Evil vs Evil on Christmas Eve
Approximately 880 words
My local writing group has a tradition of writing flash fiction for our Holiday gathering. The theme this year is "Evil vs Evil." We're also supposed to use the word "extrinsic."
My first attempt at meeting this is here:
We're a SciFi/Horror group, though, so I thought I'd make a second try, and this is it. As in the other story, it's a challenge to put "extrinsic" in a story.
I think I like the first story better, but I'd like suggestions and reactions to either or both.
I lately added some oblique references to "The Night Before Christmas." I hope they make this a little creepier.
Christmas Eve Evil
A frigid December wind prickled Rufus's cheeks. He hunkered in bushes across the street from the target's residence and checked his watch: midnight. A faint chorus wafted from the Christmas Eve service at the church in the next block. It came upon a midnight clear. He let a sneer bend his lips. He was coming at midnight, all right.
The full moon gave a lustre of mid-day to the new-fallen snow and cast ghostly shadows over the suburban street. A scattering of houses displayed holiday lights, but not the house he was watching. There, not a creature was stirring. It had been silent and dark since the upstairs lights went out at eleven.
He already knew which presents to steal. He'd delivered them just two days ago to the rich SOB who lived here. That was when he'd spotted the key that the idiot kept hidden under a fake rock. It was like a frigging invitation, like he wanted to be robbed. Rufus figured it wasn't that he was intrinsically bad, or anything. Just opportunistic, and maybe spreading the wealth a bit. Like Robin Hood. He snickered. His libtard sister would say that even though stealing crap was evil, it was extrinsic evil.
The hymn faded to oblivion. Rufus scuttled across the street and retrieved the key. He held his breath as he unlocked the door and eased it open. The alarm panel just inside was dark and unarmed.
Rufus breathed a sigh of relief. More evidence that the guy was an idiot. He deserved to be robbed.
Sure enough, the living room held a gi-normous tree, festooned with fake snow and icicles. A pile of presents rested underneath, and stockings were hung by the chimney with care, just waiting for him. A plate of cookies and bowl of milk sat on a table. The bowl had a picture of a puppy painted on the side. What the hell? Why put out a dog bowl for Santa?
Damn. Maybe they own a dog. That could be bad. Really bad. Where could the mutt be?
Rufus chewed his lip. Could be it was asleep. Or in the back yard for the night. Still, the added danger made him hurry.
He unrolled a black trash bag and began to fill it, chortling over his loot.
A high-pitched voice made him freeze. "Santa?"
He whirled about, and there, in the moonlit shadows, stood a kid, maybe four or five years old. His long, curly hair floated about his head like a halo, and he wore puppy-dog PJs with paws for feet.
He was cute as a bug. Rufus hated cute. "I'm one of Santa's helpers," he snapped. "I was checkin' to see if you was naughty or nice."
The brat tilted his head. "You don't look like an elf. Are you sure you're one of Santa's helpers?" He pawed at his throat with one hand.
Rufus peered in faint light. Something glimmered on the tot's neck. Not a necklace. A dog collar? Why would a kid wear a friggin' dog collar? It didn't matter. The thing to do was get rid of him before his parents woke up.
"You better get your butt back to bed, boy, before I gotta report ya to Santa. He don't like it when kids spy on him."
The boy moved closer, into a beam of moonlight. His eyes caught the moonglow and gleamed. For sure he wore a dog collar, and manacles clenched his wrists. His father must be a real piece of work, to treat a kid like that. Rufus muttered, "What'd your old man do to you, kid?"
"Sometimes I'm bad. I can't help it. I try to be good." The kid shook himself, like he was having a fit or something. "He put the chains on me, so I won't be bad." A mischievous smile bent his lips. "I got out." He shuddered again, then fell to his hands and knees. His back arched, and his lips foamed.
Rufus lurched back. The brat must be sick. At least he wasn't calling Daddy for help. He returned to the loot and scooped up a couple more packages. Time to get out of here before he caught Ebola or whatever it was the brat had.
Growling from behind him made him stop. The damned dog must have woken up. He turned to look, but it wasn't a dog. Adrenalin sent needles skittering down his spine.
The brat was changing. His arms and legs sprouted hair and grew longer and thinner. His face deformed, too, and a muzzle pushed forward. His body heaved and twisted. Muscles exploded and shredded his PJs. He lifted his snout and let loose a drooling howl that revealed fangs in his mouth.
Panic opened a black hole in Rufus's gut. He dropped his sack with a clatter and backed toward the door, unable to take his eyes off the boy.
This couldn't be happening. Werewolves were a fairy tale. Like Santa.
The boy, or creature, or whatever, yowled. Its clawed feet scrabbled on the floor when it sprang. Rufus thrust out his hands, but the beast was too quick. Fangs ripped into his throat.
The last thing Rufus saw was his dark blood spurting over the scattered presents.