Day broke, the sun achingly came over the concrete horizon, lighting the darkness in dull pink/orange hues as if the city were bruised from an encounter with the night. In winter its weakend rays didn’t really warm the ground at all or provide comfort for his bones that painfully throbbed with cold, then again, he had been alive so long he new each season intimately from his almanac of ailments, cured by one only thing, human blood gave him that reprieve.

Christmas Eve was a special time of year, parents huffing and puffing to get that last present or bag of sprouts. Children excitedly waiting for fairy tale magic and presents. Teenagers being stoically dismissive, never mind the ones who had never had the magic or hated Christmas. Christmas Eve was a day where his threat was a beautiful disguise wrought in fabric of delusion. Christmas Eve was the killing day.

The day wore on as the sun rose higher, he watched from his park bench, the little people came and went on their self-important quests. Eying each one, deciding who was expendable, who would nourish, who was indeed “naughty”; as only the repugnant ones were on the menu, purity was gifted with his brother, whilst he was the carrion call to evil. Noting the man at 47, with his neat hair, dazzling glasses and oh so festive jumper, he radiated an aura of malignance. He was the one.

Day lengthened into night, the sun diminished forcing the moon to rise, glowing in the vast firmament speckled with motes of star light effervescently twinkling. Beauty and magic walked hand in hand tonight except for the stranger. He had moved from his solitary bench, slipping in an out of shadow casting aside his disguise in his approach. Skin and bone reset and reformed, morphing, oozing and blending into a visage of horror. Black goat horns ripping out of his skull, teeth needle sharp lined his maw, strong arms ending with powerful talons and cloven-hoofed legs.  People confused him for “the devil” but Krampus was much older.

At the window he looked in, breath misting the glass. There at his chair was his prey, watching something flashing on the computer, all his attention on the monitor; none at the window being drawn up.

The window opened let the shadow inside flicking from corner to corner, its inky blackness undulating into existence. Gerald looked up from his computer, away from the chatroom, away from his grooming prey. His urges never had him caught yet, maybe never would. A cold draft brushed across his arms as he got up to close the living room window, shaking his head in disbelief, why would he have let that open. Window closed, locked, curtains drawn. The lights for the tree switched on, twinkling against colourful baubles mirroring the room. A shadow moved in across the bauble drawing Gerald’s eye for the last time.