My name is Ryan Bedford. I was murdered the day before Christmas Eve.
Now, I know that sounds god awful, and trust me it is, but it’s important for me to explain exactly what happened. So, let us backtrack, shall we?
It was the most dreaded of all days.
A Christmas party and Secret Santa with my loser co-workers.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking: Calm down, take a chill pill, have some Christmas spirit.
Oh, only if you were in my shoes.
You see, when you enter the adult world, you got to suck it up and put on that pathetic, fake smile.
That’s what most people do. That’s what my coworkers do. That’s not what I do.
A little more background info on me: I’m in sales at a Technology company in Texas.
Every God damn day of my life, I wake up, shower, eat a rushed, shitty breakfast and all just to sit down in front of a computer for 8 hours, sometimes up to 10 hours. And on top of that, I listen to other morons complain about just that.
Well, anyways, today is that whole Secret Santa thing, except no one, was assigned a specific person. We all just had to buy a gender-neutral gift. If you ask me, that’s the smartest thing this company has ever done.
So, we were all sitting down by the pathetic, little Christmas tree. No one had even decorated that poor thing. It was just sitting there. It was the least jolly thing in the room– apart from me.
So, there I was staring at Anna, the know-it-all.
Ashton, the smart hottie.
Jasmine, the anti-social.
Wendy, the I’m- so- nice- to -everybody- but- then- I -stab- them- in- the- back girl.
And then there’s me and Patrick. I guess he’s all right. I suppose he and I are the only normal ones.
Well, we were all sitting around that pathetic, Christmas tree. All the presents had been carelessly dumped under the tree. God, that wrapping paper was hideous. I mean, c’mon, didn’t anybody teach these morons how to wrap a present?
So, Ashton went up first. He opened the present quickly, tossing the wrapper in the trash.
I almost laughed. What an idiot.
There was nothing in there.
“Is this some kind of joke?” asked Ashton.
I couldn’t help but smile. It wasn’t me though.
“Ryan, only you would do something like this, you shithead,” he continued.
I just rolled my eyes. There was no use in bickering with him.
“Watch the language, guys, keep it professional,” muttered Patrick.
But then my throat began closing in on me.
I almost wanted to puke.
I was staring at the most disgusting thing I had ever laid eyes on.
A bloody tooth between Ashton’s toes.
It must have been fresh because when Ashton picked it up, we noticed it had left a red stain on the carpet.
We all truly lost our shit.
“That’s fucking disgusting!” I yelled.
“Who in their right mind would do this?” asked Anna.
Everyone else was shocked.
Jasmine never once spoke to me, but she managed to turn to me and say, “That’s psychotic.”
“Okay, whatever, let’s move on. Whoever did this is just plain sick. Let us not encourage it,” said Wendy.
It was Jasmine’s turn now.
For the first time, I saw her smile as she picked up the biggest present.
She gave the box a good shake.
“Oooooh, heavy,” she said.
“Just hurry up and open the god damn thing,” said Ashton.
For all his smarts and looks, Ashton was a true asshole. And that’s a lot coming from me. I’m an asshole too.
At this point, we knew something was dead wrong because before Jasmine revealed the gift, our nostrils wanted to close in on us. It wreaked of death.
It was truly the most disgusting smell I had ever encountered.
And she slowly reached to grab it.
I almost collapsed at my feet when I saw it.
It was the bloodiest-looking thing I had ever laid eyes on–after the fucking tooth, of course.
A human hand.
Oh, we all went batshit crazy.
Then, the lights turned off.
Everyone began screaming.
I ran to the door, only to find it locked.
I could barely walk. My throat was closing in on me again and everything was beginning to blur.
I didn’t give in though.
I ran to the emergency exit, but it too had been locked.
“What the hell is going on?” yelled Wendy.
“Something is not right here, said Ashton.
“You don’t say?” I managed.
And then I got my phone so quick to dial 911. It had no signal.
As a matter of fact, no one else could get a signal.
We were all cursed.
Someone or something was fucking with us.
That’s when we heard it come.
It was the loudest thing I ever heard in my life.
Shit, it almost gave me a heart attack.
It was Christmas music.
I knew the song.
But there was nothing jolly about this situation.
The music made everything all the more petrifying.
And it didn’t stop. It just kept going. And going and going.
I wanted to bang my head against the wall so hard and fast just to get that music out of my head.
No, you don’t wish me a Merry Christmas. You wish me a merry death.
My bones chilled at the song.
Curses dancing to my ears.
I almost had a fit.
But then I saw the Christmas tree burning.
I didn’t know if I should have stayed my ass hiding under the desk like the coward that I was or try to put it out.
Then came the alarm.
All the noise was too much to bear.
Something wanted to drive us to insanity.
I could have killed myself right then and there.
But no, I had to fight.
I ran to the tree and took off my shirt to attempt to put it out.
The light of the fire brought my attention to Ashton’s gashed face.
He was lying dead on the floor.
I hadn’t even heard him scream.
Then I saw Wendy come running with a bucket of water and she helped me put down that ferocious fire.
I grabbed her quickly and took her to a corner of the room.
The music was still going.
“Where are the others?” I asked.
“I don’t know. I panicked and I hid in the bathroom, but then I smelled the smoke so I came out. That’s when I saw you,” she said
Then I remembered. Wendy is that lying son of a bitch who acts like a friend but then stabs you in the back.
Maybe it was her. It must have been her.
Maybe she stabbed Ashton in the face.
She could have quickly cleaned up in the bathroom.
And so, I became a true maniac.
What followed was despicable.
I’m warning you.
I hideously banged her face against the wall.
I don’t even know how I did it. I don’t remember how many times.
I just did.
I left a wretched painting on the wall.
Something along the lines of Pollock.
It was dreadful.
I couldn’t believe it.
I killed Wendy.
What if she had been innocent.
I dropped to my knees.
I puked on that blood-stained wall.
Now it was a true work of art.
And I was responsible.
I was that wretched painter.
I was a killer.
I think I sobbed for hours.
I tried to bring her back to life.
I did CPR and everything.
She lied on the floor, lifeless and pale.
Nothing was left of her.
That was when the lights came back on.
I straightened myself real fast, preparing for anything.
What I saw was absolutely terrifying.
Jasmine and Anna lied on the ground face down.
I knew they were dead. I didn’t even want to check. I didn’t have to check.
I just knew it.
Patrick was the only one missing.
Shit. Maybe he had been killed too.
I had to look for him.
I checked the bathroom. Nothing.
I checked under the desks. Nothing.
I checked every crack and crevice but he was nowhere.
Maybe he had managed to escape. I began to bang on the front door but it was still locked. The security guard must have left hours earlier.
Then I heard something on the ceiling.
First, it was a soft thump.
But then I heard some more.
THUMP. THUMP THUMP.
I looked up but saw nothing.
And then I heard a scream.
I turned around at lightning speed to find Patrick on the floor.
Apparently, he had been hiding up on the ceiling.
“Is it gone?” he managed.
“I don’t know. Who turned on the lights?” I asked.
“Who the fuck would do that?” he pointed to Wendy on the floor.
“That’s cruel, man,” he said.
I couldn’t admit it.
I was a coward.
I was a killer.
“How did you get up there?” I asked.
“I don’t know, man. Let’s just find a way out,” he said.
“Everything is locked. We have to wait for the security tomorrow morning,” I replied.
“Did you do this?” he asked as he examined Ashton’s face.
“Are you out of your mind?” I yelled.
“I mean, who would do this?” he said.
“This is insane and I’m not insane. I didn’t do that.” I continued.
Then I paused.
I dropped to my knees.
I told him my darkest secret.
“I killed Wendy,” I finally let it out.
There was a brief moment of silence.
He glared at me with disgust, then a slight smirk came over him.
“You did well,” he said.
“No, I didn’t” I replied.
“I think it was her,” he continued.
Then I watched him cover the bodies with a tablecloth.
“It’s hard to see them like this,” he said.
I need some water.
I watched him go to the fridge and gulp down a cold bottle of water.
He propelled one at me.
Wow, I had never longed for water so much.
My head began to clear.
It was time to sort this all out. For once, I felt alive.
I began piling the bodies in one corner, never to look at them again.
“What if it wasn’t Wendy? I asked.
“It’s got to be. I saw her fiddle with the radio earlier today. She was playing those stupid Christmas CDs. I had to tell her to turn it down,” he said.
“You know how I’m not that into holidays,” he continued.
“Yeah, I see what you mean,” I said.
“Hey, you got a phone? I need to phone the cops,” he asked.
“No service,” I yelled, as I tried to clean my treacherous art from the wall.
It was a constant reminder of what I had become.
But there’s got to be some justice, here.
I mean, I killed the killer.
There’s some good in that right?
But things began to go more down south–more than they already were.
I saw Patrick switch on the television. He sprawled on the sofa.
Then he began cackling.
“Oh man. Have you seen the office? It’s gold,” he said.
“It’s the secret Santa episode. Everyone wants that damn iPod, hope I get one for Christmas,” he said.
I stared at him long and hard.
He didn’t even look back at me.
His normality really startled me.
I don’t know how long I froze there.
His laugh somehow managed to creep under my skin and give me an evil tickle.
But let me tell you, I didn’t laugh.
I wanted to kill him right then and there.
But I kept my calm.
I began to look around for something to hit him with.
I couldn’t charge at him, he was much stronger than I.
It had to be unexpected.
“Hey, you know what. Wendy may have not been the killer. She doesn’t seem the type. You seem like the type,” he said.
Then he turned his head to give me a good look.
“You might be the one who did it all. Why are you the only one not hurt?” he asked.
He got up from the couch and switched off the tv.
I was trembling.
He walked to the kitchen to get another bottle of water.
I watched him come out with a large grimace.
“No, it couldn’t be you,” he said.
“Of course, it wasn’t. See, now you’ve got your senses,” I said.
“It couldn’t have been you. Because it was me,” he said
“What?” I asked.
Though I acted surprised, I knew it was him. I just had to keep my cool.
“Oh, I’m not going to hurt you, Ryan. Not now anyway,” he said.
But I couldn’t keep my cool anymore. This bastard deserved to die.
I charged at him so fast. But he twisted my arm and then my leg. I don’t even know how he did it.
My bone was crawling out from my flesh!
I watched him reach for his pocket and take out the office keys. He dangled them in front of me.
He knelt down and came close to my ear and whispered the last words I would ever hear.
“I poisoned your water. Merry Christmas, Ryan,” he said.
Then he turned off the lights and switched on the radio.
Again, came that stupid Christmas song.
I watched him dance to the door. I tried to follow but I wasn’t fast enough. He shut the door quickly against my face, and then I saw that grimace for that last time.
His face would be the last I would see.
Everything after that came in a blur.
I managed to write this all down in a paper before my departure but who knows if anyone found it. I really hope so.
The lesson of it all: Don’t trust anyone, not even on the holidays. You may think someone’s normal, but you don’t know what’s in that mind of theirs.
And so there I was lying on the floor.
And for some odd reason, I found myself hopelessly singing along to those wretched Christmas lyrics as life slipped away.