December 2, 2014

Open: Krampus and Santa Flash Writing Contest -- $100 Cash Prize CLOSED

Here's an easy flash writing contest to celebrate the release of Karmpusnacht: Twelve Nights of Krampus.

Below, in the comments section, write a flash story or vignette or even a poem depicting a dinner between Krampus and Santa (Saint Nicholas). The entry must be no more than 600 words. I'm leaving it to your imagination as to when, where, etc.

All of the the content-related requirements listed here apply. Submissions that do not meet the guidelines will be posted. Do not submit without reading the guidelines. Please do give some kind name associated with you entry (although you may use a pen name). POST THE ENTRY IN COMMENTS. DO NOT SEND IT TO EC'S EMAIL ADDRESS.

The contest starts now and runs until Dec. 20. The winner will be reposted on this site and awarded $100 through Paypal.  I am buying first time electronic rights only. Once the winner is officially posted, anyone who entered, including the winner, is free to sell the work elsewhere in any form. You must have a Paypal address. The winner will be announced by Dec. 24. If the winner does not contact me within 72 hours at, the next entry in line will become the winner.

There is no entry fee.


  1. Doing Some Good (567 words)

    Krampus sniffed suspiciously as Mrs. Claus helped him out of his coat and ushered him to the table. He smelled lamb stew – his favorite. “I'm so glad you could come on such short notice,” she said.

    His suspicion increased. He was well aware of her dislike for him and his ways. “Children need love, and gentleness,” she always told him. “The way to deal with the worst of them is to draw out the best in them.”

    He sat down at the table, arranging his long red tail behind the seat to curl around the legs of the chair. His sharp ears caught the slight grunt as his brother, Nicholas, eased forward in his own chair.

    “Ah,” he said, catching on before Nicholas could say a word. “You are injured and you need help with something before the big Christmas flight.” Nicholas grinned – since he'd gotten married, he couldn't seem to stop being so happy – but Mrs. Claus had the grace to look somewhat abashed.

    “You always were the clever one,” Nicholas said. “I slipped on ice this morning and broke my leg. I couldn't possibly make the run tonight.”

    Krampus nodded. “So, I am to assist with the loading and your wife will – no.” He stopped, having heard the wheeze in her chest that she was breathing so carefully to hide. “No,” he said again. “The pneumonia is still not good.”

    “Well,” she corrected him, absently. Once a schoolteacher, always a schoolteacher, he thought.

    “So, Krampus,” Nicholas said. “We would like your advice.”

    That made his ears prick. He hadn't been asked his advice before. “My advice,” he said. He stroked his beard thoughtfully, calling up candidates for replacing Nicholas on the run and dismissing them just as quickly. Someone who could control the reindeer, who did not mind cold, who could slip silently into homes – there was no one.

    Well, other than himself. He and his twin shared many abilities as well as a similar purpose, though they used their gifts in vastly differing ways. Over the centuries, their once-identical appearances had shifted and changed to match their dispositions and chosen methods. Krampus was a terrifying demon – Nicholas, a portly little man who spoilt children rotten.

    He reflected, not for the first time, that perhaps they had both gotten a bit too extreme in their approaches.

    “The only way would be if I did it,” he said, half to himself.

    Mrs. Claus looked astonished, but Nicholas grinned hopefully. “Would you, then? I know it isn't what you'd prefer...”

    Krampus waved his hand dismissively. “For you, and” - he nodded at Mrs. Claus - “your lovely wife, of course I will. I too, care for the children. They cannot be permitted to follow their instincts to become vicious savages, but neither should they feel nothing but condemnation. I shall follow your advice, this night,” he nodded again at Mrs. Claus, “and see if I can accomplish this gentleness for them.”

    After this unusually long speech, he finished his stew, shrugged into his coat and bid them goodbye, and stamped through the snow to the reindeer stables.

    When he was safely out of earshot, Nicholas whispered to his wife, “So, think it'll do him some good?”

    “Generosity does the most good for the giver,”she whispered back. “Perhaps this will draw out the best in him.”

    (Following via Facebook, Pinterest, and email)

  2. I look forward to reading it!

  3. Christmas 1914

    Krampus looked into his tin.
    "What's this we're eating again?"
    "Ersatz chicken." St Nicholas prodded it with his fork. "I think it's rat."
    Krampus waved a hand over his and changed it to potato peelings.
    "I could do yours as well," he offered.
    St Nicholas chewed stoically.
    "No, thank you. I prefer to share in the sufferings of the poor."
    Krampus rolled his eyes.
    Snow had been falling all afternoon. It covered the points of the barbed wire and the shoulders of the men on guard duty. Krampus kicked against the wall of the trench.
    "I'm bored. There's no point punishing these poor beggars. They've been punished enough already."
    He looked down the trench, to where two men, their faces raw with frostbite, were trying to light a cigarette.
    "I want to go and bring down the idle rich. Can't I end a dynasty or something? The Hapsburgs? The Ottomans? Ooh, what about the Romanovs?"
    St Nicholas sighed heavily.
    "Perhaps later."
    The men gave up the cigarette as a bad job. One of them started to play the mouth organ.
    "Perhaps an uplifting Christmas carol is what they need," said St Nicholas. "Do you know the words to Stille Nacht?"
    Krampus threw his potato peelings in St Nicholas' face. Then he stood up and gazed out into No Man's Land.
    "Hey, there are some other fellows over there. Do you fancy a game of football?"

    Elizabeth Hopkinson
    Following you on Twitter @hidden_grove

  4. Paula, I love your entry! I can't wait to read what everyone else does.

    Kate, this is such a fun prompt. I hope to write my own little story in the next week or two.

    Good luck, everyone. :)

  5. I follow via pinterest and facebook.
    Interviewing Krampus (533 words)

    Santa lifted his foot with the gouty toe up onto the chair next to him and groaned. He shifted his weight carefully so as to ease the pain. He fiddled with his spectacles and examined the resume. He cleared his throat.
    “Of course you realize this job requires quite a lot of deliveries on one night.”
    Krampus nodded. His horns clacked together when he bobbed his head. “Yes, yes. I’ve been doing the same routine myself for years. So many nasty children around.”
    Santa frowned. “I have a list. There are actually quite a lot of children on the nice list.”
    Krampus laughed. He lifted his wine glass to his nose and savored the aroma. Then he drank. “Yeah, I’ll bet those parents paid a pretty penny to get the names of their bratty kids transferred. Not that you’re at fault here, Red, but some of your elves…well, you know what I’m saying.”
    Santa took a bite of his Seafood Alfredo. “My elves have always come with the highest of recommendations.”
    “Of course they have. Mommies always give their kids high fives, don’t they? And Santa, confidentially, you’ve always been known as an old softie. I think a pair of fresh eyes on that list might be prudent.” Krampus took another gulp of wine and sighed. “This is darn good stuff. All mine comes in a box. Better yet a keg.”
    Santa grimaced as he shifted his foot. “The doctor says if I could stay off the rich food, but oh well…What do you have in mind for these children?”
    Krampus stroked his chin. “It’s true I beat their butts, but not that hard. No child has ever needed medical intervention. I use softwood, Santa, not hardwood. Sure, they cry out but kids are all about drama. Ask anybody.”
    Santa’s toe throbbed. “It’s the stress of the Christmas season. I try to be fair but there are always complaints. We do have a toy shop, you know. The kids expect toys.”
    “I’ll throw in some toys. But you don’t really believe kids are all nice, do you? No kid’s 100% nice. Not even 50% nice. If you want fair, give them all a beating, and a consolation prize. That’s what I say.” He took another swig of wine.
    “That stuff about you stuffing kids in a sack, that’s not true, is it?” Santa winced.
    “What would I want with a sack full of kids? Kids are loud, obnoxious and annoying. A bunch of kids all bawling for their moms? No sir, I got no need for a sack of rotten kids. Beat and run. That’s what I do. Beat and run.”
    Santa cleared his throat. “But you’ll deliver the gifts, right? I want to be clear on that.”
    Krampus raised a hand. “Waiter! More wine. Yeah, I’ll deliver the goods.”
    “No drinking and driving, Krampus.”
    “Really? And you’re telling me that red nose and rosy cheeks came from the cold, huh? And what about Rudolf? I’m sure he’s got a snoot full. Whatever! I’ll try to keep it under the legal limit. I’m pretty sure those reindeer drive themselves. Am I hired or what?”
    “You’re hired. Now, where’s that dessert menu?”

    By Shari L Klase

  6. Snow rushed through the door as Krampus and Santa trundled through it.
    Santa sank into his overstuffed armchair by the crackling fire. Krampus sank into a rocker beside him.
    “I’ll tell you, buddy,” Krampus said , “ I don’t know how many more holidays I can be like this. “
    “How’s that?” asked Santa.
    Krampus counted on his claws, “A, I got fleas. B, I’m old, C, I’m hungry and this processed meat eating isn’t cutting it. If we don’t find a way to do things like in the old days, there won’t even be a Krampus to scare kids anymore!”

    Santa sighed wearily, “Sneaking into their houses at night used to get us some kids. They have television and internet. We can’t NOT get caught taking off with children these days. So if you want to eat, you eat what you can.”
    Mrs. Claus’ voice lilted in from the kitchen, “ Santa, is that you?” She walked gaily into the room, but she looked annoyed when she saw Krampus. “Did you have to bring HIM? He always complains about my cooking.”
    “ Missus, it ain’t the cooking I don’t like. It’s the ingredients! What I wouldn’t give for a juicy, succulent piece of…” said Krampus.
    “Enough!” she interrupted. “Don’t you think I want that too? But we can’t… we just can’t…” her voice trailed off miserably.

    Santa thoughtfully stroked his beard “ Do you remember the time we almost ate those kids in Germany?”
    Krampus laughed, “Yeah! Your old lady looked great dolled up all “oomph pah pah” band style.”
    Mrs. Claus stiffened. “Those little brats called me an old witch! I was dressed as Frau Holda!”
    Santa smiled “You were the best Frau Holda.”
    Krampus beamed “Lucky for us, the Grimms were friends of the family. They lied to the townsfolk and told them the “old witch” got burned up! We got off scot free that time…AND we got the old stepmother all to ourselves!”

    “And they lived HAPPILY ever after!” chirruped Mrs. Claus.

    Krampus’ ears drooped sheepishly. “What DID you make for dinner?” he asked.

    Mrs. Claus was quiet for a moment and she looked down at her feet.
    “Not the reindeer…”Santa moaned.
    “No!” Mrs. Claus insisted. “I could never hurt my babies! You know how it upsets me when you drive them to the ends of the world and back every holiday!”
    “Well, I’m starving!” cried Krampus. “What are we eating?” He bounced out of the chair. “ Let’s go and see!” and headed to the kitchen.
    “Absolutely not!” Mrs. Claus cut him off. Krampus looked at her, his ears drooping lower than ever.
    “But…” he whined.
    She scratched his head comfortingly. “You old beast. I AM glad you’re here! I think I finally came up with the solution to our food dilemma!” She lead them to a beautifully set dinner table and disappeared into the kitchen.
    Minutes later, she emerged, carrying a huge platter, laden with some strange, fascinating looking food. The smell was unbelievable, like a million of the best dinners.
    “What IS it?????” Krampus and Santa squealed.
    Mrs. Claus proclaimed “Poached schmarklecocken!”
    “What is that?”, asked Santa.
    “ It’s legal. Taste it.” she said.
    After a moment of awe, Krampus and Santa both took a taste. They both sat back astonished.
    “It’s the best thing I have ever eaten!” cried Santa. “What IS schmarklecocken?”
    “I’ll never tell” she beamed. “Besides… you don’t want to know.”
    “ Good enough. “ said Krampus. “ Can we eat this every holiday?”
    “As often as you’d like,” she said.
    It was their best holiday dinner ever.
    by Saoirse Bhan

  7. Krampuslauf 2014 - 545 words

    I follow you on Facebook and Pinterest.

    “Carb loading?” Old Nick said, eyebrow lifted, slinging his leg over the bench and slapping down his tray. He was a thin, hairy man in runner’s tights and an aerodynamic jacket, practically bouncing on his toes.

    Santa flinched. “Can’t hurt.”

    “Carb loading is for people who need extra energy, Klaus old boy,” the Krampus said jovially. “You have plenty of stored-up calories.” He poked Santa in the belly with his two-pronged dessert fork.

    Santa pushed his hand away. “It’s for a good cause,” he mumbled. The Krampus eyed Santa’s plate. Plates. It hadn’t seemed like so many before.

    “Sauerkraut, strudel, schnitzel with noodles. Bratwurst, blutwurst, knockwurst. Pickles, pretzels, plenty of potatoes. I’d say your eyes are bigger than your stomach, but...”

    “I don’t suppose we could call it off,” Santa said. “26.2 miles is a lot. Why didn’t we make this a half-marathon? Or even a 5K? Next year, we could do a run/walk.”

    “The Krampuslauf is not a run/walk,” Nick said indignantly. “What’s the fun of driving wicked children before me through the streets at a slow jog? I want them running for their lives, screaming in fear. You’ve already sucked all the fun out with entry fees and Gatorade.”

    “About that. Surely the kiddies haven’t been that bad this year. I think I owe most of them a little something.”

    “There are plenty of badly behaved brats in this city,” the Krampus said. “Delinquents. Dealers. Democrats. I hear the mayor’s a bit of a Grinch; should I put him in my basket?”

    “I never meant for you to start dragging them off to Hell,” Santa said plaintively.

    “Your way isn’t working,” the Krampus said, a low, smoldering crackle in his voice. “If it did, I wouldn’t be here. I’d be relaxing on a beach in Hades, collecting my retirement, surrounded by very naughty boys and girls. You’ve lost your touch, old man, and someone has to deal out the discipline.” The Krampus took a swig of his Beck’s. “God, this stuff is swill. That bartender is on my list.”

    Next morning dawned clear and bright. Through the hotel wall, Santa could hear the Krampus whistling in the bathroom. He shuddered; it was a familiar tune, loved by pipers, children, and rats. He pulled on his red sweat suit, straining over his bowl full of jelly, and checked himself out in the mirror. Maybe this year. Maybe this year he’d catch the children himself, hand out candy, do some photo ops and reindeer rides at the finish line. Maybe. Maybe. But he was already out of breath when he got to the starting mark, panting, regretting that last piece of pie.

    The Krampus was there, stretching his hamstrings, his long shadow flickering across the asphalt, its tail lashing. He bared his sharp teeth in a terrifying smile. “Please,” Santa begged. “No more. Don’t take any more of my children.”

    The Krampus laughed, a dark noise, with echoes only Santa could hear. The announcer, oblivious, tapped Santa on the shoulder. “We’re about to start, if you two could take your places.”

    “On your mark.” Santa looked at Krampus. The Krampus threw him a wink.

    “Get set.” Straining to reach the ground, Santa knelt. He fumbled for his bootlaces, checking the knots one last time.


  8. But Saoirse, what IS schmarklecocken?

  9. Christmas Night (465 words)

    The clearing was filled with glittering snow. At the very center of it, candlelight poured from a large table, set for two. Porcelain plates shone in the night, and dishes of all sorts filled wide silver platters. There were the most exquisite canapés, and roast duck with oranges and baked potatoes, and fruitcake and a dozen types of Christmas cookies at the very least, and many other things in steaming bowls and casseroles. Krampus looked in amazement as Santa led him by his arm.
    "Come, old friend, sit, eat, enjoy!" the old man said, holding out a chair. "This is our Christmas dinner after all."
    Krampus let his sack drop to the ground with a loud thud and several muffled grunts of pain from within. He sat himself in the chair Santa was offering him and waited politely for his host to start the meal before attacking the canapés. Santa threw a furtive glance at the sack, but said nothing of the childlike noises coming from it. Instead, he did his utmost as a gracious host, helping Krampus to every dish and pressing him to have seconds.
    Everything was as delicious as it looked. The canapés were works of art, delicious miniatures of perfect taste. The roast duck was unparalleled, the side dishes masterpieces fit for a main course, and the cookies were divine flavors melting on the tongue. But the crowning jewel was the fruitcake. Soft as foam and velvety of texture, it held in its sweet and spicy taste the very magic of Christmas. There were in it tender hints of apple and vanilla, and spicy overtones of ginger and cloves. It melted on the tongue and warmed the very heart of him who ate it. It was so good indeed that even Santa forgot his manners as a perfect host and was about to help himself to the very last piece, a thick slice that could have easily been cut into two and shared.
    "You want this?" he asked, checking himself at the last moment, when the cake was already on his plate.
    "I wouldn't mind a little more fruitcake," Krampus answered circumspectly.
    "Well, you can have it then," Santa said, not making any move to relinquish the cake. "But I must have something in return."
    Krampus looked at him patiently, waiting for the old man to name his price.
    "I'll trade it to you for the contents of your sack," Santa announced.
    "But there's nothing good to eat in there, only children!" Krampus protested. "It's only naughty children, and they're quite a nuisance, really. You wouldn't want anything to do with them."
    "Perhaps they are naughty," Santa agreed. "But their parents want nothing more for Christmas than to have their children back, and I know they have been good all year."

    Following through Google Friend Connect and Google+.

  10. Blue-plate Special

    Nick! Krammie! Have a seat, take a load off.
    What’ll ya have?
    As always - sweetbreads for you there, K?
    And the big St. N will have cookies, naturally.
    Eggnog for both. Comin’ right up.
    How’s it going this year?
    Kids any better or worse?
    I’ll tell ya, after that scare you gave them last year, K, my two sure did fall in line.
    What’s that? More non-believers than ever, eh?
    Ah, it’s all this technology. No mystery in the world.
    Everybody knows everybody else’s business.
    No privacy, no pretend, no make-believe.
    And then there’s the commercialism!
    Used to be you guys had at least 10, 11 months off between gigs, am I right?
    Now, it seems as though all the holidays run together.
    Halloweenthanksgivingchristmas, hallowthanksmas!
    Hey, that’s clever!
    Well, I bet there are still plenty of places you guys make a difference.
    So where ya been tonight?
    Oy, that’s a bad area, hope you kept an eye out for each other.
    Lemme see your bags.
    Nick, looks like you gave out every piece of coal.
    And ya gave out less gifts, huh.
    K – that bag of switches looks sparse. What? Broke a few, hmmm.
    Told you it was a bad area.
    That other bag looks pretty full, and squirmy, too.
    No sir, I do not hear a thing.
    Ever since you both visited me so long ago, well, that beating sure did hurt my ears.
    Been hard of hearing ever since. And even more so since I got this job.
    Bartenders have what they call discretionary hearing.
    Yeah, yeah go ahead and tease me, it is a big word!
    Ah, here’s your food, dig in.
    OK Nick, you know where the facilities are, yep back left corner.
    Now, K, we can talk. Is it just the one bag? Two more!
    Left ‘em at the kitchen door, right?
    Great, great, always good to get a fresh delivery.
    Here he comes…I’ll send the money to the same place? Good, got it.
    Hey! There ya are.
    Eat up fellas, plenty more where that came from.
    And tonight, it’s on the house!

    Marcia A. Sherman, follow via pinterest and facebook; 351 words

  11. One Last Delivery
    By Scott Farrell

    Nicholas’s boots rested by the hearth, ice melting on their toes. The saint himself sat nearby at the table, his belt unbuckled, his long fur robe falling open at his waist. He reached forward and raised a steaming mug of cider in the direction of the opposite chair.
    A grin appeared in the shadows at the far side of the table.
    “Here’s to another year’s work almost done,” said Nicholas.
    His companion’s red eyes narrowed. “Almost?” asked the Krampus.
    Ja,” Nicholas said. “Just one more delivery I have to take care of.”
    Krampus’s forked tongue darted out, licking sweet liquid from the rim of his cup. “And what is that?” he asked.
    “It’s our custom to share a meal when our duties are done on Christmas Eve,” Nicholas said. “But as I was filling my bag yesterday, I realized someone’s been overlooked.”
    From his nearly empty sack, Nicholas withdrew one last parcel wrapped in bright paper.
    “What’s this?” the Krampus wondered. “I thought your gifts were only for good boys and girls.”
    Nicholas nodded, saying, “True, and so you are, old friend. My ‘naughty’ list is for people who tell lies and think only of themselves. Who never bother to do anything to help anybody else. What you do may be harsh, Mr. Krampus, but when you come to think of it, there’s nothing dishonest about you. You’ve never so much as raised a switch or pointed a claw at anyone who didn’t completely deserve it.” He gave a merry chuckle. “And, by gosh, your discipline has set many a mischievous youngster on the path to becoming a respectable adult. And that qualifies you as good in my estimation, you see?”
    With his taloned hands, Krampus made short work of the wrapping. From the box he drew out a pair of thick, warm mittens. “Danke, friend,” he said. “They’ll keep me snug, even on the coldest nights.”
    “Glad you like them,” Nicholas said. “And now our work is done at last. Let’s tuck into our dinner. Everything looks delicious.”
    “Ah,” the Krampus said. “About that ... funny thing, I, too, realized I’ve disregarded someone. On this night each year I bring punishment and woe to the wicked: Those who take undue credit, make promises they don’t intend to keep, and weaken the world’s moral fabric.”
    Nicholas’s snowy eyebrows bunched together. “What are you talking about?” he asked.
    “Have any of those elves who toil in your workshop ever tasted a crumb of gingerbread or a drop of cocoa left for you by the grateful, cheery children on your route, eh?” Krampus wondered. “How many ghettos and tenements have you gone dashing by on Christmas Eve, tossing out one disappointing, token gift, socks or a second-hand doll, as you’re rushing off to heap stacks of expensive toys beneath the tree of some wealthy family — if you bother to stop at all?” He clicked his long claws on the tabletop. “And how many innocent-hearted toddlers have been corrupted by your jolly message, that virtuous acts should be motivated only by material gain?”
    Nicholas laughed in disbelief. “But the joy and smiles! Visions of sugarplums! What about all of that?”
    “Those who refuse to see the evil they do,” Krampus said, “those are the worst of all.” He reached into the hamper at his side and removed a stout birch branch. “Luckily, we have a little time left before dawn. Just one last thing I’ve left to deliver.”

  12. I'm following you on Twitter :)

    Thankless (558 words)

    Santa had insisted on McDonalds this year for their Thanksgiving meal. As a Bavarian, Krampus didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving, yet he made the flight to Greenland. The McDonalds didn’t actually exist; Santa had created it specifically for the purpose of this meal. It was located in a snowy valley and the only vehicle outside was a red sleigh where nine reindeer panted after their first run of the season.

    There were no staff on the tills. Krampus removed his Cashmere scarf as his rusty chains which hung from his trouser pocket jingled during his search of the restaurant. Squeezed between a table lined with Happy Meals and milkshakes and a yellow cushion was Santa. He wore sunglasses and black shirt with a skull on it which left his rolls of fat open to the cool chill. Krampus picked up a couple of napkins and placed them next to Santa as he finished off a cheeseburger with wild chews.

    ‘Krampy,’ he said, spitting out flakes of meat into his white beard, ‘Happy Thanksgiving man.’

    Santa pushed forward a box of chicken nuggets. The cardboard was moist with grease.

    ‘And to you Nicholas,’ Krampus said pulling a napkin across his lap, ‘You seem to be in high spirits.’

    ‘Aw yeah man,’ Santa said, ‘Mrs Claus got the elves to stop protesting. They wanted some minimum wage garbage, but Mrs Claus said if they didn’t work she’d march them out of the workshop with her shotgun and they could freeze their asses off in the snow. They got right back to work after that.’

    Santa’s head rocked as he chuckled. Krampus picked at his horn.

    ‘As long as the toys are ready for Christmas, I guess,’ Krampus said, ‘Will you be ready for Christmas? Have you practised being generous since last year?’

    The cardboard cup in Santa’s hand squelched as he sucked the last remnants of chocolate milkshake from it. He brought both of his fat hands to his head as he massaged his brain freeze away.

    ‘It’s the same every year. He He He, Merry Christmas.’

    ‘It’s actually Ho Ho Ho,’ Krampus said.

    ‘I’ll get it on the day,’ Santa said, and pointed at Krampus, ‘What about you. When was the last time you punished someone.’

    ‘My cat urinated on the rug the other day and I sprayed him with water.’

    Santa applauded with slow claps and a shake of his head.

    ‘Why don’t we just swap places?’ Santa said, ‘You do the nice thing and I do the fun bad stuff.’

    Krampus pushed away his untouched nuggets.

    ‘It would confuse the kids,’ he said, ‘It’s a burden but it’s only for one night a year.’

    ‘Twenty four hours actually,’ Santa said, ‘And what do I get in return? A legion of kids who think I’m the jolliest man alive and a little bit of magic to get me through the year.’

    Krampus sighed. He would have loved to carry Santa’s burden, and the temptation to whip him with one of his rusty chains nearly overtook him. The one person he wanted to drag away into the black forest on his night of punishment was untouchable, for then he would punish the nice children. That would have hurt him more than anything he could do to Santa. Krampus hoped the children were thankful for his restraint.

    By Andy Cashmore (@AndyJCash)

  13. She Married Krampus

    By Lissa Sloan (follower on Twitter)

    Santa leaned back in his chair and adjusted his belt. “We should have done this ages ago,” he said, thumping Krampus on the shoulder. “That meal was simply superb.” He turned to Mrs. Krampus. “My compliments to the chef.”

    They really should have done it ages ago. Every year, Krampus invited them, but every year Santa and Mrs. Claus had found one excuse or another not to join him for Christmas dinner. But when Krampus announced he had taken a bride, their curiosity got the better of them. And what a bride she was. Margie Krampus was nothing like what they had expected. She was well-dressed, with a trim waist and perky figure, a simple string of pearls adorning her throat. Her neat bouffant framed long-lashed eyes and a sweet bow-shaped mouth. The Krampus home was completely unexpected as well. It was immaculately kept, with plastic slipcovers shining over the furniture and every little decoration just so.

    Santa could hardly imagine what an attractive young woman would see in Krampus, but there did seem to be genuine affection in the match. He could see it in the way she looked up at her horned and hulking husband, her eyes shining with devotion as she asked if she could pour him more coffee. Krampus had told Santa that her cooking was only one reason he married his “little Margie”, and having met her it was obvious she had plenty of other charms to recommend her.

    But her was sublime. The evening had begun with hors d'oeuvres. Dried beef pinwheels, deviled ham puffs, and all manner of delicacies on frilly toothpicks. Once they sat down to the table, things just got better. From the broiled grapefruit starter to the Baked Alaska (or Baked North Pole, as Mrs. Krampus playfully christened it) for dessert, everything was delicious. What that girl could do with gelatin (aspic canapes and an exquisitely molded pistachio and cranberry salad, complete with cottage cheese and grated carrots) was nothing short of witchcraft. The crowning glory of the meal, however, was the roast. Delicately spiced, tender and juicy, artfully displayed on a bed of greens and fruit, Santa couldn't remember when he'd eaten meat so succulent.

    Mrs. Krampus seemed pleased but a little embarrassed by her guests' praise of her cooking and changed the subject. “Was Jeremy Preston good?”

    Santa choked on his coffee and splattered it over the remains of the delectable roast. “Good?” Santa coughed. “Jeremy Preston? The less said on that subject, the better,” he said, going a little red in the face. That little hooligan's name was hated and feared by little sisters, pets, and parents alike. “He was the worst.”

    Santa remembered his blood pressure and dabbed at his beard with a napkin, trying to regain his composure. Mrs. Krampus was staring at him, her sweetheart lips forming a horrified O. “What?” he asked with a rising feeling of panic. “Did I get the name wrong? Maybe I'm thinking of Jerry Presley, or Joey Prescott.” He pulled out his Nice List, running an anxious finger down it until he arrived at the Ps.

    He sighed in relief. Jeremy Preston was on Krampus' list. “No,” he said with his eyebrows raised conspiratorially at Krampus, “not good at all.”

    Krampus covered his wife's smooth white hand with his hairy, long-clawed one and chuckled, a low rumble starting deep in his chest. “No, Margie, love. Not good.” He glanced admiringly at the platter at the center of the table. “Jeremy Preston was simply superb.”

  14. (I follow on Facebook and Pinterest)
    When Krampus Was “Nice”
    (573 words)
    Caroline Yu

    “Why’s he always late?” Krampus grumbled, squirting hot sauce over a bowl of jalapenos. “Can’t be the food or company.” The demon heard footsteps, echoing through his stony underworld. “There you are!”

    With a thud, Santa dropped into a chair. “Let’s make this quick.” He sniffed the bowl of peppers before pushing it away. “No transfers this year. Children on your naughty list
    need to stay there.”

    “Excellent,” Krampus answered, though his red eyes blinked in surprise. Every previous year, Santa requested at least five kids be transferred to his nice list.

    “My turn?” Krampus asked, snickering. He slammed his naughty list, chiseled into stone, onto the flaming tablecloth. “One of your little angels needs demoting. First time for everything, isn’t there? You won’t believe who the lucky kid is.”

    “Your minion told me.”

    “Oh?” So Krampus’s minion had planted the lie. Perfect. Now Krampus could make it grow.

    “No need to explain more,” Santa said before Krampus could. The old man’s heavy sigh rustled his beard. “From now on, there won’t be a nice list. I’m retiring.”

    Krampus’s smile faded. “What?”

    “Ingratitude’s running rampant.”

    “So?” Krampus snorted. “I repay brats for evil, smack them with sticks, take them on daytrips through my underworld, all expenses paid… You think I get thank you notes?”

    “It’s different for me. My giving should inspire others to give. I held out hope as long as Emily stayed on my list.” Santa’s frown made his beard droop to the table. Luckily, he looked up before the tablecloth singed his hair. “Your minion said Emily stole her brother’s basketball hoop? The one from his parents?”

    “Right out from under the tree,” Krampus said, his grin unusually sheepish. “Looks like Emily’s mine now.”

    Santa’s face furrowed, exposing thousands-years-old wrinkles. “Sometimes, Emily’s requests surprised me. Once, she asked for sparklers to tape to her wheelchair handles – which I couldn’t in good conscience give. But stealing her brother’s basketball hoop?” Santa shook his head. “Emily’s never envied her brother.”

    “Kids change,” Krampus said with a frown. He hadn’t counted on the fat fogey taking things this hard. All he’d wanted was payback for the brats Santa transferred to his nice list. Krampus winced when Santa sniffled.

    “I can’t continue, Krampus. Not when my little angel turns to thievery.” Shakily, Santa stood. “Don’t punish children on my former nice list just yet.” His voice wavered. “They’ll make your naughty list soon enough.”

    “Oh for the love of hot sauce,” Krampus mumbled.


    Krampus cocked his horned head. Now or never. “Emily didn’t…steal the basketball hoop. She borrowed it. So she could build it to surprise her brother.”

    Santa raised an eyebrow. Then he broke into his trademark grin. “Really?”

    At the sight of that jolly smile, Krampus gagged. “Don’t get too excited, old man. Emily’s not completely innocent. She’s planning to decorate the hoop for her brother dear. And if you ask me, defacing a hoop with unicorn stickers should be illegal.”

    Santa’s smile grew. “Emily can’t build that hoop alone. I’ll help her.” He hurried from the table. When he reached the underworld’s exit gate, he spun. “Why’d you tell the truth, Krampus?”

    Krampus gave the gleaming, fang-toothed grin he was famous for. “I’m not ready to let you retire, old man. Where’d I be without my rival?” He waved his hoof, cackling. “Until next year?”

    With a chuckle, Santa waved his gloved hand. “Until next year.”

  15. Ok, got it posted. Now I just have to hope the formatting didn't come out funky. :P Merry Christmas, everybody. And good luck! Cute, creative stories up there. :)

  16. I follow via Twitter. I think my browser crashed while trying to submit. I'm sorry if this is a duplicate.

    The Night the Devil Crashed My Birthday Party (423 words)

    In certain parts of Europe they celebrate the Feast Day of St. Nicholas. On this day in early December, St. Nicholas comes to good girls and boys and gives them some candy (and perhaps a toy) if they have been good. If the children have been bad, they get a visit from Krampus. In my mother’s village he was simply called “ten diabeł,” the devil.

    This day is also my birthday.

    When I was a younger child (I think about 5 or 6), I apparently was a terror. To this day my mother complains of the times I took apart TVs, placed fresh eggs under her bed sheets, and never gave up my pacifier. My mother kept telling me that I had better behave or the "devil would come and take me away." I rolled my eyes each time.

    On the day of my birthday, I was in my basement in the process of using my brand new TMNT pizza launcher toy to shoot my cousin with tiny plastic pizzas when the lights turned off. I stopped. I heard a deep "ho ho ho" and smiled.

    But then I heard a loud banging of chains at the top of the stairs. I stood frozen as I watched to see who would come down. First came St. Nick, dawned in a flowing white robe with a beard that matched. In his hands he held a cane of silver. I thought I was safe.

    But then from behind him came a man dressed in black and red with horns on his head and a dark pointy beard. Huge chains rested on his shoulders.

    And he stared directly at me.

    I ran behind my mother, shaking with fear behind her. But she pushed me in front of her. She had warned me after all. So I sucked up my courage and did the best thing I knew how to do.

    I started talking smack. "This is dumb! You're not real, those CHAINS aren't real!"

    To which the devil placed the chains on my shoulders; they weighed me down. I felt them pulling me to the depths of hell itself.

    "So," the devil said, his plastic face showing me no pity, "think you might want to be a good boy now?"

    I nodded.

    "Gonna give up your pacifier?"

    I took the thing out of my pocket and placed it in his hands.

    Then he turned and walked away, taking St. Nicholas with him.

    I had been a good boy ever since. Well, I mean, until high school.

  17. This comment has been removed by the author.

  18. Patricia Scott follow via Google+

    The Dismissal

    Nicholas usually declined dining with me. He had steadily developed a taste for elaborate confectionery in the red, white, and green of his appropriated season. As I took my place at the feasting table, I caught his look of distaste at the rare haunch of venison placed before me.
    The meat smelled of swiftness and forests, of spring battles and summer offspring, and winters lean but serviceable for the clever. It was a deliciously wild catch, then, not some pitiful farm-fattened creature closer to its idiotic bovine cousins, good only for chewing its cud and leaving traces of its passage on the forest floor.
    Nicholas preferred only sugar and froth, without the taint of the word's sorrows.
    “Why the fest, Nicholas? What have you decided to celebrate” I asked.
    “It's not a celebration, Krampus, it's a farewell.”
    “A farewell, is it? I suppose I needn't ask to whom.”
    “Seasons change and people learn. They adapt with time and become different.”
    “So you say,” I answered.
    “You may stay in your forest,” he announced as if he were bestowing a great boon upon me.
    “You've grown soft, old man. Your docile complacency will be your undoing. Already, these children doubt your existence in endless squabbles amongst themselves. Do you think your reputation is so great that you will still thrive as the years wear on? I thought so too, once, but look upon me now.”
    I deliberately tore a hunk of meat from the bone as Nicholas looked at me. He winced as meat juices flowed onto the platter while I licked my fingers clean.
    “Not reputation alone, Krampus, but the iconography is powerful. Even the children who cease to believe still enjoy the stories.”
    “Stories? They told stories of me in ages past.”
    “We live in gentler times now,” Nicholas insisted.
    “Gentler times? Have you lost your mind up there in the far reaches of the desolate North? They war now as much as they ever did and farther afield than ever before. There was a time, Nicholas, when they were content to kill each other one at a time, man to man, facing each other on battlefields swarming with armies. Now they don't even have to look at each other. They have devices to murder each other scores at a time. Do not speak to me of a gentler time when we both know it as falsehood.”
    “They want gentler stories, then,” Nicholas offered.
    “Ah, yes, so they might construct a nostalgic artifice around some bygone age when men were nobler creatures. These humans do so love their fictions.”
    “Their fictions sustain them and us.”
    “And yet, you see no room within their fictions for me.”
    “Not any longer. It's time for you to return to your forest, Old One, you've been away too many years.”
    “Enjoy their greed, Nicholas, for everything you give will prompt them to cry for more. Enjoy their petty selfishness. Most of all, enjoy what you made a know it was by your design,” I snarled.
    “You never did want to see the good in them,” Nicholas said.
    I simply lifted the venison from the platter and left him to his empty feast.

  19. Ace G. Pilkington (follows via Google+)

    Come Winter (600 words)

    As a rule, Krampus was happy. This was schadenfreude; after all, a demon who inflicted pain on bad children at Christmastime was in a fine position for enjoying the pain of others. However, once a year when Krampus ate dinner with Saint Nicholas to discuss their loosely coordinated partnership, he suffered through someone else’s joy. There was no one else on the planet who was as cheerful as Nicholas. His one compensation was that Nicholas hated him too, and by the end of their meeting, he was miserable as well.
    Krampus always (deliberately) forgot where they were supposed to meet. Fortunately, he could not only walk and run, he could also fly. Looking down from far up in the sky, he saw a man with a long white beard and a hooded coat. Dropping suddenly to the ground, Krampus said, “So, Nicholas, what kind of food did you bring for us? Remember, I offered to bring along some roasted children, but you turned me down—again. I don’t know how you stay so fat.” Only, the man he was looking at was not fat. He was tall, pale, and powerful, but not fat.
    “Disgusting,” the tall man said, “eating humans. You want food? There’s a table.” And indeed there was, made of ice, and translucent in the afternoon sun. A feast materialized as well, as icy as the table itself. “Eat your fill,” said the tall man, “the Tsar of Winter tells you that you may.” Krampus snatched at the food, but his claws bent back where they met the ice, and he screamed and growled in an eerie mixture of the two sounds.
    The tall man listened, “What are you, little creature?” Krampus growled again at the adjective “little” and then rushed forward to attack. The tall man wrapped the fingers of his left hand around Krampus’s throat, lifted him off the ground, and said, “What are you?”, slapping him with his open right hand after each word.
    “Krampus,” he said, lying in the snow, “I am Krampus.”
    “Ah,” came the reply, “I am the Frost. Or call me Winter or Cold. The humans call me Grandfather Frost when I let them live.”
    “You give them gifts,” Krampus said, standing up.
    “Sometimes. Life, death, beauty, slow, cold sleep. You and Nicholas with your little Christmas mummery, you pretend to be me, as if a little good and bad, gifts and punishments could touch the nature of Winter.”
    The Frost stepped behind Krampus grabbing him around the shoulders with both hands. “This is for calling me Nicholas.” The two of them shot up into the sky and then through the sky into space. Not far away the Moon glittered under dust that was colder than snow. “Tell me, Krampus, how do you like it here? Shall I take you away to my true kingdom in the dark places between the stars? From there, you would look back on this as though it were the land of summer.”
    “Let me go,” Krampus pleaded. And, laughing, the Frost dropped him through the dark of space and into the blue scattering of the atmosphere. On reentry, Krampus began to heat up as though he were a spacecraft or a meteor. “Oh” he exclaimed, “I thought I would never be warm again!” He struck the ground with a sound like thunderclaps and lay there luxuriating. “I got away,” he shouted. “I got back. I will never complain about Nicholas again. And when I tell him this story, he won’t complain about me, either.”
    It was then that Nicholas appeared. “You’re always late,” he said.”

  20. The Experiment

    Krampus and Claus surveyed the two boys sitting across the table.
    “So,” Claus stroked his beard nervously.
    “So,” Krampus tapped his fingers impatiently.
    The boys had finally finished eating. The first one, neatly dressed, crossed his arms.
    “So what?”
    “What do you think?” Claus asked
    “I think I want dessert before I answer any of your silly questions,” the first boy replied.
    “Now now, that's not how it works. First you answer the questions, then you get dessert,” Claus replied, ignoring the pompous look on Krampus's face.
    “I want dessert NOW and I'm not answering you until I get it!” the first boy turned up his nose.
    Krampus relaxed and grinned as he turned to the second boy, “in the meantime, you're going to tell us what you think.”
    The second boy's legs kicked back and forth under the table. He crossed his arms as well, “Why should I?”
    “Because if you don't, you're not going to like what you're going to get, kiddo,” Krampus said menacingly, flexing his muscles.
    “Nu-uh. You can't make me,” the second boy stuck out his tongue.
    Now it was Claus's turn to smirk. Krampus lifted a long leather whip from under the table and flicked it once in the air. The second boy's legs stopped moving.
    “That's not fair! Why am only I getting punished for not talking?”
    “That's because you're naughty and I'm good,” the first boy told him.
    “ Not true! You're just a stupid spoiled brat!”
    “Am not!”
    “Are to!”
    “Santa, he called me a spoiled brat!”
    “Nu-uh. I called him a stupid spoiled brat.”
    “Krampus, make him stop! He said the “S” word!”
    Krampus raised an eyebrow at Claus.
    “So you think he's well behaved?”
    “I think he's better than your kid,” Claus pointed out, jerking a thumb at the second boy who was blowing raspberries and saying the word “stupid” over and over again.
    Krampus lashed out with his whip, the tip of it catching the second boy on the arm. He immediately jumped back with a cry of pain and shouted, “He started it!”
    “Not true! Santa, get rid of him, I don't like him, he's annoying me,” the first boy whined.
    “Now now, if you act nicely to him I'll give you an extra candy, alright?”
    “I want two extra candies.”
    “Fine,” Santa rubbed his forehead and slumped back in his chair.
    “I want candy too!” the second boy shouted, stamping his foot.
    “Listen, you. You will be nice to the other boy or you'll feel my lash again, is that clear?” Krampus growled.
    The boy's eyes filled with fear as he glanced at the whip. He held out his hand to the first boy, who looked at it as though it was a moldy vegetable.
    Krampus whispered, “I would like you draw your attention to the fact that my boy held out his hand first.”
    “Shake,” Claus ordered wearily.
    The boys shook.
    “Ow! He pinched me!” the first boy yelled.
    Claus looked at Krampus, “I'd like to draw your attention to that as well.”
    Krampus sighed, “it seems we are even. Neither of our systems work very well.”
    “Shall we ask them again which system they think is better and judge by that?”
    The two turned to the boys, who were rolling on the floor, punching, kicking and yelling.
    “I say we leave it to their parents,” Claus shrugged.
    Krampus yawned and stretched, “I think this experiment clearly suggests that its time both of us retire.”
    Claus filled both their cups with wine, “about time too."