Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 2) by Kevin M. Folliard

  1. Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 1) by Kevin M. Folliard
  2. Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 2) by Kevin M. Folliard
  3. Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 3) by Kevin M. Folliard
  4. Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 4) by Kevin M. Folliard
  5. Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 5) by Kevin M. Folliard

Serial Killers are part of our Trembling With Fear line and are serialized stories which we’ll be publishing on an ongoing basis.

PART 2

On Christmas Eve, Nick drove an hour and a half to the Winchester Estate. When he pulled up, iron-wrought gates slid open. He entered, took a right, and parked behind a grove of elms, out of sight, as instructed.

The front lawn, blanketed in fresh snow, was large enough to accommodate a nine-hole golf course. Nick’s boots crunched snow as he huffed up the winding walkway, hand on his belt to keep his sleigh bells silent. He couldn’t have Winchester’s daughter hearing him until he was inside. The true Santa didn’t use the front door, after all.

The house was an enormous red-brick colonial mansion. White shutters shielded the windows behind snow-caked windowsills. Nick climbed the steps and found double front doors, unlocked as promised.

He entered an elegant tile foyer with a winding staircase leading to the shadowy second level. A balcony overlooked a spacious living room. To the right of the entranceway sat a red velvet sack embroidered with the word “Santa.” The bag overflowed with gifts in metallic wrapping. He hefted it over his shoulder and faced the living room. 

An antique grandfather clock dutifully tick-tocked. Designer furniture glowed in soft Christmas lights. Metal reindeer figurines lined the mantle beneath a huge antique mirror. The glass front of a gas fireplace gleamed behind fluffy white stockings. It was the kind of modern fireplace that would make children question how Santa could even use it. After all, how could Santa climb into a fireplace with no chimney?

But Nick had been on the job long enough to know all the answers. Santa is a force of nature, he would say. And so is fire. He doesn’t need to climb down a chimney to enter.

To the right of the fireplace, a twelve-foot tree sparkled with white lights and silver and gold ornaments.

All around the tree, stacks of gifts in the same metallic wrapping paper—copper, silver, and gold—were arranged in towers. The sack Nick was meant to deliver would hardly add to the spectacle. All around the living room floor, tufts of fake snow piled up amid a miniature village that glowed warm yellow. A soft train whistle echoed as a model train carved through the winter wonderland.

Nick shook his head with disbelief. The Winchesters’ holiday décor put the mall’s Christmas village to shame. Nick passed a sitting area with a glass coffee table and fashionable sectionals, and headed toward the Christmas tree. He stopped at a high wingback by the fireplace. On a side table, milk and cookies had been neatly arranged, with a note written in colored pencil: “For Santa.”

He smiled and approached the cookies. He’d have a little snack, jingle his sleigh bells, let out a raucous “Ho! Ho! Ho!” and let Winchester’s little girl catch him in the act. 

He tip-toed around the model houses of the Christmas village. The train tracks wound all through the living room. He guessed everything here had to be expensive. He didn’t want to crush a porcelain house and have it taken out of his admittedly hefty pay.

Nick took another moment to admire the sprawling village, the tree, the stacks of golden gifts. Impressive as it was, for a single father and daughter, it was beyond excessive. Half the square footage of their enormous living room was covered in cottony snow and speckled with models.

But the Winchesters clearly had the space—and the money—to spare.

He set the sack of gifts by the sleek modern fireplace and sat. The cookies, double-chocolate chip, were soft and cakey. They melted on his tongue. He dunked a few more in the milk and smacked his lips with satisfaction. He took one big obvious bite from the final cookie and returned it to the plate.

Gotta leave one half-eaten, so kids can point to the evidence.

Fancy modern art lined the walls along the second landing. A polished grand piano was nestled under the balcony. The contents of this room alone are worth more than I’ll make before I’m dead, he realized. Just this one room. If there was ever a house Santa doesn’t need to visit, this is it! 

And then his stomach sank with guilt. I shouldn’t be here, he thought. I should be helping someone who needs it.

And yet, as Nick had learned years ago when he first trained for the position, every kid was special. He thought back to what his boss had once told him. Every kid deserves magic. 

Nick stood, grabbed the strap of sleigh bells and shook them wildly. “Ho! Ho! Ho!” he bellowed.

He stepped forward into a clear patch of fake snow at the edge of the village. “Merry—”

A metallic scrape sounded. Pressure clamped his ankle, and sharp pains fired up his leg. Blood splattered fake snow. Nick screamed.

The teeth of a carbon-steel bear trap, that had been hidden under the snow, sank into his left leg. Blood oozed down his torn Santa pants. Nick continued to scream. He cautiously stooped and attempted to pry the metal teeth of the trap apart. “Help!” Nick shouted. The trap was iron tight. His fingers—wet with blood—were slipping off the metal jaws. “Somebody, help me!”

He brushed fake snow away, and attempted to lift the trap, but it appeared to be bolted to the floor.

Light illuminated the upstairs landing. Footfalls thudded upstairs. A little girl appeared, in an ice blue nightgown, covered in snowflakes. She whirled down the steps and clutched the bannister, breathless. Beneath her corn-white curls, crystal blue eyes widened with awe. Eye-shadow and makeup glittered on her face.

The girl squealed and clapped her hands. She flicked on the living room lights and cast a bright glow over the scene of Nick, trapped, bleeding on snowy cotton.

“Daddy, come quickly!” she shrieked. “Daddy, it’s Santa! Santa Claus is here! And I did it! I captured him!” She twirled and laughed and screamed with joy. “I got him, Daddy! I got him!”

Nick shook his head in disbelief. “Little girl,” he said. “Call an ambulance. You have to call an ambulance.”

The girl ignored Nick. “Daddy!” She demanded, “Get down here! I want to show you what I’ve done!”

More footsteps. Edmund Winchester appeared at the balcony in a white cotton robe with his initials embroidered in gold threads. He feigned a yawn. “Whatever, is all the ruckus about, Snowflake, I was fast asleep when . . .” he glanced down, a look of exaggerated surprise spread over his face. “Goodness, Snowflake! You’ve done it indeed! I can scarcely believe my eyes!”

“I did it, Daddy! I captured Santa Claus and now no other children except me will get any presents!” She tossed her blond curls in satisfaction and placed her hands on her hips.

“Oh, Snowflake! You’re so clever!” Winchester headed down the stairs, stooped, and kissed his daughter on the cheek. “I’m so impressed, Snowflake! My brilliant, beautiful child!”

“Winchester!” Nick thundered. He struggled upright, grimacing with pain, hands dripping blood. “Call. An. Ambulance. Now!”

Snowflake rubbed her hands together and entered the living room. Her father gently took her by the shoulders. “Just a moment, Snowflake. Don’t get too close.”

She wheeled around and snapped, “He’s my prisoner, Daddy! Mine!”

“Daddy needs you to be a cautious little princess. Even Santa Claus—when injured—can be grouchy or unpredictable, and we need to approach him delicately.”

The girl huffed. “Well then fix him up or whatever, so he’s less dangerous. And be quick about it!”

“Of course, Snowflake. Daddy will be swift as the cheetah we shot on safari, and you’ll have your prisoner, lickity-split!”

“Winchester,” Nick said. “Call an ambulance, and then call all your fancy lawyers.” He struggled for a shaky breath. “Because you’re going to need them.”

Winchester crossed the living room. The toy train whistled past his legs. “Now I know you’re hurt, Santa Claus, but Snowflake captured you fair as a fiddle. So I want you to remember your promise, and remember who you are. Understood?”

“I’m not Santa!” Nick shouted.

“Why is he saying that!” Snowflake huffed.

“He’s confused, darling.” Winchester reached into his robe and produced a gun. “But we’re going to clear his head. Isn’t that right, Santa?”

Nick froze with terror. His leg throbbed.

Winchester aimed. “He’s going to take a little nap. And then we’re all going to have a private Christmas party. Won’t that be nice, Snowflake?”

“It’ll be smashing, Daddy!” Snowflake twirled; her nightgown whirled like a snowstorm.

“Don’t—” Nick started.

Winchester pulled the trigger.

A dart pricked Nick’s neck. The room began to spin, blur. He got down on one knee, the other leg still pinned by the bear trap. He tried to say something, but his words slurred as the model village blurred wintery white.

The train whistled past his ears.

* * *

Kevin M. Folliard

Kevin MFolliard is a Chicagoland writer whose fiction has been collected by The Horror Tree, Flame Tree Publishing, The Dread Machine, and more. His recent publications include “Halfway to Forgotten,” featured on The No Sleep Podcast; the Short Sharp Shocks! novella “Tower of Raven”; and his 2020 horror anthology The Misery King’s ClosetKevin currently resides in La Grange, IL, where he enjoys his day job as an academic writing advisor and active membership in the La Grange and Brookfield Writers Groups. When not writing or working, he’s usually reading Stephen King, playing Super Mario Maker, or traveling the U.S.A.

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Stephanie Ellis

Stephanie Ellis is a member of the HWA and writes dark speculative prose and poetry which has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her work includes the novel, The Five Turns of the Wheel and the gothic novella, Bottled, both via Silver Shamrock Publishing.She can be found at https://stephanieellis.org/ and on twitter @el_Stevie.

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