Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 3) by Kevin M. Folliard
- Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 1) by Kevin M. Folliard
- Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 2) by Kevin M. Folliard
- Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 3) by Kevin M. Folliard
- Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 4) by Kevin M. Folliard
- Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 5) by Kevin M. Folliard
A piano rendition of “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” coaxed Nick’s consciousness from cottony white nothing back into the Winchesters’ living room. He was sitting now. It felt like his arms and legs weighed a thousand pounds.
Sharp pangs gnawed his ankles. The bear trap remained clamped over his leg. The armchair had been pulled forward, so he could sit.
The room came into focus. His tongue scraped the roof of his mouth.
He spotted the little girl’s curls and ice-blue nightgown at the piano. Her fingers danced over black and white keys. The rendition was beautiful. Expert.
Nick attempted to move and found that his arms and torso were bound to the chair by coils of white vinyl rope. Sleigh bells jangled to his struggles. “Snowflake,” his voice scratched. “Snowflake, please.”
The music drowned him out. He scoured the room for the girl’s father. The extra patch of fake snow that had concealed the bear trap was gone now. The floor had been wiped down, but fresh blood was pooling under the trap.
“Help . . .” he tried to shout, but it came out a harsh whisper. What good would it be if I could shout? he wondered. They have no neighbors in earshot.
Nick wiggled his torso until he felt a hard, rectangular object against his chest. Winchester had left his Santa jacket on, and his cell phone—fully charged—remained in the inner-breast pocket. If I can get one hand free, he thought, I can call 911.
Snowflake’s carol was coming to an end. She added a whimsical flourish of high notes to punctuate the conclusion. Then she stood and took a bow.
“That’s wonderful,” Nick wheezed. “Truly. You are very talented, Snowflake.”
She sneered. “Of course I am.”
“I would applaud, if I could,” Nick rasped.
“Well you can’t!”
“Snowflake, why has your father done this to me?”
The girl skipped across the room. “My father hasn’t done anything, stupid. I did this, all by myself. I captured you.”
“Okay,” Nick said. “Why though?”
“So that I could have you all to myself, and there wouldn’t be any other presents for any of the other children.”
His ankle throbbed. “Why don’t you want the other children to have presents?”
The girl grinned. “Because it’s hilarious. Because I hate other children.”
“I don’t think that’s very nice.”
“What are you going to do about it?”
“People know where I am,” Nick said. “Mrs. Claus. The reindeer. The elves. Don’t you think they’ll come for me?”
She shook her head. “No. I don’t think anyone is coming. Your stupid reindeer probably flew off and crashed. I think they crashed in the ocean and a shark is eating them right now.” She laughed. “I’m sure of it! A huge shark! They’re already dead.”
Nick took a deep, controlled breath. “Snowflake, where is your father right now?”
Snowflake placed her hands on her hips and stuck out her tongue. “None of your business.”
“Okay.” He craned his head around the room. There was nothing nearby to use as a weapon. No fireplace poker for the gas fireplace—even if he could free an arm. “Snowflake, may I please have some water?” Maybe, he hoped, maybe she’ll bring it in a glass.
“Daddy!” the girl shrieked. “Santa doesn’t want any water! Don’t bring him any!”
“Yes, angel!” Winchester’s voice echoed from a few rooms over.
“Anything else?” the girl asked.
“Loosen these ropes. Call the police.”
“Ha! Ha!” She twirled and sat beside the Christmas village. She brushed her fingers over the model train as it chugged past. “No. Christmas is just getting started. I haven’t even opened the gifts you brought me yet.” She screamed, “Daddy! I want to open a gift!”
“Just a moment, sweetheart! I’m preparing cocoa!” Winchester called.
“Snowflake,” Nick whispered. “You like to play jokes on people, don’t you?”
“Do you know what would be very, very funny?” Nick asked.
“You, tied to a chair with a big metal trap chomping your leg,” she said. “That’s the funniest thing I’ve ever seen in my whole entire life.”
“But it could get better,” he said.
“It will,” she promised.
Nick shuddered. “Snowflake, I think it would be very funny if you called the police on your father. They wouldn’t believe that you—a little girl—had anything to do with this. You wouldn’t go to jail. Only him.”
“I don’t want my Daddy to go to jail.”
“But if he goes to jail,” Nick explained. “Then you know what happens, don’t you?”
Her icy eyes studied him.
“You get all of his money. You get this house. You get everything.”
“All you have to do is call the police.”
“Maybe I will,” she said. “After you’re dead.”
Winchester’s voice grew nearer. He emerged singing “Deck the Halls” under his breath, holding two steaming ceramic mugs. “Hot cocoa for my special angel!” He smiled at Nick as he crossed the living room and handed his daughter a mug. “Careful, Snowflake. It might need a moment to cool.”
The girl accepted the drink with both hands. She blew, and steam wafted toward Nick. Then she took a sip. “Ouch! Daddy this is far, far too hot!”
“Give it a moment, love.”
“It’s too hot! I need an ice cube—”
“Winchester,” Nick growled. “You need to understand—”
“I was talking!” Snowflake scowled, stepped forward, and dumped the contents of her mug over Nick’s trapped leg.
Nick howled with pain. Scalding liquid soaked his pants and seeped over the sunken teeth of the bear trap.
Winchester dropped his mug and covered his ears. Dark brown liquid spilled and steamed around Nick’s boots.
“Goodness, Snowflake!” Winchester shouted. “Don’t make Santa scream like that, it’s going to give Daddy a headache!”
“My hot chocolate was too hot, and then Santa started talking right over what I was saying,” the girl shrieked. “I hate it when people interrupt. It’s so rude!”
“I understand, my dove, but that’s no reason to make Santa shout.”
“Why can’t I make him shout? He’s my prisoner; I caught him!”
“Well Daddy didn’t bring you hot chocolate so you could dump it onto Santa’s leg. I didn’t expect that.”
“You people are sick,” Nick whimpered. And then finally, he broke into tears. There’s no way he’ll let me live through the night, he realized. There’s no amount of money he could offer to silence me. No other choice but to get rid of me. “Why are you doing this?” he sobbed.
“Because I want to!” Snowflake put her hands on her hips.
“Yes, and my daughter gets what she wants, Santa. It’s quite simple.” Winchester took a deep breath, shut his eyes and massaged his temples. “Snowflake, I’m sorry that Daddy got upset with you, I just wasn’t expecting you to make Santa scream just then.”
The girl rolled her eyes. “That’s fine, Daddy, but don’t get mad at me about it.”
“Of course not, darling, Daddy’s not mad. Just startled that time.” Winchester crossed to Nick’s left and gave him a stern glare as he snatched up the red velvet bag of gifts. “Look, darling, why don’t we open the gifts that Santa brought for you.”
Snowflake perked up and clapped her hands as her father handed her a shimmering gold package, tied with red and green ribbons. The girl snatched the box away and tore the paper apart, fingers curled into claws. She ripped the ribbon off and yanked open the white gift box to reveal an elegant white fur hat and matching mittens.
“These are beautiful, Santa!” she declared. “Did Mrs. Claus make them?”
“Snowflake,” Nick rasped. “What you’re doing right now is very naughty. If you continue to hurt me, then you won’t get nice gifts like these ever again. Do you understand?”
He glanced over at Winchester, expecting some retaliation. But the man merely gave a tight-lipped smile of approval.
He’s happy, Nick realized. He’s happy I’m still pretending to be Santa. That’s what’s pleasing his psychotic daughter.
“I don’t care, Santa,” Snowflake said. “These can be the last presents I ever get from you, so long as no other children ever get presents again.”
“Don’t you want nice things?” Nick said, voice cracking.
“We can always buy nice things,” Snowflake said. “We can buy anything, right Daddy?”
“Of course, darling,” Winchester chimed.
“You can’t buy anything,” Nick seethed. “You can’t buy compassion. You can’t buy—”
“Useful things, Santa,” Winchester clarified. “Things that go in a box.” And then Winchester locked eyes with him and nodded, as if to say, You’re going in a box, and I bought you, didn’t I?
Kevin M. Folliard
Kevin M. Folliard 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 Closet. Kevin 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 writes dark speculative prose and poetry and has been published in a variety of magazines and anthologies. Her longer work includes the folk horror novels, The Five Turns of the Wheel, Reborn, and The Woodcutter, and the novellas, Bottled and Paused (all via Brigids Gate Press). Her dark poetry has been published in her collections Lilith Rising (co-authored with Shane Douglas Keene), Foundlings (co-authored with Cindy O’Quinn) and Metallurgy, as well as the HWA Poetry Showcase Volumes VI, VII, VIII, and IX and Black Spot Books Under Her Skin. She can be found supporting indie authors at HorrorTree.com via the weekly Indie Bookshelf Releases. She is an active member of the HWA and can be found at https://stephanieellis.org and on Blue Sky as stephellis.bsky.social.