Oh Unholy Night
A Very Brimstone Christmas tale
Christmas Eve in Los Angeles. Ezekiel Stone was
feeling decidedly out of place.
A half-hour ago, Max had been banging on his
door, insisting that he come downstairs for the
Christmas party she was throwing. "Don't tell me
your spendin' Christmas Eve all by yourself,
watchin' them stupid holiday specials on TV!"
she'd groaned. "C'mon, meet some of my friends,
have some fun...live a little, Stone, will ya?"
There had been no dissuading her, so now he stood
in the corner of a too-crowded room, nursing a
drink and wondering how long he'd have to stay
before it wouldn't be unduly rude to sneak out.
Max was sweet, in her weird way, but her friends
were just...weird. And much younger than he was,
speaking in slang that meant nothing to him, and
often pierced in the most disturbing places.
Oddly enough his baggy, well-worn attire didn't
seem out of place in this crowd. One girl with
magenta hair and a ring through her eyebrow asked
him if he was into the grunge scene. It sounded
like a good cover.
He wondered what had happened to music in the
last fifteen years. Max said the DJ was playing
something called techno-trance-hop hip...or was
that hip hop...? Whatever it was, it was giving
him a headache. And I thought mortals couldn't
cause me physical pain, he thought, rubbing his
temple and wincing. He watched the mass of young
people jumping up and down, doing what he assumed had
to be dancing, though it looked more like the
frenzied aerobics his wife used to torture
Where was she this Christmas Eve? With her
family...maybe with a new...
Maybe, but he didn't want to think about that. He
only hoped she was having a better evening than
And just when he thought it couldn't get worse...
"Smile, Detective! After all, it's most wonderful
time of the year. Where's your holiday cheer?"
I should have known, he groaned to himself.
Stone turned at the familiar voice grating in his
ear and couldn't help laughing at what he saw.
There was something truly evil about the image of
Satan donning a red and white floppy Santa hat.
"Don't tell me you like Christmas," Stone
The devil scowled and yanked off the hat.
"Actually I despise it. All this fake jolliness
and good will toward men--what a load of crap!
But I was hoping to have a little fun ruining
your good mood, and how can I do that when
you're sulking about instead of ho-ho-hoing it up
with the rest of humanity?"
"So sorry to disappoint you," Stone
answered, trying to work his way through the
crowd toward the door. This seemed like as good
an excuse as any to depart--not that his companion
seemed ready to leave him alone yet.
"By the way, I never said anything about giving
you the holidays off. You should be out hunting
tonight, not sucking down eggnog."
Zeke stopped short and turned around, finding
himself face to face--nearly body to body--with
his grinning tormentor. For a moment, he
was caught in the devil's intense stare like a
deer dazed by headlights. Then he blinked and
took a step back. "I just sent back one of your
lost souls this morning. I think I deserve a few
hours of rest."
"You've had nine hours and twenty-two minutes.
Seems generous enough. The wicked don't dally
while you pine for holidays past with your
"Are you finished?"
"With you, Ezekiel? Never."
Stone was really growing uncomfortable, wishing
he could find a way through the packed room to
the door--and away from his leering companion.
There was something entirely too predatory about
the way the devil looked at him, something too
knowing in his gaze.
Gray eyes glanced upward and Satan's smile
widened. "Hmm, well, I suppose there's one good
thing about Christmas..."
Zeke was afraid to look, but curiosity got
the better of him. And he discovered he was
standing right under a sorry-looking sprig of
mistletoe, tied to a dead light fixture.
The devil gave him just enough time to stare
dumbly at the greenery and think, He wouldn't,
before that was exactly what he did.
Stone fought him--for all of about two seconds.
Then he found he seemed to lack the willpower to
do anything but respond. Eagerly. It wasn't a
simple brushing of lips; the devil's touch burned
through him to his soul. The sensation was
incredible, for a moment the most delicious
ecstasy he'd ever known--
--And then it was over, and he found himself
staring blankly into those gray, knowing eyes
again, his body shaking...his pants sticky and
The devil licked his lips--slowly--then laughed.
"Merry Christmas, Mr. Stone," he said. Then
someone bumped into Ezekiel from behind, pulling
him out of his dazed state. He blinked and the
devil was gone.
"Hey, Stone..." He nearly jumped when he heard
Max calling to him. "That looked like one major
smacker that guy laid on you!"
"No kidding." Stone shoved his hands into the
pockets of his jacket, thankful for the long
sweatshirt he was wearing that should cover
up his "accident" until he could get back to his
room and change.
And shower. Yes, a very long, long shower was
definitely in order right now.
"Who is he? Where did he go? Friend of yours?"
"So you and he ain't--look Stone, it don't matter
to me, ya know?" Max punched him in the arm.
"Shoot, you could've told me, that's cool. Makes
me feel better 'bout the fact that my womanly
charms seem wasted on you."
Stone managed to smile, and then leaned down
slightly to kiss Max on the forehead. "Merry
Christmas, Max. I think I'd better be going."
"But you just got here!" she protested.
"Yeah, and it's been one Hell of a party," he
Just wait 'till New Year's Eve, the devil
whispered in his ear, and laughed.
* * *