A Bloody Christmas Ritual: The Haunting Story of ‘Black Santa’

An introduction by Lawrie Brewster

And, upon this wintry day, full of dew and dreadful dreariness, I bring to you the most shocking and absurd Christmas horror tale ever to be conceived by the minds of mad, mortal men. So much so that even the mad Arab Alhazred, the purported author of the Necronomicon, described Black Santa as “over the top” in his Goodreads review.

This outrageous horror tale is yours to enjoy, written by yours truly, and is included in our fantastic book The Book of Beastly Creatures Volume I, which you can purchase in hardback or digital form right over here on our website www.hexstudios.shop.

But… enough of that. Let the tale begin!

Black Santa

Back in 2017, I spent Christmas Eve with my old high-school friend, Michael, who I hadn’t seen for some years since we’d graduated. I’d left to go work in the city, and he’d stayed behind in our hometown where he lived in the suburbs with his girlfriend, Nicole.

We enjoyed reminiscing, joking, and drinking, but after a while, Michael started to seem a little… off. He was agitated, nervous. He kept looking at his watch. Thinking that this was my cue to leave, I said my goodbyes, but, as I headed to the door, I noticed Michael in the kitchen, initiating a rather peculiar Christmas ritual.

Most of you will be familiar with the tradition of leaving a snack out for Santa Claus, perhaps a mince pie and a carrot for his reindeer, but this was something… different.

Instead of carrots or mince pies, Michael had placed a large chunk of meat, raw and bloody, on the kitchen table. When he saw me, he quickly kicked the door shut. As it closed, I could swear that his hand was dripping blood. Had he cut himself?

I caught Nicole’s worried glance to the clock. It was 11:45 pm, just fifteen minutes before Christmas Day.

I had two choices; I could simply leave them to it, or I could interfere. Now, I am a naturally inquisitive person, and of course, I’d been drinking all night, so I chose the latter.

I gently nudged Nicole aside and made my way into the kitchen. She protested at first, then relented, with a peculiar hesitation. Perhaps she wanted me to investigate or challenge Michael’s strange behaviour.

The door opened to reveal Michael hunched over the kitchen table, fist clenched as he eked out some extra drops of blood onto the meat. He looked at me with an expression that lay somewhere between embarrassment and fear, before wiping his hand with a kitchen towel. Nicole darted past me and opened a cupboard door to fetch a Band-Aid for the fresh cut on Michael’s palm.

I was stunned, but, forever arrogant, I demanded an explanation. Michael smiled sadly at Nicole, a sign of resignation. She left us to it.

“I’m sorry, I know it looks weird, but it’s a tradition. I’ve always done it, ever since I was a kid.”

I couldn’t take my eyes off the raw meat soaked in animal blood, and in my friend’s blood too.

“But… why?” I asked.

“I wouldn’t even know where to begin. Let’s just say I do this because… I have to.”

I laughed at him.

“Is this for Santa? Is he a hardcore carnivore?”

Michael didn’t laugh. He looked around the room anxiously, as if he were listening out for a sign. He trembled, startled by something, and with an urgent expression, declared;

“I think you should go. Now.”

In defiance, I folded my arms and explained that I wasn’t going anywhere, not until he told me the truth. To this day, I wish I had heard him out properly, or just minded my own business.

But perhaps you would have laughed too, and trust me, you’re about to laugh, just as I did, when I tell you exactly what came out of his mouth next.

“Since before I was born, my family has offered our blood to Black Santa.”

In the hall behind me, Nicole shook her head, disappearing into the bedroom. Clearly, he was serious, and while I understand that now, at the time I could only ridicule him.

“Black Santa? What the hell’s Black Santa? Is he like James Brown? Will he come down your chimney tonight?”

I rushed out of the kitchen and sang ‘I Feel Good’ into the fireplace, before turning to Michael with a condescending grin, a look that screamed its demand for a real answer.

But that was his only answer.

It was 12:05 am, making it Christmas Day. Frustrated by his obstinate refusal to answer, I decided that I would force a change in my friend’s tradition. So, I went back to the kitchen, and before Michael could react, I grabbed the bloody steak and threw it into the fire.

In the process, I hadn’t realised that the meat was skewered on a spike, and I had managed to cut myself, adding my own blood to his. Mesmerised at the sight of the meat sizzling on the fire, Michael stepped up beside me.

In a frightful tone, he whispered;

“What have you done?”

I turned to him.

“Fuck Black Santa.”

He noticed the blood on my hand, and his lip quivered. I realise now the importance of the ritual, but at the time, I thought I had liberated my friend from an odd compulsion.

Michael tried half-heartedly to detain me with promises of an explanation about Black Santa, this strange boogeyman that he and his father and his father’s father had appeased over the decades. I was having none of it. I say ‘half-hearted’ because there was a new-found relief in Michael, which I sensed from Nicole as well, as if I had lifted a great burden from them, for reasons I would soon discover.

I sped away in my car, disappointed to have left in such weird and unsettled circumstances, but also amused at the oddness of it all. I laughed as I drove, recalling the ridiculous name of Michael’s boogeyman. The unexpected events of the evening had left me alert and very much awake, so I decided to head downtown, where I hoped there might still be bars open.

Black Santa indeed…

I can’t remember the name of the bar, but it was surprisingly quiet, comprising mostly of middle-aged loners, the town’s leftovers. Despite being from there, I had always retained a certain aloofness, which I guess made me stand out. A bristly-faced man with a plaid shirt leaned over his stool at the bar to sneer, while a woman with pock-marked skin paused in her negotiation with the karaoke DJ to shoot me an inviting smile. You might wonder how I can recall all these little details, but trust me, the events of this night are forever imprinted upon my mind.

I went straight to the bar and ordered a drink, then chatted idly to the man in the plaid shirt, doing my best to ignore the caterwauling of the woman singing behind me.

The midi-electric music of the karaoke had a distinctly retro feel, as did the songs sung by the drunken siren. Then, quite gradually, I realised that the woman was no longer singing. Someone else had replaced her mid-song. It was a booming man’s voice with a deep, gravelly resonance that imbued the lyrics of T’pau’s ‘China in Your Hand’ with a strange fury.

I turned quickly to see who it was, almost knocking my drink in the process. As I did, the tune broke into the ‘saxophone’ solo, played out in staccato bleeps via the midi system. The performer danced slowly, sensually, swaying their hips in time to the music. This was not the drunk woman, but a large, bearded man in a Santa Claus outfit.

At the climax of the chorus, he reached out to me with the same dramatic flair one might expect from a performer before an audience of thousands. With unblinking eye contact, as a tear rolled down his bright red cheek, he blasted out the lines;

“Don’t push too far; your dreams are china in your hand…”

I suddenly felt a nervous urge. My hand tightened around the glass I was holding. Why were his eyes so tiny, like shining pins?

“Don’t wish too hard, because they may come true…”

Why is he now smiling so strangely at me—just me and nobody else? I was irritated by this, but no one else seemed to care or even acknowledge the outrageous scene.

“You don’t know what you might have… set upon yourself.”

I clenched my drink so hard that it shattered, showering me and the burly, plaid-shirt-wearing man with glass splinters. He pulled me off my stool, ready to punch me, then hesitated and let me go. With great relief, I patted myself dry and realised that the song had finally ended. I looked back at the stage and could see no sign of the peculiar performer, only the woman and the DJ from before.

I turned to the bartender, intending to order a Black Russian, but instead the words ‘Black Santa’ came out. He looked at me strangely and suggested that I should perhaps go home.

“You don’t know what you might have set upon yourself.”

Why had the words the man sung sounded so threatening?

He had resembled an idealised version of Santa Claus, like you might expect from an old-fashioned Christmas card, or the Coca-Cola Christmas commercials. He would have looked perfect if it weren’t for some subtle, sinister imperfections that produced an instinctual sense of repulsion. His cruel, cherubic grin and pinprick eyes somehow filled me with dread.

I fled to the restroom to steady my nerves. As I sat in the cubicle, taking deep breaths, I became aware that the cubicle next to me was not empty.

I can be a little self-conscious in public toilets, but the man beside me was decidedly not so. After producing a great volume of noise and smell, he made an outrageous, uproarious laugh.

It went like this; “Ho, Ho, Ho,” then changed mid-way into an evil laugh, the type we might associate with a cartoon villain.

“Ho, Ho, Ho… muhahaha!”

The acoustics changed too, from a muffled echo to my left, to a sharp, clear sound right above me!

I jumped with fright and looked up to see, staring down at me over the cubicle wall, the bearded face from before. It was bright red with laughter, glaring at me with those beady, black eyes. Then I saw that he was holding something… a giant, rolled-up ball of wet toilet paper, soaked in urine and excrement.

A second later it was thrown with tremendous force straight into my face. It hit me so hard that it knocked me off the toilet onto the floor. The horrifying object made me retch with disgust. I was so shocked that I couldn’t even scream or shout for help. I wiped the oozing mess off my face and dashed out of the cubicle, ready to punch this vile stranger.

His cubicle door was swinging wildly, but the man himself was nowhere to be seen. I rushed back into the bar, crashing straight into a patron, before feverishly shouting if anyone had seen him? The bartender, who was already convinced I’d drunk too many, signalled to the bouncers to kick me out, all of which played out to Foreigner’s “I Want to Know What Love Is.”

Stinking of crap, I stumbled past suspicious passers-by who quickly moved aside with looks of disgust. I must have resembled a vagrant, but nevertheless, I made my way back to the car.

Ah, my beautiful, silver, German-produced Audi A4. My pride and joy.

You can probably tell by those words that some strange fate befell it. Well, you still won’t believe it.

In the window of a nearby department store was a bank of televisions, all set to the same channel. They were playing an episode of an unfamiliar game show, with a hysterical couple jumping up and down after having won the star prize. I stopped for a moment, because the man dashing to the prize podium was dressed in a Santa costume and resembled the man who attacked me. Well, he wasn’t dressed quite like Santa exactly… the colour of his costume was too dark.

With a flourish, the man pulled off the sheet to reveal an Audi A4. The couple ran towards it, embracing the car like a lost child. I smiled, glad that this working-class couple could experience the luxury of a car only people like me could usually afford, but then, I noticed the license plate—the same number as mine!

The man dressed as Santa turned to the camera and began walking towards it until his face engulfed the screen. He was mouthing something through the glass, but I couldn’t hear it. I leant in close until I could faintly hear words repeating over the buzz of the televisions. He was singing something.

“Don’t push too far; your dreams are china in your hand…”

I ran as fast as I could, all the way back to my car, which, as you might expect, was not where I left it. There weren’t even any marks in the snow to suggest it had ever been there.

Still smelling of crap and now without a car, I began the long trudge back to my motel. Despite my soiled state, I tried to hitch a ride, hoping some kind soul would take pity on me.

After about a hundred cars had sped past, at long last, a truck slowed to a crawl beside me. It was decorated in Christmas lights, yet, inside the cabin, it was pitch black.

The garish exterior and unsettling interior discouraged me, but with the snow now falling harder, I stepped up to enter the cabin. That was when the demonic man’s face leered out suddenly from the darkness, the bristles of his beard scratching at my face.

“HOHOHO-Muhahahaha,” he roared, as I tumbled backwards out of the cabin and fell into the snow. As I fell, my ankle struck a jagged rock, hard, shattering it inside. Searing pain engulfed me as I clambered up, hobbling away as fast as I could towards the motel.

The truck continued to crawl along the road beside me, its radio on full blast, playing ‘China in Your Hand’ on repeat.

Try as I might, I just couldn’t go on. The pain had become too great and I collapsed with exhaustion. Looking to my foot, I could see that the injury was worse than I had first imagined. The bone was protruding from my skin, and my foot lay in a thick pool of blood.

The realisation hit me that this could be my final night. I could actually die like this. I was about to lose everything I had accomplished; the city career and the awesome car. I realised then that none of it had ever mattered, for here I was, a humble wretch crying in the snow, covered in blood and excrement.

The instinct to survive is a powerful thing, and I started to crawl once more, fighting to remain conscious.

Finally, my body gave out. I collapsed on my back and just lay there, looking up at the stars and the moon, at the waves of snowflakes spiraling gently towards me.

In the corner of my eye, I could see that the truck had stopped. The man, this demonic Santa Claus, was now effortlessly striding through the snow towards me, clenching a small fire axe.

He leaned over me, sniffing loudly for the scent of blood, which soon led him to my crippled foot. Close up, I could see that this man’s Santa costume was not red… but black.

He loomed over me, staring with those tiny, cruel eyes that shone like ancient stars, his body heaving with triumphant anticipation.

One month later, I awoke in the hospital, where I learned that I had been placed in an induced coma due to the extent of my injuries.

Within weeks, I could talk and move once more. Everything was as it should be… except for my left foot. They told me that it had been hacked off and that something had eaten it, leaving only the bones beside my body.

It’s now Christmas Eve, 2019, and I can get around well enough with my new prosthetic foot. I make my way to the kitchen, where I will prepare two snacks. One is a mince pie for Santa Claus, and the other, a steak tartare with a dash of my own blood, for Black Santa.