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  • Jeff Bacon

Christmas Traditions

The crisp morning air and the fresh snow that covered the ground made it feel like Christmas Eve. Al, Tim, and Tom all felt the excitement of anticipation as they pulled up next to the cemetery in their black panel van. Al shut the engine off as the other two focused on the house next to the cemetery.


“Looks nice Al, security system?” Tim asked.


“None, and the locks on the doors are old,” Al replied.


“You said three points of entry?” Tim asked.


“Yup, front and back doors, and one in the cellar,” Al answered.


These men had robbed houses together for fifteen years. Their Christmas tradition was to find a secluded house to spend the holiday in. They typically killed the family, opened the presents, and ate the food. It was their special time together as they pillaged the home, then burned it down at the end of Christmas day.


“How many in the house?” Tom was the most sadistic of the group. He only asked to find out how many females lived there.


“A teenage girl is all that I’ve seen, but I heard her talking to her mother. They talked about her twelve-year-old brother and dad. I think four,” Al replied.


Tom stopped listening after he heard the words ‘Teenage girl’. That was all he needed to know, he was all in.


Tim was skeptical--he looked at the house then at the cemetery. “Well, the neighbors aren’t a problem, but I don’t like this. Something’s off about this one.”


Al reassured Tim, “Look, we don’t even have to be careful. Just jam the cell phones, cut the lines to the house, and get in there for the festivities.”


Tim could not shake the bad feeling he had, but he reluctantly shook his head in agreement. The three men crawled to the back of the van and grabbed their tool bags. The plan was for Al to setup the cell phone jammer next to the house and flip it on, then Tim would cut the hard lines to the house, and Tom would wait until the signal to enter in the basement.


The three men exited the van and took their time as they assumed their positions. Al could hear the television blaring inside and what sounded like a mixer running in the kitchen. Tim watched him as he setup the cell phone jammer and flipped it on. Al held his thumb up in the air and Tim vanished around the corner.


Tom waited by the basement door until Tim threw a small rock at him. He held his arm up and flipped up his middle finger, then kicked in the door and entered the house. Tim moved quickly to the back door of the home and did the same. When Al heard the noise, he turned the handle on the front door and walked in.


Al walked into the beautiful home full of excitement. It was better than he originally thought. He was startled when the door slammed shut behind him. As he turned around, the beauty of the home faded, and the reality of the place set in. It was run down, abandoned, and worthless.


Al walked into what should have been the kitchen to see Tim with his mouth gaped open as he looked at every wall.


“What happened to the house? Where did it go?” Tim asked.


“I don’t know. I have another house we can go to, let’s get outta here.”


They heard horrific screams of agony coming from the basement. Tom screamed, “Tim, Oh God, help me. No, stop, please stop. Tim, Tim, Tim.”


Al and Tim ran to the basement door and opened it. Al started down the stairs and Tim followed. Something pushed them from behind and they fell to the bottom of the stairs. Tim was on top of Al when they landed on the dirt floor. They rolled apart and tried to make it to their feet.

They both stopped in their tracks when they saw Tim bound face down on a table, with a wooden post shoved through his body, starting at his rectum and exiting his mouth. The look of horror in his open eyes told Al everything he needed to know. Without saying a word, he ran over to the door leading outside and pulled on the knob. The door would not budge.


Tim pushed Al out of the way as he pulled out his gun and shot at the lock and door handle. The door would still not open. They frantically searched the basement for something they could use to open it. They found a small hatchet and a piece of round steel. They beat on the door until they had no more energy, it still would not open.


Al decided it was time to try the other doors. He walked up the stairs and Tim followed. When Al reached the top of the stairs, he was picked up and thrown into the kitchen cabinets. The old brittle wood broke into hundreds of pieces as his body crashed into the wall. Dazed and confused, Al attempted to stand up, he was forced back to the ground and held down by what felt like a foot in his chest. He opened his eyes to see no one there.


Tim was knocked down and pulled into what was the living room. Al could hear Tim’s screams as he was slammed into something wooden. The screams stopped and Al heard old tin buckets rattling and a gurgling sound.


Al was released and allowed to stand. He stumbled into the living room to see Tim strapped to what was once a sofa with a large funnel shoved down his throat. Al walked over and could see the water sitting in the funnel. Someone had poured buckets of water down Tim’s throat until he drowned. There was water running out of his nostrils and blood coming from his ears. Al looked closer to see small drawing pencils that were shoved in his ears and broken off.


Before Al could process the sight, he was pushed from behind and he saw a glimpse of a house he had robbed in the past. He stumbled forward only to be pushed in a different direction, again a glimpse of a different house he had robbed. Every time he was pushed in one direction, he would be pushed in the opposite direction and he would see a glimpse of a different home from his memories. He was getting closer to the front door with every three or so pushes.


The front door swung open and Al was pushed outside. He fell down the stairs onto the landing. He didn’t know what was happening, but he was glad to be out of the house. He rolled over and jumped to his feet and ran away from the house.


Al turned to look at the house to see if he was being followed, but as he looked forward, he ran himself into a spear being held by a statue on the edge of the cemetery. The spear punctured his heart--he lost consciousness quickly as the blood ran out of his body. He felt a cold wind as his soul separated from his body.


Then Al stood outside of his body. He looked around to see he was surrounded by other souls. He looked over at the middle of the cemetery and saw Tim and Tom wrapped in chains as they knelt with their heads down. The crowd opened as four souls walked in front of Al. Without saying a word, they grabbed his arms and led him to his friends.


Wrapped in chains and forced to kneel, Al was finally back with his partners. He looked over and saw Tim and Tom sobbing. He looked up and saw a family standing in front of him. They looked familiar, but he couldn’t place them.


The father of the family spoke, “You don’t remember us, but we remember you. We were your victims last year.”


It hit Al like a brick; it was the most brutal set of murders they had ever committed. He hung his head as he accepted the fact that he was dead and now heading to hell. He began to sob.


The father walked closer to Al. “I know you think you’re going to hell, but hell is too good for you.”


Al looked up as the father grabbed Tom and picked him up. “You see, usually the Angel of Death will come and escort your soul to its final destination.”


The father threw Tom’s soul over the cemetery’s iron fence. Tom managed to make it to his knees when six tentacles came out of the darkness, wrapped around his soul and pulled him into the abyss.


The father went over and grabbed Tim’s soul. “You see, the Angel comes to protect the soul from them.”


The father carried Tim over to the fence and threw him over onto the ground. More tentacles came out and wrapped around Tim, then there was nothing.


The father came over and grabbed Al and picked him up. “I made a deal with the Angel.” A smile cropped up on the father’s face. “She will not come for your soul--you have been damned to something far worse than hell.”


The father and the mother carried Al over to the fence. “Your soul shall be consumed by whatever is in the abyss.” Al looked at the father with a sadness he had never felt before. He could not speak, not one word, but the father knew what Al was thinking. “It’s too late for sorry.”


The father threw Al over the fence. When Al landed on the ground, he just laid there, waiting for the creatures to grab him. He looked over at the group and realized that everyone there was the soul of the someone he’d murdered on Christmas Eve.


The Angel of Death appeared next to the crowd as Al felt the tentacles wrap around him. He was slowly pulled into the abyss. He felt the horrible teeth of whatever was in the darkness sink into his soul as the sight of his victims disappeared in the distance.


Some souls are not worth saving. Then there are those souls that aren’t even worth sending to hell.

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