Short Story
                    Snow Demons
                                    By John Michael Osborne


Jeremy Dimple, a short pudgy freshman who wore glasses conned his way
out of going to a Maletusmas family reunion.  He told his folks he and his best
friend, Thomas Bellows, a tall, skinny kid who always wore headphones,
needed to work at a fast food job that day.  They wanted to guzzle soda and
sit in front of the TV, but Thomas’ mom kicked them outside.

“You’re not staying inside all day today,” she grumbled while rolling a pin over
some cookie dough.  She looked like Carol Brady with long wavy hair.  The
house filled with the warm aroma of cookies.  The heat permeated the
house.  “Go outside and get some exercise.”

Jeremy hated the cold and the snow.  As soon as he graduated from high
school, he planned to leave Skull Creek and move down South where the
weather remained warm and decent year round.

The weather was “warm” for late December, nearly thirty degrees, warm
enough to build a snow fort.  Jeremy built the fort to see grass again.  While
Thomas created towers and canons sticking out at the wall, Jeremy built three
snowmen to uncover more yellow grass.  He wished spring would begin right
after New Year’s.

Jeremy heard a major snow storm would hit that night.  He probably wouldn’t
see it until
early March.  After a couple of hours they hoped they spent enough time
outside.  The dreary, depressing gray shroud that covered the sky made it
look as the sun nearly set before two o’ clock.  After Jeremy and Thomas
finished in the back yard they went inside and shed their winter coats.  
Thomas’ mother made them hot chocolate with little melted marshmallows.  It
tasted great and helped warm Jeremy.  The boys watched TV while his
parents dressed for a company Maletusmas dinner.

Josephus Maletus, the once savior of the world, was proven to be a fake.  A
lot of people in Skull Creek still liked to celebrate the Pagan version of
Maletusmas.  People decorated their evergreen trees full of lights, placed
lights all over their homes, and attended dinners and parties and exchanged
presents on Maletusmas morning.

Jeremy liked seeing all the color that time of year, since December was such
a cloudy, dismal, brutally cold month.  Once Maletusmas ended and people
took down the lights it was one agonizingly long and cold winter in Skull Creek.

“Are you sure you want to go tonight?” Thomas asked.  “A winter storm is
supposed to hit in a few hours.  They say we’re supposed get ten inches.”

“We’ll be back before then,” his father said.  He looked like a former football
player who let himself go.  He packed on the pounds after becoming a father.  
He put on his long black overcoat.

Thomas’ mother slipped into a long wool red coat.  “At the latest, we’ll be
home just as the snow starts.”

Once they left, Thomas put in a DVD of “Dracula” starring Bela Lugosi.  
Jeremy got a couple of Cokes from the fridge.

Thomas, Jeremy’s best friend, was a math and science whiz like himself.  
Thomas turned on the lights on the Maletusmas tree and around the living
room.  Lights of all colors lit the living room, over the entry of the room.  
Green garland draped over the credenza and fire place.  The smell of pine
from the tree filled the living room.  Red and green stockings hung over the
mantle and two little ceramic elves and a miniature Frosty stood at the base
of the mantle.  “I think after all we’ve seen in Skull Creek this movie is not
going to seem very scary.”

Jeremy pushed a gold curtain aside and peeked out the window to the back
yard.  He gasped.

“What is it?” Thomas asked.

“Nothing.”

“Don’t tell me nothing.  You saw something.”

Thomas jerked the drapes aside.

The Black Knight crouched over a neighbor’s roof.  His black hooded cloak
billowed in the bitter wind.  His flame blue eyes glowed through the sockets of
his helmet.  The Knight looked around.  Jeremy feared his presence meant
evil lurked nearby.

“What’s he doing out there?” Thomas said.  “We never summoned him.”

Jeremy bit his lip.  He knew Thomas wouldn’t like this.  “I did.”

“You did?  When?”

“Last night.”

Thomas’ voice turned hoarse.  “Why?”

“You know why.  Your sister thinks it’s us who are conjuring the Black Knight.  
You know she’s told the Dark Trinity.  So I performed a spell of protection.”

The Dark Trinity, Corey Mercilous, Dominic Brine, and Ethan Brody, three
juniors, practiced black magic.  Jeremy and Thomas conjured the Black
Knight to thwart some of their efforts to spread evil in Skull Creek.  The Dark
Trinity wanted to find out who summoned the Black Knight.       

The Knight floated off into the sky.

Thomas let the curtain closed.  “You don’t know that.”

“I don’t know it.  I fear it.” He peaked back out the window.  His breath fogged
the window.  He felt the cold next to his face.  Something didn’t look right near
the fort.  “Hey, Thomas, come look at this.”

Thomas shoved the curtain aside again.  “Now what?”

“Didn’t I build that one snowman further away from the fort?”

Jeremy built three snowmen, one by the fort, two farther away.  He used dark
blue large marbles for eyes and bits and pieces of unwanted fruitcake for the
noses and mouths.

“No, don’t’ think so.”

“Yeah, I did.  I remember I tried to roll a big base so I could uncover a big
patch of grass in the middle of the yard.”

Thomas sat down on the couch and grabbed the remote.  “You accomplished
that.”

“But I built that snowman about ten feet away from the fort.  Now it looks like it’
s five feet away.”

Thomas turned on the movie.  “You think it moved by itself?  That’s crazy.”

“Not in Skull Creek.”

Thomas grimaced.

Flurries started falling.

“Oh, no,” Jeremy groaned.  “It’s beginning to snow already.  We’ll probably
get slammed with over a foot of snow.”

Sporadic flurries turned to falling snow.  The winder grew stronger.  It howled
like a tortured spirit.  The phone rang.  Thomas answered it.  Jeremy stood at
the entrance of the kitchen.  Zoe spoke loudly on the other end.  “Tonight we
find out, little brother, if it’s you and Jeremy conjuring the Black Night.”

“What’s that supposed to mean?” Thomas asked.

Zoe hung up.

The snowman aside of the fort turned to slide in the direction of the house.

It looked like Zoe and the Dark Trinity practiced black magic again.  That’s
why the Black Knight was here.  “Thomas!  Come quick!”

The snowman leaned over and touched the fort.  Its stick arms turned to thick
snow limbs.  Jeremy looked up in the air.  “Where did the Black Knight go?”

“I don’t know,” Thomas whispered.

The snowman aimed its arms at the house and snow shot from its limbs and
covered the window.  The boys ran to the kitchen.  The snowman slammed
snow against the kitchen and living room windows.

“They’re going to bury us,” Thomas gasped.

Jeremy threw open the back door.  Snow covered the doorway.

Thomas ran into the garage and grabbed a shovel.  He picked at the snow.  
Jeremy snagged a butcher knife from a drawer and chiseled a hole into the
snow.  It sounded like snow covered the roof.  Snow trickled down the
chimney in the living room.

The other two snowmen also helped bury the home.  The Black Knight shot
back to their yard and punched one snowman and pulverized it.  He pulled
out his silver sword and cut down the other two.

The snowmen reformed and they buried the Black Knight.

Jeremy and Thomas chiseled open a larger hole.  The frigid air felt like a
smack against the face.  Jeremy feared this is how and when they’d die.

“Oh, God,” Thomas said.  “They buried the Black Knight!  I thought he was a
spirit.  Can’t he just float through the snow?”

One of the snowmen chuckled like a devil.  “We’re snow demons, boy.  Our
power can contain a spirit.”

The two elves and Frosty came alive and stepped off the fireplace mantel
and stepped into the kitchen.  Jeremy heard a strange noise from behind.  
“Thomas!” Jeremy yanked a hammer from a drawer.  The elves ran to him.  
Their grip felt strong enough to break his legs.   Jeremy squealed.  Jeremy
smashed the elves’ heads.  They still squeezed his legs.  He broke apart the
rest of their ceramic bodies.  Frosty started to bury the kitchen in little
Styrofoam pellets.  The pellets stuck to Thomas and started to build a thick
Styrofoam wall around him.  Thomas chopped him apart with his shovel and
smashed his way out of his white foamed cage.

The Black knight thrust his sword through his snowy burial.  The snow
demons kept burying him.  “Anastasio,” The Knight called.  His large black
steed jumped over the fence.  Its flame blue eyes looked wild with rage.  Fire
shot from its nostrils and freed the Black Knight from the snowy mausoleum.

The Knight chopped the snowmen into pieced but they reformed.  Anastasio
melted all the snow in the yard.  Fog rose from the large puddle in the yellow
grass.

The Black Knight floated above the house.  “Anastasio,” he called again.

The boys ran to the living room and ripped the curtains aside.  Jeremy feared
the Dark Trinity finally found a spell to overwhelm the Black Knight.  Piles of
snow formed into new snowmen.  The house melted all the snow in the front
yard.  The snow demons screamed in agony as they vaporized into the night.  
Fog filled the air.  Snow turned to rain over the house.  The Black Knight
climbed upon his steed and rode off into the swirling mist.

Zoe called Thomas answered.  “Now we know,” she said.  He hung up.

“Who was it?” Jeremy asked.

“Zoe.  We’ve got big trouble.”
To read other short stories,
click one of the titles below.
About John Michael
Osborne

I'm from Atlanta. I now
live in Tallahasee. I'm a
student at FSU working
on a master's in creative
writing.  My first novel,
Children of the Damned,
been published by
Authorhourse. The
online magazine, Lost
Souls, is publishing my
"Dark Disciple" series
stariting in issue 18. I
was first published in a
music satire magazine
called The Rock and Roll
Probe. I still occasionally
write and publish humor.