Hey its Christmas already! So here is my Xmas horror story 'Night of the Yule Goat'
which can also be found in my book '20,000 Bloody Words: A Collection of Horror Flash Fiction.' The cool artwork above is by my daughter India and based on the Scandenavian yule goat masks. Enjoy!
NIGHT OF THE YULE GOAT
If you are reading this, then I am gone.
Like, real gone. Not left town gone. Dead gone. I don’t have much time left to put my story down. He’s not far away. He’s already killed my friends. And I’m next.
Why am I writing this? Because it’s my fault. My friends were part of it too, but they’re dead now, so it’s only fair that I take the blame.
It was my idea to go to the house on Coronet Avenue on Christmas Eve and have a séance. It seemed like a fun thing to do - get boozed in the infamous Coronet Murder house and try and contact one of the poor souls who died there. You know, for shits and giggles.
But we fucked up. Bad.
Let me back up. Do you remember the Yule Goat Killer? My older brother told me about him when I was a kiddo. It all happened back in the ‘80s, well before my time. If you’re from Hancock, Michigan, then you know we celebrate the Finnish tradition of Julebukking. If you’re not from here, think Halloween but Christmassy. People dress up in masks and go house to house singing carols and what-not. There’s hot cocoa and gingerbread men. It’s all very jolly.
But on November 9th 1984, this one man, Martin Korhonen, decided to go julebukking with an axe. He strolled up to 199 Coronet Ave, casually walked in the front door and hacked up the family that lived there. Then he performed some sort of Satanic ritual with their bodies. Apparently, he arranged their limbs into a pentagram and then slit his own throat. Cops found him sitting cross-legged in a pool of blood wearing only a cheap rubber Yule Goat mask.
My brother would taunt me every year when we went julebukking. “Watch out for the Yule Goat Killer,” and bleating like some sort of demonic goat. Every kid in Hancock knew the story and those rubber goat masks became a hot selling item. Kind of like what happened with the Ghostface masks after the Scream movies. But real.
It wasn’t hard for us to break into the Coronet Avenue house. There were five of us - me, Andy, Suze, Julian and Freya. I brought the booze (Finlandia vodka and some mixer), Freya brought the Ouija board and Andy, our very own class clown, brought a Yule Goat mask. I told him he was tempting fate, but he just laughed. Always laughing is our Andy. If anyone is the living embodiment of shits and giggles, it’s Andy.
The doors were locked, but we jimmied open a boarded up window and climbed inside. The interior of the house was covered in dust, spiders and a ton of spooky graffiti - devil goats, pentagrams, axes and the like. Clearly we weren’t the first teens to come and bear witness to the legacy of the Yule Goat, Hancock’s very own serial killer.
Andy told us the murder happened in the living room, so that’s where we set up. Freya had done seances before, so she led the way, slowly setting up the board with a reverence that wasn’t shared by the rest of us. When she was ready she took a deep breath, offered some sort of silent prayer to the ether and then asked us to join hands.
When we placed our hands on the planchette, there was an instant charge, like a low-wattage electrical current running up our arms. For a moment, that was it, just that minor buzzing feeling. Then the planchette moved, slowly at first, then quicker as it moved across various letters, spelling out a name - Victoria. Andy, who had researched the Yule Goat murders, told us Victoria was a young girl, one of the family members who died here. The charge became so strong it started to hurt. I tried to pull my hand away but couldn’t. We all started freaking out then, screaming and trying to free ourselves. Then the charge vanished and we were released from the Ouija board.
Andy started laughing nervously. “Whoa, that was some spooky shi—“ He stopped suddenly, as if he’d choked on a bug. Then he started convulsing and frothing at the mouth. When that subsided, he started laughing, real sinister-like. I thought he was just fucking with us. Freya, however, said, “Victoria, is that you?”
Andy shook his head. “No, silly-billy. It’s me. Martin. I’ve been waiting for you.” His voice was different, deeper and scratchier, with a slight accent. His hands shot out and wrapped around Freya’s neck, crushing her windpipe. I jumped on his back, trying to shake him loose. Andy flipped me over his shoulder with ease, onto the hardwood floor. Julian rushed at Andy, who met him head on, slamming him into a wall and winding him. Julian sunk to the floor, gasping for air. Then, with a slow chuckle, Andy bent down and lifted up a loose floorboard. It creaked menacingly as it came up. We were all too exhausted to attack him now. Andy reached down under the floorboards and removed a dust and cobweb covered axe.
I couldn’t even tell you who he killed first. It was a whirlwind of blood and screams. The dull thud of the axe hitting the bodies of my friends was seared into my mind. Everything slowed down. It felt like my feet were encased in cement. Nothing felt real. Freya was begging Andy to spare her. But he didn’t.
I lunged towards the front door but Andy was too quick. It was either be cornered in the living room or head upstairs. I raced up the stairwell and locked myself in what must have been one of the dead kids' bedrooms. I found some paper and an old crayon and started writing this down. Because after I’m gone, everyone will think that Andy did this. But I’m telling you, it’s not him. It’s Martin Korhonen, the Yule Goat Killer. And I can hear his footsteps on the stairs.
'20,000 Bloody Words' is available HERE.