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.”