Christmas Lights by Kat Ellis
Ellie is tasked with putting the Christmas decorations away in the cupboard under the stairs a couple weeks before Christmas because her mother can't stand having them out anymore after Ellie's gran died suddenly. As sad as a sudden passing can be, Ellie isn't too distraught about it because her grandmother was kind of a jerk, but what she did find distressing was her gran‘s last words “Never open the door under the stairs. I barely got it out of me…” What the hell is that supposed to mean?
Ellie hesitates before putting the box full of lights and tinsel away, thinking about those last words, but also thinking about how her gran was acting before her death. She was mean, but not just regular old lady mean, like, poisoning-neighborhood-animals mean. Ellie shouldn't be thinking about that because her gran seemed genuinely terrified after her last words.
Andrea, Ellie's mom, calls to her daughter to see if she's put the box away yet, but no, she's still standing outside the cupboard, thinking. Andrea comes by, opens the door for her daughter and walks into the kitchen with a huff. The door slowly creaks open and Ellie startles at what she sees inside… Oh, haha! It's just her reflection in a dusty old mirror!
But wait… as Ellie looks at herself in the mirror, she sees a dark shadow slowly start to slither up her legs and she's frozen in place, the shadow seemingly holding her still. It loops up around her body until it gets to the box of decorations she is still holding, then it passes through the box. Ellie looks down to see a strand of glowing orange lights rising like a snake from the rest of the decorations, then it begins to slither down her throat! Ellie tries to scream, but barely a whimper comes out instead, just like the gasp her gran made after her last words.
As Ellie looks on helplessly in the mirror as the lights continue to travel down her throat, she sees a shadowy figure holding them, feeding them inside and down her gullet. It's a demon with glinting orange eyes and a smile she knows is there but cannot see. She tries to scream again, but nothing comes out. When the last of the lights enters her mouth, the box slips from Ellie's hands and crashes to the floor. She is gone.
Andrea calls out to be careful with the decorations, but Ellie’s voice says it's no big deal! If anything breaks, they can just replace it. Andrea thinks that's odd, Ellie isn't usually that thoughtless, but the thing that was Ellie doesn't care at all and only wishes it had something heavy like a brick to drop on Andrea’s head as it goes upstairs, eyes glinting, orange and malicious.