The Night before Christmas

'Twas the Night before Christmas, and in our compound
All the humans were sleeping, not making a sound
The guns were all loaded, lying next to our beds,
Just in case we wake up and need to shoot zombie heads

Aboveground, the winter kept the undead at bay;
It froze their dead bodies, made them easy to slay.
'Twas a season of peace and relative calm
We could bundle up and relax, the whole winter long

But out of my sleep I awoke with a start
From a dream where three zombies fought over my heart.
To settle my nerves I got up to dress
Picked up my gun and walked to the mess.

The cupboards were stocked with goods scavenged and grown;
The main fire was out, so I started my own.
I heated some goat's milk and sat down to think,
Warmed my hands on the mug while sipping my drink.

But my eyes were drawn to the security display
Where we kept track of the things that kept zombies away
A motion detector had just been set off
Somewhere to the north, just a few miles off

I wasn't concerned, since the snows there were deep
I picked up my milk and turned back toward sleep
But another sensor tripped the silent alarm
This one much closer, it surely meant harm

I was dumbstruck, staring at the alarm's blinking light
There was no way a zombie could be so close that night
"If zombies can fly," I said, "this might make sense,
"But I don't see how anything got through our fence."

A new flashing light meant something was near -
Just outside the doors, I thought, full of fear.
I dashed up the stairs, two at once, toward ground level;
Whatever zombie this was must be some tricky devil!

I jumped out of the stairwell and clicked off the gun's safety
I hurried and hid before anything ate me
No groans did I hear, no shambling steps
Only a thump on the ceiling, which didn't make sense.

But before I could wonder at the cause of the sound,
A gust through the chimney sent soot all around
When the haze cleared, I saw with surprise
A fat man in red, with twinkling blue eyes!

He didn't speak a word, but gave me a nod
That told me my shock wasn't anything odd.
He reached up the chimney, he tugged and he jerked,
And pulled down a bag, which he opened, and smirked

I knew I was dreaming when I saw him take out
A huge mounted gun we could put on top of the house
But he didn't stop there, and for each person sleeping
He set out a nice pair of handguns, for personal safekeeping

And then there were boxes, each survivor got two,
All wrapped up in paper of every possible hue.
Last of all, with a grunt, he hauled out of the sack
An ammo box so immense it would have broken my back

At that point I noticed that I'd brought up my milk,
So I stepped toward the man in the red suit of silk
I offered my drink, which he took quite gladly
And suddenly hugged me - I think, it was sadly.

I knew of the pain old Saint Nick too must feel
We'd both lost the whole world, and we had yet to heal.
But with his mittened hands on my shoulders he smiled
And gestured an arm toward the gifts he had piled.

I thanked him, and he turned back toward where he'd come
I knew he had few stops left, but hoped there were some.
I hoped that more free people would see him that night,
Who he'd help as he could to fight the good fight

Up the chimney he went, a smile on his face
And I heard the clatter of hooves that were ready to race
I stepped out the door into the freezing white snow
To wave Santa goodbye as he started to go

Then like a bullet he launched his sleigh from the roof,
A fairytale for which I finally had proof
Eight reindeer in front, Santa in back
With elves manning turrets to help guard his sack

As they passed over open ground beyond our last fence,
I could hear their guns fire in pro-active defense
A single voice reached me, saying "If you believe,
I'll see you again, next Christmas Eve!"

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