St. Patrick’s Night

πŸ“… Published on March 16, 2023

β€œSt. Patrick's Night”

Written by Emma Loughran
Edited by N.M. Brown
Thumbnail Art by
Narrated by

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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The small town lay still in the wake of its most eventful annual celebration, St. Patrick’s Day. Every year on the anniversary of the Saint’s death, all the local residents from miles around fill the square and line the streets, clad in their tackiest emerald attire. Children with tinsel antennae sit atop red-faced fathers as they strain to steady their children. Dogs bark excitedly in little top hats while groups of women in green tutus drink shamrock shakes and wave flags.

Only the finest local businesses and school groups participate in the parade, such as Mick’s Timber Supplies and Septic Tanks Inc., often participating with themes like under the sea and Vikings. The residents at the local retirement home where I work never bother with the theme. They choose to dress as members of Toy Story or Mexicans against Trump and wave as they are slowly driven past on a flatbed truck. I love those guys.

At most parades, someone will dress up as Saint Paddy himself and walk around holding up a fake snake in victory. ‘The man wasn’t even Irish!’ my Grandad used to say. He was a retired historian and hated St.Patrick’s Day. He would tell me tales of Celtic times, of warriors and scholars, mages and Druids, or local legends of ancient tombs and fairy hills while I sat next to him munching fig rolls. He made it seem like the world was full of magic until St.Patrick came and did away with it all. He’d still come along to see the parade with my parents and me, but he’d grumble about it afterward, saying, ‘That man was the beginning of the end.’

I could still hear the music and laughter from the pub at the bottom of the hill. I’d spent most of the evening there with some old school friends. I’d almost gotten into an argument after shouting ‘SlΓ‘inte, to the death of St.Patrick!’ to my friends, gleaning a dozen angry glares from nearby locals while they muttered to each other beneath their frowns and orange wigs. The group of us afloat in a heaving sea of late-night revelers also dressed in shades of green, but I’d had enough for one night.

‘Erin, turn it down.’ Niamh had said while tugging at my shirt for me to sit.

‘You’re always getting us into trouble,’ she said, frowning.

‘So what, I’m pro-Pagan.’ I protested with a smile, but the others just looked mortified.

After that, I decided it was time to leave.

My foot stuck to an ice cream wrapper, snapping me out of my thoughts. I groaned as I steadied myself against a window sill and peeled it off the sole of my shoe using the tips of my nails. ‘Ugh, gross,’ I said to the empty road. Glancing around me, the main street looked suitably trashed. The tricolor bunting along the lampposts lay limp and torn in the breeze. Flags stood at odd angles from dark windows while the street was littered with discarded hairbands, plastic flags, bottles, glasses and a smorgasbord of other festive detritus.

The light from the street lamps bathed my way in a nicotine-stained glow, giving the filthy scene a surreal quality. The cold air smelled of wood smoke and stale Guinness as I pulled my coat tighter around my neck. ‘Ugh, I should have just stayed in the pub,’ I muttered as I strode on towards home. I lived a healthy walk outside of town, I wouldn’t usually go on foot, but taxis on Paddy’s Day are like gold at the end of a rainbow. They don’t exist.

I cut across the deserted square and was about to cross the road when a blur of color got my attention. Through an archway on the far side of the square was an old cobbled lane leading down to the park. Halfway down the lane, a figure stood in a shaft of yellow light. A man wearing a leprechaun mask. One of those whole-head ones with a cheap orange wig, a furry green top hat and a full rubber face. This one looked mangled on one side like it had been melted into a twisted smirk. I stared back for an eternal split second, hoping I’d only caught him about to take a piss. I’d seen half a dozen of them at the parade earlier that day.

But he just stood there. Broad shoulders and fists clenched in silhouette, the light catching his fake grinning face. His eyes were empty black sockets. My insides turned to ice as my mind played a montage of vintage Jason Voorhees in my head. Real helpful, brain. Thanks for that. I slowly started to walk away. Damn it. I hope I’m a final girl, I thought, never taking my eyes off him. He hadn’t moved.

Just as he was out of sight, I speed-walked across the square and up a side road toward the safety of home. I still had a while to go before I’d get there. I zigzagged across several streets and broke into a jog until my lungs burned enough for me to stop. I walked to the edge of the street where the town met the countryside and decided to take a shortcut through the fields. I was probably being paranoid, I’d always felt safe in this town, but I’d watched too many slashers and didn’t want to star in one. Growing up here, you get to know all the best places for sneaking around unseen. I glanced behind me and saw nothing. I ducked through a familiar gap in the hedgerow, allowing the branches to comb through my hair as I went.

Out here, I only had moonlight to guide me, bathing the grassland and treetops in shades of silver, like walking through an Ansel Adams photo. I could have used my phone but still feeling spooked, I kept it in my pocket. Although on familiar ground I still felt exposed walking through the middle of the long field. My jeans started to suck up the moisture from the damp grass while I repeatedly checked behind me. Still no followers. I could hear the usual sway of the trees and the distant mournful cry from a fox but nothing more. ‘Phew,’ I let out a sigh. Nearly at the next field, and I’m almost home. Peaking through the next row of bushes, there were no flashing lights or loud laughter, just an empty field. There’s a huge flat stone in the center where all the local teenagers meet up to get drunk. I hoped there might be a few here tonight but I needed more time.

I emerged from the bushes into the grey meadow, the gap was smaller and branches clawed at my hair and clothes as if trying to drag me back. Just as I’d extracted myself not so gracefully, I heard the distinct rustle of something moving through the bushes in the field behind me. I glanced back through the gaps in the branches, my pupils dilating as they searched the murk. There it was. A flash of orange. ‘Fuck’. I whispered to the dark.

I backed away, searching between the fauna for another flash of dreaded orange. I started moving faster as the adrenaline pumped my heart into panic mode. Now trotting backward, I turned, ready to pelt into a full sprint, when something met my foot and went flying ahead. As I stumbled and the ground rose up to meet my face. How far away was he?

I cried out involuntarily and looked up from my tangle in the grass.

It was a fox. A bright orange fox. Its head had smashed against the rock after I’d kicked it. From the splatter of crimson on the stone and the stillness of its body, I could safely assume it was dead. I kicked a fox, and now it’s dead. What kind of person kicks a fox?

The question cycled in my mind as I dragged myself to my feet, my knees and lip stinging from the fall. I tasted the iron tang of blood and touched my lip tentatively. Yep, split. I limped over to the poor fox, it was still.

‘I’m so sorry,’ I said to him. Suddenly feeling overwhelmingly sad, I slumped on the stone next to it. I always liked sitting on this stone, there’s a comfortable dip in the center like it was made as a seat, even if it’s always cold.

I could feel my lip starting to swell as I tongued the fresh wound. My whole front was soaked from the grass, and my knees felt weak. Diving deeper into my self-pity, I hardly noticed the movement behind me at firstβ€”a great end to Paddy’s Day.

A twig snapped and I wrenched my head around to see the leprechaun Man standing a few feet behind me. His warped rubber smile leered at me in the grey light, framed with that cheap bath mat wig and dirty shamrock top hat. The rest of him wore ordinary faded jeans and a worn brown jacket, a gold cross glittered on his chest.

‘Look, I don’t know what you want, but I’m sorry if I offended you, and I’ll just be heading home now… I don’t want any trouble.’ I stammered as I stood up on unsteady feet.

I started to back away while searching my pockets for my phone. Empty. It must have fallen out when I tripped, but I daren’t break my gaze with him to look around me. As a defense, I found my keys and stuck them between my fingers. He cocked his head and took a step forward. ‘Feck off!’ I yelled, brandishing my key-shaped knuckle duster in his direction. ‘What do you want?! Back off!’ I said, waving it around manically.

I took another step back and felt a crunch under my left foot before it slipped out from under me and I fell hard on my ass. Well, at least I found my phone. I could see the now concave screen had completely cracked as it lay in the grass at my feet. Great.

The leprechaun started to laugh. He threw his head back enough for me to see the stubble on his neck as he cackled at the sky, holding his sides. I continued to back up on my sore backside when I heard an undertone beneath the laughterβ€”another sound. My heart was thumping so hard in my ears that it was hard to decipher, but it was growing louder. It sounded like…slithering, like something hollow and wet sliding around itself.

Just then I noticed a slight movement in the fox. For a moment I thought I’d been mistaken, and it was still alive, but it wasn’t moving right. Something was wrong. The fox’s jaw widened slightly as a fat red worm wriggled itself into the open air. It stuck out from the gaping muzzle, shining scarlet in the moonlight. I was transfixed. There was something vaguely familiar about how it moved but I couldn’t figure it out. The worm felt around its new surroundings and grew larger, still sticking out from the row of teeth.

The leprechaun bastard was recovering from his fit of laughter and couldn’t see the fox from the far side of the great stone.

I stared as the fat worm felt around the edge of the jaw, tipping its head off each tooth in a row. As it stretched to touch the grass, another appeared, and then another until eight chubby worm heads were visible. They moved strangely, in unison. Each worked in tandem with the other as they felt around. Then, like a group of synchronized swimmers, they each curled over a portion of the open jaw and began to open it wider and wider. The whole dance had only lasted several seconds, but I was mesmerized by this gross yet strangely hypnotic sight. Part of me had totally forgotten about the psycho carrot top over there.

He had stopped laughing and was probably annoyed I wasn’t giving him my full attention. I could see him advancing in my peripheral vision but couldn’t take my eyes off the fox. The carcass was moving with the widening of its maw. The eight worms had opened it up like setting a bear trap. The fox’s teeth stuck upright like little bright stones in the gloom. The chubby worms strained against the sides as the masked man came closer. I could feel the tension in their little red bodies as they tore the jaw wider apart, leaving a wide open void in the center of the carcass at the base of the stone.

The worms released their grasp on the jaw and began to slide outward. The wet, slithering sound returned as their heads touched the grass. It seemed they were attached to something. Something inside the void. Another two fatter worms appeared on either side, quickly followed by…it was then I realized the familiarity of the worm’s movements. They weren’t worms at all. They were fingers! My brain couldn’t compute what I had been watching.

The gnarled, false-faced man had made it to my side of the stone by the time I tore my eyes away from the unreal sight in front of me. I looked at his distorted face and back to the fox. He followed my stare.

‘What the fffu!’ he bellowed in fright and leaped back in surprise.

The sounds of slithering and squelching made my stomach revolve in disgust as a wet head started to emerge. Two gore-covered arms stretched out of the dilating abyss, grabbing tufts of grass in a blood-slick grasp. Then shoulders, then a blood-soaked torso of a man birthed itself from the still too-small gap. His face was obscured by long bloody hair, which clung to him like sinew as he clawed his way into reality.

My midnight stalker sputtered loudly and lifted the bottom of his stupid mask, enough for a torrent of vomit to erupt onto the grass beside him. This strange delivery was apparently more than his stomach could handle. The stench of cider and bile lingered in the air as he stood bent over, swaying slightly. The only sounds were his wheezy gasps, and the sucking noise as the man dragged his feet out of the now-decimated remains of the fox.

Steam rose from his skin in the soft light as unknown viscera dripped onto the silver grass. The ancient man slowly rose to his feet. He was tall, broad and completely naked. As the blood slid down his body it revealed a galaxy of small Celtic symbols tattooed all over him. He parted his slick hair like curtains revealing a stern bearded face with heavy dark eyebrows. The whites of his eyes glowed menacingly against the dark blood-stained face.

He looked straight at my would-be attacker, who whimpered audibly.

The gore-covered man took one step forward as the guy who still hadn’t removed the mask took out a box cutter from his pocket and slashed it at the air in front of him.

‘A boxcutter? I use the term men loosely. So that’s what you were going to do to me?!’ I shouted incredulously despite the bizarre play being acted out between the two men.

Another swipe as he started to back away. I heard a soft chuckle from the naked man.

Swipe, swipe. The naked man kept striding confidently towards the masked slasher and grasped his arm on the fifth slash, bending it back at an awful angle until it snapped at the elbow with a loud crack. The sound echoed around the field and down the valley. The leprechaun shrieked in pain and fell to his knees, but the naked man chuckled again.

He grabbed him by the scruff and dragged him on his back as if he weighed nothing towards the stone. He began to shriek again, flailing his legs and one good arm in a futile attempt to free himself. He dragged the man across the stone like a bascule at a guillotine, leaving his head hanging over the dead fox at the comfortable dip where I’d sat comfortably so many times before.

The relict man looked down upon him and put a hand out to lightly grasp the gold chain around his neck. He held the tiny gold cross in his hand before letting it drop again.

As I watched in the shadow of the hedges, he plucked a large claw from his hair and then sliced the leprechaun down the belly in a flash. The man screamed, then gurgled and finally fell silent. I could feel a slight change in pressure around me, and my ears popped when he cracked the ribcage open across the stone as if about to perform a ritual autopsy.

Only then did he look over at me. Our eyes met, and I knew he wouldn’t kill me. I had summoned him. He smiled. I got up and walked over to the splayed corpse on the rock, entrails dripping down like streamers and organs thrown haphazardly on the grass. He took my hand, and I never felt so calm. We both looked down into the growing chasm deep in the masked man’s ribcage and into another world. The ebony depths looked so inviting. I looked him in the eyes once more and stepped inside.

Rating: 10.00/10. From 1 vote.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Emma Loughran
Edited by N.M. Brown
Thumbnail Art by
Narrated by

πŸ”” More stories from author: Emma Loughran

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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