He yanked his father's galoshes on and scampered out the front door into the bitter black. Icy wind slapped his face and pulled tears from the corners of his eyes. Nothing was visible but the hard, glittering snow that covered the ground and the looming silhouette of his house against the clouded sky.
Thump, thump. The noise echoed from the roof and he shivered in his pajamas, staring anxiously. He could see nothing.
“Who's there?” His voice cracked in the empty night, betraying his panic.
The thudding came again, and he picked up a small jagged rock from the driveway.
“Hello?!” he screamed, louder and harsher.
He launched the rock, with all of the adrenaline he could muster, at the roof.
A soft sound of impact, then the rock tumbled back down. He hurried across the lawn to retrieve his fallen weapon. He picked up the rock, now wet and warm and red with blood. His eyes widened as he looked up.
And then a great weight was upon him and he struggled to breathe. He frantically wriggled his way out, staring at the mass. Some sort of animal. A deer. Its face was buried in the snow, where a warm glow flickered in and out.
His mind vaguely recalled books, about the forbidden holiday and the Anti-Christ and the dogs of the sky. Books that had been hidden, disposed of years ago.
It couldn't be.
That was all a lie. He had been told countless times that it was all a lie, and yet...he rolled over the great horned beast and saw the very thing he had dreaded. The shining red nose flickered a final time, then went out like a lightbulb.