The reindeer was left to rot in the snow.
Witchmarked, they said. Cursed.
Like Krista’s baby, born with the witchmark scrawled across its face. It too was left to the rooks and whistling winds. They’d have killed mother and child both otherwise.
They said the winter darkness thinned the veil between woodland and underworld: where reindeer turned twisted and strange and witches met devils on Yuletide.
The only haunting was the darkness inside themselves, but nobody spoke of this.
'Tis the season, they’d whisper instead, and outside the wind wailed with the cries of babes left in the snow.