's 2018 Horror Write-off:

The Night Before Halloween II

Submitted by Jim the Fish

'Twas twelve twenty-four, and the hour was late
Countless creatures still stirred, but just one vertebrate

For in equal measure I was kept awake
By my own churning thoughts, and a fierce stomachache

Of holiday treats I'd had more than my fill
And was starting to feel quite decidedly ill

Though no plums had been had, sugar or otherwise
Visions nonetheless danced before my bleary eyes

I saw bright blinking eyes peering out from a wreath
While a thing slithered by made completely of teeth

For a moment I swore the full moon was the eye
Of a great spectral goat hanging in the night sky

And only by half was my perturbed state
Simply a symptom of something I ate

For I'd vowed that I'd know before this night was through
How Old Saint Nick does what I'd heard he can do

So I paced, and I pondered with all of my might
"How on earth can he visit each house in one night?"

Then as twelve o'clock struck, I started to retch
My stomach convulsed, my esophagus stretched

What issued forth next was far more unexpected
Than food that my innards had rudely rejected

Rather than partially-digested fudge
I let loose a stream of bacterial sludge

Then what from this sickening ooze should appear
But a horrible sleigh, and eight slimy reindeer

Yet their dreadfulness paled to that of one last phantasma
Who likewise took shape from within the miasma

He was truly a gruesome bacterial elf
And I heaved when I saw him in spite of myself

Yet I knew in my heart I had nothing to fear
From the germs that had peopled my body for years

When he saw my expression, he gave a droll wink
And spoke, in a voice somehow worse than the stink

"I can tell you've been wondering just how I do it
It's really quite simple, there isn't much to it

For it's easy for me to visit each home
When I already live in each microbiome

You see, just 'cause it's corny doesn't mean that it's wrong
The true Christmas spirit was in you all along"

Then he moved to the tree as I looked on in awe
And unhinged whatever he had for a jaw

Disgorging great chunks of his own sticky essence
Which quickly congealed into neatly-wrapped presents

Next he turned to the fireplace, artfully hocking
A glob of festivity into each stocking

"Well," he said at last, "this has been a fine game
But it's time I returned to the land whence I came"

And I heard him exclaim, ere he leapt down my throat
"Happy Halloween II- just mind out for that goat!"