“St. Nicholas’ Eve”
© Angela Caperton
As published by Circlet Press in
Holly caught the 11 o’clock bus at the big stop on Industrial, way out at the edge of the empty parking lot. The last Number 22 for the night would take her all the way to Cedar Hill. Most nights, she rode the packed 10:20, but tonight she’d worked late and the bus was almost empty. She took a seat about halfway back, sagged against the window, and waited for the hiss of the door and the pneumatic bump of forward motion to release her spine before she sank fully into the cracked vinyl seat. She closed her eyes, grateful for the end of another lousy day and slid the stiff shamrock-green sleeve up her wrist to check her watch. She wouldn’t be home till midnight. How the fuck did she get herself into this?
Ten bucks an hour, that’s how, she thought.
She pulled her ridiculous red hat from her head, clutching the fuzzy ivory ball atop it. Her fingernails wanted to turn the fluff into lint.
“Bastard,” she grumbled as she shifted on the seat, the bruise from Santa’s pinch on her ass rubbed uncomfortably against a sharp break in the thick seam of the vinyl seat. By the time she arrived in Cedar Hill, the torn seat would probably cut into her leg. The perfect ending to a perfect fucking day.
She sat up and her gaze froze for a moment on the mirror above the driver hidden down in his well, and she frowned. She would have sworn there was at least one other passenger on the bus, but the mirror showed only rows of empty seats. Holly looked over her shoulder and saw, across the aisle and two seats back, a young man grinning at her.
Or was he young? She glanced at the mirror, empty but for her own reflection and then back at him. A trick of a bad angle, Holly rationalized.
Thick waves of long black hair framed a lean face and his closely trimmed beard adorned a narrow chin. Amber eyes stared at her, the skin at the corners creasing with amusement. He wore a tattered trench coat and a smudged, threadbare sweatshirt filled the gap where the lapels parted, the hood pulled up to cover the crown of his head.
He pulled an apple from the pocket of the trench coat and bit into it with relish, his gaze locked on Holly’s.
He nodded toward her clutched hat. “Sie arbeiten für ihn auch?”
Holly’s face scrunched as the strange words rolled over her.
“Ah! You work for him, ja?” He pointed to her hat, his hands long-fingered with nails that reminded Holly of talons. As he wagged his pointer for emphasis, a clinking sound drew her attention to a wide, shining band of metal around his wrist, and a serpentine curve of links flowing up the wide dark sleeve of the trench coat.
Her breath caught in her throat. Handcuffs, she thought. She looked toward the driver and saw clearly her own reflection in the mirror and no one else’s. She slowly let go of the air in her lungs.
“Maybe we can talk, eh?” he said. “Trade stories?”
The brakes of the bus whistled as it pulled to the curb and stopped beside a deserted bench, an advertisement for Maxine’s department store showing through the crimson and green graffiti. Holly glanced at the driver again, his grin like that of a gingerbread man. She rose from the seat and without truly looking at the stranger, nodded and walked past him to the open door of the bus.
She didn’t hear him behind her, but his warmth pressed against her back and ass, caressing her shoulders through the stiff material of her elf costume as she descended the two steep steps to the lamp-lit sidewalk below.
December fifth should’ve been cool, but the night air felt hot, almost steamy.
The bus pulled away as the stranger walked beside her, the damp light of the lamp casting devilish shadows onto his face. He took a bite of the apple and juice trickled down his chin beading in his beard. She followed the light and found herself leaning near him. He smelled like pine trees and old ashes.
He smelled like home.
“It’s different now, all those pretty windows with flashing lights and puff-cheeked Kringles.” He stepped away from her and started down the street, the shadows quickly threatening to devour him. Holly watched his retreating back, noticing the bundle of long, thin sticks that poked out of his coat pocket.
He stopped and half turned. She could barely see his face, but felt his gaze. “Coming, liebchen?”
Holly looked around the deserted street, the tall buildings dark, no golden glow in any of the rows and columns of windows, no barking dogs or sounds of pre-holiday turmoil.
She pulled her Santa hat back on her head and the ivory ball bounced against her cheek. She quickly joined him and shivered in the unnatural heat that seemed to surround him. The odd compulsion to follow him overpowered her pinched ass and debt-weary brain. Later she would tell herself it was the seduction of the rabbit hole that kept her feet moving.
He grinned, toothy, lips shining, and took a last bite of the apple before he tossed the fleshy core to the gutter. Back and forth, he wiped his hand on his tattered coat, then extended it to her, his shackle reflecting the distant streetlight.
And the moon.
“Rupert,” he said with a courtly nod, his thick accent turning his name into a stroke along her spine.
She took the offered hand, his long fingers curling around hers, one smooth talon caressing the delicate flesh at her wrist. “H-Holly,” she stammered.
He laughed, deep and throaty. “Of course.” Then he draped an arm over her shoulder and steered her toward the next street lamp halo. The scent of clove tickled her nose as his shoes clicked on the sidewalk with a soft, clopping rhythm.
They crossed the street and as they entered the pale ring of the corner lamp, the air turned cold. Holly didn’t hesitate to press closer to Rupert, the warmth of his body banishing the night. The short skirt of the elf suit only reached mid-thigh and her stockings were more for festive show, not for keeping frostbite at bay.
“Why do you work for him?” Rupert asked as they continued to stroll.
Holly shrugged under his heavy arm. “Money.”
“He pays you?” He asked, as if amazed.
“Yeah he pays me—well, he doesn’t pay me, Maxine’s department store does. You think I’d wear this get-up and deal with screaming kids all night if I didn’t get paid?” Holly snorted. “It’s a good job,” she said with little conviction, then shrugged, all pretenses gone. “I need the cash. It’s only for a few weeks, but it’ll really help me out.” She looked up at him, the hood of the sweat shirt having fallen back a little to expose the crown of his head. She saw that his hair had been suggestively spiked, so that he appeared to have horns.
“So, you work for money, not for spirit.”
“Spirit? Of what? Out of control capitalism and obligatory good cheer? You’re kidding, right?”
“So cynical for so young.” Rupert tsked and squeezed her to him. “But I understand. He always smiles. That is why he needs me.”
“Needs you?” Holly laughed as her fingers caressed the shackle.
Rupert chuckled, the sound rumbling in his chest. “Saints need devils. When bribes of sweets don’t work,” Rupert lifted his arm off her shoulder and shook it. The heavy rattle of chains rang from the sleeve of the coat, “he calls for me.” His arm fell onto Holly’s shoulder again.
“The season is about more than presents, Holly. It’s about embracing what is found in the longest night and reborn day.”
“Longest night all right.” Holly grumbled as she slowed down, her fingers tingling as realization began to massage her brain.
Holly knew this place but it was different now. They had come to the branching sidewalk that led to Machen’s Park, its green wanderings hidden in total darkness beyond the pair of lights that flanked the path.
Holly breathed and felt him breathe with her. The heat from his thigh seared hers when he stopped. His left hand played with her hair and as the cold chain caressed her neck, another tingle began to work through her blood.
“The park’s closed,” she whispered. “It closed at sundown.”
“Silly, no,” Rupert answered her. “It opened at sundown. Come.” He led her down the path, past the open gate and dark park office.
Holly had not been in the park in years but she knew it had never looked like this. Trees covered almost every space, the limbs wild and grabbing. This little, boring tax-funded park seemed closer to an alpine wilderness than an obligatory green spot in the middle of concrete mountains. Rupert led her off the sidewalk, through a hedge gap and then onto a narrow path between thickets, and when they emerged into a marginal clearing, the moon shone through a canopied web of limbs overhead, brighter than the streetlights. She almost lost her footing on uneven ground woven by bulbous roots.
“Do you know?” he asked as he turned to her. Moon-lit, the hood falling back, his horns glistened sharp and shining. “How lucky you are, liebchen?”
Rupert drew one of the sticks from his pocket. Holly saw that it was long and supple, spiked with the knots where lesser shoots had been cut from it.
Her heart punched at her chest. Her mouth went dry, but her pussy nearly gushed. “Who are you?” she asked him. “Are you the devil?”
He caught her chin between his thin, steel-strong fingers, and leaned close enough to brush her with his breath. “Ja, liebchen. I am the devil. The fucking devil, and so happy we both work for him.”
His hands worked over her, loosening and plucking at her clothing. A flick of his wrist and the elf skirt pulled away from her thighs with a whisper. Rupert tossed it away, his strong fingers inside the waistband of the leggings, then in her, the path easy and wet without the added barrier of panties. She held onto him, crying out at the wonderful invasion. Cold metal pressed against her belly, against her ribs, the stiff, green blouse open to the night as one link of the thick chain caught her right nipple and pulled at it without mercy. The shocking chill and sharp pinch pulled a cry of pleasant pain from Holly’s throat. He’d bound her in those chains, tethered her to him, and Holly reveled in the embrace.
“You’ve been bad,” Rupert growled. “You have been very naughty.”
She struggled against the chain, each arch only tightening the bonds. “So what? Are you going to tell Nick to leave me coal?”
He laughed, the sound close to a howl. “Delightful,” he chuckled as he turned her in the chain’s kiss. The December chill caressed her ass as he rolled the leggings down her thighs and tore them into scraps. Carols sang in her pulse as her pussy greeted winter. She clamped her teeth into her lower lip, sealing her cry of anticipation in her throat.
“Liebchen, believe me when I say no one can hear you.” He put his tongue in her ear and set her body afire. “Except me.”
Something slid up her bare leg, caressed her calf, tickled the tender skin behind her knee, and trailed up her thigh to tease the wet lips of her sex. “You will know the night, Holly, and the reborn day.”
He folded her, her body helpless in chains, her ass exposed to the cold air and his hot touch. The thin caress that traced her legs continued over her back, to her neck, and when Holly awkwardly turned her head, she saw the sapling switch, one of the thin wood sticks he’d had in his pocket. She knew her eyes must have grown huge when she looked at him. In that instant she saw a gleam of understanding and manic joy in his gaze that nearly made her pee.
She struggled to pull air, her lungs squeezed by her prostrate position. “You’re kidding, right?”
He flicked the switch against the back of her right thigh. Holly laughed for the barest moment, then the sting manifested, traveled up her spine and turned the gay sound into a gasp of pain—and wonder.
“Birch, sweet Holly. Very hard to find in this place, but only the best for mein liebchen.”
He brought the birch across her left thigh, the mirroring sting raking her nerves, sending a small yelp past her lips. She struggled against the chains, tried to stand upright, but Rupert held her in place, bracing her against his legs, one steadying hand on her spine. Another whirr and the birch lanced across both cheeks of her ass and Holly’s knees began to shake like gelatin. The sting in her thighs dulled against the fresh pain on her cheeks. The seed of pain didn’t go away, but instead bloomed, a heat and slick ache on her skin that spread to her pussy, nearly dripping with want. She leaned heavily against Rupert’s hips and thrilled at the long, hard bulge that pressed against her side.
He brought the birch across her cheeks again, just above Santa’s bruise. She cried out, tears sprang from her eyes and she realized her skin was coated in a sheen of sweat. She looked up at Rupert. Raw lust etched dark lines into his face and turned his eyes to glowing amber.
“Remember this, Holly,” he said, tapping her butt lightly. “The next time you want to be naughty.” Rupert switched her hard and her bound breath ran free in a gasp. He put his fingers in her again, two of them, thick and strong, and struck her with short sharp blows. Well beyond pain, her gasp became a moan, and her legs turned to clarified butter as a mind-destroying orgasm tore through her.
Her sense of sight returned to her first, a glimpse of moon-spattered brick on a chilly night—and a smell that might have been the first hint of snow. The smooth painted wood of an old bench scrubbed between her fingers, and the faintest taste of blood coated her tongue from where she had bitten herself in her ecstasy. She leaned over the bench, her skin goosy with the cold. Rupert’s left hand caressed her bare breasts, circling and tweaking her nipples.
“Do you know liebchen, how much I love my work?” With his right hands, he adjusted her hips, lifting her slightly and she felt the hard tip of his cock bounce between her ravaged cheeks, brush her asshole, and settle against the ready lips of her sex. “We will get through the winter days, liebchen, but in the meantime we have such schone nights.”
His cock began to slide into her and she wondered how big he was—he felt huge. He filled her slowly, easing the fit, pushing deeper than any lover had ever gone, smooth and slick and enormous, until his shaggy thatch scratched at her raw ass. She imagined him halfway to her heart, the bumpy heat of his cock spreading her clit against the cold, as the bulbous head beat at her G spot and maybe H too, before he began to withdraw.
The trip out delighted her more than the trip in and he began to fuck her with short, almost savage thrusts. There was no question of waiting for him. She came again, almost as hard as she had from the birch, the sweat on her body misting in the cold, her breath a cloud the shape of her pleasure, amorphous and wild as a dream.
He bit her on the shoulder with his wide, flat teeth and thrust deeper still, grinding his thin hips against her, laughing now, wild, as orgasm engulfed her, divine and eternal in a moment of oblivion.
Snow began to fall.
Rupert leaned over her, his hips rolling his astonishing cock deep as her soul. He rocked her, his finger on her clit, the touch almost unbearable. He pulsed inside her and Holly thought she might die.
Feral heat stirred against her ear and she heard him, though the words seemed distant as yesterday, even as the rush of hot pleasure rose out of her pussy and ran through her blood, her skin, her bones, her mind gone, returning to the cold, and the snow, and the silence.
When she opened her eyes, Rupert had vanished as though he had never existed, leaving only fading heat and musk, a whiff of burning coal, and the promise of his last words, “Remember, liebchen, no matter how cold and lonely the winter, the spring will eventually come.”
Every cold, yuletide night, for the rest of her long, happy life, Holly remembered.
Remembered Rupert, and whispered those words like a prayer.
Copyright 2010 Angela Caperton. All rights reserved. Content may not be copied or used in whole or part without written permission from the author.