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Day 147 – Santoscalwes – Short Story

“It was December, I’m pretty sure it still was anyway, mainly because when I remember any of it, there’s always Christmas decorations up everywhere still, and crazy children always seem to be out, running around, screaming about the big man with the beard, waiting for him to turn up. Santa Claus, the man who once a year spent a whole day delivering presents to all the children of the world. Seriously, what a shit job, it’s not something I would gladly take up in a fit of insanity even, but, what if you didn’t have a choice for something like that, what if you fucked up so hard, the only way to fix anything, was to become something, someone that just could not exist. I know where you think this is going, some weird story about how I found my Christmas spirit, delivered all the presents to all the children across the world, and in the end, learned the true value of Christmas, right? Well that’s where you’re way off the fucking mark, you see, it’s all a lie, ever single word of it, there is no jolly old man who spreads happiness and cheers around the world one night a year, the real Santa Claus, the actual thing that we all worship every year for a month, is something more dark and deceitful. Sure, you’ve heard the stories before, you’ve seen the movies, you know all the bad things that anyone can decide, but what if you hadn’t, what if you just thought you did?”

“Get on with the fucking story Kevin!” A man says from across the other side of the camp fire.

“I am, haven’t you ever heard of someone building up the suspense, giving the reader a nice, slow lead up into the crescendo of the story.”

“All I hear is you sitting there strumming one out, just get on with the fucking story, so someone else can have a go.”

“Leave him alone Leroy, you might not have been enjoying it, but I was,” one of the girls says.

“That’s because you have a massive moist spot for fat boy over there,” Kevin says with a cheeky smile, the girl next to him quickly sends a fist into his arm.


“What?” He holds his hands up in the air and puts on an innocent look.

“Is everyone finished interrupting?” Kevin asks.

“Of course Sir Boredom, you may continue,” Leroy says.

“Okay, so, anyway, all the stories you’ve heard about Santa being all jolly and shit is a lie, really, the true story behind Santa, or Santoscalwes, as its really called, is this. Some seven or eight thousand years ago a man by the name of Frederick Illingworth found himself lost and alone somewhere near the foot of Piz Bernina. It’s there that his caravan was attacked and his guides killed by the demon of the lands, know to the local tribes as The Santoscalwes. Instead of killing Illingworth, it toyed with him, as it hadn’t seen a white man before that time and found him fascinating, so for ninety days it subjected him to many manner of torture, and that’s when Illingworth challenged the demon to a….

“We’ve heard this before, he challenged it to a game of something, depends on the version you’re told, in mine it was chess. Anyway, regardless of the game, the deal was, if it lost Frederick went free and if it won he’d give himself gladly too it, as it turns out, the demon couldn’t resist the challenge, and lost. But it wasn’t once, the demon couldn’t accept that it had lost so easily and challenged him again, and again, until it had somehow, agreed to be an emissary of good, spreading joy to the world once a year, blah, blah. Is that how it goes?”

“You missed out the most important part of the whole story.”

“I haven’t missed any part of it, my grandfather used to tell me that story all the time, even claimed we were descended of Illingworth, crazy old fucker.”

Kevin leans over the flames of the camp fire, and looks around into the eyes of all who sit around it, “You see, the part you’re missing, the part that your demented old grandfather never told you about, was how the deal only lasted for so long. How one day, he would be free from his curse, and then, he would bring his vengeance on the kin of Illingworth,” he says, smiling, a broad, almost evil smile, and begins to laugh, a deep, demonic laugh, that is soon drowned out by screams.



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