The 12 Terrors of Christmas
by Claudette Melanson
Genre: Horror Short Stories
Who is Santa really? Does something sinister lurk beneath the red suit and apple-cheeked visage? More importantly, what does Santa want for Christmas?
It is said that every wish bears a cost...even a wish of good intent. What do Detective Talbot and his son, Mallory, stand to lose when the pair seek to right a wrong on Christmas Eve?
Christmas can be a time for great joy...but also for heart-wrenching regret. Can the magic of Christmas Eve turn back the clock before time runs out for Morana and her family?
Snow falls white and clean, seeming to purify the small town of Moon, Pennsylvania, but the woods behind Vaughn's home have taken on a sinister cast. The snow keeps falling in record-breaking depths, but does evil lay hidden beneath its seemingly-innocent luster?
As his elves scurry to fill the toy orders for the busy season, unknown terror creeps toward the workshop intent on releasing an evil meant to cancel Santa's yearly deliveries forever.
A well-meaning elf casts a spell which could inadvertently reveal the dark truth about Santa's workshop and its inhabitants. The world's children may end up paying a terrifying price, proving that the path of good intention oftentimes does indeed lead to hell.
A scary twist on a classic Christmas poem
Santa's sleigh plummets to the ground, tearing all hope of a merry Christmas to bits and pieces. Will the elves be able to employ enough magic to stitch together some sort of solution? Or will their efforts only deliver greater horror and loss?
Trinette is preparing to celebrate her first Christmas in love. Her boyfriend says he found the perfect gift for her, but beneath the shiny red paper and ribbon lies a secret he's kept hidden during all the months of their courtship...
The world's population explosion means business is booming at Santa's workshop, with the need to expand making a difficult excavation below the permafrost necessary. But the elves should use caution lest they dig up an evil best left buried.
A special holiday treat for Maura DeLuca fans! Riptide ended on a happy note, but how did Maura's extended family celebrate Christmas? Could it be that the holiday didn't quite play out the way the vampires planned?
It's a dangerous time to call oneself a non-believer. Those who scoff at Santa's existence are melting all over the world. But could the benevolent head elf turn out to be the murderer?
Vampires, ghosts, demons, elves, werewolves, serial killers and a rampaging Krampus are just a few of the monsters creeping amongst the pages of The 12 Terrors of Christmas. Are you brave enough to venture inside to experience the flip side of the typical Hallmark-themed Christmas?
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Exasperated, Dauglewen jerked a shoulder forward, managing to break half her scout’s two-handed grip. “For the final time, Revion, give me some space. Do you believe I would be capable of fighting off attacking zombies with another elf attached to my person?”
“I-I s-suppose not.” He backed a reluctant two steps away as his companion crept stealthily toward the pair of feet extending from the edge of the opposite side of the control console.
“When did you lose your courage? It is always you scouting out in front of every search party we send, even when the wolves came.”
“The sight of that thing rising from the water… To actually lay eyes on one of our kin called back from the peaceful slumber of death, all the love stolen from her eyes, soulless... To think an elf would wish to harm another of her kind… The sight of such a thing unnerved me completely.” Revion stretched out slender fingers to grip the warrior’s cloak again but managed to stop himself.
“I understand; really I do, which is why we must rid the world of their existence entirely. Any creature so devoid of love, one who would turn on their own kin, is an abomination.” The last sentence floated free as feathery whisper as the small party of elves neared the unmoving black work boots.
“That had to be one of the humans,” Gwestiel, another of the warriors surmised, swiping a lock of ebony hair out of her silver eyes.
“How can you be certain?” Revion wondered aloud as he tore his eyes away from the corpse lying on the floor before them. *Half corpse,* his mind spat back at him, stating the gruesome obvious. The perfectly-intact legs ended at the thick band of black-leather belt…and that was all there was to the body unless one were to count the smear of blood, dark hair and globs of tissue scattered over the space the torso and head should’ve occupied.
“Have you ever laid eyes on an elf with legs of such length? Or one with such a drab sense of style?”
The plain work pants were the same black as the boots and belt, Revion noted after Gwestiel spoke. His brain spit forth his next ramble onto his tongue. “Do they eat the bones?”
“Stop worrying over such nonsense and prepare to fight,” Dauglewen hissed over her shoulder at him. “Do you hear that?”
The air around them grew so silent that Dauglewen felt certain each elf must have halted his or her breath. She broke the quiet nearly a minute later with her rough whisper. “The sound…is like the clatter of rocks, as if someelf were holding a rock in each hand and knocking one against the other.”
As she finished her sentence, the bow of the vessel lurched down toward the ocean floor, a sudden shift that sent the party of six elves sliding across the freshly-waxed wooden floor toward the open glass door opposite from the one they’d used to enter the bridge. As they scrambled along grabbing at the empty air in panic, Revion turned toward the noise at his back to find the disconnected legs of the human they’d found gaining ground on him. He tumbled forward in alarm, revulsion washing over him at the thought of being touched by the leftovers from the zombie elves’ meal. His frantic attempt to escape the pursuing limbs toppled Dauglewen, earning the scout another scowl from the golden-haired warrior with the piercing sapphire eyes. ”Watch yourself,” she growled as he slid ahead of the party and out onto the upper deck.
Revion’s desperate struggle to escape the corpse’s lower body led him to be the first to discover the upper half…what was left of the poor man. The mystery of the clacking sound solved when the elf’s wiry body crashed to a halt against the metal gunwale. Stars flitted before his eyes momentarily before the bright flashes faded to the pale green-grey of four undead faces—three elven, one human—their empty eyes focusing on the new entrée they’d just been served. The group had pursued the scant remains of the upper torso on hands and knees as the downward slant of the bow pushed the bloody lump forward, but most of what remained consisted of gore-smeared bones. Filthy teeth crunched against the mineralized surfaces, echoing like rocks breaking free and clattering down the stony face of a cliff. But Revion had just rung the dinner bell for a new course. *Ah yes, why pick at bones when you can eat fresh meat?* As if the pack of undead hunters had heard his thought, the four clambered toward him as if they hadn’t just finished off the full half of a two-hundred-pound man.
In her very scant spare time, she enjoys watching Japanese Anime and reading vampire stories...along with other genres of great fiction, as well as riding every roller coaster she encounters in both her hometown and away at signings. An advocate for good health and ketogenic eating, her favorite foods are bulletproof coffee, cashew-flour crust pizza and treats made with xylitol and almond, coconut or cashew flours.
Future dreams include a cabin boasting a roaring fire, isolated inside a snow-filled wood in the Yukon—the perfect writing spot—and the completion of dozens of future novels and stories. A Rabbit Rescue fanatic and loving bunmom, she also hopes to help rescues all over the world save many innocent lives.
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Did you know that ABFF (author best friend forever) is a thing? It is, and when my ABFF (Claudette Melanson) asked me to write a Christmas horror themed short story for her anthology The 12 Terrors of Christmas, I jumped on it!
My go-to genre wheelhouses are science fiction and horror, with a bit of humor thrown in; however, I went about writing Bring Me Flesh and Bring Me Wine, as something fun to read. I had no idea how much fun it would be to write, too.
Another first for me was writing for an elderly male narrator who is not only a tad immature, but is ornery as all get out! I set the pen in motion, but Dustin Dringle immediately grabbed it from my hand and took over. He had a voice, and he wanted it to be heard, loud and clear. All I could do was crank up some carols (in September) and go with it.
The story’s skeleton comes from the Christmas classic Good King Wenceslas, after which the chapters are each named. The title gets its name there, too. Yep, Bring Me Flesh and Bring Me Wine is a verse from an upbeat tune, turned on its head. Oops, *wink*.
So, the great and powerful Santa Claus is melting non-believers right before Christmas? No, way! Way! Where did that come from? Well, just a figment from my warped sense of humor.
Oh, and a group of fairy warrior-elves have recruited two children, a young Dustin Dringle and his twin sister to stop Claus from killing off humanity. See, fun!
I hope you’ll all grab The 12 Terrors of Christmas. It’s a great read any time of year!
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