Ho Ho by Ian Hunter
Is this the really scary Christmas story?
Not the one about using your victim's sweetmeats to decorate the tree, or tying up a stout person and dragging them up the chimney until they are stuck tight and likely to die before they lose enough weight to fall back down again, unless you make sure by lighting a fire below them.
No, this is the one about.......
I know! The Tinsel Strangler, who leaves little flecks of silver and gold embedded in the necks of his victims.
That isn't really scary, not unless you have been feeling watched while walking around the department stores and the shopping centres, catching a half-glimpse of someone as you turn round slightly, a dark distorted shape in the mirror. That could be why you hate taking the stairs to the car park. Going further away from the shops, through a corridor that turns and turns again before reaching the stairs. Hearing a door creak shut from below, followed by a stealthy padding as someone slips quickly up the stairs. That's just awful, isn't it? Or a door slams from above and someone is coming down the stairs towards you. Loud, determined, unstoppable. Better to take the elevator in the heart of the shopping centre, among other people.
But wasn't there the story about the glass elevators that passed each other last Christmas? Stories of a bloody hand reaching up from out of sight and smearing crimson down the glass and when someone like you got to their floor, a large man with his hand behind his back pushed inside and prevented you from getting out. I heard he pressed the button for the basement and kept his finger on the button so that it passed all the floors on the way down to a dark and lonely place.
No, no, no, get over yourself, Christmas isn't about you. It's a magical time, for children.
And I find that hungry Christmas Imps are best released at a large gathering, something like the nursery school Christmas party when the first child pulls open the wrapping paper, destroying the charm of dormancy. That allows the imp to burst out of the box, rip the child's throat out, and tear off their face, before moving on to the next victim, probably without even having swallowed that first face down properly. Isn't that delicious, and I'm sure it was. By that time the smell of terror and spurting blood will have overcome the dormancy charms around the other presents and the room will be full of hungry Imps.
Isn't that better? And knowing that, do you think you'll reach the nursery school in time? No point in trying to phone, they'll never hear you over the loud party music.... and those other noises.