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A Nightmare on Christmas Street

One, two ... soon he'll be coming for you.

There is a darkness with which we are becoming accustomed to, and it returns every once in a while whether we want it to return or not. No matter how often it comes, or how long it lasts, we never really get used to it at all, now do we?

 

Half-past six on the morning of Christmas Eve and Christine opens her eyes. Such an odd way to wake, just opening the eyes to stare at the darkened ceiling of her bedroom, feeling as awake as anyone can and no feeling as if she were only a moment or so out of slumber. There was no gasp or sudden movement which brought about consciousness, no dream or nightmare had occurred, at least nothing to which could be remembered. Christine simply just opened her eyes. Maybe this is the dream; maybe this is the nightmare or the beginning of such a thing.

Dawn, as it is, has yet to break and all is quiet, all except a quiet rocking squeak, a sound coming from outside in the front yard. If anything, this moment does feel as if it could be a dream, a dream that could easily become something more.

Christine gets out of bed and slowly begins to walk bare-footed to her window. Snow is falling softly and a blanket of white brightens the darkness outside. One of the two hanging garden swings is indeed rocking though the other one is as still as still can be and there is no sign of life to be seen anywhere.

All is quiet, a little too quiet. Just like there is a lack of life in this moment, there is also a lack of sound. Of course, there is that squeaking swing but there is nothing else at all. It may be early but shouldn't there be movement somewhere? Someone nearby must be getting ready to head to work or perhaps return home from some late night shift?

Perhaps there should be remnants of a good night out passing by? Or perhaps there should be a milkman doing his rounds? But no, there is nothing, nothing but that swing rocking to and fro when there appears to be no breeze at all. Had there been someone on that swing only a moment or so ago? If so then where could such a person be now?

Jeans and slippers go on and an overcoat over her nightgown then Christine heads outside to sit on that swing.

With the morning chill, she can see her breath stretch out before her. She likes that and the moment of peace that she is in. The peacefulness does not last for long for as the snow stops falling and out of the quiet of the moment a voice speaks, someone speaks her name.

'Christine ...' comes the very audible whisper.

Christine gasps and turns for the whisper came from somewhere behind her.

'Who said that?' she asks out loud as she stands and takes a step or three in the hopes of getting a look at whom or what spoke her name. ‘Who is there?’

'Christine ...' speaks that whisper once more.

It comes from the same place or direction with which the first whisper did. Christine takes three further steps in quick succession to try to see if she can make anyone out before she stops completely to consider the danger of this situation.

'Who is out here?' she asks, not being able to see anything or anyone out of the ordinary.

A moment of fright makes Christine jump as the swing once more begins to rock and squeak. She turns back toward it to see that still, no one is near-by. For some reason or other, she feels compelled to return to that swing, so she does just that. It may be a nice moment at any other time for Christine to be where she currently is, sitting on a swing on a cool Christmas Eve morning but with those whispers and with what is still to come, well it is safe to say that this is one heck of an eerie moment.

A rush of sudden movement, a shadow-like movement quickly surrounds Christine, it lasts a number of seconds and subsides as quickly as it came about. Her heartbeat quickens and her eyes attempt to follow those shadows for as long as their movement lasts as the rest of her being, the rest of her soul literally freezes to the swing.

If only it was the cool of the air that has her frozen, unfortunately for Christine it is so much more. That whisper which called her name speaks again. This time its sound emanates from all around rather than from one undetermined spot.

'They came for me, all of them. They hunted me down, set me alight and took my life. We can't have that, now can we? They took from me, now I will take from them. I will take their children and you will be my last victim. You will witness it all, right up to the very end.'

Christine wants to stand, she wants to go back inside but she can't as she remains frozen to that swing and that voice continues to speak.

'Focus your eyes on the house across the street and watch as it begins ...'

A light comes on in the darkened house across the street, the upstairs front bedroom on the left-hand side as Christine sees it. Her long-time friend Niamh comes to the window and begins to bang upon it. It is clear to see that Niamh is in distress. She moves away from the window as if something is dragging her away.

Then it comes, a crash through that bedroom window and Niamh goes crashing to the ground below. Did she go crashing through that window of her own accord? Or did someone else, something else ensure such a thing would occur?

It takes a moment or two and finally Christine is able to move. She goes running to her fallen friend. There is nothing that Christine can do; Niamh is gone, her body lying motionless in a bloodied mess. Christine drops to her knees and emotion takes a hold of her.

Seconds pass before she looks up and back across towards those swings and for a split second it comes right at her, he comes right at her, this man with a burnt face, like a ghost from the past that has come to haunt the present. She reacts and falls backwards, then there is ... nothing, a darkened nothing.

 

Christine's eyes open. She is lying in bed in her own room? This was just a dream, a nightmare, right? It is early morning, half past six to be precise on Christmas Eve. All is quiet, very quiet, except for one sound, the squeaking sound of a swing out in the front yard. In the distance, a siren can soon be heard. Seconds pass and an arriving, flashing blue and red light makes Christine get up and out of bed.

 

Something has happened at the house across the street. An ambulance has arrived. Niamh, has something happened to Niamh?

 

 

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