son of the farmer nearest them was a real wretch. A whining little shit that went out in the fields to sleep all day, touched himself in the barn, and stole the neighbours pies from their windows. Simcock decided he would go get the boy and bring him back so that there was something in the house much worse than him. Then Simcock wouldn’t look so bad.

He ran out the kitchen door, hopped on his bike, and was off in a flash.


* * *

The sound of the backdoor crashing open almost kills Grizel , her nerves wound as tight as her grey curls.

“Where were you!” she screams at Simcock as he drags in a large potato sack that is squirming like a bag of snakes. The sound of crying and protest escapes the holes in the rough fabric.

“I got a gift for him too,” beams Simcock, watching the sack with a smile as a bloody pool forms beneath it.

“Where did it come from?” She asks, panic on her brow.

“The farmer’s son. He’s a real little fucker. He will love this one.”

Too close to home, she thinks. What will we do if someone saw Simcock take the wee bastard?

“How badly damaged is it?” She worries, and then it stops moving.

“Oh no, no, no, no,” Simcock cries, realizing that the gift can’t be given if it’s broken. “Just tell him the gift is asleep like the others.”

A cold wind blows through the house as the sound of bells comes from near the hearth. The siblings run down the hall and see their guest, resplendent in his red suit and white gloves, long silver beard shining, teeth sharp and ready.

“Merry Christmas Grizel,” he says, nodding to her and ignoring her brother who was sweating behind her despite the draft. “Time for my gifts. Let’s start with the naughty one that Simcock got me. I’m starving and I have a long night ahead of me bringing toys to all the good boys and girls.”