Recap #295: Jude’s Stocking Stuffers – Strange Matter #22.1: The Abominable Snowman by Andy Goble
Title: Strange Matter #22.1 – The Abominable Snowman a.k.a. “Frosty The Homicidal Snowman”
Author: Andy Goble
Tagline: 1996 Scary Story Contest Winner’s Terrifying Tale Featured Inside!
In the lead-up to the holiday season, here’s a stocking stuffer recap and another special from the Strange Matter series.
Printed in “Dangerous Waters,” the 22nd book in the franchise, “The Abominable Snowman” won a scary story contest held by the creators. Not only was Andy Goble’s tale selected as the winner, he was written into the final chapter of “Dangerous Waters.”
Because this is a winter story, I thought to do it separate instead of waiting to recap “Dangerous Waters.”
[Wing: I find all these contests and winners charming. What a fun thing for readers.]
Billy Winder had a heart that was almost as cold as winter snow. After tossing a heavy snowball at young Kevin Flounder’s face, the bully decided to make Kevin’s face even redder by smacking him! To literally add insult to injury, he wouldn’t even refer to Kevin by his real name.
“Hey Steven! I don’t think your cheeks are red enough,yet,” announced Billy Winder as he smacked Kevin in the face, making it redder than the snowball did.
“It’s not Steven. It’s Kevin!”
“I can call you what ever I want – Melvin, Jason, or Dork. It’s my choice, Marilyn.”
Kevin had just been minding his own business, sleigh riding on Tumbler Hill, when he crashed. That’s when Billy showed up to act like his usual charming self. As the school bully, Billy did all kinds of sick shit to Kevin. He especially liked to shove Kevin’s head in the school’s toilets.
Particularly if no one had flushed them yet.
[Wing: I just threw up a little. So fucking gross.]
And yet Kevin’s the one who got sent to the principal’s office for “Playing in the water.”
As it stood, Kevin’s house was the only one at the bottom of Tumbler Hill. It was perfect for sledding, and Kevin usually had it all to himself earlier in the day. His only problem was Billy Winder. Of course, Billy Winder made himself the problem of EVERY 11 year old at Snowy Hills Elementary.
Today Billy had been harassing Kevin because Kevin had the supposed audacity of ruining Billy’s perfect snowball. Kevin finally had enough and the words came flowing out before he realized what he was saying.
“Hey, you stupid loser, find someone else to harass.”
Soon after Kevin said that, the snow was not only white but red also. It was stained with his blood when Billy came back with a left hook to the face, instead of another insult.
Boy this is a violent story!
While Kevin was knocked down, he wasn’t knocked out. The shock of the punch was more effective than the actual, physical pain. Billy promised he could do a lot worse if Kevin mouthed off to him again, and all Kevin thought of was making Billy pay.
Later, Kevin started to build a snowman. The long carrot nose and spindly arms reminded Kevin of himself. After donning his ugly creation with a scarf, Kevin went to look for a suitable pair of eyes. There was one spot in his backyard where gravel was visible. Kevin knew the spot well. For some reason it was always gloomy, even during the summer. And cold, too. Colder than the usual winter chill. Kevin managed to find two stones and quickly left, noting how being out of that spot was like stepping into warm sunlight even with the snowfall.
When Kevin placed the second stone in the snowman’s head, it started to feel warm. Hot, even. Was the rock a piece of coal that came from the fireplace, Kevin wondered? The heat made some of the snow on the head melt, resembling tears running down the snowman’s face.
“No need to cry ’cause you’re ugly. Look, this black eye that Billy gave me makes me look weird, but I’m not crying,” [Kevin] commented, but the snowman stood there lifelessly with no reply.
Kevin stepped to back to admire his ugly handiwork.
Then he saw the snowman move.
Then it exploded!
Oh wait it was just Billy on his own sled. Sorry about that Kevin, he didn’t mean to hit that snowman. He was trying to hit YOU!
Kevin kept silent but was seething with anger as Billy patronizingly offered to help rebuild the snowman. Suddenly, Billy shot up as if someone had dropped snow down his back. As Billy was about to throw a snowball at Kevin, someone or someTHING did it again. Billy was sure Kevin did, despite standing right in front of him the whole time and not doing anything.
Then Billy’s pants fell off. So enraged, Billy swore to beat the shit out of Kevin. He was so angry he didn’t even bother to pick his pants up and waddled after him like a penguin. Billy didn’t get far before he slipped on an ice patch and fell onto his face.
Since it was later in the afternoon, more kids were showing up to play on Tumbler Hill which means Billy had an audience for his humiliation. Billy finally picked up his pants and ran off. Afterwards, Kevin went to work on rebuilding the snowman.
But was that really such a good idea?
The next day, Kevin noticed the right arm on the snowman had been blown off. But as Kevin picked it up, he suddenly felt a sharp pain in his hand (even though he was wearing gloves). Kevin dropped the arm and saw it was now covered in thorns. Thinking Billy had switched the arm as a joke, Kevin was carefully picked it up and planned to burn it in the fireplace…
But the snowman had other plans!
Kevin watched in horror as the snowman used its left arm to reattach the right. The stones in its head were moving to simulate a cruel smirk and an evil glance. It glared at Kevin with anger and revealed its life story.
“I lived in that house over there long ago,” said the snowman in a wispy voice, pointing to Kevin’s house. “I was a kid just like you. I died when I was in a snow igloo built as a playhouse right here in this yard. It collapsed and I was trapped. I froze to death. I was buried in my family’s private graveyard, in my lawn. I was at peace until you disturbed my grave,” it said referring to when Kevin removed the two stones. “Now you must PAY!” Now where had Kevin heard that before. “I left my grave, and possess the body of the snowman to get my revenge.”
At a loss for words, Kevin was left stupified when the snowman took its scarf and tried to strangle Kevin with it. Kevin fought back by ripping the snowman’s eyes out of its head. After blinding the snowman, Kevin tried to run before the two stones started to burn his hands. Dropping the snowman’s eyes, Kevin made his way to the top of Tumbler Hill and found an abandoned metal snow dish (I guess like a garbage can cover or something?)
Anyway, Kevin decided to take a page from Billy’s book and planned to ram the snowman down. After recovering its eyes, the snowman saw Kevin coming towards him. Reaching its thorny hand outward, a ball of snow formed in the snowman’s grasp and he threw it at Kevin making him swerve out of control.
Crashing at the bottom of Tumbler Hill, Kevin saw the snowman was at the top of the hill. Their positions reversed, the snowman threw down a boulder of snow that was getting bigger and bigger the closer it got. Kevin only just managed to avoid the snow boulder and certain death at the last second.
The snowman thus utilized its command of the elements to create a path of ice, making Kevin slip and fall. The ice path continued onward towards Kevin’s porch, causing giant, deadly icicles to grow. Kevin’s only salvation was using the metal dish to shield himself before the icicles could pierce his body.
Ugh I’m having flashbacks to that God awful remake of Black Christmas from 2006.
Just as Kevin was about to enter the safety of his home, Billy once again showed up at the WORST possible time demanding a rematch. Billy’s threats died in his throat when he saw the living snowman, who took the time to hurl an iceball straight into Billy’s face.
Not wanting to leave anyone, even a bully like Billy Winder, at the mercy of an unhinged snowman, Kevin dragged Billy towards the house.
The snowman was now at Kevin’s sidewalk, and he picked up a snow shovel, waving it in an unfriendly manner.
Man, for a snowman it really has no chill, huh Wing? [Wing: NOPE.]
As Kevin and Billy got to the front door, Kevin saw his mom left a note saying the ‘rents were at the store and be back soon. Also stir the spaghetti.
The snowman managed to get up the front steps and entered the house. No one was in the living room, then it checked the kitchen. Boy it’s hot in here.
At which point Billy ripped off the snowman’s head and shoved it into the microwave. By the time the headless snowman opened the machine, the head had melted to a puddle.
I think I saw this scene in a movie…
Distracted by the remains of its head, the snowman was unprepared for Kevin dumping a boiling pot of water on top of it. All that remaind of the snowman was a puddle of water and a cloud of steam. The troubled soul had shuffled off from this mortal coil.
Nothing like being hunted down by a revenant-controlled snowman to sooth the bonds between friend and enemy. Billy totally believed it was the snowman who humiliated him the previous day. But now Billy was too chicken to bully anyone.
He even was afraid of a snow cone.
[Wing: Sad, because snow cones are delicious.]
Unfotunately, Kevin’s problems weren’t exactly over.
Even though Kevin had tried to clean up the remains of the snowman off the kitchen, he missed a small puddle. A puddle holding two small stones.
And darn, one night upon a midnight clear, Kevin went downstairs for a midnight snack and didn’t close the fridge all the way.
He didn’t see the small puddle with the two stones make its way inside the fridge and slam the door shut.
So this was a surprisingly visceral and violent story.
As a sidenote, “Dangerous Waters” had an entire list of short stories submitted to the Strange Matter website which have sadly been lost to the ages.
Wing you know if I could find “Attack of the Talking Werewolf” I would’ve done so. It’s all for you, Wing. [Wing: I was going to say, why is that one lost to the ages W H Y I WANT IT.]
[Wing: This was delightfully violent. I quite like these contest winners!]