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Free Short Story: The Consolidated Brotherhood of Truly Bearded Santas

Here's my Christmas gift to you: My Christmas story, "The Consolidated Brotherhood of Truly Bearded Santas," starring everybody's favorite holiday hellspawn, the Krampus. 

The Consolidated Brotherhood of Truly Bearded Santas

By Bill Ferris

"The Consolidated Brotherhood of Truly Bearded Santas" originally appeared in Stupefying Stories, and was reprinted in The Again.

Craig’s Bert and Ernie slippers made no sound as he descended the carpeted stairs. He was a Christmas ninja, silent and quick.

A clatter from the living room. Something knocked against the Christmas tree, clacking the bubble lights together. He heard the hollow whump of a cardboard box hitting the floor. Was that the sound of a new KillBot 4000? Ralph Moyo had already gotten one from his folks, which wasn’t fair because he was the worst kid in class.

Craig pressed his back against the wall that separated him from the living room. He took a deep breath. One...two...three. He peeked around the corner.

He expected to see the red suit, the beard. He did not expect to see fur and fangs and a tongue as long as a garden hose.

Craig stumbled backward, too scared to think. He tripped over his Bert and Ernie slippers and fell on his butt.

The thing that wasn’t Santa Claus stared at him. Coarse black hair covered every inch of its body and goat legs. Two long devil horns erupted from its skull.

The goat-man was upon him now, its animal reflexes too fast to track. The beast had pinned Craig to the floor, flogging him with a bundle of sticks. His brain was too frozen with fear to notice the pain. The creature’s face hovered inches above Craig’s, its breath reeking of meat and death. A glob of viscous drool landed on Craig’s nose. Craig wondered if it would have the mercy to kill him before it started to eat him.

“No!” said a voice.

The beast retreated, hissing and shielding its face from a series of blows about its head and shoulders.

Craig looked up, and there stood Santa Claus flogging the creature away with a rolled-up copy of the Sears Christmas Catalog.

“No! Bad!” Santa said in a furious whisper, hitting the beast again. “He’s on the ‘good’ list! Don’t make me get the squirt bottle. Bad!”

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