And now, Scary-Crayon presents...
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the absolute strangest christmas story ever told
(Part 3)
by: Wes

In any case, despite all of these interesting objections to the title of the particular novel that you are reading at this very moment -- that is, The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told -- the author refuses to change or even slightly modify the title, which, as you see, stands as it is, because it has already been printed on the cover and it would be impossible for the author to somehow recover this and all other copies of the work for the purpose of altering the title to suit your individual tastes, which, as you have noted yourself, must be very strange indeed for you to have even picked up a book that purported to be the absolute strangest Christmas story ever told. If the title really bothers you, however, feel free to take a permanent magic marker to the cover and change it yourself. After all, assuming that you paid for this book, you paid for this book, and so it is yours to do with as you please, so long as your actions are not in violation of copyright laws and the like. If you have stolen the copy of this book that you now hold in your hands, shame on you! But given that you are already a thief and will undoubtedly roast in Hell for all eternity for your crime (ah, the great love of God -- that's what Christmas is all about! -- or so they say), so I suppose it couldn't hurt you any more to similarly cross out the title with a stolen ballpoint pen -- again, shame on you! -- and modify it as you see fit.

However, if you are borrowing this book from the library, it is not your place to change the title at all, because you do not own this book in any capacity -- you are borrowing it -- and therefore should not be marking it up in any way. Yet if you find the title to be terribly offensive and misleading and the like, you could always petition your librarian to change the title for you. Good luck collecting signatures for that, though, since you're probably the only person who has ever lifted this title from the secluded and no-doubt dust-ridden shelf on which it resides in the haunted bowels of the library where they send the books that no one will ever read (except for you). Be careful down there! I hear that there are ill-tempered spiders in the darkness... black, richly furred creatures as big as cats and that scurry about heavily on legs as thick as the poles of street signs, which they never have cause to obey because there are no roads, paved or unpaved, that run through the lowermost sections of old library buildings. The eyes of these fearsome spiders glow red with menace and bloodlust, but I hear that, if you bring them jack-o-lantern shaped pails filled to the brim with sugar, they will cease their demonic machinations long enough to allow you to pet them (I hear their fur, though evil, as it grows from their fat, vicious arachnid bodies, is quite soft and pleasing to the touch). Then they will hiss and rip your limbs off. So again, I warn you -- be careful! Bring lots of cloth bandages and a cell phone, for you'll have to call someone by pressing the keys with your tongue after the spiders thoroughly feasted on your severed appendages. Having a friend with a wheelbarrow on the speed dial wouldn't hurt -- which is good, because you'll be in enough pain as it is.

Come to think of it, even if you borrowed this book from the library, it's okay to mark it up and change the title. After all, you're never going to return it. Why not, you ask? Well, would you want to be the person who had to replace it on the shelf, knowing what dangers lurk in those dank and terrifying lower corridors of the library? Clearly you would be doing the library staff a favor if you just paid the "lost" fee and kept The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told hidden away among the other titles in your own personal collection. Congratulations on your new addition! At least with respect to this one, the author commends your taste in books. You'll never know what a compliment that is -- but that's quite enough praise for now. This being a novel -- and a novel entitled The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told, at that -- there is, naturally, a story to be told here. We've dallied long enough; let's get to it.

So. While our lengthy discussion and analysis of the inappropriateness of the title of this book -- that is, The Absolute Strangest Christmas Story Ever Told -- was rather interesting, the thoughts that gave rise to it were, shall we say, a bit premature. There is a saying -- have you heard it? -- that one mustn't jump to conclusions, which means that one must wait until one has the facts before making assumptions about a particular issue. And here, while it may have seemed that the beginning of this story -- those eldritch and complex thoughts that issued from the mind of the blood-drinking child as he sat at his computer in the darkness of his room -- had absolutely nothing to do with the winter holiday about which, in the context of some absolutely strange story, this novel claims to be, it only seemed that way to you because you were missing some vital pieces of information. Consider, for example, that the day on which the blood-drinking child sat at his computer typing these thoughts with that white Styrofoam cup and its dwindling supply of sticky red fluid at his side was, in fact, Christmas Eve. There! You see, already there's a connection between the events of this story and its titular holiday.

Yes indeedy -- 'twas the season to be jolly! Why, while it seems at this point that the blood-drinking child was not very concerned with the upcoming holiday, at that very moment things were quite festive at another particular locale elsewhere in the world, where it happened to be night on the day before Christmas Eve. Well, either that or very early on the morning of Christmas Eve, for, technically speaking, it was after midnight, but it seems very improper to call a day "tomorrow" when one has not officially ended "today" with the appropriate transition afforded by a good night's rest, or to call a day "today" when one has not officially brought an end "yesterday" by lying down to sleep, which constitutes the period at the end of the sentence we call "the day's activities", or to call a day "Thursday" when one has not officially ended "Wednesday" with a night spent in dreamless sleep or, alternately, exciting nocturnal adventures on which one may embark without ever leaving one's bed, or to call a day "Suzie" when one has not had one's medicine, because no matter how appropriate it seems to you in your dementia that the designated names of the week are woefully strange and that they would much prefer names like "Jack" and "Jill" and "Suzie" and "Rumplestiltskin" (which would, of course, be the new name for Monday, as no one I can think of likes Mondays, and while they take your free time -- assuming you have the weekends off -- and spin it into gold as you return to work and begin earning money once again -- assuming you have a weekday job -- they demand a horrible price from you, namely your free time, your ability to relax, and whatever things you enjoy doing when you are not at work -- and rather than curse a day, which has no personality whatsoever, it sounds less petty and nonsensical to curse Rumplestiltskin, because, despite the fact that he did save the princess's life with his gold-spinning skill, he was nonetheless a firstborn baby-eating bastard and everyone hated him) it would not, in fact, make things better, but on the whole much worse, for whenever you talked about going to visit Suzie people would get very confused and think that you had found some way to jump into the middle of next week (or into the middle of last week) and would break into your home while you were away in desperate attempts to figure out just how you had accomplished such an amazing feat. What?

Take your medicine.

Now! Elsewhere in the world, it was (for the sake of avoiding confusion) early in the morning hours of Christmas Eve -- shortly after 1 AM, even. The starless sky was as black as boiling pitch in the dark (which is even darker than pitch black, because in the day the sun shining down on the tar creates a bit of a glare) -- but for the yellow moon, that is, which hung fat and full in the sky as if it had traversed the length of the sky gobbling up the stars and gorging itself on the planets in a giant game of Pac-Man played across the backdrop of the universe, and, having finished the vast stage of the night sky, all that was left in the center was the moon, no longer chomping, eyes closed in victory and fullness, for the game was over and there was no sense in flashing "YOU WIN!" across the sky because it was quite obvious. That is to say that the sky was very, very dark and that the moon was very full and yellow -- teeming, even, as if the birth of the night was being replayed and this was the point at which the pregnant moon was about to give birth to all of the stars and planets that dot the sky on more beautiful nights than this, for unless one was -- hearkening back to the earlier description of the sky on this night -- a great fan of Pac-Man and would have found the empty sky with the lonely full moon in its center to be a triumphant image, one would have found the absence of the stars and the red glare of man-made towers and the blinking lights of alien spacecrafts gathering information about the inhabitants of this planet in order to plan for their upcoming full-scale invasion of the Earth to be more than a little depressing.

''Unless, of course, one were a werewolf...''

Unless, of course, one were a werewolf, in which case a night like this would be the equivalent of a day on which the sun shone brightly and the sky was blissfully free of those puffy, white, cotton candy-esque distractions we call clouds, which so capture our attention and engage us in trying to figure out exactly what things they resemble that we forget to take delight in the various other beautiful things that can only be seen and experienced on a warm day when the sun is smiling down on us. So it was that in this particular locale where the moon shone full and brightly on a night that was otherwise as dark as the Devil's bowels, a family of werewolves sat on a sheepskin carpet on the floor, huddled in a half-circle around the glowing screen of a nineteen inch television set that had been placed with its back to the wall, and howled with laughter at the Christmas program that was currently playing on the tube.

On the screen, a blonde woman of sporty build screamed. She screamed loudly and shrilly, and though well aware that this was only a television program, the werewolves gathered around the television set slavered at the sound. The woman was being pursued by a deformed figure in a dark red suit, stumping after her with a large, wooden club in one hand and a loose, empty burlap sack in the other. Darkness veiled his features, but his yellow eyes glowed through the shadow -- despite the fact that their appearance seemed quite lusterless, as if they were the eyes of a hollowed-out corpse with Christmas lights strung throughout his dead shell -- like a jack-o-lantern created with a dead body instead of a pumpkin, sans the carving process, for the twisted features of the corpse have little need of human intervention to make them appear creepy.

Though the red-suited corpse-o-lantern moved slowly, it managed to keep within view of the girl no matter how fast and hard she ran, for, being human, and prone to exhaustion, she required frequent breaks to catch her breath -- had she kept the screaming to a minimum, she might have conserved her energy and therefore made a better effort of escaping -- whereas the stumping creature dressed in red required no such rest and kept moving at a steady pace, dragging its feet and, at intervals, opening its mouth, from which maggots and thick clumps of writhing worms fell with a sickening splat to the pavement only to be squished a second later by the dirt-caked boots of the pursuer, and letting loose with a ragged and bone-chilling, "Hhhhooooohhh hoooohhh hohhhhhh..." Each time the slow-moving, club-wielding attacker cried out in this manner, the group of werewolves howled in unison with the same delight with which children scream when they hear the familiar song of the ice cream man in the distance, for a bone-chilling sound immediately makes werewolves think of chilled bones, which, to the werewolf, is the equivalent of ice cream, as they tear the cold bones from the bodies of their victims and crack them open, lapping at the cold marrow within as if it were that cold, sweet dairy substance that human children so enjoy and gnawing on the outer bone casing as if it were a waffle cone. To be sure, werewolves enjoy strange desserts.

This particular howling session complete, the werewolves continued to watch intently as the blonde woman ducked in between two crumbling brick buildings and began to feel her way down an alley littered with broken bottles and crumpled pieces of oily paper as she desperately searched for a place to hide from her monstrous pursuer and his ragged cries of, "Hhhhooooohhh hoooohhh hohhhhhh..." But this, of course, was a plan destined for failure. Any time any character being pursued by a monster in a horror film stops running and chooses to hide from the vicious beast at his or her heels, that character is always promptly found and butchered or devoured or otherwise killed in gory fashion by said creature. It all hearkens back to the old taunt -- "You can run, but you can't hide!" -- for this is quite true when you are being stalked by a beast with extra-sensitive hearing and the awesome tracking ability required to follow a trail of scuffs on the floor and droplets of blood, because usually the fleeing character has been wounded in some way. And even if the wound has been sufficiently bandaged, every movie monster can smell the blood -- even the ones that lack noses, which is rather peculiar -- so the victim-to-be really has no chance of successfully hiding from the beast. One's only chance for escape lies in staying out of the snarling monster's reach until the sun rises from its slumber and paints the sky with much brighter and more pleasant tones, for monsters abhor all pleasant things and retreat into dark corners to wait out the onslaught of the day -- or, in the case of werewolves, the beast retreats within the flesh and holes up in the mind as a mere suggestive behavioral influence, leaving in its place very confused human beings who have no idea why they're laying naked in the woods with human blood smeared across their lips and a very full feeling in their guts.

Having seen so many werewolf movies, you'd think these people would put two-and-two together at once, but because people view movies as fiction and, for the most part, refuse to learn from them even when there is legitimate depth in the films, it is even more unlikely that they would make the connection between something so far-fetched as the classic horror indicators of a night spent in the lupine activities of howling at the full moon and ripping open the intestines of their fellow men and their own current state, even when that connection is quite obvious indeed. But people are simple creatures. That is, until they become bitten by werewolves, for to go from an intelligent, upright-walking, comparatively hairless ape at one moment to a slavering four-legged, fur-covered, slavering primal beast at the next -- all due to the total lack of clouds covering the moon in the night sky -- is a very complicated thing, and how much more complicated must the shift in the thought processes of the individual be as a result of this transformation? For it must be noted that the werewolf at night and the human being during the day do not possess, so to speak, different brains, nor does it quite make sense to say that the wolf mind is separate from the mind of the human, such that it would constitute a wholly distinct alternate personality. No, the wolf and the human are of one mind, and no one knows why the two should behave so differently, or why the human should be unable to recall the events of those nights on which it became a beast and ran around killing people and pissing on bushes and whatnot.

It cannot be known, however, whether the wolf, in fact, recalls the life details of its human self, though contradictory theories have been advanced to the effect of, "Yes, it absolutely does remember!" and, "No; just as the human being has no recollection of its previous lupine mental state, so the wolf has no access to the memories it knew when wearing a suit and swinging a briefcase happily as it made its way to the subway en route to another wonderful and rewarding day of work." It must be noted, however, that both theories have their merits. The reasons to recommend the latter theory are obvious -- namely, that the nocturnal activities of the werewolf resemble those of the normal human during the day very little, unless of course that human were employed as a butcher or, being rather psychotic, spent his or her days ripping people to shreds and feasting on their warm, fresh, quivering entrails in the manner of a bloodthirsty serial killer. (However, such a killer would probably not be at large for long, as the messy and wild nature of the murders would not make the murderer very difficult to find -- the police would only have to search for a snarling person covered in fresh blood and the killer would be as good as caught. In this case, the expression "caught red-handed!" would apply quite literally.) Yet the former theory -- that the werewolf did, in fact, retain its human memories and thoughts -- is not without good reasons for accepting it, namely that daily life can be quite frustrating, and how many of us, if gifted with the powers of a massive, monstrous wolf creature, would not love to vent our anger on sundry persons by clawing them to pieces and delighting in the taste of their fresh, bloody organs? The thrill of the hunt would be good exercise as well -- and fun! -- and in our image-conscious society, most of us desire to engage in some form of workout in order to keep in shape and/or shed a few pounds. But ah, we are often so busy -- and exhausted, after long days of work -- that we seldom have time to exercise as we would like! But with the energy of the wolf and the freedom of the night, this would not be so difficult at all.

Of course, one could run about and howl at the moon and burn quite a few calories without ever lifting a vicious, fur-covered, clawed hand to the throat of an unfortunate passerby, but then one would not get to release those angry feelings we earlier noted through the act of a brutal, grisly murder. And one would not get the satisfaction and enjoyment of a fresh, hot dinner fit for a wolf, either, which would totally ruin the werewolf experience. And if the moral ramifications of such an act bothered the werewolf, the werewolf could always seek out criminals on whom to feed -- and, if the wolf had a problem with killing the unlucky lawbreakers, the wolf could always simply rip off a limb or two for a snack, thereby leaving the criminals alive, though badly injured. Of course, with the criminals left alive after having been attacked by a werewolf, they would, of necessity, turn into werewolves themselves upon the light of the next full moon, which would be a very undesirable consequence indeed -- for if even a law-abiding citizen goes around ripping out the throats of those poor souls who cross its path in werewolf form, how much more dangerous would the criminal be once it sprouts fur and grows terrible claws and pointed teeth and begins howling at the moon and baying for blood? However, it must be said that a werewolf with only one hind leg and only one foreleg poses much less of a threat than a werewolf with all four, which would be the kind of werewolf into which these criminals transformed, as werewolves, while able to heal injuries quite rapidly, are not in possession of the ability to regenerate lost limbs. Moreover, with these criminals being criminals, they would likely be imprisoned anyway, and the confines of our jails are much more-suited to holding these crippled werewolves than their more able-bodied counterparts, so all should be well in such instances. Just to be sure, however, those moral werewolves who deign to take the lives of their law-breaking victims and instead simply choose to make a meal of one or two severed limbs should take care to leave a note for the police to the effect of, "Make sure that this criminal is kept in solitary confinement, otherwise on full moon nights, while, owing to his or her lack of limbs, the resultant werewolf will pose much less of a threat, he or she may scratch or bite some of the other prisoners, thus transforming them into werewolves, which will be much more dangerous owing to the fact that they are in possession of all of their limbs. You do not want that! So, as I've written, be sure to keep this prisoner alone at all times, but especially during the full moon."

Owing to the werewolf's inability to grasp a pen or to hold a sheet of paper without tearing it to shreds, this message would, of necessity, have to be smeared on the nearest clear surface -- the sidewalk or the side of a building, for instance -- in the blood of the unfortunate criminal. This, however, may defeat the moral werewolf's aim -- that is, to keep from killing the victim -- for a detailed message such as this would require a lot of blood, and by the time that it was written out in its entirety the criminal would likely be dead due to lack of blood. So perhaps the moral werewolf would do better to attack sheep, or other non-human livestock. Of course, this would not solve the difficulty, because this would be to put the farmer in a bad place, for now the farmer would have a depleted supply of goods and would be unable to make as much of a living when taking his or her wares to market. And it is always immoral to take something that does not belong to one, which the werewolf would be doing -- though perhaps that is unavoidable, for a werewolf, in truth, owns nothing, for werewolves cannot work jobs or anything like that and therefore cannot afford to buy any possessions to call their own. But perhaps a werewolf can work a job? Assuming it retained all of the cognitive functions of its human counterpart, there are quite a few positions that would benefit from the increased speed and strength of a giant, supernatural lupine creature. But these are numerous, and perhaps it would take us too far from our present subject to discuss them all at this time. on to Part 4!
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