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Merry AXmas

Author(s): Brian Francis

A Bizarre Heartwarming Holiday Tale

When Barry Higgins, part-time department store Santa and failed father, is wrongly accused of being the infamous “AxMas Killer”, he sets out to stop the real killer, save Christmas, and decode the hidden message in the lyrics to Billy Joel’s Piano Man. Both a comedic attack against commercialism and a grisly noir thriller, author Brian Francis’ second novel takes the reader on a tour of Philly’s frozen underbelly during the final days of the holiday season.


Then everything happened at once. A toddler from the back of the line broke from his mother’s grasp and careened headfirst into the ass end of a glowing Rudolph lawn decoration. The animal’s front hooves caught in the railroad tracks of the oversized train set, and the reindeer and caboose toppled to the ground. Rudolph’s plastic skull shattered, and the red nose squirted through the crowd and came to rest at the base of a plastic NOEL candle. Rudolph’s fall caused a series of intertwined extension cords to snake and grow taut, pulling Santa’s eight remaining reindeer into a death plunge. On Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen, on Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen.

Barry watched as the twin jewels of Wilson’s Department Store, the Christmas Village and Santa’s reindeer, slammed together like a freeway pile-up. He paid particular attention to Donner. He liked Donner the best because the name reminded him of the ill-fated “Donner Party,” the group of American settlers who became snowbound and were forced into cannibalism.

Meanwhile, Declan, perhaps sensing the rising bedlam of the moment and hoping to use this interference to his advantage, darted past his mother and barricaded himself behind a life-sized display of the Three Wise Men.

“Declan! You are in so much trouble. I swear to God when you get home…” The mother didn’t finish the statement; merely let the violent implications swirl in the air.

Declan tucked behind the Three Wise Men like a quarterback in the pocket. Barry marveled at the young boy’s speed and grasp of rudimentary physics. When the mother lunged right, Declan sidestepped safely to his left, using the ancient gift-givers as an effective blocking wedge. The boy howled in delight. The mother shook with rage.

“What’s happening here?” asked Hank, the elderly first floor security guard.

The department store Santa smiled. “The most wonderful time of the year.”

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ISBN (Print): 9781629291024
ISBN (Electronic): 9781629291017
Genre: Horror
Date Published: 12/01/2013
Publisher: Damnation Books LLC

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