‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house,
Not a creature was stirring, not even my spouse.
My wife and son lay silent, all tucked in their beds,
Visions of demons no longer danced in my head.
My figure from the hall cast a shadow in the room,
The air a heavy pall, befitting this late night’s gloom.
I bet you’re all wondering what led to my plight,
It began two months ago, on Halloween night.
My friend was throwing a party, costumes required,
Wear something eye-catching, unique, something inspired.
The festivities underway when my family arrived,
My son dressed as Superman, us, Bonnie and Clyde.
We partook of drink and merriment all throughout the eve,
Around the stroke of midnight, most began to leave.
I hugged my wife and kid, and kissed them goodnight,
Told them I’d get a ride, and be home at first light.
I watched my family depart as I closed the front door,
And turned to see my friend, beckoning us forward.
He produced a Ouija board and placed it on the table,
“Do you guys believe in ghosts? Or think they’re just fable?”
The rest of us laughed and asked if he was serious,
“Just give it a try. Aren’t you the least bit curious?”
We sat around the board and listened to directions,
On communing with the dead, during our late night session.
After some time, of nothing remotely disturbing,
Something creepy occurred, something very unnerving.
The planchette began moving of its own accord,
Then watched as it zig-zagged across the board.
I bolted upright, from a sharp, searing pain,
And heard the voice of a woman whispering my name.
Over the commotion, the sound of distant laughing,
A sudden chill engulfed me, my consciousness blackened.
I awoke with a start! Hands pressed against my head,
On a sweat soaked pillow, sheets strewn about the bed.
How’d I get home? Had what I drank been laced?
Then felt the burn, of three scratch marks on my waist.
Soon, sleepless nights followed, I became despondent,
Endless whispers from the shadows, my fragile mind haunted.
Glimpses of a figure unseen by my family,
Vanished into dark corners, questioned my sanity.
The little sleep I got, the darkest of dreams took hold,
My loved ones stared with mouths agape, eyes black as coal.
Was this real or nightmare? I could no longer discern,
Then the darkly figure of a woman, would nightly return.
“Your family’s souls are damned, free them from their hurtin’.
Shuffle off the mortal coil, and be done with this burden.”
By Thanksgiving, their machinations no longer discreet,
Voices from the walls and vents, betrayed their deceit.
My family revealed as demons in flesh-and-blood guise,
Christmas Day was the day they had plotted my demise.
My nightmares more horrific, as that curséd day drew near,
Every morning, drenched in sweat, consumed by my fears.
So, I wore the mask of loving dad, right up till the Eve,
One last dream of the woman offering my reprieve.
“Your family is wicked. They’ll kill you while you sleep.
Take the axe from the shed, when you swing, bury it deep.”
Christmas Eve, bright and early, I quietly left the room,
My family still sound asleep, silent as a tomb.
They awoke to hot cocoa, crackling fire and freshly fallen snow,
The smell of gingerbread, apple cider, their faces all aglow.
We spent the day playing games, told ’em how much I loved them,
Then kissed my wife off to bed, grabbed my son and hugged him.
“I care for you and your mom and would only do what’s best.
I’ll come wake you when Santa’s gone,” his head against my chest.
“I can’t wait! Goodnight, dad. I’m going to go to bed.”
As soon as his door had closed, I headed to the shed.
With gas can and axe in hand, I moved with hurried stride,
And kicked open wide the door, where the first demon I spied.
With the axe, forty whacks, when I saw what I’d done,
I kicked down the other door, then swung forty-one.
I moved from room to room, possessed with righteous purpose,
Made the sign of the cross as I doused every surface.
The last drop, the living room, tossed aside the can,
Where among the gifts, an envelope, signed with child’s hand.
I removed a card and read, “To The World’s Greatest Dad!”
With a photo of our family and the happy life we had.
I slumped beside the Christmas Tree with lit match and tearful gaze,
Then screamed, as it and my wretched soul went up in hellish blaze.
As the flames consumed the heavens, a woman cackled with delight,
Disembodied laughter, that faded with the night.
© 2022 Raven Mirthwood
‘Here Dwells a Monster’ was written by Raven Mirthwood for the Halloween 2022 Poetry Contest,
To read more from this author, click their author page link here.
Image by DanGrafArt at Pixabay.