From the Malafarina files, ‘He Knows When You’re Awake’ a short horror story by author Thomas M. Malafarina

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Eleven-year-old Timmy French had little patience, especially when came to Christmas. He loved guessing what his parents got him but hated waiting. However, his parents had strict rules regarding waiting until Christmas morning to open his presents.

Back when Timmy was about four, his father said, “Do you know what happens to bad boys and girls at Christmas time? You see Timmy, Santa is magical and can change into any creature he chooses to punish bad little boys. Santa might turn himself into an ugly old monster and smash the boy’s presents. Or Santa might change his elves into trolls who would carry the boy away to eat for dinner.”

Timmy had always been horrified by his father’s stories.

“So, Timmy. You must never break any of our Christmas rules because Santa might even punish your mother and me for not teaching you properly.”

These fear tactics had worked for several years until Timmy stopped believing. Obviously, if there was no Santa, there was no threat.

This year he had decided things would be different. He’d wait until his folks were asleep and he’d slip downstairs to check out his presents. He’d bring along a pair of scissors and some tape to refasten the paper in necessary and his folks would never be the wiser.

Timmy lay awake in his bed. He waited for an hour after his parents went to bed before going downstairs. He slowly opened his door and crept quietly past his parents’ surprisingly quiet bedroom.

Downstairs, in the glow from his flashlight, Timmy saw his Christmas stocking. Bending down for a closer look, he reached deep down inside. He suddenly got an uneasy feeling in the pit of his stomach as his fingers touched something warm, soft, round, sticky and wet.

His fingertips glistened, covered in a tacky red substance with a strange coppery smell. He opened his hand what he found caused a scream to catch in his throat as his stomach flipped in revulsion. Sitting in the palm of his hand floating in crimson gore was a single human eyeball.

Timmy jumped up shaking his hand to rid himself of the horror, wiping the remnants on his pajama top. He trembled and tried to scream but was unable to do so. Tears streamed down his face. His lips moved soundlessly crying for his mother.

Turning he ran up the stairs taking several of them two at a time. When he burst into his parents’ room, he stopped abruptly staring at the bed illuminated by the moonlight coming through the open window, revealing a horror worse than any horror movie he had ever seen.

His parents were sprawled in bed. Their tattered and bloodied corpses contrasted with the white bed sheet now splattered crimson. His father’s body was sitting up in bed; his throat slit from ear to ear looking like some hideous, toothless grin. It was also obvious by the gaping black hole in his skull that one of his eyes was missing. Timmy knew where that eyeball was now.

“He knows when you’re awake.” A deep guttural voice growled from a darkened corner of the bedroom. “Oh Timmy. You should have listened to your father. Breaking the rules of Christmas makes you a very bad boy Timmy and bad boys must pay.”

Timmy stared into the darkened space as a creature slowly came forward. It was about four feet tall with long ape-like arms than hung down to the floor with large hands sporting sharp claws. Its green suit was tattered; hanging from the elf’s sweating muscular body. A horrible stench surrounded the monster.

“Santa is very upset with you Timmy. I’m sure when he sees the wonderful Christmas dinner, we’ll be bringing back for him; he’ll feel a lot better about things. You’ll be our gift to him Timmy. And after all, isn’t giving what Christmas is all about?”

By Thomas M. Malafarina

© 2017 Thomas M. Malafarina

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