By Michelle Enelen
I am what you dream of when darkness holds you. I am the fingertips you feel when the air caresses your face and the tongue you muse upon when the water laps at your flesh. More. I will love you like the beast your men fear. My tongue is long, my hands are strong, and I am unstoppable. If you call me when the time is right, you will know the pleasurable pain that loving a demon brings. You will give up all to be with me.
The twelve days before Christmas began on Friday the 13th, it was a full moon and a magickal nine days before the winter solstice. Of course, it was bound to happen.
Zeresh was through waiting. As an only daughter and motherless at that, she long suffered her father and the husband he chose for her. She was the obedient daughter and compliant wife, serving their needs and wants above her own. She gave them children to dote over when they wanted and took them back to do the caring and the raising herself. Keeper of the house, cleaner of the backsides and runny noses. Even the holidays when everyone was gathered to feast and fest, the cooking and washing belonged to her alone. That was how she spent most of her time, but when the children were sleeping, and the men were away she read. Mother’s books were her sole possession. At first, she read them in an effort to know the mother that had disappeared when she was only six. Too young to understand, but by the time her years had doubled she was sure her mother had not simply vanished. She knew not to ask. Her father’s wrath was hottest concerning mother Mary; she had gone out to get firewood and never come back. Why didn’t someone else get the wood? Zeresh was certain her mother was already busy with a thousand other chores, a snake-quick backhand responded. From then on, she would find the answers herself.
“Why is my cup empty? Your father’s pipe too! Is there something wrong with you tonight, do I need to remind you how to behave in front of company?” her red-faced husband bellowed. Her sons laughed, openly mocking her. As she filled his glass, he pinched her chin adding “We can play piggy go riding tonight. Unless you can’t behave yourself. Then I’ll have to take you out to the shed again. Now give your father a kiss!” Every time the failing old bastard kissed her; she remembered the first time. She had thought it was a mistake when he came drunk and naked into her room then she heard her husband’s laughter.
Traditions may change with time, but occasionally they stick. Preparing and gorging, showing off new toys, celebrating, imbibing, then the deep sedated sleep. A few good men left to dream with their women, happily tucked in next to them. Zeresh was not one of them. But she was feeling lucky. The Beast would be coming around this year, finally she was old enough.
Created by The Mother when Father Time skipped the line, the beast passed into the world as demon to the deserving and passion to the broken. Smart as always, she forged the shapeshifter to be the exact remedy for the wanting. The hair and eyes, the body, and the mind compelled to fit the empty spaces with perfection. To the damned a beast was shown. Whatever they feared was stacked against them with a sharp mind and a sharp stick. The chains of the beast were constant though, the pleasure and pain were fluid. He came to her on the fifth of December, while she gathered her own firewood. You know who I am, but have you decided the length? he asked with an eyebrow raised and the taste of honey on his lips. Tonight, she would leave them to their own.
She fed them well, steaming plates piled deep and drinks ever at the ready. Dessert with a little something extra for the kids. Sleep, she thought at them. Though the boys favored their father she still did not want them whipped up into His bag. She might have to see them again. Beat them, but don’t bring them, she prayed.
When all were dozing deeply the bells began to chime. The door opened for the shadowed ones. A crone, and a cat, a man they call Trapp. Each with a job to do. Two fathers were taken, their just desserts served. The boys-who knows what lessons they will learn. Their mother, however, went right to work. Her passion was pleasure. Her chosen timeline-forever.
“So, the legend goes” laughed Sophia. “May Vashti bless you”.
“You know everything!” Emily moaned, “My life is so planned out. If I even thought of anything like that Frank would know in a heartbeat”. The women laughed over their coffees. Sophia’s was a deep, throaty, whiskey drinkers laugh. Emily was mousy and though she was sure Frank was at work she still looked around with unease.
“He’s not here! Let’s go read by the fireplace, it’ll warm you up” Sophia purred, her minty breath tickling goosebumps across the other woman’s shoulders. Emily tensed, needing a cigarette-her only vice. “Oh, come on. Outside first” she said shaking her head. Her long, black hair caught the lights shining blue. Emily’s nervous giggle caught in her throat when she saw him. Playing a snare next to the Christmas donations chest, wearing his usual long-sleeved black shirt, this one said Vulgar Display of Power. She didn’t know what that could mean. There was nothing vulgar about him (except her rushing thoughts). He was a nice guy, here donating his time and talent for Christmas. He was so good she knew he could easily be a professional drummer, instead here he was just giving it away! He drew a crowd, and everyone suddenly had money to spare. When he gave them a sexy grin, they dug a little deeper. He had to be Santa’s favorite helper.
“You want that little drummer boy?” smirked Sophia.
“No! I mean he is really…handsome. But I could never!”
“Sure you could! Everyone deserves a little cheer. He looked up at them winking as if he knew just what they’d said. “Hey, let’s get out of here” laughed Sophia, winking back. They wound up at a tiny dive bar with a real Wurlitzer. She claimed not to have been drunk before, surprising Sophia with the amount of liquor she tossed back in a fast hour.“Let’s get you home”. Emily stopped her; wailing about Frank being home, so they went back to Sophia’s. “You’re not tense anymore are you little girl?” she asked before picking Emily up and putting her in the bed.
Visions dance ‘round Emily’s head; the tinkling of bells, the largest fireplace she’s ever imagined, and the enthralling drummer-boy in all his naked glory, leading her ‘round the floor, spinning and dipping until she is overcome. He lays her down upon the furs. His kiss devours her senses.
She wakes in his arms her bare flesh being feasted upon. He is delicious! His mouth of sweet caramel, warm vanilla tempting hers. Softest cashmere hips, centripetal force deepening her.
“Who the Hell are you?!” The outraged scream does little to break her enthrallment. She hadn’t even heard the door crash in. Bodies transfixed in unfamiliar music; the sultry slow strum of a Spanish guitar coupling with moaning violins, a dangerous saxophone wail, splashed contrast of softly ringing bells, caressing her ears and condemning her restraint.
“I am The Ghost of Christmas yet to …” but he is interrupted by the raven-haired seducer as she steps closer to the screamer and pushes Frank into the inferno beneath the hearth.
“I work in mysterious ways” she laughs then draws a black blade across her throat. Blood red berries burst from the severing, the beautiful body turns as dark and gnarled as a mistletoe infestation. It spreads into a witches’ broom leaving Emily to doubt her sanity, but only for a moment. From the perverse branches sprang forth The Horned One, dressed in heavy furs, a mighty birch branch clasped between claws. Emily fainted. “Mary of Christmas must tend to her great-granddaughter now. I’ve still much to do tonight”.
“I’ll see that it’s done” smiled The Ghost of Christmas yet to Come. “And to You a Merry Christmas Krampus!”
Raised by Pentecostal preachers, horror was not a readily available commodity. As her love grew, her parents were occasionally summoned to school to talk about book reports and various projects that weren’t quite appropriate for her age. They were lost as to where she’d gotten such “trash”. Luckily for her, there was a librarian that understood her insatiable hunger for darker worlds. Even now, if she could, she’d live among the stacks.
Her penchant grew to include ghastly movies and music, which she’ll happily share with anyone listening. The love of horror continues with her favorite videogame, “House of the Dead, Overkill”. She’s not the best gamer, except when defending herself against the wrong monsters. Head shots are her speciality.