The Grither is a scary story for Christmas about a legendary monster who lives in the icy wastes at the North Pole. It is based on an old episode of Tales From The Darkside called “Seasons of Belief”.
It was Christmas eve and the family were gathered in the living room. The father was reading the newspaper and the mother was knitting a sweater. The children, Jimbo and Steffa, were stretched out on the floor with their crayons and their coloring books.
“Tell us a story,” Steffa demanded.
“Yes, a scary one,” Jimbo insisted.
“All right,” said their father. “I’m going to tell you about the most fearsome dangerous and appalling creature in the world and it’s called… The Grither.”
“Oh, now you’ve done it,” said their mother. “You said his name out loud…”
“Who is he?” asked Jimbo.
“He’s the most awful thing in the world,” their father said. “He lives in a cave at the North Pole. The coldest, wettest place on earth is where The Grither makes his home. He sleeps in the wreck of a ship that somehow got squeezed into the mouth of the cave. He doesn’t mind the cold and he doesn’t mind the wet, but the thing he hates most of all is to hear someone say his name. He has very good ears and they get bigger every time his name is spoken anywhere on earth. Sometimes his ears get so big, he can use them to fly.”
“I don’t like this story,” Steffa whined.
“It’s too late now,” her mother said. “We’ve already mentioned his name. The Grither is probably on his way to our house this very minute.”
“It will probably take him a while to get here,” said their father. “If we finish the story before he gets here, everything will be fine. Do you know why The Grither is called The Grither?”
“Why?” the children asked.
“Because he has fists as big as basketballs and arms as long as boa constrictors,” said their father with a grin. “Whenever he finds the people who have been speaking his name, he opens up his fists and reaches out his arms and he grithers them in. He grabs them by the head and squeezes them and squeezes them until they pop, just like a balloon.”
“Does he look like Bigfoot?” Jimbo asked.
“No,” said his father. “He’s not like bigfoot and he’s not like the abominable snowman either. Nobody knows what he looks like for sure. The only people who have ever seen The Grither are the people the Grither has eaten. He’s as tall as a tree but he can bend all the way over and touch the ground. His skin looks like a road map because it’s transparent and all his blue and red veins show through. The blue is for fear and the red is for rage.”
“Hurry up and finish the story before he gets here,” Steffa cried.
“The Grither was born on a sailing ship,” said her father. “It was blown off course by a storm and got lost in the Arctic Sea. They drifted around for weeks and never saw anything but glaciers and icebergs. Some of the passengers drowned, some froze to death, some starved and the rest committed suicide. The grither was born out of the fear and rage of all those people.”
“But why does he kill people?” Jimbo asked.
“Nobody knows,” said his father. “He just doesn’t like anyone telling his story.”
“Is that all?” Steffa asked. “Is that the end of the story?”
“Not quite,” said her father. “There’s only one way to protect yourself from The Grither…”
“Maybe you should stop,” their mother interrupted. “I think you’ve scared them enough.”
Their father chuckled. “You don’t believe in The Grither, do you?” he asked.
“No,” the children lied.
“Well you shouldn’t,” their father said, “because I made it all up. There’s no such thing as The Grither.”
“But you didn’t finish the story!” Steffa whined.
All of a sudden, the front door blew open and the room was enveloped in an icy blast of wind. There was a crash and the sound of breaking glass. Then, two huge, gnarled arms reached in through the windows and grasped their parents by their heads. As the children watched in horror, the hands squeezed and squeezed and their parents’ heads popped, just like two balloons.