On Christmas Eve a brother and sister decide to invoke the urban legend of "Satan Claus" to get revenge on their rotten stepfather. Will the fabled bloodthirsty monster come to their aid or is the true horror what awaits them living in their own home?
Satan Claus by Keith Tomlin
Music by Ray Mattis http://raymattispresents.bandcamp.com
Produced by Daniel Wilder
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December 25, 1998, 1:45 am. Edward burst out of the backdoor of his house. His foot missed the second step of the concrete stairs and he went sprawling, landing hard on the neglected wooden deck of his back patio. Gasping for breath, he struggled to his feet, losing one of his slippers. After a few tries, he regained his balance and raced off into the woods that edged his backyard. Burrs and thorns tore at his skin and clothing as he plunged into the darkness. As Edward ran, he heard a loud crash as something large and powerful followed after him. An unearthly roar, filled with hate and rage, rang through the night. Edward pushed himself harder, charging faster into the forest. After a few minutes of running in a blind panic, Edward felt a sharp pain run from his chest and down his arm. He gasped and dropped at the base of a large elm tree. Sobbing, he worked himself into a sitting position, trying to breathe through the pain. He wiped blood from his face, some his, some from his wife. Hearing a branch breaking, Edward tried to push himself up but the pain in his chest nearly caused him to blackout. Fighting unconsciousness, he felt hot breath on his face as he fought to open his eyes. When he did, Edward saw yellow, bloodshot eyes staring into his as the creature snorted, sending its moist, rancid breath into his face. It let out a blood-curdling scream as it reached for him with long arms ending in razor-sharp claws. As the creature tore Edward apart, his last thought was not of the intense pain or the realization that his life was over, it was a question. ‘Is that thing wearing a Santa hat?’ Edward thought as he passed into darkness.
December 24, 1999, 11:15 am. Emily looked incredulously at her 13-year-old brother, Tyler. “Satan Claus? Are you fuckin’ serious?” she said. “Well, yeah… I mean… It’s real, well, not real but they think it’s real.” Tyler said, trying to gather his thoughts. “So, we’re going to summon a pretend demon dressed like Santa Claus to take care of our stepfather?” Emily said with scorn. “Well, sorta.” Tyler sighed, taking a deep breath and slowly letting it out. “Ok, so… take the legend of Bloody Mary. The story goes that if you look in the mirror and say her name three times, she will appear and start killing people. Now, everyone knows that’s not real. If you’re having a sleepover with friends and they dare you to look in the mirror and say her name, you will. You know it’s not true and nothing will happen. But,” he said excitedly, “If it’s night and you’re alone in the house and you’re standing in front of a mirror when the thought crosses your mind to say her name three times, will do you it?” Without waiting for an answer, Tyler went on, “No, you would not. And why not? The logical part of your mind will say, ‘surely, it’s not real, it’s just crazy talk’ but, on a primal level, you know that if you say her name three times, she may appear. This belief is what gives these creatures their power.” Tyler paused, slightly out of breath. “You are one weird kid,” Emily said. “Yeah, well, you know… growing up in this house does tend to make one unusual,” Tyler replied, solemnly. Emily shook her head, “Ok, I’m still confused, what creatures are you talking about?” Tyler looked Emily in the eyes, something he rarely did with anyone, “To be honest, I don’t know. I just know they exist. Throughout history, different cultures had legends of horrific creatures that terrorized the common folk. I think that these were all some kind of a supernatural force that draws power from the beliefs and fears of the people. If enough people believe in them, then these ghosts, demons, or whatever, can draw strength and life from these beliefs and they will actually become these creatures.” “Wow, I… I think this is insane.” said Emily, speechless. “I know and I accept that but I need your help. For you, this is a win-win. If you help and it works, we will be rid of that asshole forever.” Tyler looked at Emily, who nodded emphatically. “If it doesn’t work, then you have something else to make fun of me for, not that there is any lack of material for that.” Tyler said, pointing to the piles of role-playing manuals and superhero comic books stacked up around his bedroom. Not for the first time, Emily was amazed at how smart her brother was, naïve and childlike but also so goddamn smart. She had sworn to herself to do whatever she had to do to make sure that he reaches adulthood without life crushing his soul. She was only a year older than him but she was a survivor. She could take all of the pain and suffering that life, and her stepfather, could dish out. Tyler, however, was a fragile soul. If this helped him deal with all the bullshit then she was willing to go along with it. “Fuck it, I’m in,” she said, “consider it your Christmas present.” “Well, uh… really?” Tyler said, clearly expecting more resistance. Emily continued, “Look, this is the most batshit crazy thing I’ve ever heard but, you’re my brother, and I’ll do anything to support you. So…. Satan Claus?” Tyler took a few seconds to blink some tears away. “Ok, so… Satan Claus is an urban legend that has been around for at least 15 years. Basically, it’s a story of a department store Santa that was beaten to death by a gang of kids and his wife got her revenge by baking cookies with her blood. She tricked the kids into eating them, which caused her husband to come back from the dead and kill everyone.” Tyler finally paused to take a breath. “At least nine times in the last seven years, there have been a series of gruesome deaths on Christmas eve so brutal that the police have suspected it was either the work of a satanic cult or some kind of huge, unidentified wild creature. I disagree, I think it was the legend of Satan Claus that killed them and that’s what I want for dear old Frank.” Tyler said, referring to their stepfather. “He deserves to die,” Emily said in a cold, hard voice, “For what he has done to mom, you, and what he has tried to do to….” Emily trailed off. Tyler awkwardly reached out and patted her hand. “I know, he will pay for all of it.” “So, all we need to do is get Frank to eat some cookies?” Emily asked. Tyler nodded. “What do you need from me?” Emily finally asked.
December 25, 1999, 12:36 am Emily rubbed the Band-Aid covering her finger, thinking that only her brother could talk her into using her blood as an ingredient in a cookie recipe. If she had to be honest, she enjoyed cutting her finger more than baking the cookies. The first batch ended up a burned, smoking mess and she had to mix up, and recut, a second batch. She shook her head, thinking about the things that people do for family. Emily looked down at her brother, asleep on the couch next to her, and sighed. She loved that crazy little bastard. She turned back towards the large picture window to keep up her vigil on the dark street outside. After a minute or so, the lights from an approaching car lit up the neighboring houses. Emily leaned further over the back of the couch, face pressed against the window, to get a better look. When a familiar car pulled into the driveway of the house across the street, Emily grabbed her brother and shook him awake. “Tyler! Frank just pulled in our driveway.” Emily whispered loudly. Tyler sat up, rubbing his eyes. Looking around, he asked, “Where is Mrs. Patterson?” “Mrs. Patterson is in bed, it’s past midnight.” Emily said. Mrs. Patterson was an elderly woman who lived across the street from them and, understanding their volatile family situation, often let the kids spend the night at her house while their mom was working the graveyard shift at the nursing home. “Grab the binoculars and keep your voice down.” Emily commanded. Tyler’s eyes popped open as he suddenly remembered what they had planned for Frank. He grabbed his cheap pair of binoculars from the coffee table and joined his sister, leaning over the back of the couch.
Frank pulled into the snow-covered driveway, his ragged old Ford sliding to a stop, almost hitting the garage door. He opened the car door and stumbled out. Frank was a tall, lean man, what some may call wiry. He had a face that used to be quite handsome and may still be to some, hidden under the years of hard living and even harder drinking. Frank lived to drink and spent most evenings complaining about his miserable life to the regulars at Whitey’s Tavern, a dive bar a few blocks from his house. He would usually come home shitfaced; tonight, however, he was well beyond that. One of the bar patrons, a well-to-do businessman that liked to flaunt his success, kept buying drinks for the house. Frank kept drinking and he kept getting angrier.
Frank’s past kept rolling around in his head. Why has his life turned out like shit? Why is everyone against him? Why did that bitch of an ex-wife keep hounding him for money to buy gifts for a bunch of ungrateful little shits? Why did his current wife keep picking up extra shifts when she should be home taking care of him? Why do her fucking brats show him no respect, in his own goddamn house!? Frank shut the car door and made his way up the icy walkway to the front of the house. Swaying, he opened up the front door and walked inside. “Hey! Anyone here?” Frank bellowed, slamming the front door. “Where the fuck is my dinner!” Frank listened to the sounds of an empty house as he remembered that his bitch wife was working tonight. Frank mumbled curses under his breath as he walked across the small living room to the kitchen. Seeing a pizza box on the counter, he opened it up and grabbed a slice. Chewing on the cold pizza, he walked over to the fridge and grabbed a beer. He was walking back to the living room when he noticed a plate of cookies with a note under it. Squinting, he picked up the note and read it. “Frank, I know we have not gotten along but, for mom’s sake, I want to try to fix that. Please accept these cookies as a peace offering. Merry Christmas, Emily.” the note said. Frank picked up the plate with the cookies and turned back to the living room. He paused at the end of the counter and dropped the cookies, plate and all, into the trashcan.
Tyler reached out and grabbed Emily’s arm. “He picked up the cookies!” he said excitedly, looking through the binoculars. “He’s walking… wait, oh no. He threw them away.” Tyler said quietly as silent tears began to roll down his face. “Give me those.” Emily said as she grabbed up the binoculars. She brought them up to her face and pointed them at the run-down house across the street. Because a particularly violent outburst from Frank last week resulted in the curtain rods being ripped down, she had a good view of the living and most of the kitchen. Emily focused on Frank, sitting in an armchair, drinking a beer, and watching TV. Emily sighed, lowering the binoculars, “Damn. Oh well, we tried.” She turned to her brother and her heart broke when she looked upon his face, wet with tears. “Hey, don’t worry, we’ll get through this.” Emily reached out and hugged Tyler, who began to sob louder. “Ok. It’ll be ok.” Emily leaned back and looked Tyler in the eyes. “You know that this wasn’t going to actually work, don’t you?” Tyler shrugged, wiping at the wetness on his cheek. Emily sighed, “Ok, fine, I still owe you a Christmas present. I’ll go over there and try to get the asshat to eat a blood cookie. Even if some creature doesn’t rip him a new asshole, it would be fun just watching that.” Tyler hugged her tightly. For a few seconds, Emily hugged him back. She then stood up and looked at Tyler. “You stay here, I’ll be back in a few minutes.” Walking away, Emily thought once again, ‘The things you do for family.’
Emily stood on the front stoop of her house, shivering in her thin jacket. She took a few deep breaths, trying to buildup her courage. ‘Damn it, why did I agree to do this?’ Emily thought. Exhaling, she turned the doorknob and walked inside. “Oh, hi Frank”, she said as she shut the door. “Where the fuck have you been?” Frank said, without taking his eyes off of the TV set. “Oh, I’m staying at a friend's house. I just stopped by to pick up something I forgot.” Emily answered. “Where’s your retarded brother?” Frank said, still watching TV. Emily ignored the insult, “He’s staying with them too. Mom knows.” “Your mom doesn’t tell me shit. I never know what the fuck is going on in my own house.” Frank said raising his voice. “Oh, I figured she would.” Emily said. A silence fell over them, only broken by the muted sound of the television. “Uh, did you see the cookies I baked you?” Emily asked, hesitantly. Frank tossed an empty bottle across the room. It landed on the bare wooden floor and rolled to a stop next to a table lamp. “Get me another beer.” Frank said. Emily stood still for a few seconds, trying to keep her temper in check. She then walked to the fridge and grabbed a beer from a half-full six-pack. She paused and grabbed a cookie out of the trashcan before moving to the living room. “Here’s your beer.” Emily said, trying to sound cheerful. She sat a beer on the end table next to Frank’s prized recliner. “Also, here is one of the cookies I made for you.” She said, sitting a cookie down next to the bottle of beer. Frank’s arm shot out and grabbed her by the arm. He began moving his index finger, lightly tracing circles on the inside of her wrist. He looked up at her, sneering. Emily pulled out of his grip. She glared at Frank, struggling to hold her temper. “Look, I am trying to be nice. I made you some cookies as a peace offering, the least you could do is to try one.” Emily said through gritted teeth. Frank opened the beer and took a long pull from it. He slammed it down on the end table, smashing the cookie. “If you want to be nice to me,” he said sarcastically, “you can make me a sandwich.” After a few moments, Frank looked over and noticed that she was still standing there, staring daggers at him. “Look, women are only good at two things,” he said, “cookin’ and fuckin’. It’s your choice.” Balling her hands into fists, Emily turned and walked back to the kitchen. After taking a moment to calm herself down, she opened up the fridge and grabbed some bologna and a jar of mayonnaise. Hearing the fridge door open, Frank yelled, “Get me another beer, too.” Emily ignored him and grabbed a butter knife from the utensil drawer. She slapped the bologna on a piece of bread and smeared a generous portion of mayo on top. Reaching back into the trashcan, she grabbed another cookie. She rolled the jar of mayonnaise over the cookie, reducing it to crumbs. Scooping up the crumbs, she tossed them on the sandwich and smashed the second piece of bread on top. She turned around and dropped the plate as she ran into Frank, who had walked up behind her. Taking advantage of her surprise, he reached and pulled her close to him, the alcohol from his breath burning her eyes. “I decided that I’m not hungry, which only leaves one option.” Frank said. Emily growled with rage, bringing her knee up with all of the might, swinging towards his crotch. Frank laughed as he turned slightly, taking the blow on his upper thigh. “Darlin’, you ain’t gonna catch me with that move again.” Emily started to reach up towards Frank’s face, her fingers curled into claws. Frank’s hand shot out and grabbed her by the neck. “Stop fighting or I will crush your fucking throat.” He growled as he squeezed her neck. Emily began to panic as Frank squeezed harder. She was swinging her arms wildly, trying to knock his hand loose. Frank wasn’t a large guy but he possessed an unexpected strength. He used that strength to lift her up by the neck and slam her down on the counter. Emily’s head hit the Formica counter hard enough to cause her to briefly lose consciousness. She woke up to fingers tugging at the buttons on her shirt. She tried protesting but it felt like she was moving in slow motion. A slap stung her cheek and threatened to send her back into the darkness. Frank pulled his hand back and slapped her again. “Little Miss cock tease.” Frank said, leaning over her. As he brought his hand back to hit her again, something flew by his head. He looked up as a pair of binoculars hit the front door and shattered. “What the…?” Frank said as something leaped on him from behind, arms reaching around his face. Frank laughed as he realized who had attacked him. “It’s the little fuckin’ retard, coming to rescue his sister.” Frank said, grinning like a madman. Frank reached back and grabbed Tyler by the back of the shirt and tossed him into the refrigerator door. Tyler slid down and hit the ground hard. With Frank’s hand off her throat, Emily was able to catch her breath. As she coughed and struggled to clear her head, she reached out with fumbling hands, trying to find something, anything, to help her. When she felt a cold, metal handle, she grabbed it and swung it blindly at Frank. The mayonnaise covered butterknife slammed into Frank’s upper arm, burying itself deep enough to hit bone. As Frank screamed and ripped the knife out of his arm, Emily began rolling along the counter. Hitting the edge, she fell off, landing on the trashcan and sending it crashing across the floor. The noise jolted Frank into action and he leaped forward, trying to grab her ankles as she scrambled across the cracked linoleum onto the cheap, threadbare carpet of the living room. Emily crawled toward the front door but stopped when she looked back and noticed Tyler, who was beginning to stir on the kitchen floor. She tried to yell for her brother but her bruised and swollen throat could only manage a weak moan. Frank stormed into the living room. As he approached Emily, she cocked her leg back and aimed a kick at his knee. He jumped to the side, avoiding her strike, and pounced on her, pinning her to the carpet. He leaned forward, inches from her face, and said, in a quiet, rage-filled voice, “Merry Christmas.” Frank leaned back and started swinging his fists at Emily’s head. She did her best to block the blows but he kept on swinging, unleashing the rage upon her. After a few moments, he stopped, out of breath, and looked back toward the kitchen. Tyler was standing there, holding something triumphantly in his hand. “Frank! Let her go! I’ll do it, I swear!” Tyler yelled, holding his hand out. Emily looked up, her face already starting to swell, and tried to focus on Tyler. When she saw what he was holding in his hand, a realization hit her like a bucket of cold water. She knew what he was about to do. she knew and she believed. Emily tried to yell at him to stop but all she could do was lay there and watch. Frank, looking confused, stood to face the youngster. Tyler held up a cookie for a few seconds and then yelled, “Take this, you son of a bitch!” He then shoved the whole cookie in his mouth and started chewing vigorously. Frank shook his head and said, “You are one fuckin’ weird kid.” as he began to move. Tyler stood there, defiantly chewing as Frank closed in on him. Just as Frank crossed over into the kitchen, a loud thud shook the house. At first, Emily thought a car hit their house but as a thunderous roar pierced the night, she knew that Tyler had been correct, Satan Claus had arrived. Frank, who had his fist raised to strike Tyler, turned and took a few steps toward the door, holding his ears. The screams suddenly stopped. There were a few seconds of silence, dead silence where the only sound you could hear was the beating of your heart. And then the front door exploded. Fragments of wood, glass, and metal shot through the air revealing a gruesome creature. The creature filled the doorway, ducking down to enter the room. It had a vaguely wolf-like face and large, pointed horns. It wore a tight dirty red jacked trimmed in white fur on its apelike torso. It stood on two massive legs that ended in cloven hooves that caused the ground to shake with every step. It had long, wicked claws at the end of its elongated arms. The strangest part was the almost comical undersized red hat that sat on the creature’s head. Frank appeared dazed, dozens of small cuts along his face and arms. He staggered forward as if he were going to push by the creature to leave. The demon looked down at Frank as if amused then grabbed him by the neck. It raised Frank high and then slammed him to the floor. Emily stumbled to her feet and ran to Tyler, who was slumped against the fridge. The creature roared as it began to tear Frank’s chest open. Emily grabbed Tyler by the shoulders and turned toward the backdoor when a body part, probably a leg, flew across the room and slammed into the wall next to it. She then gathered Tyler up and ran down the hall to her mom’s bedroom, the only one with a lock on the door.
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