Krampus Is Coming To Town

Disclaimer: I don't own any material contained within this story. All copyrighted content remains the property of the person, people, or organization that holds the copyright. This story is solely for fun.

AN: This short one-shot is written as a Christmas present for Lila (Lion in the Land). I hope she likes it... and if anyone else reads, I hope they enjoy as well.

The trio made an odd spectacle as they stood outside the castle door. The old man talking to the cricket on his shoulder wouldn't have been so bad in and of itself. And in fairytale-land, the fact that the cricket was answering also wasn't too terribly out of place. But when coupled with the walking, wooden boy and his donkey tail and ears... well, even for Bell the sight was a strange one.

"Oh please, come in, before you freeze," the servant girl greeted. "I assume you're here to speak with Rump... er, the Dark One?"

"Yes, we are," the old man answered.

"I'll inform him that he has guests,"

"Thank you, Miss."

Bell departed to find her 'captor' as the cricket started back up again. "Please, I'm begging you to reconsider this. This man... he's bad... very, very bad. We don't need his kind of 'help'."

But the elderly wood carver would not hearken to his miniature friend's plea. "We have no choice. No one else will help us, and I won't let my son be taken. He's a good boy; he just made some mistakes."

"But this ma-"

The old man cut his friend off mid-word. "Sometimes, to protect those we love, we must do things we don't want to, sometimes even questionable and dangerous and things."

Suddenly a clapping sound could be heard, and all three turned towards it as the subject of their search, a funny looking but otherwise terrifying individual, walked in. "Well said, Geppeto, well said."

"How... how do you know my name?" the old man asked.

"Oh," the green tinted lord of the castle replied, "I'm very, very good with names." The one who was more beast than man cooed and then giggled like a school-girl at some inside joke. "Now," he continued with much pomp, "what brings the three of you into the Dark One's presence?"

"Well, Mr. er, One. It's my son. You see he's been... well, he did some bad things a wHile back."

"Yes, I noticed the donkey's tail. Had yourself a little fun on Pleasure Island, didn't you?"

The wooden boy looked down sheepishly. "I feel really bad about what I did, and I'm very, very sorry."

"Oh, no point in being sorry, kiddo," the Dark One commented. "Good, bad. It's all just words. The only important thing is the consequences that come with the actions you take," and with this the green scaled crocodile turned back to the father. "Speaking of which, I suppose you want me to give you a potion that'll counter those consequences and remove your wooden boy's tail and ears? 'Tis a small matter. Tell you what, in light of the season, I'll give you the potion just for the name of the one whose magic made this puppet real. Now you can't get a better offer than that - your son's tail and donkey ears gone in time for Christmas, just for a little name, eh?"

"Oh no, thank you, but we can wait for the ears and tail to wear-off on their own. We're coming to you because my son..." the old man paused and gulped then reached into his pocket to pull out a folded letter. "I found this on my mantle when I woke up this morning."

The Dark One took the letter and read it. "A notice of intent from Krampus? Polite of the old goat to notify his victims families in advance."

"So, you're familiar with Krampus?" Geppeto asked.

"Oh yes, Krampus, Father Christmas, Saint Nicholas, Kris Kringle, but I think my favorite of his names is Santa Clause."

"Santa Clause?" the wooden boy repeated, the name feeling oddly cheerful as it rolled of his tongue.

"Oh yes, that name is very popular in another dimension. They even have songs about it," the Dark One responded then proceeded to recite his presumed favorite.

"You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I'm telling you why," the odd, green wizard warned in a creepily gleeful tone. "Santa Claus is coming to town."

"He sees you when you're sleeping. He knows when you're awake. He knows if you've been bad or good," the Dark One continued, his tone shifting to ominous. "So be good for goodness sake!" he shouted and then giggled as his three terrified visitors jumped.

"You better watch out. You better not cry. You better not pout. I'm telling you why. Santa Claus is coming to town," the Dark One then finished with a pleased grin. "Well, kid, better start packing. Looks like you've got a long journey ahead of you. Oh, and make sure to bring a coat. The North Pole is quite chilly this... hmmm, all year actually." The beast giggled again then turned and headed for the room's exit.

"No, wait!" Geppeto exclaimed "aren't you going to help us?"

"Help you? You mean do battle with Father Christmas? Buddy, there's no way you could afford my fee for that," the Dark One responded with a dismissive wave.

"But... but..."

"Let him go, Geppeto," the previously silent cricket chimed back in. "Like I said. We don't need his help. We'll figure something out."

This statement seemed to anger the green wizard as he turned back towards the group. "Figure something out? Figure something out? We're not talking about a mischievous bunny-rabbit stealing your eggs, painting them and hiding them on you here. We're talking about the shape-shifting horror of Christmas time. And this world is his hunting grounds. Every year he takes the 'naughtiest' of our children away to his lair and uses his magic to transform them into unaging eleven slaves. Then they spend the rest of eternity laboring in his frozen wasteland, making toys to sate the lusts of his worshipers from other dimensions... and violating quite a few copyright and patent laws in the process. He's diabolical, crafty, powerful, and has had many hundreds of years to perfect his craft. One does not simply 'figure something out', when it comes to Krampus!"

"So, you'll help us then?" the wooden boy asked hopefully.

The Dark One looked down at the kid. "I already told you, you can't afford my fee."

"Please," Geppeto pleaded grasping the hem of the Dark One's shirt, causing the beast to sneer at the begger. "He's my only son. Can you imagine what it would be like for a father to lose his only son?"

And then suddenly, there was a change in the Dark One. His sneer vanished, and for a moment - just a moment his eyes seemed alight with empathy. He forgot about the man grasping his shirt and stared out at something beyond them, a memory nearly buried by guilt. And when the Dark One's eyes eventually came back into focus he saw that Bell had halted her dusting of the hutch in the corner of the room and was now staring at him with a puzzled expression. Unwilling or unable to meet her gaze, the green wizard's attention turned back to his guests. He sighed. "Very well, bring that old goat here, and I'll see if I can't do a budget special on him."

"Bring, bring him here?" the wooden boy asked, terror obvious in his voice.

"Well of course. You didn't expect me to make a house call on Christmas Eve did you? Even Regina couldn't afford that."

It was one of twelve in the wood carvers house. They new this without question for the majority of Geppeto's wood carving business came from clock-making, and all the ticking timepieces agreed. The hour was nearly upon them. And then, the last click before the chorus of coos and bells split the midnight air finally passed away. Their time had come.

Suddenly there was a thud open the roof and a deep laughter reverberated down the chimney and through the fire place. "I've come for you, you naughty little boy. And now, you're mine." The voice echoed from all corners of the house, causing the terrified youngin' to run to the door and fling it open.

To his shock he found a tall but stooped creature awaiting him. The monster's body was like that of an old man, save for the hairy covering which replaced boots upon the creature's legs. The hands were those of a man as well, however the face looked more like that of some demonic half-goat, pale-white and with horns that sprouted and curved as they rose from the forehead. The monster's mouth was open, the corners of it pulled into a terrifying smile, and his long tongue flopped out between jagged and pointed teeth to lick at his lips, wrinkled and cracked from the cold. His eyes twinkled as he eyed his prey. "Well, well, Pinocchio, we meet at last," the monster called in a deep, reverberating tone. "You've been a very, very naughty boy. And now, you're going to get what's coming to you!"

Stunned by the sight before him, Pinocchio failed to move as the monster took a step forward and reached for him. But then the pointed red hat atop its head was pulled down to cover the creature's eyes. The cricket now hanging from the hat's white whiskers yelled only one word as he struggled to keep the monster from regaining his sight. "Run!"

And Pinocchio did just that. Passing quickly through the small room and making his way to the window opposite the door, the wooden lad was out it in a matter of seconds as the monster hunting him finally grabbed its hat and, in frustration, ripped it off its head and threw it to the floor. Geppeto latched unto the monster's arm in an effort to prevent the creature from leaving. "You stay away from my boy!"

But Krampus just pushed the old man to the floor and took off, bending to gallop on all fours after his departing prey. "I do so love it when I get to chase them down," the monster cried and laughed as it ran.

"Ho, ho, ho" the deep, terrifying sound echoed throughout the forest, and to Pinocchio it seemed to be coming from everywhere at once. So he had no idea from what direction to expect an attack, nor which way to run to avoid one. So the wooden boy did the only thing he could. He ran even faster, up the side of Mount Crumpet to the home of the green, grinchy beast who he prayed would keep his change of heart long enough to act as his savior.

Suddenly an ambush from the left, the goat-man-devil of Christmas leapt and tackled the wooden boy, causing them both to roll upon the ground. Pinocchio recovered from the attack quickly and crawled out from under the monster, still hoping to reach the top of the mountain. But the creature chasing him grabbed the wooden boy's tail and yanked him back to the snow covered ground. "You're not getting away from me that easily, boy," the monster snarled as it pulled the boy to it. "Want to see what I've got in my bag?"

Pinocchio kicked the creature's face, kicked as hard as he could and in doing so, succeeded in loosening the monster's grasp of his tail enough to allow Pinocchio to pull it free and continue his accent. Krampus reached into the bag on his back and pulled out a small, colorful box. He hurled it at the fleeing boy, and it exploded as it struck the ground.

Pinocchio yelped and jumped in surprise, but then quickly settled down and continued his run. Left, left, right, left, right: the wooden boy dodged the exploding presents until he was out of throwing distance of his pursuer and the latter was forced to give chase once more.

Finally, frightened and out of breath, Pinocchio reached the crest and the castle which sat atop it. He beat furiously upon the doors with tiny, bawled up fists. "I'm here. Let me in! Let me in! Krampus is coming!"

But there was no answer from within. And a crackling laugh pierced the night behind the boy. "You expect shelter? Sanctuary? From anyone who knows I'm after you? What are you thinking, boy? This is my night, and no one is going to stand up to me on m- ... Wait, what's happening?" the creature asked in a dumbfounded and frightened tone as it began to feel an unnatural pull. Turning towards the source of the pulling one beast came face to face with another, and the former sneered at the latter.

"This may be your night, but it's also my town. And that boy is under my protection," The Dark One proclaimed as he held a glowing, white orb out towards the monster of Christmas time.

"No!" Krampus yelled as he dropped and grabbed onto the ground in a feeble attempt to avoid the pull of the white orb. "NOOO000ooo..." he howled as his efforts proved futile and he was sucked inside.

"What... what did you do to him?" an amazed Pinocchio asked.

"Nothing yet," the Dark One answered. "It's a containment globe," he continued, turning the miniature world with its snow and trees and one very angry Christmas figure towards the boy so that he could see into it. "Good for holding near any magical creature, just so long as you can sneak up on them. Now day after tomorrow; that's when I'll start doing things to my new, magical captive." The Dark One giggled joyfully.

"I... thank you," Pinocchio responded awkwardly. "If you hadn't o come when you did..."

The green wizard held up a hand to hush the boy. "No need to thank me. This was a simple business transaction. You get to keep your life, a life free of green outfits, pointed hats, and endless hours of toiling on assembly lines. And I get a brand new toy to play with." So saying, the Dark One slipped the globe into a large pouch on his belt. "Now, you'd better be getting home, Kiddo. Your father will be worried."

"Yes! The boy exclaimed. Father! I need to be getting back. I hope Krampus didn't hurt him... or Jiminy."

"I'm sure he didn't. Krampus only cares about children."

"Even still, they helped me, and I doubt he was happy about that," Pinocchio's comment seemed more to himself than the other person standing out in the cold that Christmas night, as the former had already turned away from the latter and begun to head back down towards his home. But then the wooden boy stopped and craned an over-the-shoulder-look back at his rescuer. "Merry Christmas, er, 'Dark One'," the boy called.

"Merry Christmas, Pinocchio," the wizard answered back, a small but genuinely decent grin tingling the edges of his lips.

Well, Lila, I hope you enjoyed your little present.

Have a good day, Merry Christmas, and God bless.

Metropolis Kid.