General Disclaimers: This story is a hypnofetish fantasy. It contains adult language and situations, along with examples of adult fictional characters doing illegal, immoral and/or impossible things to other adult fictional characters as a prelude to sexual activity. If you 1) are under the age of consent in your community, 2) are disturbed by such concepts, 3) attempt to do these sort of things in real life or 4) want graphic blow-by-blow sex in your online pornography, then for gosh sakes stop reading now!
Permission granted to re-post for free to any electronic medium, as long as no one's being charged to view it, and this disclaimer and e-mail address (firstname.lastname@example.org) are not removed. It would also be nice if you told me you were posting it.
Copyright Voyer, 2001.
Specific Disclaimers: This story is based on an old drawing of mine. Also, thanks go to Anonym’s EMCSA story Stocking Stuffer and Terry Pratchett’s non-MC novel Hogfather for some inspiration as well.
She was in a foul mood, one of those funks that slowly simmer and build for days. Hell, if she was totally honest with herself, it had been coming on for weeks now, and it was the result of a whole lot of things.
To start with, the whole situation at work was getting her frazzled. She still liked her job at Clements, liked it a lot, but about six thousand orders had come crashing down on the firm all at once, and now everyone was gibbering and running around with their heads cut off, working insane hours six days a week. At least she was working with a good team. Harold, geeky but brilliant. Tim, quiet and thoughtful. Bernice the live-wire. Some of the other damn slackers in that office, like that sexist pig Thompson...
Then of course there was Joe.
Joe the Jerk. Joe the Gyp. Joe the lying two-timing rat-bastard... OK, so she didn’t exactly have absolute concrete proof about the ‘two-timing’ part, but the sureness of it was scraping now against her bones. Looks and shufflings and awkward pauses. The fact that she was working those previously-mentioned six-day weeks hadn’t helped matters any. The relationship was dead, or at least only still sucking air because it had been attached to the life-support equipment. Not so long ago, it had been so good...
But more than anything, it was the fact that it was December once again. And December of course meant Christmas.
Christmas as a kid had always been great fun. The presents, the lights, the food, the music at church, going to Uncle Ken’s and Aunt Alice’s house in the country, sleigh rides and carolers and snowball fights with all of the cousins... But then Ken and Alice had died, as elderly relatives tend to do, and the cousins had scattered to the winds. She had gotten bigger and the rest of the world seemed somehow to get smaller and smaller. Every year the ‘season’ started earlier and earlier, but there was somehow less and less... Christmas... and more fizzled lights and tacky canned music and crowded stores and of course millions and millions of garish commercials, plastered all over creation...
Surfacing mentally, she realized that she had arrived, cruising along on auto-pilot the whole way. She gave the turn signal a flip and pulled her car off the street into the lot. She passed through the white pools cast by the lot lights as she wheeled into slot 42, with Tanner’s ugly monstrosity on one side and the Potts’ sporty roadster on the other. The engine of her own little coupe died with a slight hacking sound. (Yet another problem...) After a slow calming breath, she pushed her blonde hair into a more or less presentable shape behind her shoulders and got out. The car-door slammed behind her, and she marched up the walk, clutching her purse in one hand and her briefcase in the other. There was still a scrim of refrozen slush lingering from last week’s half-assed snowfall and it crunched tiredly under her feet. That was another unwelcome change that had come with the passing of years; it was too warm here in the city to get real snow. She hadn’t seen any since she had moved here.
Stopping at the bank of mailboxes, she cracked open the correct metal door with another key off the ring. Surprisingly, there was nothing, not even an advertising flyer or a Christmas card from one of those cousins...
She climbed to the fourth floor, huffing a little and watching the thin whiteness of her breath. She had always tended towards plumpness, and with no time lately to get to the gym, she was feeling more flabby than usual. Reason #4 or 5 or whatever to be depressed. Still, her familiar apartment was waiting for her, and she could have a hot bath, and a bowl of DoubleChunk Fudge ice cream (damn the weight gain, full speed ahead) and then sleep for... well... a couple of hours, anyway, before she had to be up and moving again.
Another door, another key. It swung open into darkness, and she fumbled around for the light-switch. The switch finally clicked under her probing fingers, but no light came on.
“Oh. That’s just great.” Hopefully it was just a burn-out light bulb, but if the electricity had died, and she had to go drag that little creep Garibaldi out of his dark ho...
Something else was very wrong. It was so wrong that for a moment she couldn’t see it, but then it finally snapped into focus.
Her apartment had been stripped. Stripped so thoroughly that there wasn’t even a bent wire hanger left on one of the walls. Floors stretched unimpeded from wall to wall to wall...
She took a few slow steps forward, her mouth hanging open slightly. She came all the way into the living room, and there her mouth dropped open a little further. The room hadn’t been entirely stripped after all; she had still felt enough flickerings of sentiment about the season to get a small tree and decorate it. The tree was still there, in the corner where she had set it up, lights twinkling away and providing the only light in the room. The slender white angel on the very top still gazed heavenward. The pile of packages was stacked underneath, just as she had left them. She stood very still and she stared some more, vaguely hoping that all of this would suddenly start to make some sort of sense.
Something new slowly intruded on her awareness, and she sniffed. A smell. Not a bad smell, just the opposite in fact. It was partly the pine-smell of the tree, yes, but there was something else as well, several somethings. There was holly, and desserts, and snowball fights... She slowly turned just her head. The smell was coming from her bedroom. Not just a smell, but another light as well. Like the smell, there were a lot of things mixed into that light. More Christmas tree, and firelight, and carolers’ candles...
And there was a sound now as well...
She started walking towards the door, her legs stiff and feet dragging reluctantly across the floor. Part of her wanted to run screaming, another part wanted...
What did she want? What did she really want?
She stepped through the door. The light was indescribable now. It was dim, but not gloomy or threatening. Cozy and warm, flickering in just the right way. The smell was stronger, still wonderful, but there was something else mixed in with it now, something that made her itch, starting at the small of her back and spreading across her body from there. She felt a matching flush spread in across her face as the sound got louder, sweeter...
The bedroom was now as empty as the rest of the apartment, except for the farthest corner, which was most definitely filled, filled to overflowing.
The throne was made of some dark wood and it was large, with a high jagged back, but the man sitting in it, he was even bigger. Not fat, no bowl-full of jelly here, but simply massive, muscles and bone build thick to withstand the biting cold of the far north all year ‘round. His beard was huge as well, spilling down the red front of his chest in a flourishing white torrent, pointing the way to the wide leather belt, black with a gold-and-jeweled buckle. From there down the red pants to the pair of tall boots, also black and highly polished.
There were other things around the edges of all this, but she only noticed them incidentally. Two women in matching garments, one posed on either side of the chair, or were they just mannequins? They didn’t move, not even a flicker, and their hair... And that large square thing sitting over there...
But then her eyes were pulled back and up until she was looking into his face, wrinkled all over with deep lines but still solid and strong. Above his thrusting beak of a nose and below the wild growths that were his eyebrows, there were his eyes, so wise and blue and old.
One tiny corner of her mind tried to yell and scream. What is this, a joke? What kind of sicko pervert are you? What the hell are you doing in my apartment? Where are all my things?
But no words came, just a couple of small hiccupy sounds.
Then he smiled, his smile grew wider and he spoke, and the sound became his voice...
There were no words for his voice.
“Hello, my dear.”
“Hello.” The word was a tiny squeak. Suddenly she was six again, standing in line at the Christmas Grotto back in Black River with all the other kids, and it wasn’t some old guy on a cheap throne, surrounded by plastic candy canes. It was...
“Don’t be afraid. Come here.”
She shook her head sharply, tried to find mommy’s legs to hide behind, but mommy wasn’t there. She was all alone.
“It’s been such a long time since we talked. Come here.” No anger or impatience. Gentle, calm, understanding, full of strength, irresistable...
Her fingers fell to pieces and the things they had been holding dropped to the floorboards with a small unheard thud. She started walking towards him, shuffling along the narrow strip of plush red carpet with an uneven child’s gait, her coat coming off en route and falling down all on its own. She couldn’t look away, she couldn’t even seem to blink. Her mouth kept making those little noises.
And then she arrived. And she was sliding into his lap, sitting sideways across the bulk that were legs, her hands draped limp across her own lap. She was looking out into the darkness, and it continued to flicker and dance. Even through two layers of thick clothing, his legs were muscled and warm under her, and his smell was very strong. Good pipesmoke, and cinnamon and wood shavings and pine needles and...
...something else, way way in back of it all, a last lingering memory of the beginnings, deep caves and cleaned bones and animal fat, and that was the best and the worst of all and she breathed deep...
“Now then, my dear, have you been a good girl this year?”
She moved her lips a few times and finally found something to push out between them.
“Of course you have. Although you really should call your parents more often. They worry about you, you know.”
“And as you were just thinking, you should get more exercise.”
“And some of those deductions you claimed on your tax return...” A rumbling sigh. “But then, I suppose that’s sort of the baseline for most people these days, isn’t it?”
“But all of that is easily forgivable. What we really need to discuss is the important things. The most important thing of all. That’s the real reason that we are here tonight.”
“?” A horrible thought boiled up from somewhere, before she could stifle it. “joe. he sent you somehow...”
“Joe?” He sounded almost puzzled. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw him make a motion with his hand, and one of the women instantly came to life. This woman was fairly small, and she had sharp pointy ears. Her wide sparkling eyes were almost as deep as his, and the features of her face, nose and lips and high cheekbones, while they were beautiful, carved of the cleanest of ice, they were... wrong. Seeing she was under observation, she winked, then made a small but theatrical motion with her thin pointy hand and produced a white scroll from somewhere. She handed it to him, resumed her pose and turned into a smiling statue again. He slowly unrolled it, it was a lot longer than it at first glance appeared. He consulted whatever was written there for a moment, then laughed, a short sound but deep and sincere, a sound that sent slow ripples of pleasure through her whole body. “Oh, of course. Joe. No, Joe didn’t send me.” The laughter stopped. A sad shake of his head and another sigh, more profound than the last. “And I’m afraid that he is getting coal in his stocking this year. Again.” His hands were huge and black-gloved, but the attached fingers were long and nimble and quick. They rolled up the scroll, did something complicated, made it disappear back wherever it came from. “You truly don’t understand why I’m here, my dear? Who do you think sent me, if you want to put it that way?”
“i...” She shook her head, helplessly.
Another gesture, with his other hand. A small wooden box was produced, edged with red and green and gold. It flipped opened, and he took what was inside and held it up in front of her eyes, set it to swinging at the end of its thin golden cord.
It was a Christmas tree ornament, made of the finest blown glass. There were shapes down inside there, curled together, and they swirled and they started to glow, red and green and red and... down and down and down... brighter and brighter... and behind it all she could still hear his voice...
Her head started moving in time to the swings.
“Yes, you’ve been a good little girl this year, my dear. I’m not going to ask you, though, what you want for Christmas. I already know what you want. But more than that, you see... as good as you’ve been... one of your friends has been even better. And it would seem that you’re at the very top of his list.”
The red and the green and red formed pictures, and she suddenly understood, she understood, and the colors pulled her deeper and deeper, red and green and red... and... his voice... and... peaceful silence and...green...
Awareness dribbled in. With awareness came pain, spiking at his temples. He groaned. He had been having the craziest dream about... something. Whatever it had been, it was gone already.
He peeled the crumpled bedcovers from off his face, and blinked muzzily in the light as he scratched at the brown fuzz that was his unshaven cheek. The memories of last night finally came slouching back as well. Having had nothing better to do, he’d foolishly gone out to Mocata’s with some of the guys from work, and had had about four too many. Fortunately he’d made it home in one piece, staying sentient just long enough to reach his apartment, reach his bed and fall into it. He should have know better; drinking for him always just led to problems, and he couldn’t keep up with the others anyway. (Particularly Bernice; the tiny redhead could put them away like a freaking longshoreman, and it didn’t seem to even slow her down.)
He shouldn’t have done it. But he had been lonely, and what he really wanted, he couldn’t...
He blinked again. He knew it was late and he’d slept in, but it was still awfully bright out this morning. He slowly shifted around in bed so he was looking in the direction of the window. The curtains were drawn, but there seemed to be...
He crawled from bed, found some shorts and T-shirt somewhere and pulled them both on, then shuffled to the window and yanked the curtains open in one quick jerk. Best to just get it over with.
White. Lots of glaring white. His brain howled in protest, then finally settled down and started supplying information. It was snowing. Really snowing. He blinked for a third time, and watched it pile up on the small grove of evergreen trees that marked the east side of the apartment house. There had to be at least four inches on the ground, and it was still coming down.
It looked pretty nice, especially since it was Saturday... Saturday? He brought his watch into slow focus... yes... and he didn’t have to go anywhere. He stretched out some of the kinks and made his slow way out to the kitchen, tortured some instant coffee to life in the microwave. Found a bottle of aspirin and downed a couple white tablets. On out to the living room. Yes, it definitely looked nice and he managed to smile a little. His tree with the presents, the snow falling outside. It would be perfect if only he had a real fireplace, and-
His thoughts trailed off and his eyes slowly went back to the pile of presents. The package from his folks. The one from Bob, resting on top of the flat square thing from the McHughs. And then, casually sitting next to Harold and AnneMarie’s blue-and-white-papered oblong, there was a box that most definitely had not been there last night when he went to bed. (Well.. OK.. it hadn’t been there the last time he’d been in good enough shape to look carefully at the pile...) It was perfectly square and large, maybe half the size of a refrigerator carton. It expertly done up with red-striped wrapping paper and a wide strand of green ribbon. There was a small tag on the top, dangling from a string.
For a long moment he looked at it all, then put down the coffee and approached the package cautiously. His bare feet sounded very loud on the carpet. He plucked at the tag with two fingers and read it. White with swirling green and red and gold chasing, the inscription written in black ink with a firm flowing hand.
He hesitated a moment longer, then the same two fingers pulled gingerly at the ribbon. It fell neatly apart, spilling away down the sides of the package. The top was held down with neatly snipped squares of tape, and he peeled them off one at a time. The lid lifted smoothly off, and inside was...
A mass of packing material. He put the lid aside and had just reached out to move some of the greenish strands when they all started moving by themselves, spilling away, exploding upward, arms spread wide...
He staggered backwards, finally bumping into the coffee table and waving his own arms to keep from falling over.
The woman standing in the box shook herself like wet dog, sending even more of the thin green fibers floating everywhere. Even so, many bits still clung to her, especially mixed into her wonderful blonde hair. She pushed that hair back out of her blue eyes with an efficient two-handed sweep, then she saw him and she giggled as he stared back, his jaw hanging slack.
“Merry Christmas, Tim!” She posed as she spoke. Her eyes were bright and sparkling, and her cheeks were flushed and her body...
She broke her pose and came out of the box in a sort of graceful ooze, crossing the room towards him, one bare foot in front of the other. The green things still floated everywhere in the air, like being inside a giant snow-globe.
“Julia... I... what...”
She placed a finger against his lips. The attached nail had a gold star painted on it, over a green and red background. She leaned close, and whispered in his ear. Her breath smelled of pine needles and... pipe tobacco...? and something else that made his blood start to buzz and his thoughts go far away...
“You’ve been a very good boy this year.”
She took him by the hand, led him into the bedroom, and closed the door.
The newest ornament on the tree was hung near the very top. It glowed and sparkled, and its luster never dimmed during all the Christmases to come.
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