David & Michael Pierce live in a beautiful Victorian home, now lightly frosted with the onset of Winter Solstice in the air. Crystalline shards gleaming in the moonlight.
David was a responsible lad who did his homework and attended to his chores, because he realized certain things needed to be done, including keeping himself & his room clean and organized.
On the other hand, Michael was somewhat of a bully and not very responsible at all this year. He sometimes takes money from David's room, who earned it by doing odd jobs here and there, so he could afford certain games and toys, but not lazy Michael, who "borrows" them from time to time, rarely returning them. Michael even stole candy from the market a couple of times, and didn't learn his lesson, even when caught once. He put gum in Wendy's hair, scraped a key across a car, and bullied a couple of boys for their lunch money, until finally called into the office, receiving detention, yet still he persisted in making a general nuisance of himself. His parents knew something had to be done soon, like send him off to juvenile camp before it gets worse in the coming year, but not before the Winter celebrations.
Despite being filled with egg nog, both boys had been trying to remain awake this late night, if only to catch a glimpse of Old Nick placing presents under the tree down in the living room, where the scents of Solstice Dinner still lingered, intermingled with that of pine, amidst the soft glowing multi-colored lights and warmth of the fireplace. The witching hour had come, and with it, the feeling of an impending presence.
A scratching sound gently cascaded from the roof, even above the attic. Not the usual comforting sounds of bats roosting, or the squawks of the ravens upon the nearby skeletal trees, but something distinctly different this time. A soft rolling noise moved from the roof down the side of the house.
"Could this actually be him?" the boys thought to themselves.
The figure went to his business quickly, filling stockings with treats and placing presents underneath the tree crowned with that Magical star. A shadow stretched across the floor, reaching to the bottom of the bannister right near where the boys were quietly spying.
"This is surely St. Nick!"
The shadow seemed to stretch to David, as if summoning him forth first. He cautiously goes forwards, following the retreating shadow until he is looking into the kindly bearded face of the "Jolly Old Elf", who seemed to be everything he imagined, & bade him to look into the black bag he was holding in his gloved hand; to which he was asked to make a wish. He really wanted a new bike to ride to school & Karate class. So lo & behold, he reaches inside placing his hand on what felt like a handlebar, & out wheeled the brand new bike he had been coveting for a time. Overjoyed, he thanked Claus and looked forward to riding the bike out into the morning dew, which was soon to come.
Next, the shadow stretched forth to Michael, who just couldn't wait until he could tell his fondest wish to this Magical Man clad in deep velvet red. Like David, Michael eagerly followed the beckoning shadow leading up to the stout gentleman in red. Yet it seemed to somehow transform the closer he stepped. Looking upwards into the now darkened visage within the hat, the rotund man was no longer there, but instead to his horror, he now resembled a demonic creature clad in a long black coat with a leathery countenance, horns arching back from a furrowed brow; and where there were once rounded features, now have gone angular with a pointed beard dark as coal, and a twisted body covered in thick, coarse hair. Looking down, he sees what looks like a barbed tail... even the boots had apparently sprouted cloven hooves! The sound of dragging chains scraped across the floor. Terrified, Michael slunk into himself and his blood ran cold.
Frozen, he thought to himself, "This was more like a "Satan Claus"! Though he saw with his own eyes that Old Nick & Krampus are actually one in the same.
The creature reaches into his black bag, pulling out a switch covered in black thorns, & hoists him over his shoulder. Just then, he feels the sharp sting of the reeds pummeling his rump. He suddenly realizes that this was all because of his rotten, irresponsible behavior the year through, and was now paying for his transgressions.
He just repeats, "I'm sorry! I'm sorry! I'm sorry..." whimpering, the room darkens, as the sights & sounds fade...
After some time in darkness, he finds himself in his bed, with the lingering scent of sulfur in the air as dawn begins to filter in through the curtains.
He thinks to himself, "What a relief! A nightmare? It seemed so real!" While thinking about sneaking down the hall, the boys instead fell fast asleep at just about midnight. Still, the experience was so tangible, that the lesson gleaned will not be forgotten, not like those other dreams that he doesn't usually remember.
The sounds of laughter and squeals of delight echo through the house. It's Solstice morning! He puts on his robe & slippers, then carefully slinks through the door and to the top of the stairs. Peering down, he sees David gleefully beaming about his new possession of that bike he had been wanting. After dressing warmly, we walks it outside, and takes a ride out into the misty morning.
His parents spot Michael looking down on the scene. Though he does not deserve it, he vows that any presents he does get will be payed back in full to make up for his reprehensible behavior the year through towards those who were undeserving of such treatment.
Elated, his parents ask him, "So, you have learned your lesson and will behave responsibly and be civil to others from now on?" Michael nods enthusiastically, reiterating what he had been advised many a time by his parents, until it now finally sank in, the phrases "Cause & Effect", "responsibility to the responsible". & those strange latin words now bore a deeper personal meaning to him, as well as some of the other recommended ideas which were framed on the living room wall.
While his brother is out enjoying his well-deserved present, he returns those items he had been hiding in his room.
Mr. Pierce leans over to Mrs. Pierce and whispers in her ear, "Seems he had quite a fright." They both smile knowingly. Relieved, he certainly saved himself from further disciplinary action, perhaps even a life of self-destruction & misery. Krampus Klaus taught him a valuable lesson that night, and did him a favor by scaring him straight.
Beware the Krampus Klaws, who flies across the night skies to bring either wonderful treats... or tricks to those who deserve it! ∞