Krampus Tales 4: Expectations by Josh Turner; Letter to Krampus by Alan Graham

We are delighted to support the brilliant Brisbane based Tiny Owl Workshop for a second time, in their innovative Krampus Crackers competition to find 12 flash fiction stories inspired by the mythical Christmas demon Krampus – a half-goat, half-demon, mythical beast, terrifying ‘wicked’ children into being ‘nice’ for Christmas- accompanied by some fabulous artwork by Simon Cottee,Kathleen Jennings, Terry Whidborne, Kirsty GreenwoodGustavo Ortega and Seana Seeto. Today, in our final instalment of terrifying Krampus tales, we have Expectations by Josh Turner and Letter to Krampus by Alan Graham.

Krampus by Seana Seeto © 2014

Krampus by Seana Seeto © 2014

Expectations

“I never wanted this life,” the beast growls.  The words drip like acid from its tongue.  “I wanted to be an astronaut.”

A muffled voice answers.

“Ever tried to fit a helmet on top of two foot of twisted horn?”  A cloven hoof crushes through thick snow.  “No, people have expectations when you’ve got horns.  Nothing worse than expectations.”  The beast grunts as it hoists a weight onto its shoulders.

A second muffled voice replies.

“Easy for you to say.  You’ve got opportunity.  I’ve got fur.”  Red, glowing eyes flick down, tracing the matted pelt illuminated by the moonlight.  “Never does what I want it to.”

A higher pitched voice emerges.

“It’s fur, not hair.”  A clawed hand twitches.  “Don’t suppose they have fur driers do they?”

Silence.

“Didn’t think so,” it growls.  A long tongue darts out, tasting the crisp night wind.  The pointed end darts one way, then the other, slithering through the moonlight like a blackened serpent.

 

“This way,” he mumbles, turning towards the rising mountain slope.  The tongue whips round once more in the air.  “Tastes like Christmas.”  The beast’s mouth cracks into a twisted smile filled with rotten, pointed teeth.  “Bet there’s no astronaut knows what Christmas tastes like.”  Its glowing eyes flick up to sky, see silver pin pricks scattered through the blackness.

 

Hesitantly, a muffled voice replies.

“Well what if they lose their calendar!” The beast hisses, its eyes flaring brighter, illuminating the snow around it.

Muffled voices hastily agree.  One starts sobbing.

“Stop that,” the beast growls, yanking hard.  “Hates it when you get my fur wet.”

The sobbing grows louder.

Red eyes roll in contempt.

The first voice speaks again.

“There’s always one,” the beast says with a sigh.  “Don’t care who your daddy is.  No way he can get me on the space programme.”

The muffled voices quickly start talking over each other.

“Anyone else hungry?” It snarls.

The voices stop.

 

The beast pauses at the crest of the slope, staring down the valley.  There are lights darting around angrily at the bottom.  The beast sniggers, then turns towards a cavern hidden in the shadow of the mountain’s peak.

The weight is damp on its back by the time it reaches the lair.  Its eyes pick out a crack in the rock.  The canvas shakes with sobbing.

“Always ends like this,” the beast growls, shaking its head.  Then it tips the sack into the hole.  A girl and boy cartwheel out, crashing into the chute before sliding towards the great crevasse below.  Their screams are lost to the night.

“Shouldn’t have been naughty,” the beast cackles.

The last boy holds tight to the edge of the canvas, staring up pleadingly.

“You don’t have to do this!” he cries, tears rolling down his cheeks.

The beast looks down, seeing the reflection of its curled horns in the frightened eyes.

Snarling, it lashes out with a hoof, sending the boy tumbling down towards the darkness.

It shrugs.  “Can’t be an astronaut.”

 

Biography: Josh Turner is a writer based in Edinburgh with a love of writing fiction.  He likes strange worlds and weird dreams that make it from his imagination onto the page.  He also likes coffee and cake and frequently uses them to fuel his literary delusions. @Josh_turner13


 Letter to Krampus

Krampus by Seana Seeto © 2014

Krampus by Seana Seeto © 2014

From the desk of the precocious Moritz Oberwinkel, aged nine and four fifths.

Dear Herr Krampus,

Last December, my parents told me to write a letter to Saint Nicholas requesting my gift preferences. This year however, I have been informed that my naughty behaviour means I will not be receiving any treats and should instead expect a visit from the Krampus.

 

I cannot deny that this year I have acted in a fractious, disobedient and wicked manner. Indeed tonight I find myself sent to bed early as a result of a particularly lightfingered trip I made to the cake shop. However, my domestic exile has granted me time to consider my – dare I say, our – predicament.

 

I have come to the conclusion that we share a similar attitude to respectability and good behaviour. We are, in our own respective ways, monsters. It therefore makes little sense that we are set against each other by saints and parents alike.

Therefore I have decided that this year, I should write to you and propose we make a deal; rather than accept our fate we combine our forces for the purposes of mischief.

Firstly, I am aware of the location of the safe where my parents store all their valuables. I suggest that when you arrive to dole out the punishment prescribed by our so-called betters, I instead lead you to this location. You can use your black arts to unlock the safe and we split the contents fifty – fifty.

I have also successfully found where Saint Nicholas has hidden the presents for my annoyingly well-behaved younger brother and incessantly noisy, smell-generating baby sister. My second proposal is that we spend time sabotaging their toys and eating their sweet treats. I also have pens for the purposes of vandalising their brand new picture books, but as my parents will recognise my handwriting, I hope your clawed hands are capable of adding rude words and filthy images.

Finally – and I hope you don’t take this the wrong way – I would be grateful if we could make use of your unique facial characteristics. Next door lives the prim and proper Anastasia Schönblumer, who thinks she is so much better than me. I have a feeling that, were you to peer through her window at midnight, she might not feel so superior. In return if there is anything you suggest I can do to take that pompous Saint Nicholas down a peg or two I will be happy to help.

I hope you feel in a position to accept these terms, and that our alliance may be the beginning of a long and fruitful partnership. I would be grateful, should you possess the contact details of the Bogie-Man, if you would pass them on, as I believe he might also be interested in my kind of proposal.

I am looking forward to hearing from you.

Have a wicked Christmas,

MO

Biography: Alan Graham studied “Creative Writing” and “Economics” at UEA and is still unsure which discipline relies on make-believe the most. He currently lives and works in London.


You can read the first six Krampus Tales here.

You can find out more about Krampus and the Krampus Cracker project here.

 

Terry Whidborne © 2014

Terry Whidborne © 2014

Fiona Gell

Fiona is a lifelong reading enthusiast and book lover. Her career started as a bookseller and has never really veered away from the written and spoken word. It was a dream for her to be a founder member of The Leeds Big Bookend Festival. Fiona is the Festival's Coordinator, helping to bring the whole festival together.

You may also like...