It was the perfect Christmas town. Each bow perfectly placed. Every mantle covered in fresh pine and twinkling lights. Everyone was always smiling and spreading the Christmas cheer. Her house was the envy of every house on the block. But she lived alone in her Christmas mansion. So very alone.
The snow had been falling for hours. She could see it climbing up the window. Crawling higher and higher. She sipped her steaming tea as she placed another piece of tape along the meticulous paper fold. From Santa, she wrote in bold, black letters. She stared at the dark ink.
Once she had finished wrapping all the gifts she lit a candle. She peered up the stairwell listening for any sounds. Silence.
When she was a child she was told how important Christmas traditions were. Every year her parents would work so hard to make sure everything was perfect. She could see past their fake smiles. Their eyes glowed with fear. They would always tell her to be quiet, he is always watching. She hated December.
She tiptoed down to the basement. It was cold and the wind howled. In the corner sat a chair covered in a white sheet. She lifted the sheet to reveal the deep red velvet. The gold piping lining the plush arms.
She pushed the chair up the stairs. Carefully. Making sure she didn’t scuff the chair on the wall. She placed the chair next to the fireplace. The feet of the chair fitting into two small grooves in the wood floor. This chair had been here once before. It had been here many times. In this exact spot. On this exact floor.
Next to the chair she placed a small table. A plate of cookies, a glass of cold milk, and an envelope were placed on top of the table. Everything was perfect and now she would wait. She smiled as she drifted off to sleep holding the knife in her hand.
She awoke to a thud downstairs. He was here. Making sure everything was to his demands. If anything was out of place, she didn’t want to think what would happen. She quietly crept down the stairs holding the knife behind her back. She saw him bent over, checking each gift for his name. She had the perfect chance with his back turned to her. She lunged at him with the knife.
Just as the knife plunged deep in his back a piercing scream filled the house. The doors shook. The table of cookies and milk knocked over, splattering on the wall. She heard footsteps running up and down the stairs and laughter all around her. She covered her ears.
And then suddenly the night was still. The house went dark. She could see her breath fogging in front of her. The fire was replaced by smoke. She panicked looking around. Where was he? Had she finally killed him? Then she saw the snowy footprints tracked up the stairs.
She slowly walked up the stairs and when she reached the top something jumped out of her. She tumbled down each stair landing with a thud at the bottom. She tried to move but couldn’t. The knife was no longer in her hand and the pain was too much. All she could do was lay there. As she struggled to turn over she saw his boots walking towards her, until they were so close she could reach out and touch them. She saw the boot lift towards her face and then everything went black.
She awoke on the floor in the same spot at the bottom of the stairs. Her body ached and her teeth chattered from the cold. She stood up and walked over to the mirror slowly brushing her hair while quietly singing, you better watch out, you better not cry... She put on her red lipstick and straightened out her dress. Wrinkles would not do. Everything must be perfect on Christmas or else Santa is coming for you.
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