It's the most wonderful time of year...or is it?
Christmas Eve is a night of mystery and magic, but not always in ways we expect. Things lurk in the shadows and they're not the least bit jolly or merry. Let's just say some presents are better left unopened.
‘Tis the season to be screaming along with our thirteen tales of holiday horrors. Ghosts. Monsters. Demons. And more! This Christmas, be careful what you wish for...
Edited by Shannon Delany and Kelly Hashway. Contributing authors include: Richard Ankers, Jessica Bayliss, Ty Drago, Judith Graves, Patrick Hueller, Ally Mathews, Laura Pauling, Boyd Reynolds, Medeia Sharif, Andrea Stanet, Lea Storry, Dax Varley, and Jacqueline Horsfall.
"Die Nutcracker Die!"
by Dax Varley
by Dax Varley
I did a double-take as my mom pushed through the front door, all smiles. I swear, if her grin had been any bigger it would’ve swallowed her nose.
“Merry Christmas, Tyler,” she called out, gliding over to where I’d perched on the couch, playing a game on my phone.
She dropped her purse on the coffee table and righted the lump she carried under her arm. “Look what I got.”
I looked. “Uh…what is it?”
She slumped and did her classic mom eye roll. “What do you think it is, silly?”
I paused the game. “Something left over from the Halloween store?” Seriously, it was hideous.
“It’s a nutcracker,” she said, standing it gently on the floor. “Isn’t it awesome?”
If by awesome she meant a creature from The Walking Dead, then yeah. But weren’t nutcrackers supposed to look like wooden soldiers? This one carried a metal sword, and instead of a tall black hat, it wore a gold crown with prickly spikes. Its painted black mustache had a gray chip on one side, and its teeth were as jagged as the cleats on my track shoes. But, man, those eyes. Creepy. A couple of sparkly green gems that were set into Ping-Pong ball sockets. They glared at me, lifelike.