's 2017 Horror Write-off:

December 24th 2017

Submitted by Sadler Prine

It was December 24th, and around 12:30 at night judging by the clock that was quietly ticking in the corner of the bedroom. I rubbed the sleep from my eyes as I shifted out of bed trying not to wake my wife. She sighed softly before rolling to her side. It had been a long day visiting my wife's family for the holidays which was typically grating. We'd put the kids to sleep early so mommy and daddy could have some Christmas fun under the mistletoe.

I stopped for a moment, and noticed something strange; the typical sounds of the mice in the attic had ceased I was curious, but I was also somewhat thankful. Perhaps the mouse traps had done their job.

I opened the walk in closet, and went about grabbing the presents I'd lovingly labeled from Santa. After setting the presents down on the night stand I crept out to the hall to check if the kids were still asleep, and returned to my room to get the presents. I picked them up preparing to head downstairs and place them beneath the tree, but a loud crash, and clattering of hooves, and shingles erupted in my front yard. I hurried to the window, and out in the yard below everything was covered with a thick layer of snow.

I glanced back to my wife, and was shocked to see that the racket hadn't woken her up.

Looking back to the yard, I noticed the vague, outline of tracks leading through the snow. I froze when I saw a large shadow pass over the house, and what seemed like strong storm winds blew through the trees, snapping branches and blowing dead leaves into spirals.

I was shaken out of my confusion by the sound of something heavy skidding atop the roof, and what almost sounded like hooves on cobblestone. With each little shake or rustle the roof creaked, and cracked. My heart was pounding in my chest.

My wife, and children still hadn't woken up and I'm ashamed to admit I was afraid I wanted desperately to wake up, and find this had been a nightmare but the worst had yet to come.

A foul smell wafted into the open door of the room it was heavy and sour like a mixture of pungent body odor and vomit. I began gagging heavily the moment I smelled it.

Resisting the urge to purge my stomach, I weakly made my way to the door. My legs trembled threatening, to give out on me.

The stench was far worse the closer I got to the stairs. My whole home stunk of this horrid reek of body odor, vomit, and piss.

A loud series crunching and a disgusting squelching came from my chimney, and following it was an indescribable sickly stink. I fell to my knees, vomiting until I nearly passed out. My eyes, and nose stung painfully.

What looked like mucousy, fluid dripped from the chimney, as what looked like grey congealing fat began pushing its way down, causing the fireplace to crack and bulge outward. I nearly fainted from both fear, and the awful stench that followed whatever this was invading my home.

The fireplace burst forth onto the ground with phlegmy sludge, and brick dust. To my horror the nasty mass of flesh rose; slowly moving until it stood. It was hideously proportioned with loose skin flapping, and wrinkling with each grotesque movement. It wore what looked like stitched, and torn animal furs that barely covered it's mass. Its head was small in comparison to the body; with deep set piggish eyes that seemed to have a nocturnal animal's tapetum lucidum. It had several prominent dimples that seemed to deepen with each unnatural movement in its face. Its nose seemed to have rhinophyma which gave the grotesque thing the slightest of resemblances to an old man, with it's knotted white beard that writhed with lice.

It took a lumbering step forward, ash and soot falling from its skin, and the furs it wore. My heart was pounding in my chest, as it took another two steps before it looked at the Christmas tree it's entrance had knocked asunder. It turned, and pulled a dirty burlap bag from the chimney. As it turned to me it grinned, revealing dark brown jagged teeth, and infected gums. It waggled an old tobacco pipe, in the side of its mouth. The acrid smoke only worsened the already unbearable stink.

I tried to stand, but found it next to impossible. The thing , made a whining gurgle that seemed to make it's impossibly fat stomach jiggle sickeningly. After I heard several snorts between the gurgling whines I realized it was laughing. In spite of my better judgement, I laughed choking on its reek with each breath I laughed until I could barely breathe. And then the horror struck when I realized that It had turned its head to look at me we locked eyes neither of us moving. Finally, it laughed its awful stomach churning laugh, and...And it winked at me, as if we'd shared some joke. It turned back to it's greasy looking sack, and took something in its hands, and stuffed it down the children's stockings.

The thing made several lumbering steps back to the chimney, and turned back to give me another wink. It pressed it's finger to its nose and sucked in air with one nostril. I heard what sounded like an ordinary vacuum sweeper, but to my shock the thing was pulled backwards up the chimney breaking, more of the brick as it was pulled up.

Blindly I rushed out the front door into the freezing snow, and looked up at my roof to see if the thing was still there, and to my shock there was a rusted and moldy old sleigh being pulled by some sort of misshapen animals. The thing waved down to me with its filth crusted smile being illuminated by the full moon.

It yanked on the reigns, and the creatures pulled off of the roof tearing away shingles as they went. As the sleigh pulled off of the roof, it rose into the air unsteadily, and for the first time I heard the awful breathy bellow of its voice, as it said Merry Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"