Christmas Serial Killers: Snowflake (Part 5) 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 sat in stunned horror as Edmund Winchester rattled out his final breaths.
Nick’s vision blurred.
His head drooped.
He gasped for air. The metal teeth seemed to sink into his ankles as his chest heaved, and he forced his head back up. The trashed living room, toppled tree, and ribbons of torn wrapping paper swirled in his vision. The toy train chugged and whistled through the debris, pushing a tuft of copper wrapping paper out of its path.
“Snowflake!” Nick shouted. “Listen to me!”
The room slowly refocused. He steadied his breathing. I’ve lost too much blood, he realized. This is my last chance to reason with her.
“Snowflake, you have to call 911! Do it now!”
“I’m never going to help you.” The girl appeared at the balcony, white knuckles clutching the polished wood banister.
“Then don’t do it for me,” Nick said. “Do it for yourself.”
“You’re going to die,” the girl said. “Does that frighten you?”
“It’s not too late. Call the police. We’ll tell them everything, together. The whole truth.” Nick struggled to keep his head up. His eyelids drooped.
When he reopened them, the girl stood at the bottom of the stairs, head cocked curiously.
“If I make it,” Nick promised. “I will convince them to go easy on you. We’ll explain how your father misguided you. We’ll get you the help that you need.”
“I don’t need help.”
“It’s going to get so much worse for you,” Nick croaked. Blood squished between his toes in his Santa boot. “You have to start making this right. Immediately.” Painful cramps fired up his tingling leg. He gasped. “Or else you’ll regret it.”
“What do you know?”
In the stillness between his heaving breaths, Nick heard the sharp ticks and tocks of the grandfather clock in the opposite corner. “Soon it will be midnight.” He lost focus for a moment, and the girl appeared closer, by the piano. She was clutching the ivory handle of one of her blades. Her nightgown was stained with her father’s blood.
“You were right, Nicholas.” A smile crept over her cherubic face. “This is funny. And I promise you: I will call the police.”
“Not after I’m dead, Snowflake,” Nick begged. “Do it now. Right now.”
The girl drew nearer. Twin streaks of liquid spilled down her cheeks. “I’ll confess everything . . .”
Nick heaved a pained sigh. Sweat beaded down his face.
“Oh . . . mister policeman . . .” Snowflake choked out a sob. “I was so, so scared.” She blubbered. Tears gushed. “Santa came to our house. And my father was talking with him—and then Santa yelled and said terrible things. They got into a big fight—” she choked, “about money! And . . . and . . .” She sobbed and sobbed—and laughed.
“They’re called crocodile tears.” Snowflake proudly wiped her face, smearing her makeup. “I can turn them on and off. The police will believe whatever I tell them. Once you’re dead. And you were right, all of Daddy’s money will be my money.”
“You don’t understand,” he rasped. “The police are the least of your troubles. Monsters . . . always get caught . . . .” His head drooped.
A sharp prick to his neck jerked him awake. The girl was inches from him now. Her eyes bored into his. “I don’t feel things the way that you or anyone does. When I was seven, I pushed my Mummy down the stairs.” She pressed the knife harder against his skin.
“Snowflake, I’m warning you—”
“Don’t interrupt!” She snatched his beard and tugged his face forward.
Nick shouted in pain.
“Mummy was pregnant with my baby brother.” Snowflake pulled on Nick’s beard, and traced the tip of the knife up and down his neck. “I cried and cried at the funeral. Daddy knew what really happened, of course, but he cared about me. He loved me more than she ever did. She was always going on and on about how he would spoil me. Ruin me.”
“He did,” Nick wheezed.
“I asked you a question before,” the girl grinned. “Are you afraid to die?”
“My family died, a long time ago, Snowflake.” Nick struggled for breath. “It was an accident. Nobody killed them. But it wounded me for so long. And I learned, eventually, that even if I would always be alone, I could still bring joy to other people. I could still serve a greater power. Something pure.”
“Answer my question!” She pressed the knife harder. Nick felt blood trickling down his neck.
“No, Snowflake. I’m not afraid at all. Because death will be a gift. I know that I will see my wife and my children after this pain ends. But you’re wrong, about more than you think . . .”
“You do have an emotion. Maybe you’ve never truly felt it before, but you will soon—”
She yanked Nick’s beard and shoved the knife deep into his neck. Blood squirted onto her wintery nightgown. Nick grunted in surprise. He choked and coughed blood.
Snowflake gasped with excitement and backed away. Soft laughter chittered out of her.
Nick slumped over. His eyes rolled up in his head. “You’d better watch out . . .” he said. “You’d better watch out . . .”
Snowflake remained fixated on the dying man until no more sound escaped him. Her heart beat so fast she felt it could burst. She collapsed in the mess of fake snow, demolished model houses, and shredded wrapping paper. The toy train chugged around her.
She held the knife to her chest. That wonderful wonderful feeling filled her from her tippy-toes to the top of her head. That perfect sensation she could only get this one way.
It couldn’t possibly be joy, she knew, but it was better than that. It was her joy. Just for her. And maybe this man wasn’t Santa Claus. Maybe what she’d heard before was true, and there was no Santa after all. But so what? The man was hers.
Daddy was hers now, even more than he had ever been before.
And this was going to be Snowflake’s perfect Christmas. She would spin a clever tale about what happened to them. The metal trap would be difficult to explain, but Snowflake was so clever. So smart, her Daddy had assured her. She would figure it out. And a new exciting adventure would begin.
The grandfather clock struck midnight. Bells chimed.
Suddenly a storm of hoof-beats thundered across the roof. Snowflake leapt in surprise. The floorboards trembled. The windowpanes rattled.
The plaster cracked. Artwork fell. Christmas lights sputtered and sparked.
The glass front of the fireplace burst open with a blast of arctic wind. The mirror over the mantle shattered into webs of snowflakes. The stockings whipped clean off their hooks and flew past her.
Snowflake’s blond curls whipped furiously. She shielded her face from bitter storm winds.
The grand piano collapsed to a cacophony of sour notes.
In a flash of white, a mountain of a man appeared in their living room, seven feet tall, barrel-chested, muscular arms and legs bulging. Black gloved hands clenched with rage. He wore a dark maroon coat and pants. Sleigh bells shook on his belt as he stepped forward and crushed the chugging toy train with a heavy black boot.
“Snowflake!” his voice rumbled. Between his white mane, and his bushy beard, his eyes flashed like thundersnow. “You are the most wicked child on Earth.”
And then Snowflake felt something new. Something terrible, like frostbite nibbling inside her heart, freezing her from the inside. She trembled in the shadow of the giant man.
“You have proven yourself irredeemably evil,” the man said. “And you must now learn the true meaning of punishment.”
* * *
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.