Black Christmas Mystery


She couldn’t say she   woke up ( had woken up) because she had heard noises , much less noises or knocks from under her bed. However she woke up with a start, since she was dreaming  that she was locked in a cage with iron grates from which she couldn’t get out, and, as she pressed on the iron bars, trying to break them ( trying to go out), the cage became more and more narrow, she felt the metal bars, cold and hard, pressing on her, on her skin, on her body, she was about to be crushed. She had been in danger of falling out of the bed, how long she had struggled to get out of that damned cage. As soon as Zoe got out of bed, she ran to the window that ( since) it was always a relief to look at the sky ( at night) , whether there was a moon or not. So she  had been standing at the open window, looking out at the night sky ___she had focused on a little red light, which was moving far away in the sky and flashed every now and then… Staring at the sky, her eyes always returned to the little red light___ until her heart had stopped trembling, giving her a feeling of imminent death ( __and she felt she was about to die). Then she had come back to bed. Zoe was standing barefoot beside her bed when she felt grabbed by an ankle, with a such tight and strong grip that she thought it had would take her foot off. She  screamed with all her breath, even if she was alone in an isolated house, that was not her house. She was ( had come) in that old, half-ruined house to spend the week between Christmas and the New Year in perfect solitude.  Zoe hadn’t told anyone where she was ( where she would be that week). She had found the old, half-ruined house by chance, coming out of the wood. Indeed she had found it because she had come out of the wood on the wrong side. It seemed  like an abandoned house. But to her it had seemed to have found a treasure, even if there was no electricity or water. She had passed a fairytale Christmas, with all the warmth, and even the joy, the cheer of Christmas, sitting in front of the crackling fire in the hearth, to watch the sparks crackling up and down in the flames, while outside the snow kept falling slowly, softly like music.   She never would have expected a nasty surprise like the one she was getting now. The strong, tight grip on her ankle not only made her think it would take her foot off, but also made her fall to the ground ( the floor). It was a metal band that was tightening her right ankle and kept pulling it and her foot under the bed. From the floor where she had fallen Zoe could see under the bed a stirring of something black that looked a little like cloth, pieces of cloth, a little something more solid, more consistent than cloth. And among all that moving black there were white areas that could make her think of hair or beard. Zoe was too scared even to scream, even if she would want to scream to ask for help, although she knew well that no one would have heard her. Lying on the floor ( ground), with her right foot that, tightened in that metal strap, kept being pulled more and more under the bed, she continued to struggle , trying in vain to free her foot ( her ankle) from the metal grip. She tried to free her foot not only struggling, waving her leg, but also with her hands, trying to detach that metal strap from her ankle.  She, sat on the floor, her torso bent on her right leg, tried and tried again to free her foot from that grip, even with her hands. When she could no longer struggle, only then she could see ( realize/ notice) that all the black , with a few white streaks under the bed was assuming ( taking) the shape ( the figure/ appearance) of a man with a white beard and hair, dressed like Santa Claus, his trousers, tunic, boots, and hat all black, with the same white edging of the suit ( the uniform) of Santa Claus. Christmas had passed for two days and it had been fabulous….oh, Zoe could not believe that now, under her bed there was a Santa Claus dressed in black. She thought rather about someone who was hiding under the bed to scare her. “ Look that Christmas has already passed… this ( yours) is a joke to play for Christmas” Zoe didn’t even know how she managed to say these few words, to which no one answered.  But as soon as she had said her forcibly joking sentence not only the metal band, that had gripped her ankle  tightly, ( that held her ankle tightly) disappeared, but also that kind of Santa Claus all dressed in black, which she had glimpsed under the bed, disappeared.

Zoe, more and more incredulous, peered under the bed. She felt with her hands every square inch of the floor under the bed. Now there was no one under the bed. There wasn’t even the trap door she thought, and she feared too, should be there. Because if there were no trap door

how could that Santa Claus dressed in black emerge under the bed but, above all, how could he suddenly disappear without a trace? Just as if he had never been there, or as…as if he was a ghost. Yet the grip on ( around) her ankle had been very real, ah, how much real…That strong squeeze had left on her ankle a worrying-looking purplish black hematoma. Zoe hadn’t dared to go back to sleep in that bed, she had preferred to sleep on a coach on the floor.  She dreamed that the one she had seen under her bed, who had grabbed her by the ankle, he was indeed ( actually) the ANTI Santa Claus. Someone in her dream insisted saying that he was not merely a Santa Claus dressed in black, he was instead nothing less than the ANTI Santa Claus. And as such he was not at all someone ( a presence) to be underestimated, to be taken (considered) lightly, as she, since so naïve she was, had done. In fact Zoe , seeing him, had thought he could be a Santa Claus dressed in black instead of in red ( or green, or white….) No, had insisted someone in her dream, that she had not been able to figure ( to understand , realize) who he was, that one under the bed was a negative presence, he was a monster, he was the Evil Santa Claus. Zoe hadn’t given much importance ( thought) to her dream. Rather she could help but worry that one, who she still considered a Santa Claus dressed in black, would reappear. But, despite this concern, she had no intention of leaving the old house before the arrival of the New Year. Zoe went every day to fetch water at a spring that was at a considerable distance from the old house. One day, two days after she had seen the Santa Claus in black, she found the spring ( fountain) frozen. When she, sorry, was coming back to the old house___and she had to walk through the wood____she had met a very strange being (someone), who at first could look like a dwarf, but she couldn’t understand if he was a child or a dwarf, or even , perhaps, a goblin.  That strange little guy ( midget) had a very  high green three-cornered hat on his head and two very large hands in yellow gloves. He walked ( moved) with his feet turned out and hopped, so that  his gait made one think a little of the steps of the geese, and a little of the leaps of the kangaroos. “ Look, that the spring is frozen” Zoe said, since that strange little guy was holding a big bucket. Then he, putting an index ( finger) on his mouth, started emitting syllables which were indeed incomprehensible sounds: “ BUU-BBI…BAB-ABBI! PAAAPP-IPPI! OOOH! IUCC-CHETE! IACC-HETE!......” Zoe looked at him perplexed and walked away, shaking her head. She had only walked a few meters, when she heard a shrill, high voice: “ BEWARE! There, in the ruined house children have been killed! He was, THE BLACK MAN who made them disappear! He ate them like so many morsels ! Since  then no one had set foot in there anymore!  Nobody has even come close to that house! The house of the BLACK EVIL! The house of a bad time!” Zoe turned and saw that strange little guy waving his yellow-gloved hands, and waving the bucket he was holding too. It seemed he was addressing just  her. Could he be the one screaming in that shrill voice? Yes, he was moving his mouth, but he had done it even shortly before, when he had emitted only incomprehensible sounds. Zoe came back towards him, but when she reached him, that strange being, holding a finger on his lip, was whistling and saying: “ BI-BO-BA-BU…UE-UAE-UI….” “ That voice I heard a moment ago, which said of killed children, of the black man…were you who screaming?” she asked. That kind of midget, in response, started to fart at her. And , as he farted, transparent and colored bubbles came out of his mouth. Those colored, transparent bubbles opened crackling, like they were firecrackers and tiny mice came out of them, and also tiny butterflies, and tiny cats and dogs…” What is happening?” Zoe cried. “ What kind of game is this?” And then, after having looked at the little dwarf “ But you’re a magician!” she exclaimed, amazed and terrified. “ Ah! Ah! Ah!  What a hoot this one is! She’s taking me to a magician! Ah! Ah! Ah!” The strange little one started laughing as hard as he could.

Zoe came back to the old house. She wanted, despite everything, to enjoy the days which were still missing before the New Year arrived. She spent peaceful days, even if now and then she came back to fear that Santa Claus dressed in black would appear again to play some trick on her. But he didn’t reappear. New Year’s Eve arrived and at the stroke of midnight Zoe, who was preparing to leave the old house, was seized with curiosity to look under the bed. Oh, what a surprise! No, there was no Santa Claus dressed in black under the bed, but…his  black hat, edged in white. Zoe reached out for Santa Claus hat , and she didn’t have time to realize what was going on. The hat turned into a large sack in which she found herself locked up.  Then someone lifted that sack and put it on her shoulders.  He was ( the ) Santa Claus dressed in black, who was really the  ANTI SANTA CLAUS. He did not bring gifts to the children, but took the children away. Sometimes it happened he took away also  people who were no longer children, like Zoe.


October 29, 2022 03:41

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