The Krampus Run

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Horror  |  House: Booksie Classic
In central European folklore Santa has an alter ego. The Krampus punishes the naughty children, puts them in his sack and takes them off to his lair. Now I raised two boys and as children neither of them were naughty enough to warrant that kind of treatment, but adults are a whole different prospect.

Submitted: December 10, 2019

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Submitted: December 10, 2019

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THE KRAMPUS RUN.

 

As David crashed through the front door of his flat he saw the fleeting figure of his little girl run down the hall and shut herself in the bedroom. He had been out for drinks with his work mates. It was the Christmas do and with his bosses paying for all the drinks he had made the most of it. The only problem was that drink made him nasty. After a few pints he just felt that his wife and daughter were the worst decisions he had ever made. They were holding him back, weighing him down, albatrosses around his neck. This made him angry. What could he be if he was free of them? Now with Christmas just around the corner he knew where his next pay packet would be going. Fripperies for the house and toys that the child would only play with for two days and then cast aside. He called out to his wife. There was no answer, so he went to find her in the kitchen. She was ironing and he went over to where she was working.

“I said HELLO!” he shouted.

“We heard you coming up the stairs.” she replied.

“I see. So where is my dear little girl and loving wife then. Shouldn't you be greeting me at the door?”

“We might if you were sober Dave, otherwise no.”

“You've got a smart mouth on you....”

“And a hot iron....”

She held it up defiantly. He backed away. He had hit her once when he was drunk but he had come off worse. She had retaliated by beating him with the frying pan. She wasn't a woman to be intimidated. Instead he set off down the hall to his daughters room.

 

He opened the door and she was sitting on her bed holding her favourite bear. All he could see when he looked at her was a human money pit. She was always needing clothes and shoes and money for school trips. Then there were the dance classes and art classes. It was endless, and was she grateful? Of course not. She just shut herself in this room every time he came home.

“Well?” he shouted at her “Why didn't you come to say hello to your dad then? I'm not good enough for you am I?”

“Leave her alone!” his wife yelled from the end of the hall.

“She's my kid. I'll do what I like with her!” he yelled back.

The girl was visibly shaking now wondering how this would end. Usually her mother came to her rescue, but what if mummy wasn't quick enough? What would happen then?

“She is not anyone's property Dave. She is a little girl and if you can't behave yourself and be like a proper father to her you can get out, now!”

He slammed the door shut and stormed out of the flat. Mother and daughter were left consoling each other.

“Don't worry sweetie. I'm going to finish the ironing, put the last of your dresses in the case and we will be off to Nana's. We are going to have a nice Christmas with her and Grandad. No more shouting, ok?”

 

Dave half stumbled through the door of the pub. As he looked around he thought he was hallucinating. The other customers were dressed as some kind of hairy creature with grotesque masks at the ready to put on and finish the costume.

“Hello Dave.” one of the beasts said to him.

He pulled the mask up and Dave could see it was his workmate Barry.

“What's going on?” he asked.

“Don't you remember? The charity Krampus run in aid of the local kids hospice. You can give us a hand and shake a bucket, unless you want to look like a mutated wookie too.”

Barry laughed at his own description of them all. The town of Whitby embraced all things gothic and this was latest piece of folklore, borrowed from central Europe, to find its way to the town.

“Krampus?” Dave asked.

“Santa's alter ego. He swats the naughty kids.”

Barry held up the bundle of birch twigs to show his friend.

“I'll give it a miss if its all the same to you. Got enough with my own kid bleeding me dry, without getting involved helping anyone else's.”

Barry was taken aback by his friends attitude. Dave's daughter was a nice polite little girl who had been to tea after school with his own children. He obviously didn't appreciate what a good kid she was.

“Please yourself then. We're about to set off. You could at least see us off.”

Somewhat begrudgingly Dave went outside still holding his beer and unenthusiastically waved off the strange band of fund raisers. He went back inside and finished his pint. He realised that he had no money left for another drink so headed out into the cold afternoon to the cashpoint in the next street. It was very quiet, most of the Saturday afternoon shoppers watching the charity walk that was going on. Dave was aware however of somebody behind him as he was putting his money in his wallet. He quickly shoved it into the inside pocket of his coat. When he turned he was met by the demonic face and furry costume of one of the Krampus. He side stepped to get away, but the creature blocked him. Dave side stepped the other way, but once again his way was barred.

“Barry, is that you sodding about?” he asked.

The reply came as a roar from the mouth of the hideous beast. The yellow teeth and lolling red tongue were in Dave's face and the stench of its hideous breath made him step back.

“Who the hell are you? Get out of my way!” Dave yelled.

“No, I am Krampus,” a rasping voice replied “ And you are going to be punished. Your mean spirit and your bad temper have singled you out for it.”

Dave watched in horror as the arms came up above him and he saw the razor sharp claws as they flashed past his eyes. His jacket was ripped by them. His fear that had rooted him to the spot now made him start running. If he could get back to where the crowds were, he could shake this thing off and be safe. Every time he looked over his shoulder the Krampus was only a few steps behind and when he reached the high street where the procession was in full swing it didn't stop.

“Help!” he yelled as he ran down the middle of the road.

Instead of helping him however, the crowd began to laugh at the sight of a grown man being chased by what they thought was a pretend Krampus. The creature roared and waved a bundle of birch twigs as he chased his prey down the road. The crowd cheered it on and as they felt they were being well entertained, were generous in the amount of money they threw into the collection buckets.

Finally they reached the car park by the harbour and Dave realised he had run out of places to run. He turned to face his tormentor and he was being pushed back closer and closer the the edge of the harbour wall, and the long drop of a low tide into the mud. It roared at him again and he almost toppled over the edge. He dropped to his knees and curled up in a ball on the floor. Krampus leered over him and in its hoarse, unnatural voice said,

“Now you know how she feels.”

When Dave looked up it had gone. He hung his head over the harbour wall and vomited.

By the time Dave got home he was exhausted but sober. He wondered if the whole thing had been some kind of delusion brought on by the alcohol. He opened the front door, to be met by the sight of his wife and daughter wrapped up against the cold, cases in hand ready to leave.

“Oh God!” he exclaimed “What have I done?”

“You have pushed me too far Dave. That's what. When you turn your foul temper against her, that's too much. She's scared of you Dave. She's six years old and you have made her frightened.”

“I'm so sorry....please don't go.....”

“I'm going to mum and dad for a few days. I think it's for the best. I'll ring you later.”

He could see her mind was made up and as he reached out to stroke his daughters hair, she cowered away from him, just as he had cowered under the terrible face and stench of the Krampus. He had been punished and was about to be punished again.

“Will you come back?”

“That depends on you Dave.” she said as she ushered the child out of the door and pulled her suitcase behind her.

 

It was Christmas morning. The flat was decorated with a nice bushy Christmas tree in the corner of the living room. The dinner was cooking and he had upgraded the TV subscription so that his daughter could have the Disney channel. They had agreed to come home for lunch. Her parents lived twenty minutes away and they were coming along too. His in laws had felt it might be best if they were there too in view of the recent problems their daughter and son in law had been having. Dave wanted everything to be perfect. He was checking the progress of the turkey when the door bell rang.

“In a minute!” he called.

He opened the door to find Barry standing there.

“Hi Dave. Just a quick call, on the way to fetch my mum. Your performance at the run really boosted the collection. I thought you would like to know we doubled the amount from last year. And I thought you were being a miserable bastard when we were in the pub.”

“Oh, thanks. I think. Anyway, well done. I hope the money helps.”

“It will. Where's your girls?”

“Getting the in laws. I'm in charge of dinner. Must get the bread sauce going...” Dave tried to make an excuse to get back to the kitchen.

“Of course. Well have a nice time today. See you at work in the new year.”

“Yes, you to Barry and see you next week. Thanks for stopping by.”

He shut the door as his friend headed back to the stairs. He took a moment just to look out of the window. A few flakes of snow drifted down in the cold wind that cut in from the North Sea. He saw his wife's car pull in to the end of the road. He thought that in the sound of the wind that howled past the window he could hear the Krampus roar.

 

THE END


© Copyright 2020 Petula Mitchell . All rights reserved.

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