Jim glared at the house on the hill. Smoldering cigarette in hand, he studied the couple through the window. Only silhouettes, but still, he knew they were slouched on the couch, raising bottles of Bud to their lips. His ex and that lousy motherfucker, Joey. Suzanne’s current live-in boyfriend.
There should have been a third figure. Smaller. Delicate. Crouched on her knees in front of the tree, shaking wrapped packages close to her ear. But Jenna wasn’t there this year. His loveable pixie of a six-year-old was now six feet under. Tucked snugly into bed at the West Pointe Cemetery.
His mood already black, Jim flicked the cigarette, nothing more than a butt and ashes, into the shadows. Reaching into the bed of his pickup, red as Rudolph’s goddamn nose, he pulled out the axe and ran his finger carefully, caressingly along the blade’s edge.
The prosecutor had tried his damndest for parental negligence. Unfortunately, that whore of a judge was completely snowed by Suzanne’s persuasive–and utter bullshit–claim that she hadn’t known what was going on. No, Joey never hit her. No, he wasn’t a violent person. She had no idea what possibly could have caused him to do what he’d done.
The woman was so full of shit. She’d known damn well Joey was beating their daughter. After Jim had seen the bruises and confronted her, Suzanne swore she’d put a stop to it. She’d kick Joey out. Report him. Anything to keep Jim from making good on his threats, which for the record, did not include calling the cops. She needed Joey’s cock, after all. The vibrator just didn’t do it for her anymore.
But she didn’t. Of course she didn’t.
So when Jim had shown up, armed with his finest selection of hunting blades, the sonofabitch was long gone, and there was Jenna, tucked into bed, covered in bruises and dead. Official cause of death: brain bleed, brought on by head trauma. Otherwise known as Joey’s motherfucking fists.
It didn’t take long for the cops to catch up with him. He was charged with manslaughter, due to a lack of previous convictions. Dropped charges didn’t hold much weight, apparently. A scant twenty-four hours later, the murderous cocksucker was out on bail. Where Suzanne had come up with the funds, Jim hadn’t a clue, and frankly, he didn’t give a shit.
Adjusting the fuzzy red hat with its white trim, Jim hefted the axe onto his shoulder and marched up the hill. The couple in the window morphed from moving shadows to flesh and blood. Well, more flesh than blood. For about another minute. Then the blood would flow–bright red and full of joyous Christmas cheer.
Jim kicked down the door, axe gleaming in the tree lights, and grinned at the happy couple’s shocked faces.
“Ho-ho-ho and Merry Christmas. Here comes fucking Santa Claus.”
~~Briana Robertson, Author, Stitched Smile Publications~~
Briana Robertson is an emerging speculative fiction author, working primarily within the genres of horror and fantasy. Her love of authors such as Stephen King, Shirley Jackson, Patrick Rothfuss, and J.K. Rowling has developed her own need to put pen to paper. Her short stories have been published in several anthologies, and broadcast on online podcasts. Her debut novel is in the works, set to release in 2017. She currently lives in the Midwest, with her husband, three daughters, and their Maine Coon, Bagheera. Be sure to visit her website, as well as follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram,WordPress, and Pinterest.