Stocking Stuffer, flash fiction by Verity Mason at Spillwords.com

Stocking Stuffer

Stocking Stuffer

written by: Verity Mason

 

He’d never needed a name, but the villagers whispered: “Stocking Stuffer.”

His weasel-face pokes out from under the edge of a floppy, overlong red hat, the only thing on his otherwise bald head save a sparse, straw fringe. Lurking in the shadows of Christmas Day, there’s no life behind those sunken black eyes. Quick-witted, he knows how to turn on the charm with a fake smile, suddenly becoming your best friend.

He hobbles, bootless, through the dimly lit streets of Ingolstadt. With a twitching of nostrils, Stocking snorts to his left, then right, snuffling his way around the town looking for the girl or boy who asked for the most presents.

The Stocking Stuffer drinks in the smell of innocence, spotting a young, tender morsel through a snowy window. He lurches awkwardly on his stumps and peers in to see a girl. He raps clumsily on the window. She looks up and watches him with that look of childish wonder as he leans in to show her his red hat.

Impulsively, he sucks back on the oozing drool escaping his thin bloodied lips, becoming the face of kindness once more.

“Santa, I’m coming,” she giggles.

Her blonde pigtails bounce as she totters towards him on tiptoes. She clambers onto an armchair where she stretches to the window clasp. Stocking’s Cheshire grin spreads to a gaping, splintered smile; he makes soothing, encouraging sounds to get what he wants.

Pigtails opens the window.

Stocking extends a wooden limb, offering her a scarecrow with pigtails just like hers.

He lures her onto the ledge, wiggling her look-alike, just out of reach.

Pigtails’ little pinkies pounce and grip the moppet.

“A scarecrow! It looks like me!”

Stocking rams the dolly into her squealing mouth, hauling her wriggling body free of the window. His deformed, charred fingers curl around the rim of his hat.

Lickety-split, he stuffs pigtails’ squirming flesh into the gangling hat, dragging the struggling bundle behind him.

Salivating in anticipation, he drones a hum, yet there’s nothing musical about it.

“They bounce, they pounce, they squeal; roasted flesh makes a scrumptious Christmas meal.”

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