by David Anderson
“Christmaseo Ego Resuscitabo Deus,” read Hector from the rotting tome, worms wiggling in and out of its brown carcass. It seemed more like the road kill he saw on Brazil’s Camino A Las Tierras Altas, the road to the highlands that leads out of the recessed jungle swampland he was currently knee deep in. Hector mumbled to himself, again reflecting on how the book seemed to be more like a dead creature of some sort rather than anything of possible value. He hardly believed the story he had been told, that reading the incantation would reveal a treasure of some sort. Hector didn’t believe in spirits, but he did believe in cold hard cash.
Hector continued to read the Latin inscribed in the tome, his year of schooling, paid for by George Hood, paying off. George Hood was a wealthy American interested in rare books, but he said something had to be ‘released’ from the book before it could be taken from the abandoned church, a building resting out in remote swamplands few dare to enter.
The book thief smiled as he opened a backpack and slid the book in, the tome falling in with a sickening plop. Suddenly his smile went neutral as a click-clack noise echoed through the old mud-stained Church. Hector gasped as multiple pairs of sickly looking green eyes revealed themselves in the dark with an eerie glow. A creature stepped forward, trotting on its diseased legs as its mangled horns came into view. A putrid black tongue of impossible length tumbled out of the abomination’s maw as it lurched forward towards its prey.
Jordin and his wife Dawn excitedly thrust the brand new, shiny key into the lock of their new home. It plunged deep, climaxing with a satisfying ‘click’ as the door opened, revealing their new home. Little Johnny tumbled in from behind, already bugging out about the prospect of a new room.
“I want to see it Mommy!” he shouted with exuberance, a smile forming across Dawn’s face as she realized the boy was thrilled to finally be in his new neighborhood, his new house.
Billionaire George Hood, one of the wealthiest men in the U.S., decided to buy up 5 percent of America’s foreclosed homes and sell them back to the people at a realistic price. A liberal humanitarian, he repeated over and over to the media he wanted to focus his charity work here, at home. George Hood had personally remodeled this property, and Jordin and his family couldn’t be more grateful. A brand new fridge and granite countertops greeted them as they explored the new kitchen. A huge grin formed on Jordin’s face.
Dawn screamed, firing her petite 22 caliber pistol into the wall, the resulting damage to the wall doing more harm than good as a furry, hoof-clad leg squirmed out of the drywall.
“I’ve reloaded, get down!” shouted Jordin as he pumped the shotgun and fired, blowing the leg clean off its torso and spraying black blood everywhere.
The leg acted like a worm, little nubs sprouting out around its form propelling it towards the family. Little Johnny was still cowering behind a large stack of presents while a flipped-over table acted as a makeshift battlefield line. Jording fired another shot, missing the worm and blowing the tree in half, ornaments exploding like little yuletide grenades.
“Why did you have to read that book?” Dawn shouted, still scolding Jordin even though they were near death. “The power is out, my cell isn’t working, and we’re snowed in, what are we going to do?”
“Baby we can make it, I know we can. We just have to hold out until morning, I’m sure some has heard the gunshots and when the cops can get here they will.”
Jordin checked his watch, thirty minutes until sun-up. He prayed it worked like in the movies, the sun vanquishing evil, letting good prevail. More reindeer squirmed within the walls, and Jording fired off four rapid shots, nearly tearing a complete hole to another room. A hollow click informed him he was out of ammo. Dawn’s little pistol was empty too.
Just as they were saying their prayers, giving up, a heavy thud on the roof, with plodding sounds that represented something bipedal, gave the family a sparkling ray of hope.
“Santa?” Jordin mumbled as he looked towards the ceiling, and then over to the fireplace. As if on cue, a man in a furry red suit slid down the chimney. He was tall, with a slim figure, with white hair the hung down beside his shaved face. He opened a sack, retrieving three orb-shaped ornaments. Spikes, saw, and drills emerged from the decorations as they flew around the house, killing the reindeer as they were finally fully emerging from the walls.
The tall man started picking up the corpses and shoving them up the chimney with impossible strength. Soon, all the undead animals were gone, and just as he was about to go up the chimney, he looked over at little Johnny.
“You’re lucky you’ve been good this year, Johnny.” With that, he climbed the chimney and was gone. The family huddled together for warmth as they waited for the sun to rise, for Christmas morning to finally come.
David Anderson lives in Mesa, Arizona, and is the author of other non-fiction titles such as ‘Ping Pong: Master Level Moves’ and ‘Beauty of the Sonoran Desert while Biking Close to Dark’.