Cold Goat

by Jason Fischer

A seed of truth to every myth. Just think of a giant game of chinese whispers, the beginning somewhere in the dawn of history, filtering through a thousand generations, ending in the watered-down version we hear from our parents and repeat to our own children.

Let me tell you about the true Santa.

At the time I was looking for a familiar, a creature from beyond the Black that I could bind to my service. I’d called out little spirits before, nuisance demons that were more trouble than help. I wanted something with a bit more grunt, something that would give me true power.

My quest led me all over the world. I read ancient scripts printed on human skin, found mention of an elder demon in archives that most museums have never made public. There was the hint of a malevolent spirit, so powerful that only one family dared write down its name.

I learnt of a certain man, last of a long line. Keeper of a certain secret. I arrived unannounced at his house and found an old man living simply, surrounded by cats and knick-knacks. He did not die well, but at last he coughed out the creature’s name in a bubble of thick blood.

That whispered name was enough to call the demon, and it took all of my art to contain the spirit. Had I faltered once, it would have taken me into its cold, icy hands, driven the life and warmth from me.
It had a face like a goat, a goat born under a different sun, limbs that bent in ways that made my eyes swim. It wore a thousand years of ice.

I broke the demon, broke it like a wild foal, though it took two days and two nights of intense struggle. I was weak and covered in my own filth, but I bound the demon, drew it into a ring.

It is not a peaceful captive, and it whispers to me at night. I do not dare take off this ring, and it’s all I can do to hold it in.

The ice-demon gives me dreams. Of rude huts in the snow, of vengeance curses sworn in its name. The thrill of reaching out from the cold dark, through chimney-holes and out of lavatory pits, snatching at the children.

Ho Ho Ho.

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