It’s hard to get in the mood for Christmas when it's 80 degrees instead of 30, sand instead of snow, and palms instead of pines. All I've ever wished for the holidays is snow, a warm fire, and friends to share it with. Even the robins, our usual harbingers of winter, haven't arrived yet and even if it was cold, my fireplace isn't working right. No one wants smoke billowing inside their living room instead of picturesquely curling out the chimney.

Still musing about my string of rotten Christmas luck, I hear the mailman’s truck pull up outside. It's powered by 90 horses instead of the reindeer I would like to see, but it works for him. More gifts for me to wrap, delivered in boxes marked “Amazon”. 

I wish there was something nice I could say about my mailman, I think sighing. He's definitely not my idea of a perfect Santa. Too tall, too skinny, and always looking like he would jump at the chance for a home-cooked meal. As usual for this time of the year he's wearing a vibrantly colored red flannel shirt with big white buttons. It's his nod to the holidays, although it makes him stink of sweat. His face wears a permanent scowl. No, definitely not Santa.

Exhausted after my long day of wrapping, I grab a cup of hot, steamy Keurig coffee, flavored with Peppermint Mocha creamer and curl up in my chair by the window. The sun I don't mind. It's the heat that comes with it I hate. So I turn down the thermostat a few more degrees in the hopes of tricking my brain into thinking it's colder than it really is.

In my exhausted brain I hear singing. Carolers? Here? It's way too early for them and way too hot. I went to the front door and sure enough there they were, dressed in their Christmas finery, singing at the tops of their voices. And there's snow on the ground! Funny, I don't remember our weatherman predicting snow, but then they never get it right anyway. The carolers began singing….

“Spike the punch with sprigs of hemlock, 

Tra la la la la, la la la la!

‘Tis our season to be evil, 

Tra la la la la, la la la la!

Don we now our darkest garments, 

Trala la la la, la la la la!

Toll the ancient witches carol, 

Tra la la la la, la la la la!

See the burning pyre before us, 

Tra la la la la, la la la la!

Strike the gong and join the chorus, 

Tra la la la la, la la la la!

Round the fire we witches frolic, 

Tra la la la la, la la la la!

Fast away another year passes,, 

Tra la la la la, la la la la!

Tra la la la la, la la laaaaaaaa!"

Confused, I closed the door quietly behind me, turning back at the last minute to flip the deadbolt. I'm pretty sure that's not the words to “Deck the Halls”, at least not the version I know. 

Walking slowly back to my seat by the window, still pondering the odd song, I noticed there was a glow coming from the woods across the way. A huge pile of wood was burning on my neighbor's property. It's not unusual for him to have bonfires, inviting family and friends to enjoy a relaxing evening by the lake. It was hard to see who was there, the falling snow almost obliterating my view. Being the nosy neighbor, I groped for the binoculars I keep in my bedside table. 

Peering into the almost dark, foreboding night sky, a new movement drew my attention from the bonfire. A jingling noise was coming down from the sky. Could it be? A large black sleigh being pulled by eight fire-breathing dragons, each black with red eyes! Except the lead dragon who also had a large, glowing red nose!  

In the sleigh was a larger-than-life man. Big, round, and dressed in all black furs trimmed in red, he looked eerily like he could be the twin of my mailman. As they landed I could hear him yell, “Burn, burn, burn. To all good witches and warlocks, an evil night!”

Now wait a minute! It's not even Christmas yet! Who does this guy think he is, and dragons? Really? Somehow I knew I wasn't in Florida anymore.

Watching in abject horror, I realized the tinkling sound was bones, not bells, and the sleigh was filled with bags of not presents but bodies...live bodies. 

Such a clamor arose when he arrived. Leaving their dancing around the fire the horde descended on dark Santa screeching, “What goodies have you for us this night?” 

“Live sacrifices to bring in the new year, of course, my evil ones” he answered, smiling a crooked grin.

Peeking out my now closed shades, I couldn't help but watch as they took the helpless souls from the sleigh, tying them to freshly cut trees. Levitating them into the fire they looked strangely like Christmas trees, the fire dancing through the limbs not unlike decorative lights. I could smell the pine essence as they burned, thankfully covering up the pungent odor of putrid flesh. I heard the cries of the sacrifices gradually die out while the revelers continued their macabre dance around the fire, singing their evil Christmas carol. 

Feeling my eyes boring into the back of his head, the dark Santa turned. Looking straight at me he held up his gloved hand and motioned for me to join in the reverie, an evil smile twisting his features. I knew if I did, my soul would be lost forever.

Jarring awake, I sat for a moment in fear, then realized it was just a daymare. The sun was out, it was still hot and there was no snow. Exhaustion weighs heavy on the mind, I thought, promising myself a good night's sleep. Still trembling from what I had witnessed, I reached over to pick up my still full cup of coffee sitting right where I left it by the window.

The cup was cold to the touch and the coffee frozen solid. Dropping it on the floor, I stood peering through the window, afraid of what I might see. Hearing a rustling behind me, I slowly turned and came face-to-face with my daymare-turned-reality.

He looked at me and said, “I invite you to join us. I know there's something you want. All I ask to fulfil your wish is a sacrifice, just one.”

Just then I heard the mailman pulling in the drive, no doubt with yet another missed box. I turned my head back to look at Santa, but he was already leaving by way of my fireplace chimney.

“Done!” was all he said. 

Dark Santa is just a memory. I sit drinking coffee in front of my new fireplace, snow falling gently outside, wondering if I will like the new mailman.

In the distance I hear the dark Santa’s evil voice say, “Be careful what you wish for, it might just come true!”

November 16, 2019 16:05

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Deanna West
03:26 Nov 29, 2019

Woooow, such an evil twistef take of a beautiful white Christmas. Very well done 👏🏾👏🏾!! I can feel the emotions, the pain throughout this piece!


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Natasha Arnold
18:21 Nov 27, 2019

I was getting into the Christmas mood and then I was like ( ❛ ⏥ ❛ )


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