The Carol Singers is a scary story for Christmas about a kid whose father and grandfather go from door to door, begging for money. It is based on an old horror story by Bernard Capes called “The Vanishing House”.
My grandfather was a drunk and my father was a drunk, but I never touched a drop. There’s a reason for that.
When I was young, times were hard and I grew up poor. My grandfather and my father never did an honest day’s work in their lives. Grandad wasn’t good for much, but he played the clarinet like an artist. He taught my father how to play the accordion.
Every Christmas, they would gather a group of their friends and go from door to door, playing Christmas music, singing Christmas carols and begging for money. Afterwards, they would all go down to the pub and spend it on alcohol.
One Christmas Eve, they brought me with them. I was too young to play an instrument, so they handed me a triangle and told me to strike it every now and then.
The night was dark, the snow was falling and a cold December wind cut through us like a knife. We kept our heads down and trudged through the snow and the sleet. Eventually, my grandfather stopped and said, “This looks like as good a place as any.”
We were outside a big mansion, decorated with Christmas lights. My grandfather knocked on the front door and we began to play some old Christmas carols.
The door of the house swung open, and in the dim light, I saw a young woman standing there. She was holding a tray of glasses in her hands. With a smile, she picked up a glass and held it out, inviting one of the men to drink.
My grandfather rubbed his hands together with glee and took the glass.
Just then, I looked up and, in the window above, I saw a face peering out of the shadows, a face that was hideous beyond words. I looked back at the woman in the doorway and her face was hideous too.
Before I could stop him, my grandfather put the glass to his lips and knocked it back with one big gulp.
“Oh, dear!” said the woman, in an eerie childish voice, “You’ve drunk blood, sir!’
With that, the door slammed shut. My grandfather stumbled backwards and the glass fell from his hands. It shattered with a deafening crash and he collapsed in the snow.
I don’t remember much after that. All I recall is waking up in the light of dawn and finding myself lying in the snow. The other men were lying all around me, just waking up themselves. My father got to his feet and rubbed his head.
The woman had disappeared and the house was boarded-up and abandoned. All that was left was a dark red stain in the show where the glass had broken.
My grandfather lay there in the snow beside it, his face all purple and swollen. He was as dead as a doornail.
We hurried home that morning and called the police. They picked up my grandfather’s body and brought it to the mortuary. My father told them what had happened, but they didn’t believe a word of his tale. They said the house had been vacant for over a hundred years.
After that night, my father was never the same man again. He never let another drop of alcohol touch his lips and made sure I did the same.