a cold knight in white hell
Twenty feet away the nearest lump of snow raised up in a pile about four feet tall. The snow shifted into a red hooded figure. It stood there with its head down, arms folded across its chest. The fugly lifted its head and showed a mouthful of needle sharp black teeth. I already knew what the damn things really looked like so I didn’t react.
It had chubby pink cheeks, curly blonde hair. She was nine years old when she died about a hundred years ago. More faces poked up from underneath the snow. All red-eyed. Mostly young kids but there were some adults. They were male and female, from every race on earth past and present.
All the more reason for me to gank this sorry sonofabitch.
“This does not concern you, Knight.” I imagined this thing hunkered down in the snow calling out “Please...I’m lost...help me” in a frightened little girl’s voice. The better to sucker some unsuspecting person in range of those razor sharp teeth and claws.
I uncapped the eggnog and took a short swallow. “It does now. The kid called me. I came. You’ll die. That’s how this works.”
“These people do not believe in the season. They are wicked. False.”
I capped the bottle, turned and tossed it onto the porch swing. It landed on the cushions and didn’t break. “Bullshit. The Dad lost his job. Money is tight. Not having the Christmas spirit doesn’t warrant a death sentence.”
It cocked its head to one side. “So you defend these nonbelievers?”
“Damn right I do.”
“Very well.” It sank down back into the snow.
The temp was twenty degrees and dropping fast. I breathed white fog in and out with every breath. Even though I was in shirt sleeves that felt like a cool summer breeze. It’s way colder down in Hell. I’ve been there. Think there’s no ice or snow down there? Don’t believe the hype.
The stairs were icy and snow-packed. I made a gesture with my right hand and swept the stairs and the sidewalk clean.
I walked down the stairs.
Two things happened at once. The fugs in the back yard didn’t move. The ones in the front yard did. They burrowed underneath the snow to the furthest corner of the front yard. They formed a snowbank about chest high. I saw shadows and red eyes moving back and forth inside.
Twenty feet away from the house I stopped. The hair on the back of my neck stood up.
Something was coming.
The wind picked up. A large funnel cloud of snow formed in the center of the yard. It didn’t come from the sky; it came from the ground. The shadow shape inside the funnel stood nine feet tall. It was hunchbacked. The horns formed last. They were four feet long and curved backwards.
The snow melted away and I got my first good look. Imagine a big ass red-eyed goat with long yellow fangs that walked on two legs. That’s what this sonofabitch looked like. His feet were cloven, as wide around as a manhole cover.
The thing wore a long hooded red robe trimmed in white fur. I smelled iron and rust. Krampus was the kind of fug who used “all parts of the buffalo” if you get my meaning. He used a lot of the kids he judged unworthy to help him round up others. The bastard wore the skins of the teenagers and adults who didn’t make the cut and he dyed the skins with their blood. Large rusty chains wound around his neck, chest and waist. His fur was grey and black, long and matted.
We stared each other down for a long moment. The minions crowded around behind him.
“Dean Winchester. Brother of Samuel. Eldest son of John and Mary,” Krampus rumbled. “The so-called Righteous Man turned Knight of Hell.”
Damn. He sounded just like Bane from “The Dark Knight Rises.”
These hellbound bastards do love to hear themselves talk. I still didn’t like hearing those names come out of its mouth.
“Yeah? So?” Color me unimpressed.
Not the reaction it was looking for. “You don’t remember me, do you?”
“Nope. Can’t say that I do.”
The goat thing nodded. “We’ve met before, little wolf.”
Little? Oh yeah, I was gonna enjoy gutting him with the First Blade.
“Not ringing any bells here, chief. Help me out, will ya?”
“You were a child when I first saw you. You owe your life, your very existence to me.”
“Azazel set in motion a chain of events that stretches forth to this very day. Your family was weakened by the death of your mother. Did you know that Nicholas wanted to kill you and your brother when you were children?”
I scowled at him. “Who the hell is Nicholas?”
“St. Nicholas.” Krampus huffed. “Oh, you know him better as Santa Claus. He doesn’t have the stomach for wet work. All talk, no action. I refused. You Winchesters amused me.”
“Oh we did, did we?”
“Yes! You roamed the streets stealing things to make your younger brother happy. It’s unusual to see such skill and cunning in one so young. Samuel burned brightly with rage and resentment. You both showed such promise, even at that early age.”
“Cut to the chase, Billy Goat Gruff. I’m getting bored here.”
“Of course! When he was nine years old your brother saw me in the closet in his bedroom. I meant no harm. I came to visit every year this time. Your brother told your father about me. Your father gave him a gun.” Krampus smirked. “As if that would have stopped me.”
“Well, you’re in luck, Goat Boy. Consider yourself stopped for good tonight.” I pulled the First Blade from my back waistband.
The shit hit the fan pretty damn quick.
The chains around Krampus’ body rattled. They were large and rusty with wicked looking barbed hooks on the ends. The ends rose up in the air and waved back and forth. They grew longer. The chains divided again and again. There were hundreds of those bastards now.
They uncoiled and they hissed as they came at me. The ends of the chains split in two, then four. What looked like barbed hooks shifted into snake heads, four on the end of each chain.
They opened their mouths and that’s when I saw their fangs were coated with blue ice.
We should leave, the Mark whispered. She sounded nervous. NOW.
What the hell?
I waited until they were a foot away and then teleported two feet to the left. I turned and swung the First Blade. The idea was to slice the chains in half.
Well, that was the plan at least. Didn’t work out that way.
We have to leave. You have to listen to me.
The Blade should have sliced through those chains like a hot knife through butter. It didn’t. Instead I heard a scraping sound, bone against metal. The Blade bounced off.
That never happened before.
My arm shook with the impact. The vibration traveled down my right side. As if that wasn’t bad enough? I felt funny. Weak. A thin coating of blue ice formed on my arm, from my fingers all the way up to my shoulder. The cold sank through my clothes, my skin, all the way down to the bone. It was a cold burn. Felt like Hell.
The chains raised up all around me like a cobra’s hood. I was caught in the middle. The heads hissed. Everything slowed down. I jerked back as they struck at my face and arms.
My skin stung in several places. Above my right eye. My chin. The pain traveled down the left side of my jaw down my neck.
I pushed them back with a thought. Sent a wave of force through them. I snapped necks, twisted heads off. It wasn’t enough. There were too damn many of them. And I couldn’t kill them by touch because if they saw that red glow Krampus would probably figure out what I’d done with the house.
I ’ported out. For a weird moment my power stalled. My head felt fuzzy. I came back in front of the porch steps. Think I faded in looking all badass? Think again. I came back on my knees. My right arm hurt like a bitch and so did everywhere else. If it weren’t for my demon sight I would have been blind. Everything was grey. I kept my game face on but I couldn’t hold onto the First Blade. I dropped it.
They could have rushed forward and jumped me right then. They didn’t. I got why they didn’t.
We’re just playing with you, boy. This isn’t going to end well. For you.
I willed myself to heal. The pain didn’t go away entirely, but I could deal with it. The ice on my right arm melted. I picked the Blade up in my left hand because my right was still numb. I could move and I could see again.
The minions came out of the snowbank to get a better look at what was going on. Krampus stood there. The chains waved from side to side but they didn’t move forward.
“Cute trick,” I sneered at Goat Boy.
He laughed. “My birth pleased Father so much that he personally forged my chains in Hell. Do you like them, Dean? I’d be so disappointed if you didn’t.”
“Kiss my ass.”
“If you insist. I’m flattered.”
The Mark stirred. So the bitch didn’t tell me everything. What a surprise. Something you want to tell me?
...is Lucifer. I got that. Bastard’s got a hard on for snakes. Big surprise. What else? I cradled my right arm against my body as I stood up. The sudden change in position made me dizzy. I stumbled and the minions howled with laughter. I wanted to go over there and gank the whole lot of them myself.
Cain never met Krampus. Because I stopped him.
Father doesn’t like to see his children fight. It would be...bad.
No doubt. And I take it you couldn’t stop me because I’ve got the Righteous Man’s soul, huh?
She didn’t answer.
That’s just fucking wonderful.
But we’re not leaving, are we?
I didn’t answer.
We left the yard.
I’m not a fan of high places but they’re useful when I want to ambush somebody. The apartment building next door fit the bill. Six stories high, flat roof. I came out of thin air kneeling in the farthest corner. A quick scan of the building below showed I was in the clear. No fuglies inside, just humans hiding in the dark. I heard them whispering to each other. The people on the other side of the building apparently didn’t know what was going on outside. At least two of them in the floor directly below me had a ringside seat to the show in Marty’s yard.
“Dude! Dude! What the hell are those things? Tell me me you’re filming this! Tell me you got all this!”
“I got it man, I got it! Good thing we put the zoom lens on the camera. Where’d that guy go? How’d he disappear like that?”
Huh. I can see this vid going viral on You Tube. Sammy’s gonna bitchface when he sees it.
Down in the yard Goat Boy and his munchkins didn’t move. They faced the opposite direction, towards Marty’s house. The fugs in the front yard burrowed back underneath the snow drifts. The ones in the back waited. They had a clear path to the house on both sides.
They were waiting for a sign. So was I.
As far as I could tell my bug zapper was still active. Marty’s house glowed soft red. I saw the killing energy because I was linked to it. But I’d never done this before and I wasn’t sure how long the charge would last.
My head felt better. The bites weren’t as sore. I flexed my fingers, shifted the Blade from my left to my right. My right hand still wasn’t one hundred percent yet but it was getting there.
I couldn’t take those damn snake chains head on. But I couldn’t take any more hits like that.
So Lucifer didn’t like to see his kids fight, huh? I guess he didn’t want to see his weapons kill each other off.
Krampus threw back his head, opened his mouth and stretched out his tongue. The damn thing was two feet long, dark blue with black spots and forked on the ends. The howl that came out of him shook the ground.
His monsters howled back. They rose up out of the snow.
Somebody inside Marty’s house screamed. Male. One of the uncles, I think. The fuglies in the back were on the move too. The ones in the front yard were halfway across.
I stood up. Never did like heights. Still don’t.
But I thought of Marty. And the way he looked at me when I showed up. I’m a fucking demon with one foot in Hell and the other in Heaven and he was happy and relieved to see me. The cavalry had arrived.
That kid called me.
He trusted me.
I ran for the edge of the roof and jumped off.