Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 4) 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
Nick took a shaky breath. Snowflake reached for another gift from her father.
“Did your father buy this trap for you?” Nick nodded his head down at the bear trap. “Was that his gift, Snowflake?”
“Yes.” Snowflake tore open the next present, revealing a matching fur coat. “Oh! I love this! I absolutely adore it, Santa!” She stood and held the white fur against her chest.
“So your father,” Nick said, starting right at Winchester. “Who can literally buy you anything you want, decided that the best gift he could give was someone to murder.”
Winchester didn’t even blink. “My Snowflake always gets what she wants, Santa.”
“And you’ve done this before?” Nick glanced between father and daughter. They each beamed with satisfaction, some terrible secret—perhaps many—hanging between them.
“Snowflake,” Nick asked. “Where is your mother?”
The girl’s expression soured. “Don’t you ever ask about her.” She snatched another gift away from her father and tore into it. Snowflake “oooh’d” and “ahhh’d” over designer dolls, luxury makeup sets, a top of the line chrome tablet, and more. Silver and gold wrapping piled around the edge of the model Christmas village.
At last only one gift remained. Nick struggled to stay upright, to focus on his captors. He was growing light-headed again as Winchester handed his daughter the small rectangular box. The girl opened it, eyes gleaming with anticipation. “Is this what I think it is, Santa?”
Nick whimpered, “I have no idea . . . .”
She uncovered a green velvet wallet and opened it. Her face beamed, and she spun it around with pride. “Thank you, Santa! Thank you so much!”
Nick’s heart shuddered. His stomach sank. The wallet held a row of ivory handled knives, pins, and needles. A large hammer. Implements of torture.
“It’s exactly what I wanted!” She laughed. “And now you know why!”
Nick shook his head. The room was spinning, but he tried to focus on the girl’s father. The smile, the warmth in his face, was the genuine love of a parent for a child. It was unmistakable. “You’re proud of yourself?” Nick asked. “Your gift?”
“Santa, this is your gift for Snowflake,” Winchester corrected him. “But what greater gift for a father than to see his daughter happy?”
Snowflake clutched the set of knives to her chest. She squealed with delight.
“Your daughter can smile,” Nick said. “She can laugh. She can make music. But don’t kid yourself.” Nick laughed, a hearty laugh—worthy of Santa—that shocked him given his complete exhaustion. “This monster will never be happy. I suppose you saw to that.”
Winchester scowled. “Nonsense.”
“What are you talking about, you old fool?” Snowflake snapped.
“Your father gave you something terrible,” Nick said. “He gave you everything and anything you ever asked for.”
“Not true,” Snowflake said. “These gifts are all from you.”
Nick chuckled. “You little twit!”
“You’re smart, Snowflake. I can tell. You’re very, very smart. Does it make any sense for the real Santa Claus to give a present to a disgustingly naughty child?”
Snowflake’s face turned bright red.
“And why, even if you were a good girl, would Santa bring you weapons to hurt people?”
“That’s enough now—” Winchester started.
“What is he talking about!” Snowflake shouted at her father.
“Santa is delirious, my little snow-angel.” Winchester stooped and placed his hands on his daughter’s shoulders. “I wouldn’t listen to him right now.”
“I told you, I’m not Santa!” Nick shouted. “Your psychotic father paid me to come here. You didn’t catch me in your trap. He did!”
“You shut your mouth!” Winchester snapped.
“And you know what else?” Nick laughed. “The real Santa is still out there. And believe me: He’s going to find out about all of this.”
“He’s still out there?” Snowflake’s hands trembled.
“All the other children are getting presents,” Nick said. “The good children. It’s already started. It’s after midnight in many places around the world. It will be here soon too. And you, Snowflake: You’re going to be on the naughty list forever.”
Winchester took a step toward his daughter. And then Snowflake unleashed a scream that rattled the windows.
She shoved her father away and hurled her gifts at the wall. She kicked over ceramic houses, ripped the snow off the ground, yanked the Christmas tree onto its side. Ornaments shattered and clattered. Lights flickered. She screamed and screamed, reaching for presents and tossing them at the wall.
Then she dropped to her knees and screamed some more, face red as a wailing infant, cheeks glittering with childish makeup.
Winchester neared her. “Snowflake, darling! You mustn’t listen to what he’s saying. Santa is trying to trick you. This is really him—”
“My name is Nicholas Conrad,” Nick said. “I’m just Santa’s helper at the mall. Your father tricked you.”
“Snowflake, darling, you must know, I would never do anything to upset—”
The girl twisted, and shoved her arm forward, face seething. A wet shuck sounded. Her father’s eyes went wide. His jaw dropped. The girl buried the ivory handle deep into his gut and twisted.
“I hate you!” she whispered. Tears carved glittery paths down her cheeks.
Winchester gasped for breath and fell backwards.
“I hate you! I hate you!” Snowflake leapt to her feet and hurried from the living room, up the stairs.
Winchester struggled to speak.
“Winchester,” Nick said, “it’s over. I have a phone in my pocket. If you get over here, then we can call 911. All you have to do is loosen one of my hands, and I can do it for us.”
He stared at Nick with wet, desperate eyes.
“Come on.” Nick’s heart pounded. “You need help as much as I do now. Get over here.”
Winchester crawled on one elbow, gripping the ivory handle with one hand. Blood dribbled down his monogrammed silk pajamas. He slipped in the puddle of hot chocolate, and struggled to right himself.
“Before she comes back,” Nick said. “Hurry.”
Winchester unleashed an agonized groan as he forced himself onto his feet, clutching his wound with one hand, and Nick’s bound hand with the other.
“I can’t . . .” he managed to get out.
“It’s okay,” Nick said. “If you can’t undo the ropes, just reach inside my coat. There’s an inside pocket with my phone.”
Winchester’s face was white as paper as he undid the buttons on Nick’s Santa jacket with trembling fingers. He reached between straps of rope and felt around.
“To the left,” Nick instructed. “This is good, Winchester. This is going to be good for both of you. You’re doing the right thing.”
Winchester pulled the phone out.
The train, which had miraculously survived Snowflake’s tantrum, continued to chug and whistle through the living room.
Winchester fell to his knees and held up the phone.
“Just swipe right. 911. Hurry up, Winchester!”
Winchester glared, struggled to speak: “What kind of father . . . do you take me for?” With both hands Winchester smashed the phone against the ground.
He stumbled, fell to his knees, and reached for the velvet wallet.
He produced the metal hammer and repeatedly bashed the phone. The screen cracked; the casing split.
“What the hell is wrong with you!”
Blood oozed from his abdomen as Winchester pried the phone apart and started hammering its electronic innards. Then he collapsed onto his side. His eyes went blank.
He whispered, “For you, Snowflake. Everything for you.”
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 and Reborn, and the novellas, Bottled and Paused. Her novel, The Woodcutter, is due for release via Brigids Gate Press in 2023. 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, on Twitter at @el_stevie, Instagram stephanieellis7963 and also somewhere on Facebook.