My son heard something on the roof last night. Police lights cover our living room as I type this. It was Christmas Eve and we were all tucked into bed, like we should have been. That was when I heard a pounding sound coming from the ceiling.

My wife rustled a bit in her sleep but remained still. I, on the other hand, could not. I got up out of bed and went to go check on my son. When I got to his bedroom he wasn’t there, which scared me. I rushed out of his room and looked over the stairs’ balcony into the living room. There was my son, standing in front of the chimney, next to all the presents my wife and I had wrapped just an hour ago. Great, I thought, it looked like we’d get no sleep before we’d have to open presents.

I journeyed down stairs and made my way past the kitchen and into the living room. “Hey, champ,” I said in a groggy voice. “What are you doing up so early?”

My son turned to me and said, “I heard Santa Claus on the roof! And I wanted to come down and see him.” I lifted a brow as I glanced at the presents he was steadily ignoring besides him.

“Looks like Santa brought you a lot of gifts this year. You must’ve been a good boy.”

My son looked to the ground with a frown.

“Why the long face, bud?”

“Santa says that you wrapped those gifts yourself.”

“Oh yeah, you’ve talked to Santa, have you?”

He looked back down at the floor. “He told me not to tell you.”

This had me a little worried. I wondered if my wife had taken our son to a mall Santa and maybe he’d been drunk and spilled the beans about the magic of Christmas to our child.

“Don’t listen to that Santa, buddy. Those presents have Santa’s name on them. Now, how about we open gifts? I’ll wake your mother up and as soon as I make her a cup of coffee, we’ll open these bad boys, okay?”

He turned back to the chimney and I went to go brew my wife a cup of coffee. As I brewed the coffee, I could hear my son whispering something to himself. “Hey bud, who are you talking to?”

He turned around and said, “Santa.”

Then he fell to his knees and collapsed onto his palms. I looked towards the chimney and saw a long, slim, black-and-grey-striped sweater arm going down the chimney, with a long-fingered bony hand around my son’s ankle.

I dropped the mug of coffee to the ground, shattering it into pieces, and took a few steps forward, but it was all fruitless. The chimney absorbed my son, pulling him upward into it. His screams echoed off the bricks until the only thing I could hear was pounding on the ceiling—no, the rooftop!

I ran outside, ignoring my wife’s yells from upstairs, and quickly peered up at the roof, where a tall, scrawny, old, bearded man stood. His eyes were sunken in and the eyes themselves were pitch black. Antlers extended out from his forehead, stretching out towards the night sky. He had a bulging sack over his shoulder. It must’ve been my son, squirming inside the bag for dear life. The bearded man looked over at me, put a finger to his lips, then leaped to my neighbor’s rooftop and then to the next, until he was out of sight.

My wife ran outside to me and asked where our son was. I told her to phone the police, which she did. And that brings us to where we are now. Police have questioned me repeatedly. At first, I gave them the true story of what happened. When they didn’t buy it, I changed my story and they threw it up to me being shaken by what had happened. In the end, I told them there had been a robbery, and my son had been kidnapped. What I told the police before, though, was that my boy had heard Santa on the rooftop.

But I don’t think it was Santa.

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