Playing Santa

Playing Santa

A Story by A.J. Spencer

A group of people are terrorized by someone, or something, imitating a Santa Claus



Playing Santa 

 By A.J. Spencer

From behind the Christmas tree, a figure crept up on the tall blonde as she sat by the fireplace. She was dressed in a long, gold ,silk robe. The flame danced and cast a romantic glow onto her as she studied her glass of wine. Her focus was so deep, that she didn’t notice how close the figure was to her until it was too late. She finally heard the loud thumping of his heavy boots and the sounds of his bells jingle. She turned to face the intruder, her eyes wide with terror. She sat frozen, and upon realizing that the person who snuck up on her was not a threat, the look of fear in her eyes turned playful. A seductive smile crossed her face. 

“Oh Santa, I wasn’t expecting you this early” she purred. She stood and the front of her robe opened partially, revealing the sexy lingerie she was wearing underneath. 

“I hope what I’m wearing doesn’t get me put on the NAUGHTY list” she continued, pulling the robe open further. “This exclusive line from Laceys Love Boutique is just so cozy and sexy, it’s enough to keep anyone warm all winter long. And it must be working, because I can see that the stockings aren’t the only thing hung by the chimney!” 

The blonde twirled her hair with her finger and paused when Santa just stood there. 

“Well, Santa baby, don’t you have anything to say?” She prompted him. 

Santa didn’t have anything to say. So the director yelled “Cut!” 

“I’m sorry” The actor playing Santa said. “I froze up again.” 

The director was sitting on the couch behind the camera man in the cabins lodge. A cigar hung from his mouth and his black dyed hair was slicked back with too much gel. 

“What’s going on Doug? Don’t tell me you forgot your only line. I know you can say ho-ho-ho.  Is my girlfriend the actress/model not hot enough for you? Cut  me a break here man, we almost got this thing in the can.” 

“I don’t know Gary, it’s just, I don’t feel right portraying Santa like this. It feels dirty.”  Doug said. 

“Dude, it’s a commercial for an underwear store. It’s not porn” Gary said rubbing his hand on his forehead like he always did when he was trying not to lose his temper.  

Lacey herself finally came back from a phone call and was now working on an email. 

“Let me intervene here Gary” she said still not looking up from her phone. “Doug, why don’t you and Hanna take a break, go get into the right headspace, and when we come back, we’ll just film your line, everyone gets paid, and we all go home happy.”   

“Great!” Hanna said “I really wanna put some clothes on. I’m freezing my a*s off and I can’t do another take.”  

“Fine” Doug said.  

He felt like they would keep him stranded in a cabin in the middle of nowhere until they got him to do whatever they wanted, and he had agreed to do this. He went outside to clear his mind. The view from the back of the cabin was astonishing. The woods surrounding them were covered in a thick layer of snow, and the light from the full moon reflected off the ice crystals, creating tiny sparkles. These simple things reminded Doug why Christmas was a magical time for him during childhood. Playing Santa had been a dream of his ever since he caught the acting bug and worked his way into every local theater production he could. Now he finally had his chance, and he was playing the character in a low budget commercial that would never be seen by families on daytime television, but he had to make the best of it. 

Hell, maybe if he nailed this it would catch the eye of someone that could get him the role in something more notable. Like one of those made for cable movies they crank every year. He felt better keeping that in mind, he could just picture it.Him as the big guy in the red suit, the head elf, walking around a winter wonderland that looked like the woods surrounding him right now.  With a big sack of presents thrown over his shoulder, ready to spread joy all around the world.  

His heart warmed his freezing face. The wind had picked up and heavy gust  of cold air slapped hard against him.He watched it turn sheets of snow into frosty white clouds. It was time for Doug to head back inside and get through this night. Especially since his imagination was so vivid right now that he would have no problem getting into character. The Santa image was still fresh in his mind, he could, in fact, see it coming out of one of those frost clouds. The large shadow was walking slowly towards where the cabin was. His red hat almost blew off.Doug watched him struggle to hold on tight to it.

The closer the figure got, the more details Doug could make out in the face. Something was wrong with Santa. His face looked rougher than Doug had pictured, thinner, the skin on his face was bruised and covered in deep scratches more red than his suit,and why did his right eye look like it was frozen shut? His lips were purple and covered in sores. Then there was the matter of the wounds covering the rest of his body that had thick globs of puss gushing from them. This wasn’t the version of Santa Doug imagined himself as. This was something else, it was very real, it was crazed and very close to the cabin now. 

Doug had seen some zombie movies before, he always feared them more than anything. He hoped he would never have to face one in real life, yet here he was. The zombie apocalypse had started close to Christmas, with a f*****g zombie santa. Now Doug had to find something to destroy his brain with. Emotionally, it was gonna be hard, but if this Santa was patient zero, Doug could save the whole world.  

Next to him sat a pile of firewood. He would have to make it work in this situation. So he quickly found the most heavy looking piece and brought it above his head with both hands. He braced himself to bring it down as hard as he could and smash zombie Santa’s head in when he got close enough. In the back of his mind he looked back on all the times his parents told him that watching too many movies and reading comics would rot his brain. If he listened to them he wouldn’t have been prepared to be in this situation.

The Santa ghoul let go of his hat and it blew away in the wind, revealing the top of his bald frost bitten head. He was coming right upon Doug with both arms extended out, and just as Doug was about to make his move, Santa was able to utter the words “please help me” in a voice barley above a whisper. Then he collapsed right at Dougs feet. 

Back in the cabins lodge, Hanna sat on the couch giggling with Gary, Lazaro stood reviewing the footage he shot earlier on the camera. Lacey was frantically searching through her bag for a phone charger and was cussing every item she came across that wasn’t what she was looking for. It took them all a minute to realize that their actor had his hands under the arms of a much larger, but much less alive and healthy person dressed just like him and was dragging him into the room. It wasn’t until Doug yelled “Someone call 9-1-1 !” And the wind from outside blew out the fire That their heads all snapped over and their mouths dropped open.  

“Doug! What the hell is this!? You’re gonna get blood on the set” was Gary’s first reaction. Hannah let out an audible gasp, Lazaro said nothing and started filming, and Lacey offered an unenthusiastic “You’ve gotta be f*****g kidding me”. 

“He came up to me outside. I almost killed him because I thought he was a zombie. He’s really hurt you guys, we have to help him.” Doug pleaded.  

“Doug, he looks sick, what if we catch something from him!?” Lacey asked

“No you have to listen to me. Do not call anyone, you have to take my place then kill me.” Santa said in a voice so weak that only Doug could really hear him. 


“Well, now we’re dealing with a dying man on my set. You all can deal with this I need a drink.” Gary said. 

He made his way past Doug ,who looked around helplessly. It didn’t look like the crew was going to offer much assistance. 

“Well, if no one is going to help me, can someone at least sit with him and keep him talking while I call someone!?” Doug asked 

“Ok, I’ll do it” Hannah said reluctantly 

“Doug, I hope you realize what a huge setback this is for us, this man is obviously some sort of crazed vagrant.” Lacey said. “Also, stop filming everything Lazaro, you’re wasting  storage space on that camera!”   

“It’s nice to know that you really do have a soul Lacey.” Doug said while shifting through his bag.   

Meanwhile Hanna Was trying to figure out how to calm the dying man speaking things to her that she didn’t understand. 

“The things in the woods. They won’t set me free until I find someone else to play My part. They have their own North Pole out there.It won’t work without the right person to run it. I wasn’t the right choice, so they did something to me. I can feel something inside me. It’s changing me”Said the grotesque Santa. 

“Oh, umm, it’s gonna be ok. We’ll get someone take care of you.” Lacey said, failing to sound reassuring. 

Behind her Lazaro never stopped rolling. His eyes were wide with a wild excitement. 

“This footage is gonna win me awards!” He said 

Doug was pacing back and forth trying to find a signal. Every time he tried to dial emergency services all he kept getting was static feedback that sounded like it was coming from a poorly tuned radio station. With the faint sound of a church choir doing a low pitched, dark rendition of various Christmas Carols. 

“They won’t let you make contact until you agree to take my place.” Santa tried to yell to Doug. 

He began to make a gurgling sound, and his head jerked up. 

“Hurry Doug, I think he’s going to hurl!” Hanna cried. 

“I’m trying!” Doug said  

“Don’t let him throw up on the rug!” Said Lacey who ran over to help flip the man on his side.  

When they rolled him over, Santa projectile vomited a pile of red and white candy canes. Everyone watched in disbelief as they started moving, straightening out on their own from their natural hook shape and slithering across the floor like little snakes. They were fast,and before he knew it, they were up Lazaro’s leg and entering his screaming mouth, ears, and nose. He pointed the camera at himself like it was a natural instinct. Doug dropped his phone, Hanna screamed, and so did Lacey, and it was probably the most emotion she ever showed. 

They watched mortified. Lazaro’s head become clear like glass With his skull visible. and little tiny flakes of white confetti fell around it.He had turned into a walking snow globe. His skeleton’s mouth opened like it wanted to scream, but no sound came out. One single crack formed in his glass head,expanded all at once, then exploded, leaving just the bloody stump of his neck,his body hit the floor With a heavy thump. 

“I told you, I’m cursed!” Santa yelled. He pointed at Doug “He has go with them or I’ll kill you all! 

“Alright you son of a b***h!” It was Gary, he returned with a drink in one hand and a revolver in the other. 

“Ha! You think your gun will work?”Santa asked. “Then go ahead and take the shot. See what happens.” 

Gary didn’t hesitate. The deafening blast from the gunshot echoed through the whole room. The bullet entered Santa’s chest,through his heart,and silver and gold liquid sprayed out in place of blood from the hole. Somehow this seemed to give him more life, he got on his feet, his one good eye went wild. The low rumbling snarl that came from him erased any last human trait he had left. He started towards Gary. 

“Guess I’ll have to aim higher this time.”  Gary said

He fired another shot. This time the bullet hit Santa in the face and chunks  exploded sending his one good eye, his nose, and part of his jaw and teeth in different directions all over the room. Yet the now faceless monstrosity keep coming towards Gary. What remained looked like ruined ground beef with the bottom half of a beard still attached. It was obvious to everyone else in the room now that Gary wasn’t going to stop the abomination by himself. Doug was closest to the door, he could make a run for it, but something inside wouldn’t let him. He wouldn’t be able to sleep at night knowing this thing was still out there roaming around somewhere. He had to try and stop it even if it meant him dying.   

He tried to think fast because now the things beard had extended itself out and wrapped around Gary’s wrist, stopping him from taking another shot.Hanna tried to save him by grabbing the fire place poker and charging at the monster. She jabbed it in the back, but not before it pulled Gary’s arm from its socket and used it to fire the next shot through one of his ears and out of the other. 

“Nooooo!” Cried an an angry Hanna

The gun was dropped on the floor and Lacey dove for it as Hanna pulled the fireplace poker out and attacked again with all her fury. The creature spun around and lifted her off the ground. A hole opened up in the place where it’s mouth used to be, then several rows of tiny pointy, christmas tree lights sprouted out like sharks teeth. They tore through Hannas midsection and pulled her intestines out. Hannas last cries of rage turned into a gurgling sound. 

Lacey had the gun now, but Doug knew that it would be useless, and between him and Lacey he knew that it would get through them in a matter of seconds. Then finally dawned on him in his panicking mind what the Santa was saying about him taking his place being the only way to stop the madness. He picked up his phone off the ground. He could her Lacey begin to cry and actually beg for her life as she used the last bullets in the gun and it was just clicking.  

“Alright, I’ll do it. I’ll do it if you make it stop!” He told the singing choir on the other end. Then there was silence on the other end.The Santa thing stopped dead in its tracks before attacking Lacey and went for the fireplace instead crouching down and put itself inside. It stood there, just two black boots visible. They were the first thing to be ignited in the sudden burst of fire. 

The choir started back up, and this time it was closer to the cabin. 

“I think that’s my cue to go out there now.”  Doug told Lacey, who was sitting in stunned quiet. Her eyes were distant. 

“I’m selling the shop.” She said quietly. “Then I’m moving far away somewhere where they never, ever celebrate Christmas.” 

“Good luck with that.” Doug said before walking out of the door. 

“Yeah, Doug, you too.” She said 

Doug saw them surrounding the edge of the woods. People in handmade costumes dressed as various Christmas characters. Some of them were snowmen, some where elves, there were even reindeer and walking Christmas trees made out of green fabric and real pine needles. Some of them were tiny, others were gigantic. Doug couldn’t see any of their actual bodies in the breaking daylight, but almost all of them looked not quite human,but when they started singing again he felt suddenly at home. Like he was a child again. He would be able to feel like this forever now. He smiled as he followed them to their North Pole village in the middle of the woods, where he wouldn’t just be playing Santa, he would BE Santa. 

© 2021 A.J. Spencer

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Added on December 16, 2021
Last Updated on December 16, 2021
Tags: Short, horror, Christmas, holidays, weird, paranormal


A.J. Spencer
A.J. Spencer

Louisville, KY

I’m just a writer with an extreme love for B movies, horror, and sci fi, or really just any story that’s bizarre and unconventional. more..

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