The 12 gifts for Christmas will never be the same.
| Macon winced as he opened his shirt. No matter how he tried, he could never get used to the pain. Or the smell of blood. In the mirror, he could barely see his purple, swollen face. Muted cries, breaking glass, thumps, and smacks sounded outside the bathroom door. A shiver passed through his body, and Macon closed his eyes.
"You fucking whore, I—" His father's voice cut off as a blow landed.
"Stop, please, stop," Macon's mother whimpered.
"Shut to fuck up, bitch." Another blow followed by a crash.
Macon covered his ears, but the beating would not stop. His mother wailed, and her voice cut off to a choking sound. Loud footsteps stamped through the house, every few steps followed by a loud bump. From the sounds, his father was dragging something. Macon eased the door open and peeked.
Booted feet disappeared into the entrance to the cellar down the hall before he could tell who it was. Oh God, did he kill Mommy? Oh, God, Oh God! Loud noises and bangs sounded from below, too much like gunshots. His father kept his hunting rifle down there. Oh, God! Footsteps headed back upstairs.
Macon wanted to run, but there was nowhere to go. They were out at his father's lakehouse near a secluded corner of Lake Jostle in Scandanavia. The snowstorm had been fierce this Christmas and at least six feet of snow had fallen. He pulled the door closed again hoping his father did not hear the click from the lock. No such luck.
"Macon," yelled Joseph. "Get your ass out here, boy."
"C-c-coming, father." Macon pulled his shirt back over the cuts from the thick leather belt his father beat him with earlier.
"You should've told that bitch not to interrupt when I'm giving you your Christmas gifts," his father shouted from down the hall. He began to laugh. "Should've seen her face. Get to fuck out here boy. It's time for Christmas dinner, and then we open the rest of your gifts when Santa comes at midnight."
Macon didn't wish to keep his father waiting any longer so he shuffled outside. A trail of red marred the wooden floor along the hall. Trying his best to avoid the blood, Macon limped to the dining room.
His father sat at the head of the thick, oak table. Dinner was spread before him. Baked chicken, quail, a few slices of deer, several types of fish, vegetables, salad, and Macon's favorite fiske pudding.
"Thank you, father." Macon pulled out a chair and sat.
"You see the gifts we have for Christmas?" His father pointed over to the Christmas tree. "Are they what you asked Santa for?"
Macon did not want to look but if he didn't, he knew his father would beat him some more. So he allowed his gaze to drift to the tree.
Eleven women were gagged underneath, their heads sticking out of oversized gift boxes, wild eyes staring frantically at him.