This week’s prompt for writephoto is
It was Christmas Eve and Ebenezer Tofu stood by his front door, listening to the sounds of seasonal delight as they filtered out into the cold air. He smiled warmly at the blood curdling curses and howls of distress: those boys loved a good rough and tumble. Behind the mayhem, he could faintly make out the twins, Esmeralda and Ermentrude chanting evilly as they prepared a pre Xmas hex to ruin the Brown’s party at number 17.
He cast a quick finding spell and disarmed the mischievous acne curse that one of his children had been put on the door handle before pulling open the reluctant barricade and stepping into the Stygian depths of No. 1 Hell Crescent.
As Cerberus bounded up and began trying to eviscerate his left leg, pulling back as a defensive charm turned the dog’s teeth into jelly beans, he called out to his wife.
‘Cassandra, I’m home.’
A foul smelling wretch, coated in rotting meat faded through the wall and swept up to him. He opened his arms and exposed his throat.
‘Darling, you shouldn’t have gone to so much trouble,’ he whimpered, as the malicious spectre attempted to dig two poisonous fangs into the flesh; she left no marks due to the fact she lacked any corporeal form. He spun her round so fast she formed a small twister that decimated the hall carpet. ‘Am I on a promise later?’ he grinned at the demented poltergeist who took the opportunity to form herself into the shape of a feeding tube and disappear into his open mouth, re-emerging moments later as a musical fart, playing a syncopated version of the wedding March.
Ebenezer held out his arm as Cassandra formed herself into a stunning representation of a Siren and led her through the wall and into the playroom.
As they emerged the children stopped their games. While Pontius tried to staunch the arterial blood as it gushed across the ceiling and Brutus licked this scimitar clean, the girls squealed and grabbed their father’s hands.
‘Is it time, daddy?’ They looked imploringly at him, though he had no doubt that if he denied them they would have sealed his anus before he’d changed into his slippers.
‘Of course, my lovelies. It is Christmas Eve, after all. Let’s open the family box!’
In seconds the simple looking carton appeared in the centre of the room and Esmeralda had unspun the complicated locking system. Flipping back the lid, the four children leant forward.
Ebenezer waited. Every year this moment seemed to make Christmas, but he knew that this year it would be different. Looking up at them was a simple fluffy teddy bear, seated on some silk and surrounded by some candles and chocolate paste. ‘He looks so harmless, doesn’t he?’
Ermentrude nodded and frowned. ‘Is that really Uncle Marley?’
‘Oh yes, just wipe a little of the advent chocolate on his lips and while he gets ready, you go and get your coats and outdoor shoes on.’
Having lipsticked the teddy the children ran off. They were so excited, they even used the door. Meanwhile Ebenezer bent to the box and gave the teddy a shake. One moment it was limp, the next it gripped his forearm in its paws and, Ebenezer knew, he would snap both bones clean through were he so minded. The previously blank glass eyes glowed with utter hatred.
‘Is that you, Nephew? What do you want?’
‘I’d love it if you’d let go of my arm. I wouldn’t want you to accidentally snap it.’
‘It won’t be accidental,’ snarled the toy. ‘Well?’
‘It’s Christmas, Uncle. Time to ruin someone’s seasonal festivities.’
‘Again? Is this never going to stop? I told you last year I was done.’
‘You know the children enjoy dressing up and terrifying people. It’s what makes Christmas so special.’
The teddy dropped to the floor and began doing some stretches and twists. ‘It’s easy for you to say. You don’t have to create a merry version of hell on the coldest night of the year.’
‘Christmas is all about family traditions and you’ve been scaring the bejeebers out of people for centuries.’
‘Oh sure and then that Dickens man gets hold of the story and MAKES IT ALL ABOUT REDEMPTION! Have you any idea how bloody grim that is, if like me, you’ve spent years eradicating every scintilla of compassion and turning yourself into a TOTAL BASTARD? I spent decades since then, rattling chains and they’d just sit in a chair and expect a free ride through their crappy lives with a promise of snow and fat turkeys come Christmas morning. Well, enough. I told you.’
Ebenezer grinned. ‘And I said I’d work something out. You’ve not noticed, have you?’
‘Your new rig.’
The grumpy miserablist stopped turning his head in a complete circle and looked himself up and down. ‘What the actual…?’
‘Good, isn’t it?’
‘Are you off your trolley, nephew? A bloody cuddly teddy? Wild hair, psychotic stares and chains couldn’t do it so how do you think fake fur and kapok is going to make a difference?’
Ebenezer rubbed his hands together, the dry skin sending sparks into teddy’s fur and making the old man hop about in an effort to stop the small fires spreading. ‘If they think you’re a nice old teddy and then you start telling them how they’re going to hell in a handcart, well… it’ll be such a surprise, imagine the terror.’
The teddy stared at Ebenezer, slowly shaking his head. ‘You always were a prize Pillock. Have the twins prepared a hex or two?’
‘I think so.’
The bear sighed. ‘I’ll just have to make do with them then. The Ghost of Christmas comes back as a teddy bear? Even Charles Bloody Dickens didn’t do that to me.’ He stomped out.
Cassandra Tofu materialised next to her husband and formed a small breeze next to his left ear. ‘That went well,’ she hissed. ‘You look a bit dusty, my dear. Do you want me to blow away some cobwebs before dinner?’
He nodded and followed her through the ceiling.