Something Came Down My Chimney
& It Wasn’t Santa
A Short Story by Grant Hinton
I sat bolt upright, a cold sweat covered my brow. It wasn’t the dream, I was sure of it even as it faded from his mind. A scream pierced the night. The same noise that had infiltrated my restless slumber. Not knowing what it was, I got out of bed and stumbled to my parent’s room. As I pushed the bedroom door open, my mother shot from the bed and elbowed me out the way, my cry of pain startled my father awake. The familiarity of the scream resonated in my head for a brief second.
My dad pushed past me and we ran to my sister’s room bumping into mum at the threshold of my four-year-old sister’s door. Pink wallpaper with unicorns gave the walls a fairytale look as did her fluffy pillows, and armies of teddy bears, but the princess of this room wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Another ear-piercing scream splits the early morning and we ran for the stairs. Dad burst through the living door a moment before me and mum. Our grey sofas were overturned exposing the ripped canvas underneath, the Christmas tree laid destroyed to one side; the decorations and broken bubbles scattered across the floor. I don’t think my parents saw the desolate state of their living room because Tilly was slowly disappearing up the chimney backwards. A long, black appendage clamped over her shoulders pulled her up as she continued to scream. The half-full stocking trailed in one of her hand disappeared after her. Dad leapt to the fireplace desperately trying to grab Tilly’s hand as mum sunk to the floor in a heap of devastation. Damian, My sixteen-year-old brother sleepily entered the room in his bed shorts and T-shirt. He looked at our mother sunk against the door and then to dad laying sprawled by the fireplace in confusion.
“What’s happening? What’s going on?”
“My baby.” Mum wailed and sobbed into her hands.
Dad scampered as far up the chimney as he could. A sticky black substance coated the carpet and lead up the interior bricks blocking his progress.
“Quick Dom. Grab my torch from my bedside.”
“Just do it. Now! Quickly!”
Damian darted from the room and thundered up the stairs. Moments later his heavy footfall announced his return and he gave Dad the torch. Dad shone the light up the chimney and was greeted with blackness, the redundant smell of mouldy food and something else clung to the brickwork and his bedclothes.
“The roof. They’re on the roof.” I heard him call from within.
Damian and our father ran from the house and stood on the snow-dusted lawn looking up to the equally white roof as I stopped in the doorway.
“There nothing there, Dad?”
Confusion clouded dad’s face in the predawn light.
“It’s in the roof.” He gasped.
Damian watched confused as Dad darted back passed me into the house.
I’ve never seen Dad move so fast as he raced up the grey carpeted stairs to the landing, taking two steps at a time. He jostled the pictures of our happy family lined the stairs in brown wooden frames. At the top, he jumped for the roof hatch and pulled the trap down. Stairs descended in a fluid motion. Damian finally bumped his elbow as dad placed a foot on the first run.
“Dom, I need a weapon.”
“What is it? What is happening?”
“Something’s got, Tilly.”
“Dad?” I called from the foot of the stairs. I was really scared.
“Not now, Billy!”
A muffled scream echoed in the roof space and Damian’s jaw fall open, I ran up the stairs and joined them.
“Dom! Focus. I need a weapon.”
“Ahh, yeah, one second… wait there.”
Damian opened his door and disappears inside. Seconds later he handed Dad a large knife that gleamed in the faint light coming through a window.
“Really? In your room? After this we’re gonna have a serious talk.”
As Dad ascended the stairs, Damian followed, I took up the rear. Dad clicked a switch and a single bulb illuminated the attic in shards of cold blue light. A black mass shifted at the back of the roof. I gasped as Dad shone the torch, Tilly’s laid under the beast frightened as the spider’s eyes shrunk from the light of the torch. It hissed a warning.
“Dad! What the fuck is that?” Cursed Damian.
I stood dumbstruck as Tilly’s fingertips clung to a dusty roof beam.
“Dad… please.” She wailed. It’s white stringy web entwined Tilly’s body and the large spider pulled at her – her fingers buckled one by one.
“Just hold on, I’m coming.”
Tilly disappeared into the darkness and Dad frantically tried to follow – the torch swung from side to side illuminating the edges of the attic space. Dad and Damian stepped cautiously across the spaces between the beams making sure not to step on the fluffy insulation. The spider extended four black spindly legs and knocked rapidly on the wooden supports – a loud chattering noise fills the attic. Tilly’s last finger slipped from the beam and the beast shot back to a black hole in the side of the chimney. Dad leapt forward desperately and hit a beam hard losing his breath. He pulled himself over to the broken brickwork and looked down the hole. Mum’s screams reverberated throughout the house.
Damian bumped his head on the wood support and cursed as he turned back to the attic hatch. Moments later we all raced back through the front door into the snow scattered lawn. Our breaths bellowed out in the crisp morning air.
“Where?” Dad glanced around as Damian shouted to us.
“Dad. It’s in the trees.”
My father bolted forward and brandished the knife between the spider and Damian.
“Come here you mother fucker and give me back my daughter.”
Dad picked up a loss rock from the shrubs of our garden and threw it at the creatures head – it bounced off its thick hide with a thud. The chattering noise became angrier and the creature slowly started to morph. I clung to the door frame petrified. Dad looked at me in a state of shock as a black, head-like thing resembling a deflated balloon extended from the bulbous part of its body. It rose up on a boney black skeletal like neck. Damian looked from the numerous flashing eyes on the spidery body to the ascending eyeless head. The thing we thought was a spider hissed again as it continued to morph into something hideous.
“No way. Are those wings?” Damian gasped.
A rib cage exoskeleton popped out of the body with a slouching sound and followed the head as two skeletal wings with sharp boney points fanned out behind it. The spidery body shook like a rattlesnake as the chattering noise grew louder. The balloon-shaped head towered above Dad’s six-foot height. As he looked up a barbed tail extended over the creatures winged shoulder, threateningly. Tilly’s muffled screams split the air and her hands became visible under the beast’s boubous body. Tilly’s petrified face pleaded with our father as twelve small humans-like hands gripped her shoulders from underneath the spidery body.
“Dad! Help me!”
Tilly screamed and frantically pulled at the loose ground trying to free herself. Dad dodged the thrust of the creatures spiked tail and tried to get within striking distance.
“Dad, watch out!”
The barbed tail struck again and Dad jumped out the way, narrowly missing the wicked sharp point. The creature’s lower face split open above Tilly’s head and circles of serrated teeth chomped like a woodchipper. A puff of green smoke spread from the jaws and my father staggered forwards coughing. As his eyes glazed over, he drops the knife to the cold ground.
“DAD!!” I screamed.
A split cracked opened in the creature’s deflated head revealing a mouth devoid of teeth.
“No!” Damian screamed, the warning never reached our father. The creature struck with brutal speed and clamped over his head. Mum screamed beside me and fell to her knees as dad’s convulsing body hit the floor. The deflated head puckered and then with a ripping sound tore dad’s head clean off. Lights from the neighbouring houses flicked on. The creature shuffled back with Tilly still underneath. Damian grabbed the fallen knife and lunged for the creature narrowly missing the barbed tail. He plunged the knife through the thick hairless skin, and it rears up revealing a scared Tilly.
“Dom… Dom. Help me.” She whimpered.
My brother reached down to rescue Tilly but suddenly went stiff. Blood spilt from the corners of his mouth. Tilly screamed again. A cracking sound filled the air. Damian’s body shook as the barbed tail pushed through his torso with a sickening crunch. Tilly screwed up her face as green puss and blood fell from our fallen brother. A gunshot echoed off the houses. The spider thing shrieked and skittered back. Another gunshot hit the creature square on its hind legs making them buckled. Shrieking, it scrambled upright as Tilly crawled from underneath. A man walked toward the beast brandishing a well-used shotgun. Brian, our neighbour, and seasoned hunter fired the weapon again, the creature’s grotesque torso collapsed back into its body.
“Get back!” Brian gruff voice barked.
Tilly scrambled past Damian’s dead body toward our cowering mother as a fourth gunshot echoed off the building. The creature’s greenish blood poured from a crack in its tough skin. Shuddering, it slowly withered. Brian pulled his dressing gown tight and walked over to the creature with his gun pointed – he smiled a toothless grin as the beast laid still. Damian’s open mouth silently moaned to the broken night as his swollen body turns greenish-grey, pus leaked from his eyes and nose and trickled to the desolated snow.
“Ah. Man. That’s disgusting,” Brian looked over to the porch and the three us there. “You all ok?”
I nodded stupidly as Tilly cuddled mum, they were crying together as the creature jerked and curls up tighter. Tilly murmured and rested her head against our mother’s chest as mum thanked Brian with a small nod. Suddenly mom’s eyes went wide as saucers as the barbed tail shot out and pierced Brian’s chest. The old hunter reached over his shoulder as he shuddered and buckled to the floor. The shotgun falling from his loose fingers, the gun hit the floor and sent one final shot into the spidery beast. The tail slowly retracted back into the body and finally laid still. Tilly and my mum consoled each other as more of our neighbour’s lights turn on. Neither of them saw the small spider-like creatures pouring from Damian’s body, thousand of them scurrying away to the trees in a thick black line. but I did.
Grant Hinton is the wifi password to the world of horror. His technological knowledge mixed with the grasp of the human condition results in devastatingly chilling results. Not only that, this bestselling author is hauntingly gifted in all things to raise the hairs on the back of your neck, all the ways to quickening your heartbeat, and leave you with a lesson that stays long after your eyes have left his words.
There are great things on the horizon coming ahead, stay tuned for more soul gripping content.
Grant Hinton – horror author, writing advocate, teacher and family man.