The Truth Behind Christmas

4.6 0
517
2
10 min

It was two days until Christmas, just one more day until Christmas Eve. I was at Walmart with my older sister Alyssa, trying to find a present for our father.

“Eric, how much money did you say you had?” she questioned, rummaging through her purse.

“Five dollars and seventy-eight cents,” I answered proudly.

“Eric,” she began, reaching for the top shelf, “if we want to get Dad this Guinness set, we’ll need five more dollars.”

I gazed down at the five-dollar bill in my tight fist, then looked back up at her with pleading eyes. “But Alyssa, I need those five dollars to buy my card set!” I whined.

“Eric, you know how much Dad wanted this, right?” she said, slowly lowering the fragile glasses.

“Yeah, I know, but I shoveled Mrs. Bocher’s driveway for three hours and—”

“Eric.” She glared at me, her eyebrows knit together in frustration. “Fine,” I said, handing her my five-dollar bill in defeat.

“Thank you,” she said, swiping the folded dollar from my hand. “I promise Dad will love this.” She bent down and kissed my forehead. “And besides, Santa might just get you that card set on Christmas!”

I smiled broadly, excitement bubbling in my chest. “You really think so?!”

She let out a small laugh. “I know so.”

Alyssa pushed our cart to the checkout, and I held the Guinness set. I wondered why she trusted me with it, considering I accidentally break things almost daily. My feet were sore from walking in and out of stores, searching for our dad’s present.

We stopped at the checkout. “Hand me as many things as you can, and I’ll put them up here,” she instructed.

I nodded and began pulling out groceries. Alyssa rearranged items, stacking boxes and trying to fit everything compactly. My hands grew cold from holding a bag of peas. “Alyssa, hurry up!” I complained.

“Just wait,” she answered impatiently.

I pursed my lips and waited for her to take the bag. My gaze drifted to the store’s exit, where a man dressed as Santa was ringing a bell for charity donations. I knew he wasn’t the real Santa. He didn’t even look like him. In fact, I didn’t know what Santa really looked like. But around Christmas, you might see him watching from a dark corner, silently deciding if you’re naughty or nice. One year, I left him a note asking why his name was Santa. The next morning, the note had a reply: “Santa isn’t my name.”

“Eric,” Alyssa’s voice brought me back. “Stop daydreaming and hand me the rest of the groceries.”

I handed her the peas, grateful to relieve the cold numbness in my hands. It was cold. I glanced back at the corner, where Santa had been standing.

Quiet Christmas music was heard from downstairs. The snowflakes outside our window liked to dance to the melody, except today, there was a blizzard. Alyssa was wrapping our Mom’s gift, and I was wrapping our Dad’s. I was trying to fold the corners down like how my sister was doing, but I still didn’t understand how to, no matter how much I studied each step.

“Alyssa, can you help me?” Her focus was still on wrapping the present but she eventually replied, “Sure, what do you need?”

“How do you fold the corners?” She looked up at me and smiled. “Here, you just do this.” She folded the sides in and folded the top over. “I’ll hold the fold down and you can tape it.”

I looked over where I last saw the tape, still sitting, I reached over and found it under some wrapping paper. “Found it.” I held it out for her to see, as unneeded proof. “Can you at least rip off a piece before you give it to me.”

“Fine.” My fingers searched around for a small corner of tape. I finally found one and attempted to peel it off. “My fingernails are too short.”

She rolled her eyes. “They wouldn’t be if you didn’t chew them all the time ‘ya know, most 4th graders broke that habit by now.” I looked away, a little embarrassed that I still chewed my nails.

“Here, just put your finger here, okay?” I nodded and held down the folded corner. She ripped off a piece and stuck it down on the fold. “There.” I beamed, feeling accomplished in my work. I stood up and stretched my stiff legs and jumped on my bed.

“Hey Lyssa?” “Hm?” She was still finishing wrapping a few more presents.

“Why don’t Mom and Dad ever get presents from Santa?” She was peeling off the backing of a bow and put it in the middle of the present.

“It’s because they’re the ones who give you your present from Santa.” I didn’t reply. It was quiet.

She stopped wrapping and looked up at me. “Eric?” I stayed silent. “Eric, what’s wrong?” She asked, getting a little concerned.

I got up and sat on the corner of my bed and looked at her with my watery eyes. “Alyssa, what do you mean?” She was quiet and looked down. After a few moments, she looked back up at me. “Santa isn’t real, Eric. Mom and Dad just pretend that he is, and put a present under the tree before Christmas morning, and say it was from him.”

I was getting frustrated, of course, he was real. “You’re lying! Santa is real!” I yelled.

“Eric, stop yelling, I’m just telling you the truth.”

It was quiet for a long time. I opened my mouth to reply but I was interrupted by the lights suddenly going out. The whole house was silent, and only the howling wind from outside could be heard. There were a few silent moments when the sound of feet shuffling from downstairs could be heard.

“Kids!” My mom yelled out. “Is everyone okay?”

My sister got up and yelled back. “Yeah, we’re fine!”

I could hear our stairs creaking for what seemed like an hour, and I eventually heard our door open. My Dad got out his phone and used the light from the screen as a flashlight.

“Let’s go downstairs and try to find some candles or something.”

We all blindly made our way down the stairs. My dad went to the kitchen and returned with 3 flashlights. He handed one to me and my sister.

“We’ll keep this one on the table and keep the light on until our electricity comes back.”

He placed the flashlight on the table so that it was standing up with the light pointed at the ceiling. The light faded a few feet away from the table, and was completely dark in the living room’s corner. Everything started to feel cold and numb, just like how it usually does when he watches you.

My lip started to quiver and my eyes began to water. “Mom, Dad, I’m scared.” I whimpered as tears started flowing down my flushed cheeks.

“Oh honey, don’t be scared, me and your father are right here. I promise we won’t let anything happen to you.” Her warm hands were on my shoulders, and comforted me with her soft smile.

My shaky breathing gradually stopped, and I calmed down. “Hey Mom?” She smiled “Yes honey?”

“Do you think that he’s scared?” Her smile slowly faded into a look of distraught.

“Who are you talking about?”

“The man in the corner.”

The silence wasn’t like normal silence, it was the type of silence that you hear when you are completely terrified, the type that seems to close in on you and transfix on the slightest sound that is made, the type that lasts for what seems like hours of pure terror and dread.

We were all staring at the corner, but he was only staring back at me. My sister grabbed the flashlight and shined it in the corner, but nothing was there. She cautiously lowered the flashlight, and the man was gone.

My mom let out a shaky sigh. “It was probably just the shadow of something in here.” Everyone but me agreed.

“But it’s Santa.” I protested. They stared at me and broke the silence with laughter.

“Honey, I think you’re just confused.” My mom said in between laughter.

Anger boiled inside of me. I tightened my fists until I heard an unnatural pop. “IT WAS HIM!” I screamed in rage.

There it was again, silence. Everyone stared at me in shock. They said words, but I couldn’t hear them, only ringing. Their faces became distorted, and darkness swept over my vision. I was falling. I was falling in slow-motion, and everything was silent. I saw the man in the corner before I hit the ground.

Darkness was fading into colors. They were blurry, but I could still make them out. My vision was foggy and swirled around, as if I were in a trance. I tried blinking my eyes open, but they felt so heavy. Everything around me started becoming more and more vivid. The only thing different was that the lights were turned on. I blinked my eyes a few times, and could now see normally.

I felt something warm and damp on my forehead. I raised my hand to the top of my head and cautiously touched the rough fabric. I pulled off the damp rag and put it to my side. What even happened?

“Eric?” I quickly spun around. “Sorry if I startled you, sweety.” She tucked her auburn hair back behind her ear as she approached me. She crouched down next to me, placing her delicate hand on my forehead. “How are you feeling, honey?”

My ears were still ringing. “I’m fine.” I’m so cold.

She knit her eyebrows together. “Are you sure, honey? You took a pretty bad fall—”

“I said, I’m FINE!” I snapped.

She looked at me how she did before I fell unconscious. She took a deep breath and stood up. “I hope you are, Eric.” And then, she left the room.

I woke up, still on the couch, and slowly rubbed the sleep from my eyes and glanced around the room. My gaze inadvertently landed on him, and I instantly froze.

“Hey honey, I’m off to work!” Her voice broke the eerie silence.

Startled and filled with dread, I quickly looked away.

“Honey,” she hesitated, her tone laced with concern, “How are you feeling?”

“I’m ok,” I replied flatly.

“Okay, but try not to wake up your father and sister, they barely slept last night.” I nodded, my back still turned to her. For a second, I could hear the howling wind from outside, but it only lasted a moment and the door slammed shut.

I turned around and came face to face with him.

He was unnaturally tall, with a hunched back that gave him a permanently stooped posture. His arms, thin and skeletal, hung limply at his sides. His legs were stick-like, dressed in tattered, once-red pants that were now faded and stained. His feet were bare, blackened and gnarled, as though ravaged by frostbite, and jaw hanging slack and broken.

His eyes, deeply sunken, seemed to bore into mine, hollow yet piercing. Dark, viscous blood trickled down his ghastly pale face from the empty eye sockets into his horribly stained beard.

I stared at him, unable to look away from the horrifying figure before me. After a moment of stunned silence, I finally found my voice.

“Who are you?”

There was a long silence. But he replied, in a deep raspy voice, “I need you to help me with something, Eric.”

“I need you to make them believe.”

Leave a comment

2 Comments
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Rccoons avatar
Rccoons
1 month ago

Nice! :- ) I like the suspense

[deleted-user-68159] avatar
weirdo_4005
1 month ago

Part 2?