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The Night Before Yuletide

Written by Bron James

Artwork by Jon Kaneko-James

Twas the night before Yuletide, when all through the halls

Not a spirit was stirring, not even the ghouls;

Sam Hain lay on his sofa with a mug of mulled wine,

Its heady aroma mingling with Christmas tree pine;

He was wrapped all snug in his robe of soft flannel,

While thinking of the creature he'd fought in Southall;

The entity had proven difficult to trap,

Slipping out of phase through a dimensional gap.

It mattered not to him that the being had fled;

With it gone from this plane, Sam could now rest instead.

He reclined by the fire, his feet nestled in slippers,

With custard-drizzled mince pies, baked in rich liquors.

When out on the street there arose such a clatter,

He sprang from the couch to see what was the matter.

Away to the window he flew with a dash,

Pulled aside the blinds and flung open the sash.

The moon crest above thick veils of icy mist,

Pale light glimmering across the frost it kissed.

There through his window, a nightmarish thing he saw;

A mass of tendrils, one large eye set in its maw,

With rows of hideous teeth; twas a sight to appall:

The monstrous entity from the shadows of Southall.

With writhing tentacles so lively and quick,

It rummaged through bins with a lash and a lick.

Moving like fluid, oozing through rubbish it came,

And Sam shooed, and clapped, and with a shout did exclaim:

"Now begone from here, foul fiend, and leave my bins be!

You are not welcome here; I command that you flee.

Begone from my porch! Begone from my recycling!

Be banished, be banished, sight so damn frightening!"

With a chortle and warble, the being did turn,

Springing on coiled tentacles, from the ground it spurn.

So up to the rooftop the entity then flew

With a bin full of old waste, and food compost too—

And then, with a splatter, Sam heard from the chimney

The slithering, oozing of things tentacle-y.

As he whirled around, turning towards the fireplace,

Down the chimney it came; the antithesis of grace.

It landed with a hiss as tentacles met flame,

Wriggling and writhing against heat and searing pain.

From out of the fireplace, vicious tendrils lashed out;

They twisted around furniture and flailed about.

Its eye—how it twinkled! Its teeth were a terror.

A visage of nightmares and unearthly fervour.

Its hideous mouth, slathered with spittle and bile,

Contorted itself into a grimacing smile;

Betwixt eyeball and teeth, a long tongue did appear,

Lapping around its maw as if tasting the air.

It slid from the fireplace, the flames now extinguished,

The abomination was not one to relinquish;

Its eldritch form seeped black mucus across the rug,

Like some kind of otherworldly and vile sea slug.

At the sight of the creature, Sam leapt with a start;

A tendril had made swift reach for a mince pie tart.

"Come no further," he bade the uninvited guest,

"If you value your life, leaving now would be best."

He readied his wand, preparing himself to duel,

A disruption on this otherwise peaceful Yule;

But a blink of the eye and a twist of its head

Soon gave him assurance there was nothing to dread.

The voracious alien tongue lapped at his plate;

Scoffing mince pies and custard, the strange creature ate.

Morsels mashed between its teeth, gulped behind the eye;

As it slurped mulled wine, it gave a satisfied sigh.

Twas no cosmic horror, seeking blood or vengeance,

Simply a scavenger from unknown dimensions!

To this hungry traveller Sam now welcomed in,

He offered up a dish of sticky pudding.

The being devoured the plateful with great glee,

No longer feeling the urge to fight or to flee.

Upon consuming its fill, the being's mouth now crammed,

It extended a tendril, and shook Sam by the hand.

It spoke not a word, but its gratitude still showed.

And then, with a grin, back up the chimney it flowed;

Behind its strange shape the wriggling tendrils did trail,

Leaving behind slime like that of a giant snail.

But he heard it gurgle, ere it slithered from sight—

"Blessed Yuletide to all, and to all a good night!"

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