Merry Christmas. Love, Krampus–A Short Story


Noelle Buehrer

There isn’t even a word to describe how bad my twin sister, Charlie, has been this year. She started the year by cutting our mom’s hair and pouring soda on her laptop, and that’s not even the worst thing she did. What makes the whole situation worse is the fact that we are thirteen years old, and she’s still acting like a toddler. My mom has been going through some tough times lately, so I figured I’d try to do something to make my sister behave.
“Hey, Charlie,” I greeted as I approached my sister on the couch. She was doodling in her notebook.
“You have my attention for twenty seconds, then I start throwing these at you,” Charlie spat as she gestured towards a plate of small crackers and cheese that sat┬ábeside her.
“Charlie Grayce Krissmas! Is that any way to talk to your sister?!” our mom scolded from the other room.
“Sorry, but nothing Madelynn ever says matters.” Hey! I thought. Ignoring her death glare, I carried on.
“Charlie, it’s December first. In this past year, you have gotten suspended seven times and expelled once. Mom has grounded you more times than I can count. You even had the police called on you. Twice.”
“And?” It was then that I realized I didn’t know where I was going with this speech.
“W-well. Have you ever heard of Krampus?” I blurted.
“What’s that, another stupid nerd book you’re going to tell me about?”
“No. Krampus is a German mythical creature. The story goes that St. Nicholas–”
“You mean Santa Claus?” Charlie interrupted.
“No. Not the same thing. Anyway, St. Nicholas goes out to the houses of all the children and brings them toys on the eve of St. Nicholas day, which is on December sixth. However, Krampus, who basically looks like a half-goat half-demon, comes with St. Nicholas to make a lot of noise and take away the bad children.” I’ll have to thank my German teacher for telling me that story.
“What does that have to do with me?” my twin hissed.
“I’m trying to tell you that Krampus is gonna come take you away on the night of December fifth if you don’t start behaving better!” I bellowed.
“You think I’m going to believe that story and become your identical angel? That’s not how I work. You’re not going to control me no matter how hard you try.” Charlie stormed off after hurling a small block of cheese at me. That did not go as planned.
A few days later, December fifth rolled around. Snow was on the ground, my family’s tree was up, stockings were hung, gingerbread cookies were baked, and holiday lights were shining. My family prepares everything holiday-related quite early. I didn’t stop┬áreminding Charlie about Krampus, and she decided to avoid me like I was the Black Plague. To get into the holiday season, Mom and I thought we should invite our next-door neighbors over to watch Home Alone. When they arrived, we chatted for a bit while Charlie hid up in her room. Eventually it came time for the movie to start.
“Madelynn, can you go tell Charlie that the movie is about to start?” Mom asked.
“Why? She seems perfectly happy alone in her room.”
“This isn’t up for debate. Go get your sister. Now.”
“Madelynn Jay Krissmas, do it now!”
“Fine,” I mumbled as I began to trudge up the stairs.
It turns out, Charlie wasn’t perfectly happy.
I walked into her room to find her crying on her bed, clutching the stuffed ferret our dad gave her for Christmas last year.
“Charlie! What’s wrong?”
“Go away!” My sister sobbed. I glanced at her shirt and realized she was wearing her The American Spirit band shirt that Dad gave her a few years ago. I finally realized what was going on.
“Is this about Dad?” I questioned.
“Has this entire year been about Dad?” I just barely finished my sentence before Charlie burst into tears. She suddenly began to explain everything. Some of it I already knew, but she still told me. She told me about how Dad was the closest thing she ever had to a best friend. How he was the one who took her to her first concert. How the two girls woke up last Christmas to find gifts from their dad with notes attached, saying, “I’ll be back next year.” How they haven’t heard from him since. Charlie even told me that she’s been misbehaving all year because she misses Dad so much and had no idea how to express her emotions. She also told me that, because Dad’s side of the family was German, he had already told her about Krampus and she had avoided me these last few days because she was terrified of Krampus.
“I’m so sorry I didn’t tell you about this sooner. I’ve just been so…scared, I guess. I thought he’d be back by now, ’cause he said in his note that he’d be back this year.” Charlie said through tears.
“Charlie, you don’t need to worry. I’m sure Dad will come back someday. And besides, he said he’d be back in a year. It’s only December fifth, so there’s still a few weeks of hope left,” I reassured my sister.
“Y-you know what? You’re right. I need to fix this. I’m so sorry about my behaviour. Tell Mom I’ll be downstairs in a few minutes. I just need to compose myself. You guys can start the movie without me.”
“Sure thing. Come down when you’re ready.” I ambled down the stairs, explained to Mom what happened, apologized to the neighbours, and sat down to watch the film. We had only been watching for a few minutes before I heard a ruckus upstairs. Knowing Charlie was upstairs, I bolted out of the room, up the steps, and into her room. Upon entering the room, I didn’t see my twin. All I saw was a note on her bed that read, “Merry Christmas. Love, Krampus”.