Maddison had spent most of the day booking cookies for Santa Clause.It was a battle to get use of the oven. Her mother was getting ready for the yearly Christmas Eve party. Maddison’s mom had been cooking and preparing all day. It was early afternoon and that woman finally had taken a break. Maddi’s switch was laying on the table as she took out and looked at the chocolate chip cookies. The room filled up with the smell of freshly baked cookies. Her stomach began to rumble.
She giggled. “Maybe I should have eaten something, huh?” she was talking to herself. That is something that they did in her family as well. It was a weird trait that was passed down from generation to generation. It was almost like a weird super power. Maybe she would just have a plate of these freshly baked cookies. She clapped her hands together, yes, that sounded delightful. You know, she would have to get those cookies by her mother.
Hopefully her mother was held up in her office wrapping presents. The cookies had cooled and she had put a few on a paper-plate and munched them down without much hesitation. She just had to make sure there was enough for Santa. She had recently started questioning if Santa was real and how did he really know where they lived and knew exactly what she wanted? She ate the last cookie and licked the crumbs up off of the plate and then walked over to the trash and threw the plate in the trash.
Her father was downstairs in the basement watching television. It was probably sports or something, she watched the cookies cool and then walked over to the table and played on her phone. She also texted her brother to make sure he was coming to the party tonight. She missed him. It was kinda funny, he only lived a few minutes away and they never hung out. Only time they got together was when there was a party or something. She was also looking at stuff she wanted for Christmas.
She loved having her family around her but she loved opening presents more. They had their yearly trip on Christmas. She wondered where they were going this year, she hoped it was someplace warm and sunny. She didn’t like cold and drab winter months. After Christmas is over it just got depressing. No lights to look at, yucky looking snow. So icky! She hated icky.
Bobby was at Wal-Mart when the text from his sister came in and the store was packed. He was pushing through crowds of people and looking for the perfect gift for his sister. There is always banter between them during the year, but it was all out of love though. He couldn’t imagine his life without his sister. He had another one in Maine. She was 29 and her name was Jasmine. Both of them were annoying at times. Right now he smelled of a mixture of Monster Energy Drink and Extra Menthol Cheyennes.
Maybe he shouldn’t have smoked before he came here. Oh well, if he hadn’t he would probably have road rage with a shopping cart.
Bobby chuckled as he looked at his gift list for his sister. Mostly video games. He shook his head. “You are becoming a mini-me. I don’t know how I feel about that.”
He had to fight through more crowds of people and he wasn’t looking forward to that. Why couldn’t Christmas be postponed until say March? He didn’t really care for shopping much. Truth be told, he didn’t really care for people much either. Especially during the Christmas season. He is very surprised to see a brawl hasn’t broken out yet. This Wal-Mart was in the ghetto after all. In front of the store there had been a few people asking for money. He didn’t know how it got like this, he hated this store. He always ran into people he knew and had to make small talk. He hated that too.
The christmas music on repeat wasn’t helping any. He ditched his cart filled with gifts by the bathroom. He walked into the men’s room and did his business and when he came out it looked like they were more people in the store. Ugh, he was just going to wheel his cart over to self check out and just be done with all of this bullshit.
“Don’t worry you will be out of here soon.” Bobby said to himself, he wheeled his shopping cart over to a self-checkout-kiosk. There were a few things, a few switch games for the child and gift cards for his parents and a few energy drinks for him. That was his Christmas present to himself. You needed to treat yourself a little bit.
There was only a few hours left before the christmas party at his parents. That meant he didn’t have much time to wrap presents. Maybe he wouldn’t wrap them, maybe he would just grab a pretty christmas bag and just throw the goodies in there. That sounded pretty good, which meant he could get a nap when he got home and didn’t have to worry about wrapping anything up. He sucked at wrapping up presents. He once gave his cousin a cd wrapped in aluminum foil. Yeah, he was like that.
The self checkout kiosks were even crowded. Why him? Why now? Was it a full moon tonight? A strand of his dark hair fell down between his eyes and he blew it out of the way. He couldn’t murder anyone tonight, he couldn’t goto jail. What the fuck. He calmed himself down until one of the self checkouts were available. When he found one, he jumped on it. Scanned his shit and put the money in the dollar bill slot and put his stuff in the bag and he ran out of the store. He had survived this bullshit. There was something in the air, he smelt it. It smelled almost metallic, like iron. There was iron in your blood. Was there someone bleeding nearby?
There was something odd happening in the town -- well, it was odd to him. He noticed an influx of Santa Claus’s in the town. He knew it was Christmas time and they were usually seen around that time. Something told him that this wasn’t a good thing. He had passed by a few while coming to Wal-Mart and they felt dark and sinister. Why was he getting a feeling like that? This symbol brought kids happiness and joy. Again, they didn’t feel right to him. Maybe he was just overthinking shit and he was getting these feelings because he wasn’t a fan of the holiday.
There had been rumors that a bunch of mental patients had escaped the asylum today. Was that why he was seeing all these Santa’s today? Could they be those patients? There was an old Twilight Zone episode where something similar happened. That was just an old 1960’s Sci-Fi television show. He couldn’t think about this right now. There was defintely something in the air, he could feel it and it kind of freaked him the fuck out.
Bobby lit up a Cheyenne. “Just need to get home.” He puffed away on the cigarette till the bus came, when it pulled up he threw the cheyenne on the ground and boarded the bus, paid his money, sat down. Even on the bus he was seeing Santa’s. It was filled with them. He closed his eyes and then opened them up, then the Santa’s disappeared.
For a moment he felt like he was losing his mind. Was he? He didn’t know. He just had a weird feeling about this all. He chatted with the bus driver. She was a chubby woman with dark hair and glasses. Very nice and had a bubbly personality. When she came to his stop, he got off the bus with his gifts and walked to his apartment. He kept the gits in the walmart bags, he put those on the floor in front of the couch and he curled up on the couch and took a nap.
A few hours later the party started -- the guests started rolling in around Five O Clock Pm. Madi’s Grandma, Grandpa, Aunt and Uncle were there. A few cousins showed up too. The cousins were about as old as her brother was. She loved them they did entertain her for a little while. Her brother was late as always, he was the only one she really wanted to see. She’d give all her other relatives attention until her brother got here. An hour had passed and her brother finally arrived, he walked in with a walmart bag full of stuff. She knew it was for her and she smiled at him.
“What’s wrong?” She asked as she looked at her brother, for some reason he looked a bit off.
“Oh nothing.” Bobby lied, shook his head. What happened earlier was still embedded in his brain. Why would he be having visions of Santa’s everywhere? It didn’t make sense. He’s never had visions like that before. He was keeping that stuff to himself, he didn’t want to scare anyone.
“Here you go, kiddo.” Bobby said, he passed her the walmart bag.
“Oh?” Madi asked, looked into the bag and to her surprise they were wrapped. She smiled and skipped to the second living-room where the christmas tree was and slide them under it.
Family functions were not his thing -- he walked over to the island where all the food was and made a sandwich. He also grabbed a glass of wine and sat at the table and ate. The murmuring of everyone talk was a bit deafening. He actually had to push himself to come this time, he didn’t feel good and what had happened today had his mind a bit fucked up. Again, he wasn’t going to tell anyone what he had seen.
“Bobby, you’re just going crazy.” That is what he told himself, he sipped on his wine and after he was done he left the glass on the table. He looked around for his sister, she was in one of the living rooms playing on her Nintendo Switch and talking to her cousins. He had noticed Maddison was very hyper and happy tonight. With all the commotion he snuck outside to smoke. After he was done smoking he came back in and they were ready to do presents.
Everyone sat around the tree and presents were passed around -- it didn’t take long for the living room to be a sea of christmas wrapping paper, jokes, laughter and merriment. Bobby had began to relax for a moment, still he felt like he was being watched and not by the people inside of this house. He just felt watched. Yeah, he was getting real paranoid.
After everyone was done opening presents it was time for the after presents coffee social. Everyone gathered around the coffee pot and grabbed a cup of coffee. Bobby took part in this. He grabbed his coffee and walked back to the table. Madi was right behind him, he sat down and sipped on his coffee.
Madi was sitting next to Bobby with her arms crossed.
Bobby looked at Madi. “What?” He asked in between sips of coffee.
Madi frowned. “You haven’t been your self today.”
Bobby shrugged and sipped his coffee. “I was out earlier buying you presents and I got spooked by something.”
Madi looked at Bobby with concern in her eyes. “By what?”
Bobby shrugged once again. “Maybe my mind playing tricks on me.”
Madi shook her head. “I don’t understand you grownups sometimes.”
Bobby watched her get up and walk into the living-room and play with some of the new stuff that she had gotten for christmas. He still had that feeling of dread and he was trying to ignore it. A few hours passed and everyone was picking up and leaving. Madi had left out a plate of cookies and her and the parents had gone to bed and Bobby was waiting for his ride. He looked at the cookies and milk and grinned. She still believed in Santa, it was cute. He walked over and ate the cookies and drank the milk. He smiled, then something weird happened. The lights went out for a second then they came back on.
“You ate my cookies.” a voice called from in front of him.
“What the hell?” He blinked and looked at the figure in front of him and it was Santa.
“You’re getting coal this year, Bobby.” Santa grinned evily, you could see a twisted smile under his white beard.
“I’ll be good next year.” Bobby said, he rolled his eyes.
“There will be no next year!” Santa laughed evily, he then opened his mouth and swallowed Bobby whole and that was it.
“This is what Santa really does to bad boys and girls!” Santa laughed evilly and disappeared in a puff of smoke, all that was left on the floor was a giant puddle of blood.
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