The Wrong Summoning

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I had stolen the Occult book from the antique bookshop a few days ago and now everything was almost ready to summon Satan. I planned to do a bargain with him, my soul for fortune and fame.

I lit the last black candle at the fifth point of the upside down pentagram. I took the sliver jeweled dagger and slit the blade across the palm of my left hand. With a glance at the open page, I shut my eyes, muttered the Latin words and wrote out the word ‘Satan’ in my own blood across the bare wooden floor of my parent’s attic.

Finishing the ritual, I peered down and saw my blood shinning in the flickering candle light. I read the letters; S-a-n-t-a.

‘Ho-ho-ho!’ a booming voice shouted out.

I jumped, my hands landed across the still wet name on the floor, smearing the blood. Looking up, I saw a mountain of a man standing in the middle of the black chalk pentagram. He was dressed in a bright red suit, trimmed with white snowflake like fluff, he had black shiny boots laced tight and with brass studs down the sides. A top his head was massive red hat, trimmed white which flopped over at the end with the weight of a huge white pom-pom.

He had long, white snow glittery hair and beard decorated with sliver bells, small baubles in red, green, blue and gold, also holly leaves and red berries. He had a fat, jolly face with pink circle cheeks and some wrinkle lines about his bright blue eyes and large lips. There was also a sweet smell like; warm biscuits, cinnamon and hot chocolate.

‘Satan?’ I whispered.

‘Santa!’ he corrected me.

‘What?’ I mouthed.

‘Hee-Hee! Ho-ho-ho!’

‘I’m sorry, I didn’t want you, I wanted-‘ I trailed as I looked down at the bloody letters on the floor.

‘But you did summon me, young man,’ Santa’s booming voice came.

I pressed my lips together, not sure what to say.

‘Now, what is it you want? You have disturbed my slumber. Christmas day was two days ago, you know,’ he said in a jolly tone.

‘I’m sorry,’ I called out, finding my voice, ‘there’s been a mistake. I want Satan! NOT YOU!’

Santa stared at me with piercing blue eyes. The happy, jolliness faded from his face and he become angry and menacing. That look really didn’t suit him and I felt a shiver of fear.

‘James Michael Benedict,’ Santa spoke, ‘you have been on my Naughty List for as long as I can remember.’

I opened my mouth then closed it again, words failed.

‘Have you called on me to try and change your ways?’

I shook my head.

‘Right then.’

Santa put his hand in a deep side pocket and pulled out a yellow scroll and a white feather ink pen. He unrolled the scroll and handed it to me with the pen.

I took it, unable to refuse, my hands shaking. The script on the thick paper was in curly writing and the words the kind lawyers use on fancy business contracts. I couldn’t make much sense of what it was saying but that also might be because I couldn’t focus. My brain had seemed to have left me.

‘Sign at the bottom, James,’ Santa said.

‘What is this?’ I asked, trying to read it.

‘What do you think it is? The reason why you summoned me; a bargain.’

‘My soul for fortune and fame?’

Santa frowned, ‘not exactly. Those are not the deals I do.’

‘My soul for what then?’ I inquired, looking over the top of the scroll.

‘To get on to the Good List, James,’ Santa explained.

‘No!’ I cried.

I threw the scroll and pen away over the top of the candles and against some forgotten, dusty box in the attic.

‘That’s not what I want! I don’t care about the Good List! I want money and fame.’

Santa clicked his fingers and the scroll and feather pen were back in his hand. He pushed them on me again. I tried to stop myself from taking them but my hands were not my own.

‘Now, sign,’ Santa demanded.

I felt the cut on my palm re-opening, the blood lined the wound once more. I dipped the ink pen into the blood and wrote my name at the bottom of the scroll. I couldn’t seemed to stop, even though I wanted too.

The scroll and pen flew away from me. Santa held them once more. He looked down at them, seemed satisfied and put them back into his pocket. Then he held out his hand and took my own, the one with the cut palm.

A chilly, north wind howled around the attic, snowflakes drifted. The candles went out, the smoke curling into nothing within the darkness. Jingle bells sounded.

I felt a whoosh, freezing air blazed me and I was flying up the old chimney. We landed on the roof which was covered in frost. Snow was still falling and the wind blowing. Before us was a glossy red sled, decorated with bells, holly and tinsel. A team of  harnessed reindeer were pulling the sled.

‘Wait…’ I spoke out.

‘Get in,’ Santa said.

‘No…What did I just agree to?’

‘Your soul is mine now and since it is still December and just in the season, I am allowed to claim it now.’

‘But that’s not what I wanted!’ I shouted.

‘I’m tried of you now, James,’ Santa said.

He shook his head and dragged me into the sled. I tried to dig my feet into the roof but it was slippery. He picked me up with ease and put me into the back, throwing rough sacks over me.

I tried to struggle out, but the sacks, though empty, were heavy and I couldn’t move them.

‘Let me go!’ I screamed.

Santa climbed into the front, took the reins and slapped them down. The reindeer ran forward. I screamed as we took off. The reindeer and sled flew into the sky. My ears popped and my screaming echoed. I had accidentally sold my soul to Santa.

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Postcard #52

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Dear Santa,

This year I’ve tried to be good but sometimes it’s been too hard like when my brother pulls my hair or Mummy says my way of helping is the opposite. I know I should be trying harder in school but its been tough as I’ve had to be on the same table as Rebecca Bentwood and we really hate each other. I hope she’s on the naughty list this year!

I’m trying super hard to be good and helpful now that your elf has appeared to watch me. He has been sitting on my bookcase for the last few nights now and each morning he has left me a chocolate to count the days down with. I have started my list which I hope to send to you soon, this is just a postcard to remind you about me and wish you well.

Mummy said it would be a good idea as you get lots of letters every year asking for presents but not many children ask how you are. Daddy said it was a nice thing to do. I drew you a picture too of your reindeer getting ready to help you.

Hope you are well, all the best,

Sophia Locke

Christmas Day

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Santa arrived back home feeling tried, stuffed and proud of another successful Christmas. Leaving the reindeer in the hands of some tipsy elves, who were eager to get back to the party, he walked into the large, heavily decorated house. Cheering, clapping and shouting voices trailed after him even as he closed the door.

He would celebrate later, once he had rested. Sinking into his favourite chair before the roaring fire, he began to doze. Images swam before his eyes; presents, chimneys, decorated trees and stockings. Christmas music was playing and in the air was the lovely aroma of sweet baking.

Relieved it was all over for another year, Santa turned his thoughts around and thought about all the children now excitedly opening their presents.

Christmas Eve

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Willow placed the sweet minced fruit pie on the plate then licked the sugar off her fingers. For a moment, she nearly snatched the pie back and put it in her mouth, but then her mother bustled over.

‘And a carrot for Rudolph,’ her mother announced as she placed the bright orange carrot next to the plate.

Willow looked up at her mum and almost asked the question that had popped into her mind.

‘Now, we need a bowl of water and some whisky…’ her mum said suddenly, ‘Will you get the water?’

With a nod, Willow followed her into the kitchen. Her mum got a bowl, filled it with water and handed it to her. Willow carried it carefully back into the living room and placed it on the coffee table next to the carrot.

She stood for a few moments and took the room in. It was heavy decorated with a real pine tree in the corner draped with multi-coloured fairy lights, shinny red and gold balls, red and gold tinsel and atop was a golden star. The mantel had real holly and berries laying across it and stockings hung up above the fire place. From the ceiling, lights and thin plastic shapes hung down.

Willow’s mother came back in with a tumbler glass half full of amber liquid. She placed it next to the plate.

‘All set. Right, it’s time for bed now. Santa will be on his way.’

‘But mum, why do we need to do this?’ Willow finally asked with a wave of her hand at the carrot.

‘Well….I guess…because it’s tradition,’ mum answered.

Willow stared at her waiting for more.

‘I think that Santa and the reindeer get hungry. They are doing a lot of travelling, so they need the energy.’

‘Then why don’t they stop? Or take food with them?’ Willow asked.

‘They can’t stop, they don’t have time. They have to get around the world in a whole night. Maybe though, Mrs. Claus makes them sandwiches,’ mum answered.

‘Do reindeer eat sandwiches?’ Willow wondered out aloud.

‘Also, we are thanking Santa for coming,’ mum added, ‘and it’s a nice thing to do.’

Willow looked at the coffee table, she wasn’t sure she believed in this anymore.

‘Plus, also,’ her mum said quickly, seeing the still puzzled look on her daughter’s face, ‘Santa has been asleep for much of the year and he’s really hungry.’

Willow frowned harder and looked from the food and drink offerings to her mother.

‘It’s bedtime now, sweetie, come on,’ her mum broke in.

Shrugging and deciding to let this conversation drop, Willow let her mum shoo her from the room. Saying goodnight, first to her father who was sat reading a book in his study then her mother, Willow went to her bedroom and lay on her bed pondering about Santa till she fell asleep.

Downstairs, her mother finished off wrapping presents. As she finished putting them in the stockings, her husband appeared in the doorway. He went to the coffee table and picked up the tumbler of whisky.

‘I don’t think we can pull this off next year,’ she said softly, ‘Willow is asking too many questions and not accepting my answers.’

Willow’s father picked up the mince pie and went to his favourite armchair. He sat down and took a bite out of the pie.

‘We’ll have to tell her. She’s grown up so fast,’ Willow’s mother added.

‘Maybe she’ll figure it out. It’s what we did.’

Standing up, Willow’s mother picked up the carrot and began eating it. In her mind, she was trying to figure out the best way to tell her daughter the truth.

 

Postcard #17

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