Saint Nicholas’ Helper
by D.K. Thompson
Saint Nicholas looked just like he did in the picture stories: tall and thin, with a grand white beard that flowed to his waist. He wore a red-fur trimmed coat, a tall bishop’s hat, and clutched a gold staff. He smiled and said something, but Greta wasn’t listening. She hid behind her elder sister Heike and stared at the saint’s demonic assistant, Krampus.
A wooden mask covered the demon’s face, a wicked smile carved into it that did not shift. Krampus tilted his horned head, his black pupils focused on Greta through the eye slits. His dark coat of damp furs smelled of decay, and he was wrapped in chains that he shook at the children.
They’d come every year to her house, the saint and his assistant, but back then Greta’s father had been there to protect her.
Krampus brandished a long, thin switch and hissed.
Heike put a hand on Greta’s shoulder and whispered, “Don’t be scared. You’ve been good, right?”