Meet My Yeti

Submitted into Contest #129 in response to: Set your story in a snowed-in chalet.... view prompt


Funny Horror Fiction

“HANS! You’re back last… again!”

It was ski season in the Swiss Alps and the German party of friends from Düsseldorf had been enjoying a week of the season’s best powder, providing lots of off-piste daring jumps, virgin snow, and the highlight of the week; The Inferno, an annual downhill race, attracting over one thousand ‘Franz Klammer’ wannabes.

“Last one to return buys drinks all night,” gloated Valentin Kessler, a tall, handsome young man with curly blonde hair, sprouting a bruising discolouration above his right cheek.

“Not so quick, Valentin,” chirped Gustav, a dark-haired Doppelganger to his good friend. The resemblance was due primarily to both men using the services of the same hair stylist back in Düsseldorf. A look so similar that their hair stylist at Kinky Cutters posted photos of them on her salon wall as a template to model on. The coiffured-style cut worked so well that her young Klientel would flock to her shop asking for ‘Der Valentino.’

“Yes, the rule is Last back, first to the check,” Gustav added. “…unless… they have the best große Geschichte (tall tale) of a story to tell. Then, we all tell a lie, pick the worst one, 'und' they pay the bar tab.”

“So…” Valentin interjected, “…who will be our Geldsack for this evening.

Forcefully slapping Hans on the back, Valentin guided him to sit on the ledge surrounding the lodge’s large stone fireplace - whose warm and hypnotic flames burned blazingly through the recently chopped wooden logs of a pine tree. Several weeks prior, the tree had stood leaning on the side of a steep Swiss hill above the main roadway into the village of Interlaken. It was so precariously perched that the local authorities deemed it a hazard and felled it. Offering the wood to the local lodges, a friendly but competitive bidding war was started, and ‘Das Obstgartenhaus’ successfully won the fuel-rich wood that the three friends now warmed themselves in front of.

Surprisingly, Hans finished last at each of the previous two Infernos, the three friends attended. In his late twenties, possessing the looks of an athlete, his dark hair and cool blue eyes give him a confident look. Very capable of challenging and convincingly beating Valentin on the slopes, it was a big surprise to everyone when Hans not only finished behind Valentin; he also returned to the lodge several hours later – smelling like a wet dog. Compounding his isolating aroma, his story was voted the least likely, resulting in an expensive outing for his modest income, managing a sporting goods store.

Barely able to afford the flight and accommodation, Hans had little left over to pay for expensive drinks all night. Valentin always had a better story to tell, so Hans calculated that it would take approximately three months to return his bank balance back to pre-Inferno trip levels. However, to Hans, it was worth it. His story was an unusual but captivating one. Highly disappointed that no-one believed him on either of the two trips, he worried more about costly consequence than discounted truth. He wasn’t even sure he should be telling anyone about it, anyway.

Valentin was not concerned about who ended up paying for drinks. Having wealthy parents to lean on - supporting his unending goal of becoming a ski instructor to the rich and famous - he had lots of disposable cash on hand to flaunt. Possessing a decent skier’s abilities, he lacked the subtleties that a good ski instructor needs – patience, empathy, and charm. This was unintentionally highlighted by the slogan on his social media advertising.

It read: ‘Come and explore the peaks and valleys with Valentin’s in and out slalom school. With my help, it’s all downhill from here.’

Constantly teased about it sounding like an invitation to an illicit ski chalet frolic, Valentin remained faithful to his self-promotional verbiage, telling all ridiculers to ‘geh und scheiß dich’ (go and shit yourself). Diplomacy was not his strongpoint.

Long shadows stretched across the length of the aptly named, Orchard House, as the sun disappeared behind the towering peak - west of the cozy chalet. The welcoming glow of the roaring fireplace, complimented by the warm illumination of the equally radiant chandeliers, dangled majestically from the A-framed building’s tall ceiling rafters. Their candle-like globes were reminiscent of the era of the lodge’s year of completion in 1898. Being a small, family-run establishment, it was easy to fill its 18-rooms to capacity, and tonight all the guests – now returned from their day on the slopes – settled in for pre-dinner drinks. Feeding and watering them, the jolly lodgekeepers, Handsie and Greta Baumgartner are fourth generation owners and apple growers. Robust and friendly, wearing traditional Swiss clothing, they love nothing more than to feed and entertain guests.

Initially conceived as the highest apple orchard in the world, German scientists of 1898, quickly discovered that the fruit's long storage lifespan, had amazing qualities in its skin, helping to reverse the aging process of those that enjoyed its sour taste. When news of its youthful qualities spread, the public flocked to try this anti-aging produce, coining the phrase, ‘Ein Apfel pro Tag hält die Falten fern’ (An apple a day keeps the wrinkles away). Unfortunately, the altitude took its toll, and in 1901, the orchard suffered its first blight. When visitors to the lodge consumed the last of the good crop, cabin fever quickly set in. Discovering that apple wax residue on the apple boxes had a slick reaction on snow, an enterprising young guest strapped his feet into a couple of them and headed off downhill at a worrying, fast pace. Left leg heavily bandaged later, he recounted a story of a large, furry figure leaping at him through the trees, causing him to veer off course, abruptly injuring his ankle on a boulder. He was swiftly labelled, Ein Lügner (A liar). However, a new skiing pastime was born, and in 1903, the lodge officially became part of a flourishing ski resort.

Each generation of the Baumgartner family, attempted to grow the special crop - with varying results. Learning that successful pollination could only occur approximately every two years, several attempts were made to introduce cross-pollinating honeybees; however, the cold mountain weather forced the bees to form warming clusters inside their hives, resulting in smaller apple crops.

In the height of the Second World War, a greenhouse-style canopy was installed over the orchard to keep in heat; however, early success was soon dashed by a Nazi General on a break from the front line. He noticed the silky, fine awnings, and requisitioned them to use as parachute material for his Fallschirmjäger paratroopers (the first paratrooper battalion of the Luftwaffe). The removal of the warming cover resulted in only a few trees bearing fruit that year. Ignorant to the result of his actions, the General - ecstatic with his discovery - was overheard bursting into a chorus of the German Paratrooper song, Rot Scheint die Sonne (Red Shines the Sun), and in honour of the bereft Swiss lodge, he had a special insignia created for his regiment, depicting a fully deployed parachute cradling a colourful, dullish-green apple.

Regrettably, bad luck followed the material. During their first training drop into occupied Holland, an act of manufacturing sabotage caused the separation of nearly two hundred paratroopers from their silk canopies. Nearly one-half perished upon impact with the ground. The remaining survivors - after landing in flooded dikes - were captured by Dutch resistance and ceremoniously marched off as prisoners of war. Upon receiving the tragic news, the General pinned a written farewell message to his tunic, sang one final chorus of his regiment’s song, emotionally chanting an eerie, prophetic line from the musical sonnet,

‘…Quickly we landed, …Quickly we landed.’

He then hung himself using a leftover piece of the orchard’s silky-soft shade.

Later that season on the mountain, the surviving apples plus twenty beehives, mysteriously vanished, crushing any hopes for any harvest.

Valentin, Gustav, and Hans’ second Inferno trip took place during a harvest cycle. Although the apple count was low, what had matured was rich in taste. However, on their sixth night there, the apples suspiciously went missing, clumsily plucked from the ripest branches. The newly-formed Baumgartner Corporation decided that growing apples had become too expensive and contracted a team of Swiss loggers to bring an end to over one hundred and twenty years of family tradition and history. No longer would anti-aging be associated with the snows of Interlaken. Commercial success in the growing ski tourist industry needed heads on beds. To them, agriculture – especially failed agriculture - had to make way for the industry of hospitality. Ski tourism had provided a comfortable life in the mountains for Handsie and Greta, so they agreed to build an expansion of the lodge, adding fifty rooms. The chopped applewood would help heat the new extension.

Currently warming themselves in the original lodge, revellers made themselves comfortable in preparation for Das große Lügenspiel (The Big Liar Game).

“Who will be the first Lügner of the evening,” yelled Valentin as once again, he slapped Hans on the back. Without realising, Valentin caused a tiny murmur of flinching pain from Hans.

“Hey!” Hans exclaimed. “Not so hard.”

Another slap on the shoulder triggered a louder yelp from Hans.

“Sorry, Liebling, I had no idea you were so sensitive,” Valentin mockingly teased.

Word had spread of the three friends’ game. In the company of bored twenty-somethings with disposable income, new ways to spend their generation’s wealth were enthusiastically embraced. Generation Z or ‘Zoomers’ as they were now called, possessed a keen sense of adventure. Hurtling down a mountain at up to 190 kilometres per hour, made these dopamine addictive brains hunger for more challenges. Curiously enough, the risk of losing all their available cash, drew their addictive egos into wanting to play the liar’s game.

Addressing the assembled crowd, Valentin briefly explained the rules, improvising a change to the voting system to include everyone present. The biggest cheer would win the night. Then, the losing storytellers would line up and receive a second vote for their story. This time, the loudest cheer was to be reserved for the most unbelievable story, and the teller of that tale had to buy a drink for everyone. Participation was optional; however, as the three friends had started this new tradition, they were obliged to contribute or cough up for drinks on the house.

Hans sat silently fuming. He couldn’t afford to buy drinks for all these people. Valentin never had to pinch pfennigs. He was the Silberlöffelkind (Silver spoon child), increasingly losing touch with the pragmatism most of his generation possessed.

Valentin's closest friend, Gustav, rode the coattails of his more illustrious Kamarad. They had known each other since primary school. Gustav’s parents were shopkeepers and when Valentin first bought a large bag of sweets from the small general store, Gustav found himself innocently attracted to the blonde spender. Sharing the sweets later at a local playground, Gustav could not help but desire the lifestyle that Valentin described of summers in Monte Carlo, autumns in the Seychelles, and winters in the Swiss Alps.

As Gustav entered adulthood, life to him - in between slicing meat and sweeping floors - was experiencing the bursts of excitement that Valentin offered him in the form of flamboyant trips around Earth’s rich and famous resorts – often funded by Valentin’s parents, happy to have a travel companion keep an eye on their wayward son. A man crush ensued leading to the two men travelling everywhere together, sharing everything. Bohemian in lifestyle, the worries of the world were alien to them.

“Who wants to go first?” Valentin quizzed the audience.

An attractive, slim looking, dark-haired young woman energetically sprung to her feet.

“A funny ‘sing appened’ on ‘zuh’ slope today,” she began in a seductive French accent. “I was ski-eeng – very rapide… uhh… fast… when ‘zumsing appened…’ extraordinaire!”

The room fell silent. She intentionally held back, dragging more curiosity out of the listeners. The collective strain of inquisitiveness was just about to break the spell of wonder, when she threw both arms into the air and shouted,

“I WON!!!”

Her audience cheered loudly. They knew she had won, and they knew she did not have to tell any other story. The large silver trophy she was drinking from said enough.

As quickly as the cheer rose, it died down again. Eight competitors – one by one - threw in their tale, hoping to be the least believed. There were stories of unicorns, eagles dropping snowballs, avalanches, and moving trees. Gustav told of a light in the sky that he followed, almost into a crevice – only to wake up drunk - stuck on the chair lift.

The penultimate story was from Valentin. He described how he had been chased by a pack of wolves so intent on eating him that he farted anti-missile flares, confusing the animals to the extent that they split up and chased rainbows. Distracted by the fireworks, he forgot to duck under a tree branch, resulting in the black eye. It wasn’t the best story, but it got a huge laugh and cheer.

When Valentin finished milking the applause, he summoned Hans, slapping him once more on his back.

Herr Märchenhaft will now speak,” Valentin condescendingly taunted.

Hans hesitated for a few moments. In previous years, he only had an audience of two. Now, there were over twenty sets of ears to convince.

…And so, he began his tale…

“A fairy tale this is not,” Hans clarified… “It is a story of wonder… a fantastical discovery of beyond nature..”

“UNBELIEVABLE,” shouted the hovering Valentin.

“Let him continue,” a female voice interjected – although, the exact issuer of this echoing command could not be pinpointed by those straining to look.

“To tell my story, I have to return two years previous… the first time the three of us stayed at this lodge.”

Valentin interrupted again.

“We have heard this already, Hans..”

Hans’ pointed finger, dramatically motioned towards his audience…

“…They haven’t,”

Several listeners urged him on.

“…On the day of Inferno - skiing well - I opted for the risky black slope path. The powder there was dry, but a powerful crosswind created a white blanket in front of me. Losing my direction, I found myself heading towards the edge of a cliff. Not able to stop, I thought for sure I was in trouble. Then, out of the whiteout, came a hand, gripping me tightly and pulling me back. Removing my misted goggles, I was stunned and shocked to be face to face with what I could only describe as a… Yeti!”

There was a moment’s pause. Then, as if they had been told the best punchline to a joke, the room erupted in howls of laughter.

Trying to continue over the hysterical din, Hans stood on the fireplace ledge.

“I know, I know. I thought I was hallucinating too.”

The vociferous interruption calmed down quickly as Hans became more animated.

“This mythical creature had saved me from harm and apparently, appeared to communicate with me, without actually speaking.”

“Yes, it was telling you that you were going the wrong way,” Valentin mocked, sending the room into raptures.

“She told me… yes, She… told me that her kind had lived secretly on the mountain for centuries, their winter-white fur making them almost invisible in the snow. They risked discovery only when foraging for food.”

A few chuckles still scampered across the increasingly, musky room air as Hans continued.

“So thankful for my life, I quickly overcame my shock and promised to leave food for them whenever I could… and whenever I returned. So, last year, I stole all the apples from the orchard and delivered them by Schneemobil. They invited me into their secret ice cave lair, where I spent the afternoon drinking apple tea and eating honey sandwiches.”

Certain grumblings in the room told Hans he was losing his credibility.

“There’s a whole community in these mountains, peacefully existing!”

A rumbling of hoots and jeers started to hurry Hans along.

“I wanted you to meet my Yeti, but they are too shy to come here.”

Valentin slapped Hans across the back again, causing him to cry out in pain.

“Nice try, Hans!”

“DO NOT TOUCH HIM,” roared a voice. “HE IS PROTECTED!”

Everyone turned their heads in deathly silence. Standing threateningly at the entrance was a gigantic white shaggy rug, glaring intensely through angry red eyes and fierce fanged teeth.

Valentin started to roar with laughter.

“HAAAAAAAAR! You almost had us. What a great costume!”

Another swinging Valentin-slap to the shoulders of Hans, knocked him to the floor, causing the room to erupt in hoots of laughter.

In a blinding flash, Valentin’s slapping arm flew over the heads of everyone, followed by a sixty-second, one-sided melee of a surreal clinical cleansing of the room. Heads flew in all directions, a hand here, a leg there, as laser beams painted blood patterns on the walls and windows of the main hall. Terrifying howls echoed out through the lodge entrance, reverberating down the cold, dark mountain.

Hans stood frozen in place. The aftershocks of bones cracking, teeth gnashing, and splashing blood still clanged in his ears. Surprisingly, beside him stood the stunned Baumgartners.

“I’m nearly three hundred years old,” explained a crimson-stained Yeti. “Not too long ago, that would have taken a mere few seconds.”

“They’re all dead,” Hans stressed.

“But you are protected,” Yeti repeated. “As are these kind people. We've always tried to remain hidden from them. Their orchard and honey helped us survive many a harsh winter.”

“Huh… er... Hans,” Greta Baumgartner courageously stammered.

“Who-ooh is this?”

His mind still processing the carnage laid out in front of him, Hans took a quick swallow before replying…

“…Herr Baumgartner, Frau Baumgartner…”

Briefly hesitating, Hans remembered his manners, straightened up, and employing an emotionally separated demonstration of formality, made the introduction…

“..Das ist mein Yeti …”

January 19, 2022 04:08

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16:03 Jan 30, 2022

Chris, what an interesting story. The writing was on point and kept me glued to the page. The history of the place intrigued me and is a worthy story in itself. However, there were inconsistencies with the reactions to the tall tales, and I thought the ending could be satisfying, but left me with a lot of questions.


Chris Campbell
22:26 Jan 30, 2022

Douglas, Thanks for reading my story and for your comments. Yes, the ending does leave a lot of questions unanswered. Perhaps, a sequel later down the slopes.


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Sarah Winston
15:12 Jan 28, 2022

I really enjoyed all the backstory, giving that sense of history to the place, balanced against the current bawdy, maybe belligerent, young skiers. It was quite a buildup to the final massacre. One thing, they usually have to season wood for a year before you burn it. Fun story!


Chris Campbell
23:40 Jan 28, 2022

Thanks for taking time to read my story, Sarah. Your comments are very helpful. I'm sure that the applewood will be ready for the completion of the new lodge extension... if they can hide the bodies in time... :)


Sarah Winston
03:16 Jan 29, 2022

😆 I'm sure his Yeti can help with the mess.


Chris Campbell
07:24 Jan 29, 2022

Das ist true...


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