A Lovecraft Christmas

By Pete Sears

Journal Entry:Dec 2

I have returned home after a long time away. Time seems not to have touched Arkham very much. Oh you'll see the occasional cell phone on the street but the old-timers who sit around at the hardware store seem to be the same ones that sat there in my youth. I've spent so much time in diverse corners of the world seeking the strange and unusual that even my childhood home seems quaint and curious in the same way that Yoruba tribesmen do. I find myself having to bite my tongue whenever I get the urge to ask the natives to explain their customs. New England reticence is something I'm having to relearn.

For example. I'm staying at the old ancestral home and it's quiet enough to enable me to study. It's also remote enough to allow me to cast a spell or two in the back yard without being observed. But every time I venture into town i am struck by small changes there. Townsfolk, whom i suppose are trying to be friendly, keep asking me if I'm "Getting ready for the Holidays." I'm not aware of any particular holidays. Perhaps there's some sort of festival in the offing. I shall ask.

Journal Entry: Dec 4

It would seem that there is some sort of winter festival. When I inquired, I was looked at strangely and avoided, but finally I did get a straight answer. I've also noted some strange behavior in town. People seem to be smiling...a lot. They seem to be extremely busy and carrying a lot of suspicious parcels.

Journal Entry: Dec 13

I've observed a strange ritual. Last night, two husky men came onto the back of my property and cut down a pine tree. Taking up my shotgun to deal with the trespassers, I watched as they dragged the tree back to their car. Was that all they had come for? Had they broken the law merely to steal a tree? Fascinated and horrified, I followed them back to their home. They took the tree off their car and took it into their house. Watching from the bushes, I observed the tree thieves as they began to cover their ill-gotten foliage with strange blinking lights and odd icons of some sort. Is this some sort of odd cult activity? Perhaps some bizarre fertility ritual. (Shub?!?) Is the tree supposed to be an Altar? Sacrifice? Antenna? More study is required.

Journal Entry: Dec 16

This cult is far more widespread than I suspected was possible. Much of the town appears to have been affected. I am considering summoning help. Many of the townsfolk seem to be smiling that same insipid smile. I am beginning to worry. I was walking through town assembling some notes about this phenomenon when I went into a department store for more paper. A large man in a red suit and a bushy white beard stared at me and rang a small bell. He seemed to want me to make some offering to a small bucket on a tripod and gave me a hard look when i didn't. I asked the manager if there was a back way out of the store.

Journal Entry: Dec 17

Had a bad turn today. Found that the maid had erected one of those tree altars in the living room. Was terrified beyond comprehension by the thing. Frankly, she was completely nonplused at my reaction. "But it's traditional." she said. I was forced to dismiss her.

Journal Entry: Dec 19

My private library has proven useless for this "Winter Festival". I must brave going into town again and attempting research in the public library. I fear time is growing short somehow...and this is compounded by the snow which is coming down very hard now. I fear i will be snowed in if this keeps up.

Journal Entry: Dec 20

I am filled with horror. Venturing into town to use the library, I encountered the man in the red suit again. He was speaking very intently to a very small child who was rapt in attention at his words. I hurried along before he could notice me. I arrived at the Library and presented myself as an anthropologist studying the basis of this local "Winter Festival" I was looked at quizzically, but directed well by the young lady at the desk.

Apparently this cult is very old and it's practices are particularly gruesome. It apparently started with the Celts (who died out by the way) It's now masquerading as the festival of the birth of some Christian martyr. but it's practices are very suspicious. I'm having to read between the lines of course, but I'm seeing a terrifying pattern here. There's apparently some flying creature with claws. (The translation here may be flawed) It goes forth once per year to reward the faithful and punish the transgressors. It particularly likes "sweets" ( which i take to mean sweetbreads...Horrible!) and will consume these offerings if they are left for him. Apparently no home is proof against this horrific beast who is able to invade through the smallest fireplace (Significance? Hastur relationship?) The faithful are also enjoined to put up stockings up on the mantel and they will be "filled." I can only assume with the severed legs of the "bad little children". There is also some sort of connection to a "Snowman" ( Ithaqua? It must be!) This finally explains the bizarre patterns in the snow and odd snow sculptures all over town.

As I walked home, trying to make some sense of this horrific puzzle. I saw the man in red again. He seems to be everywhere. Is he following me?

Journal Entry: Dec 21

I had bad dreams last night. The Man in Red had invaded my home with a very large sack. To what end I don't know. I woke up screaming when he turned and I recognized his face. This was not the only strange thing that I encountered. As the snow dashed my hopes of leaving town before this hideous ritual could take place. I began to knock around the house. I discovered that the refrigerator has become home to strange foodstuffs. I found a pitcher of some odd smelling spicy fluid which looked like milk gone bad.It was a thoroughly stomach turning decoction and yet enticely sweet smelling. I also found an odd cake like substance with unidentifiable red and green THINGS in it. I was forced to dismiss the cook. These cultists are everywhere but at least I have the house to myself.

Journal Entry:Dec 22

Had the dream again. Will this nightmare ever cease? I also had visions of...something dancing in my head. My mind shears away from apprehending those terrifying images. I can feel a horrific change coming over me. It's slow and pernicious but I'm beginning to feel it's effects. I saw myself in the mirror today and i didn't recognize myself. I had that SMILE on my face...No it's not even a smile. it's more of a rictus. It took some effort to wipe it from my face. I found myself in front of the refrigerator looking at the fluid and the evil looking cake.... wondering...wondering...what they tasted like. I fear for my immortal soul.

Journal Entry:Dec 23

Last night as i was trying to calm myself by the fire. (which i keep burning all the time now.) I heard the high piping voices of the cultists outside my door. They were singing to me...In Latin! Something about "Come all ye faithful" or some such. I was filled with such fear that i was forced to retreat to the basement where I sat and trembled until they finally went away. I wanted to go to them....I wanted...

No. Best not to think about that now.

Journal Entry:Dec 24

This may be my last entry. I have dealt with some horrifying things in my life but this is far too much to handle alone. I am forced to take drastic measures. I have taken a few household chemicals and rigged a primitive detonator which I can trigger from the garage. It should kill anything in the house...At least that is my hope. I can feel the "Christmas Spirit" trying to take over my body and I want no part of it. I'll either kill the Flying Klaws or I'll freeze to death out here. Lose the house or lose my life. It's a small price to pay to end this pernicious menace.