The Wild Hunt
He smiled. The sleigh was ready.
All the reindeer were in position, their harnesses recently polished, their thick coats combed only this morning. The front seat was lined with soft pillows and in the back a big bag was waiting to be filled. But the thing he prized most were the little sleigh bells hanging on a string all around the edge of the sleigh.
The bells were a relatively recent addition but he liked them very much. They had become his signature, really. Before he had them, his arrival was much less recognizable. He’d heard it be described as a flock of geese, as a wild magical wind. Some even believed it was a party of old gods out hunting on a cold midwinter night.
The thought made him chuckle. It was only him, after all.
He wouldn’t really call it a hunt, either. It was more of a sport. Admittedly, it was always nice to have the pantry well stocked for the long North pole winters, but it wasn’t really about that.
What he loved was the cold air on his face, his heart beating with the thrill of it all, the little screams from below.
He took one of the little silver bells and shook it gently. A high note rang out through the night.
What terror they must feel when they hear the bells ringing, when the sleigh’s shadow falls over them. What horror must fill them as they run away on their little legs, as he chases them down, getting closer and closer, till he can reach out and break their tiny, delicate necks with just one gloved hand.
He shivered with anticipation.
The reindeer stomped their hooves, waking him up from his reveries. Little clouds rose from their large noses as they shook their heads, muscles quivering, growling with impatience. They were already looking forward to their share.
‘Ho, ho, ho,’ he laughed at the eager animals.
They were right, it was time to set out. He climbed on and shook the reins. The sleigh rose up into the dark night, bells ringing.
Thank you for reading!
The Wild Hunt is inspired by a mythological phenomenon, called, you guessed it, the Wild Hunt. It’s often described as a group of old gods or ghosts out on a hunt, making a bunch of noise. I thought it’d be interesting to pare it with the Santa sleigh myth. You can read more about this piece of folklore here. This story is part of my now annual tradition of posting creepy Christmas flash fiction in the weeks leading up to Christmas. Next Sunday will be the last one, but you can find the ones from this and last year here and my other not Christmas themed stories here. Follow this blog or my twitter for updates!