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Today is two days away from the anniversary of my niece's death. No one knows how she died except her mother, who passed away recently, and me. I do not know who to tell but I need to tell someone. No one would believe me anyway, they'd lock me up like they locked up my sister. I wouldn't blame them. I hardly believe what happened myself.

Bethany was going to be ten years old the day after Christmas, the year she died. She still believed in Santa. I thought she was too old for that shit but her parents thought it was cute. They did everything they could to keep her from realizing it was just a lie. Bethany loved Christmas and Santa and elves and all that. She used to tell me about an elf that would hide in her house. I just thought her parents must have been hiding a toy elf or something but I asked them about it and they said they didn't have any elf dolls. I thought they were joking.

Bethany's stories about the elf started getting stranger. She told me that one night she woke up to the elf siting on the doll house next to her bed, watching her with its empty glass eyes. After that night, she said the elf turned bad. She said it would move around her room making strange noises at night, and she told me if she tried to get out of bed the elf would run towards her and bite and claw her feet and ankles. The elf, she said, had too many teeth which were long and thin but not pointed. She said its nails were long and sharp like claws. Of course, I didn't believe her, but then she showed me the scars and new bite marks. The bite marks were normal human-sized but very deep and definitely with more teeth marks. That's when I started to worry. I didn't believe in the elf at that point; I thought maybe she was doing it to herself, and I thought she might have been seriously mentally ill. I wish I was right. I told my sister my concerns about her daughter. She was worried too, so she found a psychiatrist for her. I thought that would help Bethany, but as Christmas came nearer she seemed to get worse.

I was staying over at my sister's house for Christmas Eve and Bethany asked me to sleep in her room to protect her from the elf. I said yes. I thought that it was a good idea so I could figure out what was going on with her; maybe she was biting her own ankles in her sleep. That night, Bethany woke me up and asked if I would get her some water. She didn't want to get up because she was afraid the elf would attack her. I didn't want to leave the poor girl in there alone so I told her she had to come with me. She didn't want to come but I wouldn't let her stay. I should have listened. Oh God, maybe she would still be alive if I listened; it's my fault she's dead.

When we got by the door, I saw it; the elf was tall with strange teeth and blank white eyes. I thought I was imagining it so I turned on the light. It didn't go away. I know I should have tried to leave but instead I tried to take a picture of it. As soon as I did it started to run at us so fast I could barely see it. Everything happened so fast. Bethany, who had been standing so still, pushed me out of the room so hard that I fell to the floor. The door slammed shut. All I could hear was a voice screeching so loudly, I could hardly hear Bethany's screams. It sounded like the voice was saying Merry Christmas, but it wasn't pronounced right. It sounded like "Merry Chritmas". Anyway, I was trying to get back in the room, but the door was locked. I tried to kick it down but I wasn't strong enough.

I ran into the kitchen to find something to break the door as I called the police. They thought it was a joke. I don't understand how they didn't hear the screaming. How did her parents not wake up? I found a brick and decided that was good enough to make a hole in the door or something. Suddenly, I heard a ripping sound, and the screams and screeches stopped. I cautiously opened the door which somehow unlocked and the walls and the bed and all her toys and furniture were bright red, soaked in Bethany's blood. On the floor the elf was hovering over Bethany's corpse. It was split in half vertically and the elf was wearing her intestines around its neck and eating them. I screamed louder than I ever screamed before. Bethany's mother finally came out of her room and saw what had happened. She didn't even make a sound. She just stared at the horrifying scene. We closed the door and put things in front so it wouldn't open. We went into the living room to wait for the police.

When the police finally arrived, they questioned us and her husband, who hadn't heard a thing. I couldn't say anything. It was like a dream, so unreal, I just sat there staring into space. The only one who told the police what happened was my sister. The police removed the barricade from the front of Bethany's room, but when they opened the door nothing was there. The blood was gone, the elf, Bethany, everything. The room looked completely normal, besides snow blowing in from the window. Everything was gone, like magic. The police started a search party; they thought she ran away. After everyone left I stood in her room alone and cried. I heard the sound of bells and then I heard the elf whispering, "Merry Chritmas." I ran out of there.

It's been a year now since Bethany's death. After Bethany died my sister's mental health began to deteriorate. She boarded up the doors and windows of Bethany's old room. She never slept anymore. We found her trying to cut open her stomach several times and we had to have her live in a mental hospital, where she ended up killing herself by making a noose out of her bed sheets. Now I am the only one who knows what happened. Everyone else still thinks she's missing. I don't go near that house anymore, and I can't bring myself to talk to Bethany's father, but no matter what I do to forget what happened I can't. Sometimes, I still hear the elf's voice at night and I'm afraid it's going to kill me next. It's almost Christmas.

Written by Linguni
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