Santa Claus is Coming to Town

You better watch out.

Throwing a tentative glance over his shoulder, Michael fled from behind the television and out into the hallway. His frail legs shook from beneath him as he strained to sprint even harder. Michael had to run faster; he simply could not be caught. They very thought of being captured caused his heart to palpitate in anxiety and dread. The boy would rather take a bullet in between his lips than to be sent to the factory. That very industrialized building had been the object of his nightmares for the months leading up to Christmas since the day Michael had been able to form a coherent though, and he doubted that he was the only one. He was sure everyone from preschool to the retirement home feared the man dressed in red with that unnaturally stretched, perverted smile plastered onto his face as if it were plastic.

You better not cry.  

Michael could feel the tears begin to well in the corner of his eyes, but he could not afford to allow them to escape. He had heard that the joyous man could smell the scent of despair and preferred it above the scent of the chocolate confections he was know for consuming. 

You better not pout.

The frown on Michael’s face only proceeded to grown as indecision burned inside of him. He had no more places to conceal himself; no more places to escape the monstrous christmas spirit that threatened to take him away from his home. He hastily scanned through his memories for any location he may had missed. The bathroom was out of the question as the hinges on the door have not been oiled since they had moved here in the second grade, and at the present moment, he could not afford to make even the quietest of noises.The kitchen, on the other hand, had no doors, and would be similar to a suicide attempt if he wished to take shelter there. That only left one last place: Michael’s bedroom. Scurrying to the door adorned in flickering, colorful lights, the boy hurried into his cramped closet, tucked his quivering knees into his chest, and began reciting every pray his petrified mind could remember in the fearful haze.

I’m telling you why.

Michael began retracing his steps, attempting to discover where it all went wrong. He had been a good boy all year long, not talking back to his parents, not neglecting to finish his chores, and not forgetting to complete his homework. He had made sure to get a gift for everyone he knew, and made sure it would be meaningful to them when they had received it. That included specially wrapped paper and handwritten letters expressing his gratitude. He had even made sure that the milk and cookies left by the chimney were nothing short of perfection. Maybe there had been some sort of mistake up at the North Pole? 

Though he knew, deep inside of his heart, that there had been no mistake. That man made his list and checked it twice to make sure the naughty children would be punished with something even worse that what coal had to offer. He would made sure that the children would become the coal.

However, if Michael could survive until 12:00 A. M., when the day would officially change from December 25 to December 26, he would be safe. All he had to do was not get caught.

But that man knew when you were sleeping; knew when you were awake, knew everything about everyone on his lists. So it was only expected that Michael would feel that warm breath, caressing his ear.

“Santa Claus is coming to town.”

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Stress Reliever

I give a sigh of content as I continue my stroll down the forest path. It was so nice to get away from the busy city and into a quieter atmosphere. I’ve had late hours and early mornings at work. My boss hasn’t exactly helped either; all he seems to do is yell at me for everything I did. I hated him with a burning passion blazing through my heart. But alas, I was in my favorite place. Here, all the stress weighing me down was gone.

The fact that I’m dragging a dead body behind me should be irrelevant.

Together Forever

I woke up with a constant throb hammering in my head. I groan as I shift around; my hand brushing against something pleasantly warm. I sluggishly awaken to see an unfamiliar woman sitting beside me, concern tinting her auburn eyes. I forage through my brain for information on who she was and discovered I couldn’t remember anything. Only my name: John Heisenburg. My heart began to race as I hastily sat up, only to wince as I felt the white-hot ache rush through my head.

“Woah, easy there,” the girl said as she tried to coax me back into the bed.

I frantically began to spew out questions, my mind clouded in a delirious, frenzied haze.

“Where am I? Who are you?”

The girl’s face fell as a defeated look of disappointment passed through her eyes. “Do you really not remember me?”

My mind was shocked out of its hectic state when I saw the sincere sorrow on her face, and I immediately felt guilty for interrogating her. The girl noticed my remorseful expression, so she gave me a stunning smile that almost took my breath away.

“The doctor said you might have memory loss. My names Kaley; I’m your girlfriend.”

“My what!?” I squeaked, my voice jumping an octave higher as she giggles sweetly at my reaction.

There was no way this girl was my girlfriend. She looked like a model or some famous actress who belonged on the big screen, not by my side. She had jet-black hair that just barely brushed her shoulders and alluring amber eyes that glistened like a refined jewel under the sunlight filtering in through the open window. She had a perfect hourglass figure and, like a divine deity that descended from the heavens, held an aura of elegance around her. How was I supposed to believe she was my girlfriend?

She saw the bewildered expression plastered on my face and began to explain. “I know it must come as a shock, but we’ve actually been dating for around three years now. I can still remember the day we met as vividly as if it happened yesterday. I was a freshman in college and you were a sophomore. I was walking to my class one day and you were in such a rush that you crashed into me, spilling your steaming hot coffee all over my favorite white dress. You felt so horrible that you refused to stop apologizing to me for days on end. Eventually, you decided to make it up to me by taking me out shopping to buy a new one. Then our relationship just kind of happened from there.”

I flipped through my mental memory scrapbook for any of these pleasant experiences, but my mind came up disappointingly blank. She noticed my frustration and gently grabbed my rather large hand with her own delicate, dainty palm.

“It’s ok, John. If you really can’t remember, I’ll just have to make you fall in love with me all over again,” she declared with the beginnings of a warm smile building upon her face.

I could feel the warmth exuding from her hand as I squeezed it tenderly.

“I think I already am.”

Even though I had spent three days lying immobile in my hospital bed, I never once found myself bored. After all, Kaley was right by my side. She came to me the second the hospital opened and only left when the doctor forced her to leave. And throughout the day she told me all different kinds of stories about our relationship.

When I asked her how I got injured, I could feel her stiffen beside me. I look up at her eyes to see them filled with alarm and dismay. Then all of a sudden, she began to sob violently.

I felt the thorns of guilt prick my conscience as I hurriedly grabbed her hand, lacing our fingers together in a lovingly intimate manner.

“You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to,” I muttered soothingly as I offered her a tissue.

“No…no it’s fine,” she sniffed, delicately dabbing her puffy eyes, swollen from her tears that still continued to stream down her flushed cheeks.

“There was this girl. She was in love with you, but when we started dating, she was slightly…jealous of me, to say the least.”

She paused for a moment as she inhaled a shaky breath.

“She tried to murder me.”

My mouth ran dry and I could hear my heartbeat pounding powerfully in my ears.

“She broke into our house while you were sleeping. She was gripping a lead pipe tightly in her hand. It was covered completely in rust and blood. She had a deranged, hysterical gleam in her eyes and kept raving about how I stole you from her. She went to strike me, but you jumped out of nowhere and took the blow.” She looked at me in admiration, her cheeks now glowing a rosy hue. “You saved me.”

I could feel my heart swell up with pride and my face flush red. She leaned over and kissed me gently on the on my lips. Even now I can feel the warmth tickling my mouth.

Days later, after the doctors deemed that I was ready to return to society, Kaley lent me her shoulder and we made the lengthy, sluggish expedition to the parking lot.

“Now you sit here,” Kaley sternly insisted while easing me into the wooden bench in front of the building, “And I’ll bring my car out front. With all that head trauma, it’s probably not a good thing to have you walk that far.”

I opened my mouth to protest that I was one-hundred percent okay when I felt a warm finger pressed against my lips.

“No, no, no,” she chided playfully. “Just let your girlfriend take care of you.”

Before I could even utter a single word, she began to walk off, her high heels clicking against the asphalt.

After a few moments of watching the ants scurry across the pavement in a similar manner to how the people were scurrying to their cars to get a head start on rush hour, a yawn forced its way through my lips. This wasn’t unusual, with the previous sleepless nights. I decided not to fight the darkness and instead welcome it with open arms as I lazily closed my eyelids that were heavy with insomnia.

For a while, I took great pleasure in the comforting, peaceful silence that the dark had offered me, as opposed to the irritating clicks and beeps that echoed throughout the hospital’s hollow hallways. I don’t remember how long I was enjoying the serene lull before a flash of flaming, cherry-red hair caught my attention.

I sluggishly moved my gaze to see a girl, her back facing me so I could easily admire the wavy vermillion locks that cascaded elegantly down her back. When she turned around, her shimmering jade eyes causing my pulse to accelerate to an almost alarming rate and my palms to glisten with sweat. Her white, angelic dress that just barely brushed her knees emphasized her vibrant hair and viridescent eyes even more. She then flashed me a quick grin that displayed her pearly white, slightly crooked teeth. I almost forgot how to breathe.

I stood there, gawking for what felt like an eternity before she waved her hand infront of my face, giggling slightly.

I could feel my cheeks heat up and hurriedly adverted my eyes away in embarrassment. But, as soon as my eyes left hers, I heard a terror-stricken shriek that cause a chill to rapidly diffuse through my veins; my whole body becoming numb.

I tentatively lifted my gaze from the ground to once again meet those viridans orbs. This time, however, they were no longer vigorously shining but instead dull and lifeless. Her dress was stained crimson with the blood trickling from the severe gash on her forehead. Her once pale, porcelain skin was now tarnished with grotesque yellow and purple bruises, as if she had been beaten repeatedly with excessive force.

She opened her mouth to speak once more, though her voice was no longer filled with determination or glee, but uneasiness and anxiety. With every word she spoke, her voice cracked and wavered as she feebly muttered one word, over and over again.

“John…John…John…”

“John…?”

I woke with a start as I felt a warm, petite hand delicately shake my shoulder, rousing me from my slumber. I began to sit up, only to grimace in pain as the perpetual ache in my head only proceeded to throb faster.

I heard feminine laughter as I looked up to meet those amber eyes that I had grown accustomed to over the past few days.

“I just left for a minute, and you already fell asleep! Don’t tell me you forgot about me?”

“How could I ever forget someone as beautiful as you?”

Her cheeks began to flush ever so slightly as an appreciative smile grew on her face.

“Why thank you! Now come on, sweetie, we should get you home.”

She lent me her shoulder once more as she helped me into her bright, cherry red corvette.

Cherry red.

Why did that seem so familiar?

I paused for a moment as my eyebrows furrowed in concern.

“Is something wrong?” Kaley asked, concern lacing through her words.

“Nothing, It’s just…there’s something I’ve forgotten, and I can’t seem to remember what it was.”

“Well, that doesn’t really matter now, does it? After all, we’ll be together forever now.” she said affectionately.

“Yeah”, I replied, gazing fondly into her amber eyes. “Together forever..”

After finally arriving at my narrow, cramped apartment building, she eased me onto my rugged sofa.

“Now I’m going to the store to get ingredients for dinner. Tonight it’s your favorite: rib eye steak and mashed potatoes.” She said flirtatiously and, with the slam of a door, she was gone.

While she was out shopping, I decided to take a nap. Spending the past three nights in a small, lumpy hospital bed, I should’ve slept like a baby. However, I kept hearing this shuffling noise coming from the closet. At first, I thought maybe it was the generator, but then I realized it was the sound of something moving. It was the sound of something alive.

I got up from the sofa, sheer adrenaline masking the pain pounding through my head, as I crept towards the closet. My heart hammered erratically inside of my shaking chest, and I had to force myself to breath. I took a slow breath in, and swung opened the door.

There was a girl. Her disheveled. cherry red hair clung to her hollowed out cheeks. Her green, lifeless eyes were overflowing with tears and showed no sign of stopping. Her pale skin was dyed crimson from the handcuffs that dug into her wrists. Her malnourished, gaunt body was tied to a chair with grimey, oxidized chains. Her screams of horror were muffled by the soiled rag that was used to suppress her cries for help.

All of a sudden, every single one of my memories came rushing back and washed over me like a flash flood. I knew who this girl was.

She was Emily. My girlfriend of the past three years.

I remember everything now. How I met Emily at college, when I spilled coffee all over her dress and spent the whole day shopping for a new one with her. How I had to comfort Emily when she was anxious about the anonymous, threatening emails she was receiving. How this girl, one whom I only recognized from my english class, came to our apartment. How she came with a lead pipe. How she tried to hit Emily, but ended up hitting me the head, effectively knocking me out. How this only happened seven days ago.

I stood their as shivers ran up and down my spine, petrifying me with sheer terror. Suddenly I heard the creaking of the door closing and the clicking of the lock.

Slowly, I turned around, my heart pumping dread into my veins with each passing beat. Terror-stricken brown eyes eyes locked with deranged, hysterical amber ones. I could just make out the gleam of a knife in the pitch black darkness. Then, she gave me her signature, dazzling smile once more as she spoke in her honeyed voice that sent cockroaches crawling on my skin.

“Don’t worry, John. From now on, it’ll just be you and me. Together. Forever.”