A different telling of The Night Before Christmas. I hope you enjoy this.
“Tell us the story of Santa! Please! Puhleeeaze!”
My ghostlings looked up at me, pleading. Little Zoe looked especially cute, her pale pigtails shaking as she bobbed up and down excitedly. “Please,” she said one more time, her voice sounding tiny in the crypt. Behind her Sage, her older sister floated, her hands held together, fingers clasped, as though in prayer.
Ash tried to act uninterested, but I could see he was holding himself back. He wanted everyone to believe he was above such little ghoul tales, but I knew better.
“You might as well,” Sally said, “you know they won't settle down until you do.”
“ Okay, okay,” I said, giving in, just as I did every year. Settling into my chair I motioned for them to gather round. Then, just as I did every Christmas Eve, I cleared my throat and began...
T'was the massacre before Christmas and all through the place,
Not a creature was stirring, except for the wraith.
The young goulings were playing by the old broken stair,
In the hopes that soon, there'd be someone to scare.
Sally was in bed, with her head by her side,
And I was looking for a good place to hide,
When out by the door, I heard a loud crash,
So off to investigate I was there in a flash.
Like mist through the doorway, I hovered mid air,
Ready to frighten whomever was there.
The moon shimmered down on a lawn gone to seed,
Revealing a graveyard left to the weeds.
And on the veranda, beneath the full moon,
A blood thirsty Vampire and Eight zombie buffoons.
Just what we needed, I groaned to myself,
Knowing that soon we'd be knee deep in elf.
True to my thought, the goulings gave shout
And off I flew to see what's about.
Down the broken chimney, dirt and soot fell
And I knew from here it would all go to hell.
Amidst all the dirt and everything else,
Appeared the once jolly and rosy old elf.
Angry and bitter since the rise of the dead,
He'd become a demon we'd all learned to dread.
With his bag filled with stakes and blades of all size,
He hunted the un-dead, to bring their demise.
His army of elves, ran into the room,
The gleam in their eyes spelling out doom.
Up on the rooftop, the patter of feet,
Santa's reindeer, paws ready to beat,
Any Zombies that wanted their brains,
Kicking heads off, then taking names.
On Santa’s back, his ghost sucking machine,
The one that he used, when he wanted to clean,
Haunted homes and graveyards of unruly souls,
And I had a feeling my extinction was his goal.
The un-jolly elf, with eyes that were coal,
Looked my way and I longed for the hole,
Deep in the ground, where my body still lies
Rotting away since the day that I died.
By this time the Vampire and Zombies had found their way in,
And when Santa saw them, He gave me a grin.
Doing a flip, he crossed the room in two,
Landing in front of them with a loud booming boo!
The vampire hissed, his fangs looking sharp,
While next to him a zombie let out a loud fart.
The gas from the fart made the old elf gag,
So he pulled a gas mask from out of his bag.
Then with a stake that looked wickedly sharp,
He plunged it deep into the vampire's heart.
The zombies stood there, eight drooling insane,
Their hunger for flesh, overriding their brain.
They surrounded Santa, thinking he looked tasty,
An interesting theory, if their minds weren't so pasty.
He chopped off their heads; he called them by name,
Off Thomas, off Randy, off with your heads,
Harry and Trudy, you both should be dead.
Tracy, you’re rotting, you've bugs in your nose,
And Alice, you used to be a sweet little rose.
OFF WITH YOUR HEADS, FRANKLIN AND JOE,
You've caused this world enough terror and woe.
Through the air eight zombie heads flew,
Their bodies falling where they had been slew.
Turned into ghosts by the fat man himself,
That jolly old jiggly, gift giving elf.
He turned towards me and I shook with fright,
Worrying he'd end my ghost life that night.
Behind me I heard Sally cry out in fear,
Looking paler than she had been all year.
Santa's belly shook, as he laughed at our plight,
Then up through the chimney and back out of sight.
As he took off on his sleigh once more,
I could hear him call out with a roar,
If you’ve been good and not causing a fright,
You don't have to worry, come Christmas night,
But if on brains and blood you've fed,
This old elf will see you dead.
Then his laughter sent such a fright
As he called Merry Christmas to all and to all good night.
I stopped speaking and spoke to my ghostlings, as Sally, listened in the corner, her head resting in her lap.
“Every Christmas since then, Santa has always left presents, not just for the living children, but for those that are dead...as long as you don't make it onto the naughty list. Now, have you all slimed your teeth?”
They all nodded.
“Washed the ooze behind your ears?”
They all nodded again, singing a chorus of yes and sure and you betcha.
“Well off to bed then. Santa doesn't visit any ghostling, unless they are sleeping.”
They chased each other up the broken stairs to the tower high above the crypt. I floated over to Sally and rested my hand upon her head.
“You really do know how to tell a story,” she said, picking her head up and holding it level with mine. “What are you going to do when they find out the truth?”
“ You mean that Santa was turned into a zombie 50 years ago and ate his own reindeer, before his army of elves took him down? Same as my father, nothing. Let them be little ghouls for now and maybe when they are older and have their own little ghouls, they'll pass the story on.”
Then, from my hiding place, I pulled the presents I had for my ghostlings out and put them beneath the dead tree in the cemetery. It wasn’t much, but it made them feel special. I nodded at Joe, who was out prowling the graveyard, looking to call up some of his friends. Then, back into the crypt and to bed. Soon Christmas would be over and we would go back to haunting the yard, but for at least this night, my ghouls could feel alive.
By Lisa McCourt Hollar
Word Count: 1,085