One cold winter evening, I sit on my couch drinking a nice warm cup of hot chocolate. I watch the fire dance in the fireplace. I hear a thud on my roof and think it’s just a chunk of snow falling off the tree branches above my house. Again a thud, but this time it’s right above me. Confused, I go outside to see what is going on.
I take two steps out my door before I notice a huge shadow on top of my house standing as still as a statue. Before it notices me, I briskly go back into my house. I slowly close the door behind me trying not to make any noise. I walk over to my couch and sit back down. I steady my heart rate and slow my breathing. I hear footsteps walk closer and closer to my chimney. I stare at the fire, hoping that whatever the thing is, it goes away.
I walk closer to my fireplace as the footsteps get louder. I hear breathing coming down my chimney then a snort and a growl. I jump back and cover my mouth so I don’t make a noise. It snorts one more time before finally jumping off my roof to lord knows were. I stay up all night hoping I won’t hear those sounds again.
Finally, morning rolls around and I turn on the TV. On the news, my next-door neighbor has gone missing. There is an alert to stay indoors at night.
There is a knock at the door, I jump. A second knock rings through my house. I hear my name called, it’s my best friend Tylor. I jump up and run to the door. I open the door to see a very worried face.
“Why haven’t you been texting me back, I’ve been so worried at you,” she takes me into a long hug.
“I’m sorry my phone died at around, I think, three o’clock this morning,” I say in a monotone voice.
“You’ve been awake all night,” she pushes me out of the hug and takes a long look at me. “Do you want to come in, so we can talk?” I open the door further and walk into my living room. She follows me inside and closes the door behind her. I sit down on the couch and she sits across from me.
“Ok, now will you please tell me why you stayed up all night,” she says rushed, voice full of concern.
I sit in silence going through the timeline of what happened last night. “Well,” I pause and look down, “I was going to go to bed after drinking some hot chocolate, but then I heard a thud on my roof.” She stares at me, eyes full of concern. “Then I heard it again getting closer to my chimney, so I went outside. I didn’t see it, but there was something on my roof,” I look up at her eyes full of tears.
She jumps up and comes over and sits on her knees in front of me. “What else happened,” she looks up and tries to console me.
“I ran back inside as I heard it take a step closer to the opening. I walked over and hear it breathing down my chimney.” I take a breath before continuing, “it then made a sound that sounded like a snort, then growled and jumped off my roof.” She stands up and sits next to me pulling me into a long embrace.
She stays over for a few hours just talking and comforting me. She told me about the dusk curfew, and about the neighborhood meeting. It starts to get dark outside and I ask her if she wants to stay the night. She happily says yes and I light the fireplace.
She looks at me rather confused, “why are you lighting a fire?”
“Well last night with that thing, it could have come in through my fireplace. But a fire was lit, so I am taking no chances,” I say with a worried face.
She walks over to me and put her hand on my shoulder. “Ok if you think it will help you, I’m not gonna object.” I grab a few pillows, blankets and chairs. Tylor looks at me with a confused look, “what are you doing?”
“We are making a blanket fort,” I say with a huge smile on my face.
She laughs. “You are such a child,” she says, shaking her head.
“Thank you. Now help me,” I say while tossing pillows at her. We spend the next ten minutes setting everything up and laying down blankets and pillows a few feet from the fireplace. Eventually Tylor is asleep, but I am still awake.
I hear a thud on the roof, and I throw a few more pieces of wood onto the fire. Tylor wakes up when she hears loud crackling from the new pieces.
“What are you doing?” she says sleepily.
“Shh… he’s here,” I say in a hushed tone.
“Who’s here?” she says in the same hushed tone.
“The thing that was on my roof last night, it’s back,” I say while putting one more log on the fire. Another thud rings through the silence as we stare up at the ceiling. Her eyes grow wide as she realizes the situation.
“What the heck was that?” she says loudly whispering.
“The thing from last night,” I whisper, my voice lowering. We hear a growl from my chimney, and it jump off my roof.
“That was the most terrifying experience of my life! What was that?” Tylor says, fear present in her voice.
“I don’t know what it is, but it was the thing from last night,” I say with fear looming in my voice.
“We have to go after it,” she says her voice almost at a yell.
“No, we can’t. You know what that thing did to Lily,” my voice rising slightly.
“That thing was WHAT?” at this point, she is practically screaming.
“Shush, that thing might comeback,” I say quietly, trying to get her to calm down.
“Okay, if that was the thing that did that, should we tell the neighborhood,” she says with a puzzled expression on her face.
“I don’t think that’s going to help,” I say voice stern and harsh. “I was doing some reading last year around this time on Christmas mythology, and I came across this thing,” I say pausing to take a breath. “This thing was pure evil, the opposite of Santa Claus.”
Tylor cuts me off, “Krampus.” Her eyes go wide at the realization. “It can’t be. No. He can’t come back, it’s impossible,” she stares at the ceiling for a few minutes before looking at me. “That’s why it came here first, I spend most of my time here, my scent is everywhere in your house.”
I look at her with a puzzled expression. “What is going on? Tylor you need to calm down.” I grab her arm and force her to look at me. “Now tell me what you mean.” I stare into her eyes before she finally looks down at her feet and sighs.
“Fine, when I was little I was very mischievous. A month before Christmas my parents told me that if I didn’t change my ways, Santa wasn’t going to come but instead Krampus would.” She takes a breath before continuing.
“Me, being a little kid, believed them. I tried to change but I couldn’t in a month. The night of Christmas I heard a bang on my roof, I jumped up out of bed and raced to the tree to see Santa.” Tylor pauses and looks up at me, tears about to overflow. “It wasn’t Santa. I didn’t scream when I saw him, I only ran up to my parents room and hid under the sink in their bathroom.” She starts to cry and I hug her.
She continues with her story, “I stayed under there until I knew it was morning, but when I came out and went to wake up my parents they were nowhere to be found, the only thing that was left was bloody sheets. Terrified I ran out of my house, thankfully there was a police car driving past that saw me.” No longer crying, I ask if she wants water, she politely refuses. “They said that it was a murder and that the killer dumped their bodies somewhere. I wish people believed me, but they wouldn’t even listen to a word I said. So they shipped me down here to live with my aunt and cousin.”
I look at her, her eyes red and slightly puffy. “Ok well look, tomorrow is Christmas, and what I read is that after tomorrow he will go away. And you’ll turn 19 tomorrow as well, so you’ll no longer be considered a kid.”
“Ok, well I’m going to try to get some sleep now, night.” She lays her head on the pillow and falls asleep.
The morning finally arrives and I hadn’t noticed that I fell asleep. Thankfully there is still a fire burning. “Tylor wake up, we have a fun day of doing nothing.”
I shake her awake. “I’m up, I’m up,” she groans as she wipes her eyes.
“It’s Christmas and I’ve got some presents for you,” I say happily.
She sits up and looks around “Oh! I forgot I slept over,” she looks over at me, “what did you say, sorry I wasn’t quite awake yet.”
“I said I have presents for you,” I say while handing her the first box.
“Wait I didn’t get you anything,” she says with shock in her voice.
“Yes, you did silly. Remember a few months ago, we went shopping together for really no reason and you bought a whole lot of stuff that I couldn’t see till Christmas.”
She looks at the ceiling trying to remember, “Oh yeah and I wrapped them at my house and brought them here so I wouldn’t forget them.”
“And yet you still forgot about them,” I say with a smirk on my face.
“Yeah, but now is not the time, now is present time.” She starts to rip into the wrapping paper revealing a box. She rips the tape off the box to show a few smaller boxes on the inside. One box a shoe box, another a phone case, and finally another small shoebox that when you open it plays our favorite song and has a bunch of pictures and tickets and other cute little things that we did together.
When she opens it up she starts to cry. She looks up at me, lightly sets it down and hugs me. “This is the best Christmas yet, I love it so much.” Tears fall down her eyes.
“I knew you would.” I hug her back, tears forming in my own eyes. The rest of the day continues like this, us exchanging presents, then eating lunch, opening some more presents, then finally it is time for bed. Me and Tylor both look at each other, then at the fireplace.
“Looks like neither of us is getting sleep tonight,” Tylor says grabbing a hold of my hand.
“I guess not,” I say while squeezing her hand.
“To be honest I’m terrified of what could happen tonight,” she says while sliding into her spot in the blanket fort. I sit in my spot while tending to the fire.
“As long as we have the fire going I think we will be fine,” I say a hint of worry in my voice. “You just go to sleep and I’ll see you in the morning okay?”
She looks up at me and says, “So you are going to protect me while I sleep?”
“Of course! You are my best friend, I won’t let anything bad happen to you,” I say looking down at her, “Now go to sleep.” She closes her eyes and before I knew it, she is asleep.
I watch the fire for a couple of hours. No sound on the ceiling, it’s quiet, almost too quiet. I check the time and it is two o’clock in the morning. I think it knew that her birthday was Christmas, so it’s leaving her alone. I put two more logs in the fire before finally settling in. I lay my head on the pillow and I fall asleep.
I hear a bird chirping and this time Tylor shakes me awake.
“We did it, we survived. It’s not gonna come after me anymore,” she says, delight all across her face.
I sit up and look at her happy face. “Yes we did, now can we go make breakfast. I’m starving.”