Horror and Thriller Fiction posted October 16, 2014


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I'll never forget that Christmas eve...

'Twas the Fright Before Christmas

by Dean Kuch

Horror to the fullest Contest Winner 

The author has placed a warning on this post for violence.
The author has placed a warning on this post for language.





'Twas the Fright Before Christmas




1978, Christmas eve, is the night my story went down. One helluva storm was headin' our way from Canada. Makes my bones ache just thinkin' about it.

Jimmy Gusswieler was the quiet type, kept pretty much to himself. He had to — nobody else wanted to be around him. First time I seen him was right after we'd moved to the neighborhood during the spring of  '76. Jimmy was thirteen then. He was hunkered down over somthin' in his backyard. Curiosity getting the best a' me, I made my way over.


What I seen made my pacemaker do the terror tango.

He was covered in blood, from his chin down to his waist. A mutilated cat was layin' at his feet.

“Hey, Mister. I found it this way, honest I did. I was just tryin' to help the poor thing out, is all. But, it was too late. Guess I gotta bury it now.”

With that, the kid run off. Left me standin' there with my pie-hole hangin' open.

I high-tailed it back across the street and tried to forget about what I'd seen.

Animals began disappearing over the next couple a' years. The newspapers said that dogs, cats, and rabbits were the victims, mostly. But there was a Burmese Python and two ferrets that come up missin' that year, too.

Now, you're gonna think I'm full a' more crap than a shitter in a prune factory, but the first person that popped into my head when I read about it was Jimmy.

Soon after, children in the neighborhood started to come up missin'. The first one turned up a few days after he'd vanished, out in the woods surrounding our "safe" little community. The mutilated nude body of three-year old Tommy Taber was found gutted like a fish. A ritualistic killing, the papers said. They found his innards in a plastic garbage bag not more n' two-hundred yards from his body.

Our safe haven away from the rest of the world had become anything but safe.

I flicked on the old Admiral radio, as I did every Christmas eve.

 

“...are cautioned to be on the lookout for a Caucasian male dressed as Santa Claus. He was reported last seen in the Lake Hebron area. Many local residents have reported him peeping into their windows. Age cannot be determined, but he is approximately five and a half feet tall, with blue eyes, and has been seen carrying a large green sack which some have reported to be stained with what appears to be blood. If you see this person do not confront him. Call your local sheriff's office or dial 9-1-1 immediately. We now resume our regularly scheduled programming, A Bing Crosby's Christmas”

 

 I had to know. Something told me Jimmy was responsible for all the wrong-doings, but I never had proof.  I was gonna find out, once and for all. I told Midge I'd forgot something in the car, then made my way outside towards the Gusswieler home.

The house was dark, as quiet as a tomb. When I peeked inside, I seen a couple a' candles burnin' on the mantle. There was a Christmas tree with a few packages scattered under it, all wrapped up in shiny paper for the next morning.

It was then I seen it on the floor. A green sack, made of what looked like velvet. It was covered with blood.

Did I knock on the door and ask if everything was okay? If you think so, you're crazier than a shit-house rat. I went around back and tried the back door.

It opened, so I sneaked inside.

First thing to hit me was the smell. It smelt like somethin' crawled up a bloated whale's ass and died. It was way too quiet, no radio or television. A filthy Santa suit was flung over one kitchen chair, and there was muddy footprints on the floor leading straight to that pitiful lookin' Christmas tree.

Them packages I seen through the window was leakin' somethin'. They smelled to high heavens, too! There was three of 'em in all, so I picked up the one closest to me, and shook it.

Now, I know it ain't right to go pokin' around in other people's business, but I had to know what was in them presents. So, yeah, I began to open them up. I wish to God I'd just left everything alone, and let the cops deal with the whole damn situation. But I didn't, and I still have nightmares about it today.

When I got it unwrapped, I slowly opened the box and peeked inside.

There, staring back at me, was the bloody head of Jimmy Gusswiler.

I threw the thing down, then got the hell outta there! Damn near had a coronary afore I got back home. I dialed 9-1-1, told the cops what I seen. Them idiots thought I was on a toot. It took some real convincin' to get 'em to come out there in the storm.

The story came out in bits and pieces over the days that followed. Seems Mr. Gusswieler wasn't really who he said he was after all. He'd made a habit of murdering families across the country, then up and vanishing. Same M.O. — always at Christmas time. The cops recovered the heads of little four-year-old Julie Gusswieler, and the kid's momma, June. The only trace they found of the departed “Mr. Gusswieler” was the note written in their blood, pinned to Jimmy's headless corpse. A butcher's knife held it in place ...



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Far as I know they still haven't caught the creep. Seems I'd been wrong about Jimmy Gusswieler all along.


 

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Writing Prompt
This one will see who has the guts to spill them! You must write a short piece, 1,000 words or less that will leave your audience on the edge of their seats and filled with fear.

Horror to the fullest
Contest Winner

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999 words.

Okay, so Christmas came early this year. But doesn't it come earlier and earlier every year? Just take a gander at what the stores are selling nowadays.

As always, thanks so much for reading...
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