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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Toy Factory #CCC

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In the old days, Santa’s elves worked in pretty wooden sheds but now they worked in metal walled factories. The world’s population of children had become too much for the simpler times and with improvements in technology, the choice had been made to allow production to be faster, better and tripled.

Santa walking around the large conveyor belts and machinery on inspection missed the old days. Before the smell of candy canes, fires, newly sawed wood and paint hung in the air. Now it was all oil, smoke, warm plastic and metallic tang.

‘Are you happy elves?’ Santa asked them.

‘Yes, sir!’  cheery voices shouted, ‘we’re not stressed or tried anymore. There’s more time for creating, planning and double checking now.’

Santa nodded, he believed them but he also knew that in their hearts, just like his, they did missing the wooden workshops. Moving with the times had to be done though.

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2018/12/12/crimsons-creative-challenge-5/ with thanks).

Project Santa #FridayFictioneers

Mr Rickton’s project was slowly coming together. He was currently working on a papier-mache globe that would show how Santa traveled around the world in forty-eight hours.

He smiled, knowing the children in his class would find this amazing. He pictured their little faces staring up in awe and the magic of Christmas sparking their imaginations. The children would go home, full of excitement and looking more forward to the special day.

Looking down at his glue and paper covered hands, Mr Rickton started humming Jingle Bells and continued with his task, he still had a long way to go.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/12/12/14-december-2018/ with thanks).

Could It Be? #FFfAW

It was a week and four days till Christmas, I had taken the kids shopping to buy presents for mummy and we were now driving home. The kids were dozing in the back, full of pizza, their excitement finally worn out. The sun had almost set and darkness had settled in.

‘Daddy, what’s that?’ Darla asked.

‘Where?’

‘In the sky. Is it Santa?’

I looked but couldn’t see anything, ‘it’s probably a plane.’

‘Doesn’t look it,’ Adam spoke up.

‘I don’t see it, but it’s too early for Santa.’

‘Maybe, he’s having a practice flight?’ Kim suggested.

I smiled, ‘perhaps he is!’

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/fffaw-challenge-195th/ with thanks).

The Santa Express #FridayFictioneers

The Dobson family stood on the platform wowing over the red steam engine billowing out clouds of smoke.

‘It’s the Harry Potter train!’ Cat cried.

Her parents laughed, ‘no, it’s Santa’s train!’

They boarded an empty compartment and sat on rough red plush, lumpy spring box seats.

The train whistled, pulled off jerkily then gained speed and soon was chugging through the Yorkshire Moors.

Sometime later, Santa appeared and handed out presents.

Cat received a soft toy pony and Harley a set of toy cars. They played whilst their parents sipped warm mulled wine and watched the countryside go by.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/12/05/7-december-2018/ with thanks).

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

Stuck #TwitteringTales

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Santa sighed and deeply regretted eating that second mince pie. He wiggled but felt  wedged against the sooty chimney wall.

‘Misty-Bell? Sparkle?’ he called, ‘I’m stuck!’

The elves giggled and white-gold glitter drifted downwards. The chimney expanded with a swoosh noise and Santa fell into the fireplace with a bang.

 

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2018/11/20/twittering-tales-111-19-november-2018 with thanks).

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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The moon shone of the freshly fallen snow, making it sparkly like diamonds. The little girl sighed and felt the chilly night air deep in her lungs. She should be home, safely tugged in bed, waiting for Father Christmas to arrive, but she wasn’t.

The train station platform the girl stood on was empty expect for her and her mother. They were waiting for the midnight train which was bringing father back to them. Huddled in her new white cloak, the girl looked up at the clear sky and full moon. A shadow in shape she recognised passed by and she pointed excitedly upwards; it was Father Christmas in his sled!

The sound of a train broke the silence as it pulled into the station, black smoke pluming through the air. There was a hiss of steam and squeal of wheels as the train stopped before them. The girl clutched her mother’s skirts and half hide behind her.

The handful of carriage doors opened and only a few people got out. The girl saw her father coming towards her and broke into a run, tugging her mother to do the same. They embraced, all hugging each other and talking at once.

Safe in the arms of her parents, the little girl looked to the sky once more and thanked Father Christmas for the best present she could have asked for.

The Grotto (Part 4)

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I took a shower when I got back home and as I stood under the hot water, I tried to clear my head. Still though the idea that my little niece was growing up and losing her believe in Christmas bugged me. How could I make things better?

My own childhood hadn’t been merry and bright. I knew around Willow’s age that there was no Santa, because nothing would bring my parents back to life. Alex and I had kept up the pretense for my grandparents a little long but then we had all gotten tried of it. We had grown up before we should have done and that was why Alex wanted his children to experience everything for a longer time.

Washing my hair, I wondered if I could write a letter to Willow pretending to be from Santa. As long as I was careful, it might just work. I could do some internet searching and see how to get it right. No one else would have to know about it.

I set to that plan after getting dressed and having something to eat. My granddad normally went out to the pub tonight but with the bad weather he was staying in. Leaving my grandparents to wrap presents, I went upstairs and loaded up my laptop. Making up a letter from Santa was easier then I thought. Only a few times did I wondered if it was the right thing to do and if I should check with Alex. I was done before I could do anything else though.

The next day when I saw Alex leaving early for work as I headed out myself, I called over the road to him.

‘I have this…’ I said fishing the envelope out of handbag, ‘can you put it under the tree on Christmas eve?’

‘Why?’ he asked, accepting the letter.

‘It’s for Willow. Just thought it might help her believing for a bit longer.’

Alex looked at the large cream envelope before replying, ‘I think we’re going to have to tell her. Jo is getting tried of all the questions and with Luke still being ill….’

‘But Christmas is so soon!’ I pointed out, ‘No, you can’t! Next year, maybe. Just give her the letter.’

I shoved his hand and the letter up and did my best sister pleading eyes.

‘Okay,’ he signed.

‘Good. See you later,’

I hurried away and went to catch my bus. On the ride into work, I wondered how Willow would take it. Would she know it was a fake or would it inspire her to carry on believing? Had I done a good thing or not? It was up to the Spirit of Christmas now.

Working at the college library was a bore most days but at least it paid and forced me to carry on looking for other job. Some days, I was able to leave early and go pick Willow up from school which was close by. She finished in three days now which meant Christmas eve was so close! The college had finished last week but the library was still open for those bookworms and panic studying students.

I finished early and since it was too soon to pick Willow up, I went home. The next few days past far too fast, so I didn’t get a chance to tell Alex about my plan. On Christmas eve, I went out with some friends and finally had some downtime. It was good to just forget about Christmas and Santa and believing for a few hours.

Late on Christmas morning, my grandparents and I went went over to Alex’s. We each had a pot or tray of something homemade that my gran had cooked or baked. Jo opened the door and seemed glad to see us. I had not seen her in a few days and she really looked tried.

‘My parents are running late, come in,’ she added.

Willow dashed out of the front room, something in her hand, ‘Auntie Angel! Dad said I could couldn’t open this till you got here!’

Giving Jo the bowl of stuffing I was holding, I went over to Willow and saw the envelope in her hand. She was still in her pajamas which were pink and the top read Princess whilst the bottoms had crowns and hearts on them.

‘What is it?’ I asked.

Willow shrugged and opened it.

I held my breath and bit my lip.

‘It’s a letter…’ Willow trailed.

I hummed and waited. In the background her baby brother Luke started crying and I heard Alex trying to shush him.

‘From…Santa!’ Willow gasped, ‘Angel! He really wrote to me!’

‘What does it say?’ I pressed, trying to keep the smile from my face.

‘He said; I’m sorry I can’t see you in person but I’ve been really busy. My elves and I are finishing up making toys packing the sleigh today. The reindeer are almost ready to fly and I have so many deliveries to make this year. My cousins have been telling me all about you and so have the elves,’ Willow read excitedly.

‘Well that’s good!’

Willow nodded and carried on, ‘it can be hard for me to write to each child, but I do try and will always take the time for those that have been really good. I hope you love the pink unicorn you asked for, it was made just for you.’

She dropped the letter and turned to the front room, ‘you should see her, Aunt, she’s huge!’ Willow cried.

I laughed, ‘what else does the letter say?’

‘That; I hope like the other presents you got too. Have a good Christmas and it’s a special time to be with your family. Thanks for believing in me. Santa,’ Willow took a deep breath, ‘he’s real! He’s real!’ she cried.

I laughed and hugged her, ‘he really is if you believe hard enough,’ I whispered.