Krampus leered, his long red tongue flicking out to caress each face. Frieda, Nana, and Gertel cringed away, trapped. The demon flicked his bundle of birch twigs.
The door behind him opened, outlining his twisted form in light. The children wept with joy to see the red suit, the black boots, the twinkling eyes. "Saint Nicholas!" they cried. "Save us!"
The saint smiled down at them. "Children, children, do you not understand? Krampus is a demon bound by chains. I am the man who holds his leash. What does that make me?"
The door swung shut again. The darkness returned.
Interview: Nancy Kress
7 hours ago