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Special Mention - Stewart Arnold

A Christmas Visitor (Inspired by Norse Mythology)

By Stewart Arnold

It was early morning. It seemed like any other early morning. But this one ought to be
different. Not only was it Christmas morning, but it was also the twins’ birthday. A
double celebration but the usual excitement had yet to announce itself.

The door to Ivy’s bedroom opened slowly. She was still fast asleep. Holly got closer
and whispered “Hey Sis, wake up it’s Christm-a-s-s!” breaking into a louder “and happy
birthday to us, the Christmas Twins!

Ivy stirred and groaned; just about managing a questioning “Huh?”. Holly followed up
with “C’mon sleepyhead. If you stay asleep, ‘YULE’ miss the fun! – Yule, get it? It’s a
Christmas joke

Ivy was in no mood to laugh. She was feeling exhausted and explained she was still
recovering from a weird dream, which she quickly corrected to a weird nightmare. Holly
felt bad for her twin especially as she herself was in such a good mood as she always
looked forward to Christmas day. Christmas and Birthday together, always a great day.
To make matters worse, in complete contrast to her sister’s nightmare, Holly had a
wonderful dream the previous night.

Holly told Ivy that she felt her dream had special meaning so much so that she had
woken up happy. “What about the other 6 dwarves?” quipped Ivy. “Now that’s a good
”, Holly quickly pointed out “humour to defeat your nightmare. Seriously though, my
dream was brilliant
”. “You should have called me into yours!” Ivy wished. “No need,
you were there for part of it
,” revealed Holly.

In an effort to lift Ivy’s despondency, Holly suggested she relate her wonderful dream.
They were at a very large department store looking for Christmas presents. They could
see into a back room where there were a lot of Santa Claus guys fixing white beards on
their faces, stuffing cushions inside their red outfits and practising “Ho. Ho. Ho”.

Where were we?” Ivy asked.
Looking from the doorway”, was the answer.
Holly continued.
There was one Santa Claus who was completely away from all the others. He just sat
on the other side of the room. It was so noticeable that he was somehow different from
the other lookalikes. He wasn’t fixing his beard or stuffing his belly. He just sat there
with a big smile on his face. He looked very friendly

Is that it?” queried Ivy “he just sat there smiling and looking friendly?
Hardly breaking news, is it?

Holly went on to explain that this different Santa spoke to her. He said he was Nicholas,
a bishop from hundreds of years ago. He had died and because he had carried out
such wondrous good deeds in his earthly life, Heaven allowed him to return each
Christmas to help the poor and needy.

It made me feel that he was the real Santa and all the others were fakes” Holly
The real Santa? Real? Seriously? Can you hear yourself?” said Ivy mockingly.
Holly added “Then he kinda waved to me and smiled. I woke up, feeling so good”.
Wish I did”, Ivy echoed gloomily.

Holly asked Ivy about her dream, correction nightmare.
Ivy was silent, still subdued.

You will feel much better after it, trust your big sister on this”, Holly said as if pulling
rank. “Not that Big Sister speech again! You were hatched a whole 14 minutes before
me! Big deal
”, said Ivy.
You know it’s better off your chest”, Holly urged.
Maybe...” Ivy conceded.

Ivy started slowly, very slowly, cautiously as she had no desire to reconnect with such a
horrible experience.
Well, there was a big Christmas tree in our house.
Lots of presents wrapped up around it.

Ivy paused, unable to continue.

Take your time sis”, encouraged Holly “So far, all good, nice tree and presents”.
But Ivy was stuck, as if frozen in time, petrified to continue.

What happened next? Come on now, just spit it out”, said Holly. Ivy remained

Ivy continued, still very slowly,
Well.......... stepping out from behind the tree, was a horrible thing, a disgusting
creature wearing a Santa Claus hat but with two horns poking through it.
He was wearing chains and as he moved, they rattled.
His face was ....
Ivy’s voice was shaking “was really ugly, like a monster.
He was like a twisted goat
Yuk. How terrible for you!” was Holly’s disgusted opinion.

Ivy continued “he said he was Father Krampus.
He glared at me, a horrible menacing glare

So definitely not Father Christmas!” echoed Holly. “What did you do?

Ivy explained that in her nightmare she could not move.
She wanted to scream but she just froze.

The two sisters sat on the bed in a mutual silence that spoke volumes.
Holly’s arm was round her sister’s shoulder.
She waited patiently for Ivy to continue.
Ivy remained motionless; her eyes fixated into space.

After a while Holly whispered “Ivy. Ivy?
Ivy was in a world of her own. Neither asleep nor awake.
Holly called her again but to no avail.
In her trance-like state, Ivy was suddenly revisited by Father Krampus.
His weird deeply menacing voice spoke to her mind and she saw his image once again.

Ivy! Ivy!
Are you looking forward to Christmas?

He gave a demonic laugh and continued
Forget the pathetic Christmas lie.
That sad do-gooder Santa is a joke.
A joke for children.
It’s time to grow up!
I am not a pretend smiling man with a white beard.
I am real and I am here!
Right here, in your mind.
My mother is the goddess who rules the world below, the world of the undead.
My father?
His Kingdom is Hell, which makes me....
a bit of a devil.
I am your worst nightmare – and I am HERE!

Ivy heard loud hissing from the apparition’s mouth.
There was hazy smoke and a putrid smell, the smell of a thousand dead bodies.

Still the voice continued.

You - are a bad person!
You - deserve to be punished!
What Christmas treat shall I give you?
Let me think.
Ah yes, to beat you with birch sticks!
Perhaps I shall eat you.
Or maybe I will show mercy and leave you with a nice lump of coal

Then once again, that spine-chilling, blood-curdling demonic laugh.

Ivy!” said Holly yet again, and now increasingly concerned.

Lump of coal, lump of coal,” said Ivy emerging from her trance-like experience.
Lump of coal?” repeated a bewildered Holly.

He said I was very lucky because he had already eaten a naughty child, so he wasn’t
” said Ivy.
How horrible! You poor thing. I can see why you were so frightened,” said Holly.

Ivy added that in her nightmare Father Krampus had handed her something wrapped in
dirty paper. She did not know what it was, only that the package was covered in black
slime and as she touched it, Holly had woken her.

That’s horrible!” Holly sympathised, “Creepy”.

Ivy said she needed a drink before breakfast, a proper drink.

Holly suggested that they take Ivy’s stocking down to the lounge to forget the nightmare
and begin the nice memories.

Ivy removed her stocking from the end of the bed.

What the.... what’s that?" she questioned.
What’s what?” asked Holly.
There! At the top of the stocking!” said Ivy pointing

The sisters stared in disbelief and horror; the first item in the stocking was a piece of coal. It was covered in slime.

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