The Silent Night, Shattered

Author's Note: This isn't nearly what I was aiming for. Not my best work, either. I was going for something Christmasy, horrory, weird...y, and this is kinda...not any of that. It might still be enjoyable, though! So, try to enjoy it!

I walked down the stairs and made my way toward the sidewalk, smiling up at the sky. Fluffy white snowflakes were falling from the dark gray clouds, darkened even further by the night. It was about eight o'clock, and I was planning to head to the mall to do a little last minute Christmas shopping. I only had a couple of days left.

I began to walk down the sidewalk in silence, my smile fading as the eeriness of the night slowly began to sink in. It was lonely and quiet, not a car, animal, or person in sight. Just whiteness everywhere and tiny, silent flakes of snow.

Unnerving as it was, I made myself smile again by thinking about Christmas and all the presents I would get…and, of course, my boyfriend, Carter. I smiled more to myself. He had spent all of Christmas break traveling to visit his family for the holidays. He was supposed to be back on Christmas Eve, and he was planning to spend the night with me and sneak back into his house before anyone even knew he was gone.

I sighed dreamily.

Such a romantic bastard…

Damn good at B and E, too.

I shook my head to try to knock a few clingy flakes from my shoulder-length, dirty blonde hair, but they wouldn't budge. I gave up after a moment and sighed, shoving my bare hands into the pockets of my warm black coat. I had to remember to buy myself some gloves while I shopped…

The black of my boots was partially hidden by snow, though the dark blue of my jeans wasn't. They were a bit baggy, however, due to the fact that it was hard to find jeans that fit well and were long enough for my legs. I was a bit on the tall side, so buying clothes was a bitch.

I cocked my head when a sudden noise broke the silence. My pace slowed as I listened.

Humming…Soft humming…It sounded like a young girl…The song was…Away in a Manger, maybe? I was bad at identifying Christmas carols without the words.

I came to a complete stop when I realized the sound was coming from directly behind me, no more than a foot or two away. The distance of the sounds remained static, indicating that the person behind me had stopped, too. I tensed.

I was being followed…but it was just a little girl, right?

I braced myself, then spun around, only to find…

Nothing. Not even footprints in the snow. The humming had died away as well, leaving me alone in the winter silence.

I turned and began walking again, my pace twice as fast as before. My pale gray eyes darted every which way as I strode along, creeped out and scared as hell.

After walking a couple of blocks, my pace slowed again and I chuckled. God, I was an idiot. I wasn't being followed. There wasn't anyone else around. I was just paranoid.

I smiled again, my mind going back to Carter, but just as I started to immerse myself in pleasant memories and glorious fantasies, it began again. The humming was back. Right behind me.

I immediately froze, my eyes widening.

Slowly, I turned, and again, the noise went away. I was still alone.

I let out an uneasy laugh, then turned around. I shrieked the instant I was facing forward.

Footprints in the snow. Right in front of me. Yet no one was there and the snow was undisturbed everywhere else.

I stared at the little marks in the snow, the size of a child's feet, then I leapt over them and broke into a run. I nearly slipped and fell on the fresh snow eight times on that street alone, but I refused to stop. I needed to get to the mall, where there would be other people and security and Christmas cheer and, ya know…not creepy footprints.

But suddenly, I rounded a corner and tripped over something, sending me face-first into the snow. I let out a little groan as I slowly got to my knees, turning to see what I had tripped over. Another scream escaped me.

A little girl's body, facedown in the snow. Several snowflakes dotted her smooth, long blonde hair, so it didn't seem as if she'd been there for long. Her clothing, a pale blue coat, a pair of black pants, and some tan boots, appeared to be in perfect condition, as did her tiny, pale hands, resting on the sidewalk to either side of her head. She couldn't have been older than four. What the hell was she doing out here?

"H-hey," I stuttered, my voice weak, but loud in the night's calm. "Are you okay?"

She said nothing. Didn't move, either.

"H-hello?" I said hesitantly. I kneeled beside her and grabbed her shoulder, cautiously pushing her onto her back. I screamed again.

Her mouth was hanging open in an unnatural way, as if her jaw had been unhinged, and her eyes were...gone...Just black pits instead of actual eyeballs. Blood dripped from the corner of one even as I stood up and stepped back.

My eyes were wide again, and I couldn't seem to get enough air. I took a second shaky step back, unable to tear my gaze away from her jaw. I soon realized the rest of her was fine, which only served to freak me out more.

My breath caught completely when it started again...That humming...Right behind me...

Slowly, I turned.

And there she was, that little blonde girl, blue-eyed and closed-mouthed and normal. Completely. Freaking. Normal.

"It's Silent Night, in case you were wondering," she said with a quick smile before continuing her song.

My jaw dropped. How had she known that I couldn't figure out what song that was...?

I glanced back quickly and found the corpse gone. I didn't know which was scarier: the body disappearing or the knowing smile the child was wearing when I looked at her again.

"Would you like to play a game with me, Myria?" the little girl asked, holding a small, pale hand out to me. Snow slowly gathered on her palm, her skin apparently so cold the flakes couldn't melt, and I took a step back.

Again, I couldn't decide which was more unnerving: the way she spoke like a well-learned adult or the fact that she knew my name...or the fact that the snow still wasn't melting.

She took a step forward, and I took another two back. She giggled when I did it again in response to her next advance. "Oh, come on. It's not like I'm going to hurt you or something." I shook my head, but her smile remained. She took a few quick steps forward, grabbing my hand before I could get away again. I actually screamed at how cold her hand felt. It was like I was touching an ice cube or something.

My scream stopped when I felt something changing. I couldn't figure out what, but...something. It was just an odd shift in the air, then...nothing. Everything was normal again. Or, at least, it looked and felt that way to me.

I tried to yank my hand out of the girl's grasp, but she wouldn't let go. Her grip was actually too strong for me. I, a seventeen-year-old girl, was weaker than a four-year-old.

Lovely. And creepy on so many levels...

The girl merely laughed when I tried to free myself once more. "Stop it, silly. We can't play the game with you fighting like that."

She began walking down the street, and I had no choice but to follow. She seriously wouldn't let go of my hand. I finally quit fighting when we rounded another corner and began heading away from the mall.

"Where are we going?" I asked, finally working up enough courage to speak.

The girl let out another creepy giggle. "You'll see."

We walked for what seemed like hours in the silent, terrifying night, but what was only five minutes in reality, if that. I was led down a few streets, past several dark houses, and through numerous pitch-black alleyways until we stopped in one. It was a dead end.

A light flickered into life overhead, illuminating most of the alley, and we just stood there. I glanced around, confused.

"What are we-" I stopped when I looked back at the girl.

She was the corpse again, no eyes and a mouth that couldn't close. Yet, when I tried to snatch my hand away again, her grip was even tighter than before. She almost seemed to smile when I screamed.

I kicked at her, not caring that she was just a child anymore, and she let me go. I burst through an old, rusty door to my left and sprinted through the sheer darkness. I had no idea where I was going or even where I was, but I knew I had to get away from that girl, and that was all I needed to know.

I tripped over something, probably a pipe, and ended up on the cool, dusty cement floor. I scrambled to my feet as quickly as I could and resumed my running. Soon, I was outside again, on the sidewalk of another quiet street.

I ran to the nearest house and threw the front door open without even knocking. It was pitch-black inside, not a single light on anywhere, yet soft Christmas music met my ears from somewhere nearby. This song had the words.

O Holy Night.

"Hello?!" I called as I shut and locked the door behind myself. "Is anyone here?" All that answered me was the music.

But if the residents of the house weren't home, why was there music playing?

Slowly, I stepped forward in the darkness. The sound of my footsteps was muted by lush carpet.

"H-hello?" I almost asked, walking through an open door and into a small kitchen. The music was a bit louder here, and I could make out the vagure outline of a radio on the counter across from the doorway.

I cautiously approached the little radio and reached out to turn it off, but a sudden movement to my right stopped me.

"Hello?" I called again, lowering my arm and heading toward the doorway through which I'd noticed the movement. "Anyone there?"

This was starting to seem like one of those lovely little horror movies my boyfriend liked so much. They were always so predictable.

Frightened young woman slowly approaches door. She goes through door. Her throat is ripped out by whatever is causing fear. The end.

So, what was I going to get my throat torn open by? A creepy four-year-old? A gruesome corpse? What? I couldn't quite figure it out.

I braced myself as I stepped through the doorway into what I imagined was a dining room. Something was going to come at me. I just knew it.

But I tripped over something and ended up tasting some tile before anything could get me.

"Ow," I whined as I got to my hands and knees. I went wide-eyed when I remembered what I'd tripped over the first time.

Was I going to turn and find another corpse? Or had I just tripped over a cat or something?

So, to the sound of beautiful, angelic voices singing O Holy Night, I turned.

This one had a knife sticking out of a wide brown eye and that same unhinged jaw thing going on.

Oh, and she was my mother.

Apparently, I'd somehow ended up in my own house without knowing it.

How fun!

My terrified scream was cut short when someone grabbed my hair and tilted my head back. I started to let out another shriek when I saw my dad standing over me with his jaw all wrong and most of his nose missing. Only one blue eye remained in its socket.

If I would've shut up for a minute, I would've realized that the song playing on the radio was now Silent Night, the song that little girl had been humming before. Daddy helped my close my mouth mouth when he yanked the knife out of my mom's eye and rammed it into my throat.

My scream ended in a sickening gurgle.

Daddy left the knife in my neck and let go of my hair, leaving me to fall to the floor.

All I heard before blackness consumed me was Silent Night and the eerie giggle of a four-year-old child...

Silent night, my ass.