tagNonHumanChristmas with the Devil

Christmas with the Devil

byTamLin01©

"There is a beast in man that must be exercised, not exorcised."

-The Satanic Bible

***

It was Christmas Eve, and Jolly Old Saint Nicholas had one last job to do. A job he dreaded.

Standing at an iron door in the side of a mountain at the top of the world, he lifted a rusted key from a chain around his neck and hesitated for a moment. Maybe this year, just for once, he could skip this part? Maybe everything would be better off if he just left well enough alone...

But no. He shook his head, spilling snow from his crown of ivy. It was his duty to be charitable to everyone in need. And what soul needed charity more than this one? He slipped the old key into the door's heavy lock. It groaned as it turned, like an old ghost.

The door's ancient hinges were still strong after nearly 1,700 years, and it took all of his power to move them. Once the cell door was open the moonlight spilled in and revealed a barren cell, its one small window obstructed by both bars and frost. A single prisoner sat on the stone floor; his chains scraped each other as he looked up.

The prisoner was not a man, although it had a face something like a man. It was not an animal either, although it had horns and hooves and hair in all places. It was a kind of blasphemous man-goat, bestial and ugly, and even the ever-compassionate Saint Nicholas flinched at the sight of it. The heaviest chains forged in all four corners of the world bound it from head to hoof.

They looked at each other in silence for a moment as snow drifted into the cell, blown this way and that by the north wind. Eventually Saint Nick cleared his throat.

"Well, Christmas has come again, you wicked old sinner" he, trying to maintain his customary cheer. "You know what that means."

The great gray goat held out his wrists. Saint Nicholas fiddled with the big key, trying to make it fit the locks on the manacles. "Try to do some good this year?" he said as he worked. He turned one eyebrow up, an expression that half a plea, half a chastisement. "Maybe help someone?"

The chained figure only shrugged. He wasn't the type to make promises, even on a special occasion like this. Saint Nicholas, of course, knew this. But every year he lived in hope.

With a sigh, the saint unfastened the last of the locks. Free at last, the Beast of the Yuletide let out a hearty growl, stretched his legs, winked at Saint Nicholas, and, laying his finger aside of his nose, leapt out into the dark, snowy night, flying through the sky due south, with an unsuspecting world spread out before him.

Grumbling, Saint Nick watched the horned figure vanished. "I'm just a bleeding heart, that's my problem," he said, shaking his head and holding the empty manacles. "One of these days it's going to get me into trouble."

***

Free at last, the beast of the winter festival flew through the night, letting the cold winds blow him wherever he was needed.

He had no name. Which is to say, he had many: On the coast of Scandinavia they called him Nuuttipukki, the Yule Goat. In the Bavarian mountains he was Klaubauf. In Germany he was Ruprecht, and in older times and more temperate climates he was called Azazel, Capricorn, Pan, Banebdjedet, and Baphomet.

His favorite names these days were Old Scratch, or sometimes Old Nick—his way of making fun of Saint Nicholas. But most often at this time of year, people called him Krampus.

Once, he had been the king of the Yuletide, with its dark midwinter feasts and great fires and ritual offerings. But then a new god came and took away his feasts and his nights off the calendar. Priests replaced him with old men and angels and saints, and now they called this time of year "Christmas" in most places.

But they couldn't do away with him entirely. The Krampus was too old, and his hold on people's hearts too strong. And since Saint Nicholas was obligated to do a kindness to every creature in the world on Christmas, for one day each year he was free again.

Spying a remote village, the Krampus touched down, letting his hooves make the first prints in the virgin snow of the town square. This was a remote place, isolated by wilderness and winter storms, and in the earliest hours of the morning nobody was awake yet. Looking at the snowy rooftops, the Krampus found the place innocent seeming and idyllic to the eye. A perfect place to start.

The first thing he did was sneak into a tailor's shop and steal the most fashionable suit of clothes that fit him. He spent a few minutes grooming himself at one of the long mirrors, opening the curtains on big front window so that moonlight reflecting off the snow outside illuminated him. When he was finished he stopped to admire his reflection. He considered taking a hat to cover up his horns, but decided against it. He liked his horns. Most people did.

Once he'd fixed himself up the Krampus slipped upstairs to where the tailor and his family slept. It was a humble little home, belonging to a most ordinary pedigree. The Krampus peeked at the family members one by one as they dozed, slipping from the shadow of one doorway to the next. Here were two daughters, still in small clothes, and a son near to manhood, all fast asleep in beds of their own. The Krampus' hooves touched the floorboards of their rooms so daintily that he scarcely made noise at all as he crept by.

Coming to the largest of the bedrooms, the Krampus found the head of the household fast asleep. But something was missing: the other half of the bed was empty. The tailor's wife wasn't here.

The Krampus thought: Here lies a tailor, all snug in his bed, while visions of prayer books dance in his head. But why, me and my, does this man sleep alone? His wife's pillow's empty, as bare as a bone...

Curious, the Krampus went to the spare bedroom, which had until only recently had been a workroom. Here the tailor's wife slept on a cot, far away from her husband's side, and she seemed to be fretting in her sleep. Standing over her, the Krampus pushed her hair out of her face.

How lovely (thought the Krampus), her skin, her teeth! And her hair, it encircles her head like a wreath.

Although his touch was gentle, it still stirred the woman to waking. When she saw him standing over her she seemed neither frightened nor surprised. Indeed, she regarded him the way you might an old friend.

Pulling the blankets up over her bosom, she looked the Krampus up and down. And the Krampus, well, he just let her look. Once she was done she said:

"You're not Father Christmas."

The Krampus licked his lips. "I'm Father Krampus, and I'm here to make merry. To banish all burdens, and make pleasures tarry. No need for a list, much less one checked twice; I'm smart enough to know who is naughty and nice."

While talking he laid a hand on one of the woman's bare leg. She arched an eyebrow, but didn't object. In fact, she tugged the blankets down a bit, revealing another tantalizing inch of bare skin.

But instead of continuing she said, "It's Christmas morning." And when the Krampus conceded the point by nodding she said, "That must mean you have a present for me?"

Grinning, the Krampus said, "I do, and to go in your stocking with care. It's the gift that keeps giving, a most generous affair."

He gestured to the front of his trousers. His hand crept further up the tailor's wife's leg, but she swatted it away. "That sounds more like a present for you," she said.

But the Krampus was not discouraged. He spread his arms wide. "Then what do you want, dear? Calling birds? Maids a milking? Whisper a wish; no fooling, no bilking."

The tailor's wife leaned in, and her hot breath tickled his earlobe when she spoke. The Krampus grinned. "I should have known," said the Krampus. "In fact, I did know. Human wishes are simple as quid and pro quo."

"But can you get it?"

"Of course, my dear, and I'll give you it now. I've no use for such trifles myself anyhow. It wouldn't be Christmas if I reneged on your wish. Here it is, turtledove: the very same dish."

With that he reached into the pocket of his suit (which of course should have been empty) and drew out something like a bottle of perfume. The tailor's wife took it from his hand with a reverent demeanor.

"The finest love potion from the land of the Nile. My gift to you, with a kiss and a smile. Your husband, of late, is idle in love, but this substance will give his libido a shove. Petition him now and you'll find he'll relent; I swear it, I promise. One hundred percent."

The woman dabbed the concoction on the soft skin of her throat and breast. When she inhaled its fumes she flushed all over, and her limbs trembled. "Oh my," she said. "Does it last long?"

In answer, the Krampus just winked. Then away he flew (like the down of a thistle), off to continue his night's work and leaving the tailor's wife to her own devices.

She swung her feet down to the cold floorboards and crept to her husband's room, then shimmied out of her nightclothes and, mindful of the cold, slipped under the blankets next to him. The man woke with a start, but she stopped his exclamation with a kiss.

"Merry Christmas, darling," said the tailor's wife.

He shifted next to her. "Away," he said. "It's not morning yet."

"It doesn't need to be morning for this." The tailor's wife guided his hand to the warm, soft flesh of her naked breast. He froze, as if struck.

"Away," he said again. "It's a sin."

"How can it be a sin when we're man and wife?"

She rubbed his hand over her naked body some more and then rolled over on top of him, nibbling his lips with her pearly teeth and letting her long hair hang around him. The scent of the love potion permeated the bed, and tailor's eyes grew wide as its vapors crept into his nostrils.

"We'll have no more children between us," said the tailor. "It's not godly to do it except to make a child..."

"It's natural," his wife said. "You're a man; I'm a woman. What else were we meant for? Don't tell me you haven't thought about it while you slept here alone?"

She kissed him some more while her hands ran down the length of his body, undoing the buttons of his nightshirt and laying her naked self against him. The love potion passed between them, carried to his skin by her sweat, and the tailor felt his blood boil.

"Forget Christmas for a moment," his wife whispered. "The children will sleep for hours. You've no work to do today. Let me remind you how good things used to be."

The soft coaxing of his wife's lips and the feeling of her warm flesh close to his did indeed remind the tailor of other times, when he'd been young and hotheaded and eager to chase anything with skirts on. His body, it seemed, remembered such things too, rising to the occasion just as readily as it had in his youth.

The small bedroom grew muggy with the heat of two bodies together. (Part of it was also the enchanted fumes of the Krampus' gift, although the tailor would never realize this.) The tailor's wife kissed her way down her husband's bare chest, her generous lips sending sparks through him and kindling a fire that he thought he'd long since put out.

The truth was, the tailor had thought about such things on nights when he lay in bed without sleeping. That's why he'd sent his wife to keep in the spare room, and spared himself that temptation. Whenever sinful thoughts crossed his mind he'd prayed furiously and, now and then, mortified his rebellious flesh.

This time he didn't send her off, and she evidently had plans for his flesh that involved much more tender ministrations than he was used to. When her warm mouth opened around his embarrassingly erect cock he almost cried out at the scandal of it. But the firm, assuring feeling of her lips wrapping around him stifled it into something like a throaty groan. A sound of gratification, he realized, but it was too late to stop it now.

The walls in the little house were thin, so they kept as quiet as they could while the tailor's wife tended to him with her sumptuous mouth and the little licking sensation of her mischievous tongue. When she tasted that he was ready she removed it and, favoring him with a wink, sat up in bed on all fours, her backside in the air in an invitation he couldn't mistake.

Blood pounded in the tailor's brain as he sat up. The sleek curves of his wife's fine body coaxed a lecherous and lustful chorus of pants out of him that suggested anticipation he would never admit to in words.

But the smoothness of her thighs, the roundness of her behind, the taut line of her back all the way up to the point between her creamy rounded shoulders with her long curls spilling over them couldn't be ignored.

Her warm skin was exposed to the cold winter air, and he traced the gooseflesh on her thighs with a fingertip. When he finally moved to put himself inside of her, she surprised him by saying, "No."

But she didn't actually stop him; only positioned him a bit higher, to a place where, he was certain, no baby could ever be conceived, and where the town vicar would drive him right out of town and directly into purgatory for even thinking about. "There," she said. "Right there. Slowly...slowly...ah!"

Her little cry hung like snowflake, batted this way and that by the night air. Inside, she hugged tight against his cock, her sensitive muscles rippling and squeezing him every time he moved. He leaned as far over her as he could, mounting her from behind like an animal and pushing out more snowflake exclamations from her with each thrust of his hips: "Ah...ah...ah!"

Eventually she laid down on her side, and he with her, never pulling out but remaining as far in as he could, the hard pressure of his hips against her backside creating a rhythm. The sheets twisted around them, first growing hot with the sweat of their bodies, then cooling fast in the winter air.

If you'd have asked him before, the tailor would have said that there was nothing more repugnant than sinning on Christmas morning. It was the kind of thing that was liable to keep Christmas from coming at all.

But he soon realized that he hadn't stopped Christmas from coming. No, he realized (as he felt a sense of release, long and hot, rush through him and out of him and into his wife's body even as she licked her lips in satisfaction), it came.

Somehow or another, it came just the same.

Meanwhile, the Krampus bounded over the snowy rooftops as fast as his long legs could carry him, and children and animals stirred in their sleep as he passed.

When he came to what seemed like a good spot for people watching he sat down and hung his hooves over the edge of the roof. There were no people out this early in the morning, but the Krampus felt certain that if he just waited he'd soon find what he was looking for...

And sure enough, he spied his mark in seconds: A young man with a face full of tears trudged alone through the snowy night. He looked drunk, tromping through the slush in the gutters, a sweet faced lad of 20 who smelled like an empty bottle of Christmas cheer.

Delighted, the Krampus leaped down and landed right next to him. With neither hesitation nor introduction, the Yuletide goblin threw his arm around the morose boy's shoulder and said:

"Merry Christmas, my boy, and good morning to you; I see you're awake with the dawn and the dew. But why should you cry, instead of make merry? What makes such distressing displays necessary?

"Are you hurt? Are you dying? Has my help come too late? What blow has been dealt you by cruel Mistress Fate? Unfurl to me now this tale of your woes, and I swear to you now I'll your problems depose. I'm your new friend, and you'll find that I'm true; I've arrived right on time, to answer your cue. So fill me in now, before you drop one more tear; whisper your worries in this old Krampus ear."

The boy blinked in wonder, but in the end felt so wretched that even the appearance of this phantom provoked no reaction more violent or worrisome than a shrug. "I'll never be merry again," he answered. "The whole world is one dark winter, and I'll never again see spring."

And he leaned against the icy stones of the town's well, sounding so devastated that the Krampus worried for a second that he might even jump in. Instead the boy just kicked a snowdrift, scattering it into meaningless particles.

"I asked a woman to marry me tonight," he said when the Krampus pressed him again for explanation. "And she told me no."

And then he moaned as if he'd been shot. Oh my (thought the Krampus), this one's in a state. But I bet if I prod him, he'll rise to the bait...

He picked the boy up and brushed the frost off his collar. "Now lad," said the Krampus, "heartbreak's sore, that is true. But you're a young buck; give it a week, maybe two. You'll discover your heart more resilient than most, and then with some new lass you'll be most engrossed."

"No," said the boy. "She broke more than my heart tonight. She hurt me to my soul."

The Krampus scoffed. "A soul is a trifle; barely a trinket. You'll soon love again, if only you think it. With my help, dear boy, you'll have love's own purview; you'll have girls fit for ten sweet lads—plus two!"

The Krampus began steering the boy away from the town square and the church and instead down certain alleys, leading him to the edge of town and the river and some of the less respectable corridors of the community. Here were lanes and avenues that the upstanding people of the village never frequented but still couldn't help thinking about in their midnight hours, and even glancing toward now and then when they passed by after dark...

"I would suggest this girl's tastes are astray," the Krampus said. "Let's find a new girl, who'll suit for today. And tomorrow and the next you can always meet more. Life's a great game, and it's time you keep score. A wife you'll soon know, when the time for one comes. Spend the years in between on the sweetest of plums."

"But—" the boy said. The Krampus cut him off.

"As it so happens, I've a great girl in mind. She's a personal friend, and her charms most refined. You can trust in my tastes, because I am your friend. (I have been since we met, as I'm sure you'll contend.) Let me play matchmaker and you'll soon be impressed. Come now, follow me: to the north, the northwest!"

Eventually they came to a house with a candle still burning in the uppermost window. The boy peered at it curiously. "Does anyone really live here?"

"She lives, she loves, she thinks, she breathes. She's waiting for you now, up there in the eaves."

"But she won't take strange visitors at this hour. On a holiday?"

Laughing, the Krampus said, "A girl this profound makes no fuss of the time. To sample her charmings, we need only to chime."

Then he rang the little bell by the door, and the girl did indeed come to her window to answer. She squinted through the night and the snow, and when she saw the Krampus' smiling face she broke into a grin of her own. "Darling!" the girl said—for the Krampus had friends in every town in the world, and made more every year.

He cried out in return: "Sweet dove! What relief it is now seeing your dear face above. But come now to your door, and your welcome extend: It's Christmas, my chestnut, and I've brought a new friend."

The girl, a fresh thing of 19, dutifully slipped downstairs in her nightclothes and invited them both inside. She greeted the Krampus with a hug and a kiss, then turned her attention on the boy. At first he wasn't sure why she was looking at him so intently (except maybe because he was dripping snow all over her floor ...), but then she pointed over his head.

"Mistletoe," she said. And then the girl stood on her tiptoes, presenting her soft, rosy lips. The boy hesitated, but of course, what choice did her have? The girl's lips, he discovered, tasted like her own bated breath.

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