by Dean Edwards

Dad kept missing the table with the plates and giggling as they smashed. We ended up with an extra plate, which he stared at as though it was going to take off.

It would have been better if he’d broken that plate too. Hours later, when there was a knock at the door, everyone had forgotten about the extra place setting except me.

Dad spilled his punch.

Mum dropped her knife and knocked over the gravy.

My little sister lifted a remaining Christmas gift so that it didn’t get wet, and realized there was a remaining Christmas gift.

Then we all watched mum standing, slowly crossing the dining room.

I wished that she would sit down, but instead, she stood listening with her hand against the wood.

“Don’t answer it!” I laughed.

And then she turned the latch.

The sudden cold in the room came not from outside, but from the thing on the step. It was the size of the yeti, with fur that might have been matted with snow and shit. Black horns. Malignant eyes like bloody eggs plopped into a frying pan of butter.

“Docomein,” mum said.

It ducked through the doorway. Stomped toward the dinner table. The paintings shuddered.

“Mr. …” my dad faltered.


My dad burst out laughing.

“Oh, it’s a camera!” my sister said, pointing her gift at me.

The Krampus unfurled its black tongue. It, too, pointed – to the turkey, then the punch; then the mince pies.

Last year, getting drunk and stoned was the only way to get through Christmas. This year, spiking my family seemed more fun.

Mr Krampus shook his head.

It threw a sack at my feet. It was wet and conspicuously empty.

“Get in,” it said and wrapped its tongue around a mince pie.