I trudged past yet another rail of clothes as my girlfriend hunted for the perfect dress to wear out this weekend. We had searched several shops and this was the last and also the largest. Even though it was only a week until Christmas, there had been no Christmas music in any of the shops we had been in so far. Unfortunately, this particular shop was out to break my spirit. It started out well, normal music as we entered the shop and that sat perfect with me. Then a jaunty upbeat Christmas song came on, not too loud as to interrupt conversation about the shops goods but just loud enough to be constantly on the edge of my hearing. “I have officially have no right to complain” I remarked to my girlfriend about the choice in music. She smiled at me “It’s only a week until Christmas, you’ll just have to enjoy it” she quipped. I have to admit I almost did, after all Christmas does only come once a year.
I wasn’t sure I heard anything at first, I whipped around so fast it probably seemed rather aggressive. I dared whoever did it to continue. It was rather loud but also over quick but it was unmistakable. Someone was happily whistling along to the irritating Christmas music. I looked away and continued after my girlfriend and a split second later I heard it again. I casually turned my head expecting to see someone, anyone, I silently begged them to continue so i could figure out who it was. My girlfriend glanced at me and then carried on browsing the rack of clothes. I absentmindedly wandered around near where she was. For the third and what I was soon to ensure was the final time, the whistling occurred again. Every time it happened it was directly behind me, close enough to be loud but not forced by the whistler. I scanned everywhere I could see, glaring and baring my teeth at random pieces of air. I opened my mouth to rant and I felt a small part of my sanity tear away.
We left the store and I pushed the whistling out of my mind. I couldn’t figure out who it was and no one else seemed to react to it. I convinced myself that it had just been a long, difficult day and I was just suffering under the pressure. The fresh air felt good on my skin, it was cold and crisp and breathing it in helped me to relax and feel better about the whole situation. Of course this was all made worse by the fact I could still hear the whistling. Then I spotted him, the man who haunted my brain ever since I had heard that infernal Christmas song. He was draped in swathing over sized clothes that dwarfed his still large frame. A red jacket and red trousers, all lined with fluffy white trim conjured up horrendous memories. I stood transfixed, the world blurred around me and he continued to whistle. Always whistling that infernal tune. It flew into my ears, clouded my brain and coursed through my veins. I couldn’t take my eyes off of the man, he drew closer and I was still transfixed. He finally reached a foot or so away from me and he stretched his arms way over to me and wrapped his arms around me. He pulled me in and I was smothered in the clothes, the smell and the damned whistling. I was pulled so close my mind raced, I was so scared, drenched in cold sweat, unable to catch my breath, until the symphony of noise came to a crescendo and then, there was simply silence.
I gazed out at the long line of people and children from my perch in the little hut. It was decorated with snow, garlands of holly and other assorted Christmas things. I smiled behind my beard and whistled a happy Christmas tune. Little people busied themselves around me and I welcomed in the next child with a smile and carefully perched them on my knee. I started my routine, asking them if they had been good and what they thought they deserved for Christmas. I suppose I was happy after all I was making children the world over happy. But, I couldn’t shake what the man in red had said to me as he smothered me close. It haunted me. The final thing I ever heard before my sanity broke forever “How do you really think I make all the deliveries on one night?”
Credit To – Michael Slendy