I don’t believe in Santa Claus anymore.
Really I don’t… and you won’t either once you’ve read what I’ve told you about who visited us on Christmas Eve last year!
Okay, I wanted to see who left those presents around the house, and the candy in my stockings… stupid really. After all I’m sixteen years old… and I shouldn’t believe in Santa Claus; but for my little brother, Steve, I do, because I have to take him to the mall Santa each year. Steve is seven and loves going.
So, I do believe for the fantasy of it all.
But last year, I stayed up with him to see Santa come to our house, just to spy on him.
But the Big Guy in the Red Suit wasn’t exactly who I encountered when I hear the sound on the roof that night. And he didn’t come down the chimney – he came through the window. Yeah, he broke into our house.
I remember keeping very still under our blanket on the lounge watching this very tall, dark person enter my home, letting in the chill of the night outside. He walked straight past the treats – ignoring them – and to the tree where he just looked at it with disgust and snorted at how pretty it was.
“Propaganda!” his deep voice muttered.
This was not the Santa Claus I was hoping to see… and I didn’t attempt to wake Steve from his slumber.
He had a sack with him, which he opened and pulled out large lumps of coal and dumped them into our stockings lining the mantle. Then, he turned, bumped the tree – where an ornament fell off onto the hearth, smashed and he promptly stood on it – then went to the plate of food left out. This was when he turned to me after playing with the biscuits and carrots and dipping his blackened fingers into the purity of the milk, “What? No booze?”
It hadn’t even crossed my mind he knew I was awake, “Um… no.” I glanced at the milk and it had turned an unhealthy colour of grey as he pulled his fingers out of it, “Who are you?”
Standing up to his full height, where his horns nearly touched the ceiling, he looked down his long crooked nose at me, “I am Krampus… haven’t you heard of me?”
“Of course not… my goodie-two-shoes cousin has taken up the spotlight for so long, nobody takes notice of me anymore.” He said dumping his black sack on the carpet with a loud thud and pulling his darkened cloak around himself.
“You can’t be that bad.” I foolishly said.
Snapping a glare at me, he extended a long-taloned handed to me, “Can’t I?”
I huddled closer to Steve who murmured in his sleep, “I can’t leave my brother alone.”
“Bring him with.”
“No. He’s too young.”
“Krampus, that you?” a voice asked behind the tall, dark man. He turned and we were both greeted with a bright red suit of the Man himself: Santa Claus, “What are you doing to this young person?”
He looked him up and down, “You’re so… commercialised.”
Gently putting down his large, red sack, the man stroked his long white beard, “Well, you could have gone into business with me… but you didn’t.”
“Business?” I asked.
Santa looked at me, “Why yes… being Santa Claus is a business, didn’t you know?”
I didn’t want to hear it, but I think I knew all along it was something of a fraud, but, well, you know what it’s like: you enjoy something so much you don’t want to hear the truth because believing the lie is easier to do.
“But don’t worry, Amanda.” Santa said, “I know you’ve been good to Steve there.”
“How do you know all about everything about us?”
“I don’t.” he said, “Krampus does. He’s my cousin, and so he does the digging around and I hear all the good and bad things from him… basically it’s all hearsay.”
“So, we’ve all been good?”
Krampus smiled darkly, “Or bad… it doesn’t matter. You all get what you want at Christmas anyway no matter what you’ve done in a year… Santa’s just a soft touch.”
“I wouldn’t say that.” The big jolly man said, “But I do give everything you ever want to you because you have been good – or so you say – and if you haven’t, and you’ve lied, well, Krampus could easily just lie and tell me something else.”
I frowned, “But I don’t understand, you said Krampus could have joined the family business… isn’t he doing just that by handing on the ‘Naught & Nice’ List to you?”
“No… he could help me deliver gifts around the world and live with me at the North Pole.” Santa said, “But he’s not like that.”
“I don’t like being paid off for being the good guy.” Krampus said, “Besides, I don’t fit down a chimney all that well.”
Santa rolled his eyes, “Do you think I do?” he patted his large belly, “It’s all magic you big idiot.” He turned and opened the sack and began to pull out the gifts, placing them under the tree. Santa then noticed the shattered ornament and fixed with a sweep of his hand. Standing up, he walked over to the table where the milk and food was and picked up the glass of milk. It had turned from grey to white again… I wondered if my eyes had deceived me until Krampus stood by watching him.
“Santa no!” I called out, but it was too late, the big man had downed the glass of white liquid.
He turned after putting down the glass, stopped and looked up at Krampus, “What did you do to that milk?”
The horned man shrugged as a smirked grew on his face, “Nothing.”
“He dipped his fingers in it.” I said.
“No… he didn’t, did he?” Santa whispered disbelievingly, “Not now… not when the world needs me the most.” The most horrible thing occurred! Santa transformed into a creature I didn’t know. His red suit turned dark, his bright red had vanished and horns grew from his head as his jolly round belly disappeared too. He was no longer a short little man with sparkling eyes and a long, white beard… no, he looked very much like… Oh no!
He looked like the man standing next to me: Krampus.
Santa looked at himself, “Krampus, what have you done?”
The evil man stood there, smiling, “What the world needs is the truth, Santa…a taste of who you really are.”
I looked at the man next to me, “And who is that?”
Krampus cast a long, knowing look in my direction, “Santa always looked like this before the magic was given to him to look like the one you know. So, behold the new Santa Claus.”