Myths never die, they don't always fade away either
Originally Entered in SCREAMS!!! "Episode LVXXXIICLABCDEFGWHAT?~Entry" Word Count = 853
Vlad counted the deep tolling of church bells in the distance. Twelve mournful chimes, marked a bitter January midnight. Time, it was coming, who would be taken tonight? Cold sweat oozed from his pores, filling his nostrils with the smell of fear, icy cold shivers ran down his spine. Had he done enough evil to ward it off?
This, the tenth year of the Yuletide Horror, each year since the unfortunate incident harder to endure. Each year the chance Vlad might be taken seemed more possible. Each year the evil Vlad perpetrated grew in depravity. His wife Nina slept peacefully next to him, certain that her husband provided well for their safety. Her certainty, that he committed a brutal enough crime to protect them both.
The Horror started when Santa Clause died. Myths never really die. Myth and fantasy either fade into oblivion, or morph into something else. Santa's passing was tragic, he and all the reindeer killed by an errant missile strike in World War du Jour. But, myths never die. This myth didn't fade either, becoming something else, the source of nightmares around the world.
The world turned about and on end, good no longer rewarded. Evil the only way to keep the Demonic Nicolas at bay. Each year, after a Christmas season that grew less joyful, evil reared its ugly head higher and higher. An entire world's population turned on each other, committing crimes and atrocities, overlooked by police. The police were committing their own acts of evil, no one immune to the Demon's curse. The only way to stay out of the demons grasp? By engaging in pure, depraved evil. People went into hiding, lest evil be done against them, emerging only long enough to harm their neighbor.
Nina stirred beside him, "is it time yet?" She asked sleepily.
"No," Vlad lied, "still early, go back to sleep Nina." He was tired of carrying her fears with his, the shared weight was becoming unbearable.
Finding a victim this year took more out of him than before, Vlad's better nature, put off the gruesome task as long as possible. Disgusted, he grew tired of Nina's nagging, venturing out to find a victim, and do some poor soul harm. Despairing, finding no one, he was returning home when he stumbled upon her. An elderly lady, clearly frightened, attempting to lure her cat from a tree.
"Will you help me get my cat down from this tree?" Fear in her voice, and hope in her eyes.
Hope disappeared when Vlad said, "No, I'm very sorry." Grabbing and snapping the gold chain on her neck. He ripped a broach from the front of her dress, rending it open violently. Vlad knew this evil wasn't enough, he dragged her into her house, stealing cash, food and anything else light enough to carry, leaving her destitute.
Crying, "please, please stop, no please not my husbands watch, it's all I have to remember him by."
The cat ventured down from the tree, lured by its mistresses plaintive cries, Vlad kicked it in the head, stunning the cat. Picking it up, and strangling it before throwing it at the hysterical woman.
He lay in bed now, daring not to move for fear of waking his wife, feeling no need or desire for her. Fear gripping his body as he waited. When the bells tolled one, he would be safe for another year. Save for living with the memories of his crimes, and the people he had harmed for ten years of safety. Would evil be satisfied with his effort this year? His crime sufficiently horrible to appease the Demon Nicolas?
Horrified, he heard the thumps of hooves landing on the roof, the heavier thump of the deadly sleigh slamming down, carrying the Demon on his appointed rounds. Why was it here? Should he have beaten the old hag? Murdered her? Or worse? What could he have done worse? Why had the Demon come for him?
He could hear the Demons Familiars pawing at the snow that covered the roof, the noise like a thousand nails grating on a thousand blackboards. The putrid stench of decaying flesh filled the home, a foul odor heralding the Demon's arrival. Of all the people in his village, the Demon came for him? What more heinous crime could he have committed than leaving the suffering old woman cradling her dead cat?
Time, the Nicolas came. Filling the doorway, Nicolas beckoned to him. Trying to hide, Vlad stayed frozen, perhaps the Demon would think him dead. More insistent, the Nicolas beckoned again. One last horrible effort at appeasement, he kicked his sleeping wife, waking her, jolting her out of their shared bed of twenty years. Nina fell into the path of the Demon, screaming as its quivering body engulfed her, absorbing all that she was into itself, feasting on her body and soul. Vlad found the crime that was evil enough to save him, the Nicolas was sated. He was safe.
Before the Demon shrank back into itself, to depart up the flue, it spoke in a rasping voice, "until next year Vlad."