Today I though I would share with you a short story I wrote a few months ago. I sent it away to be considered for a Twisty Christmas anthology. It wasn't accepted so now I can post it here!
I do understand why it wasn't accepted. The brief said that they wanted something really twisted, crazy and with a Kiwiana theme. On reflection of my story, I saw that while the Kiwiana theme was present, it wasn't as crazy as it could have been. The judges wrote in the sci-fi genre so I can see how my story came off rather traditional.
However, if you like your traditional Christmas tales but with a Kiwiana twist, then you may like my story!
Cate's Crazy Christmas Eve
It was Christmas Eve. The house was silent. Cate couldn’t sleep with all the butterflies bouncing around in her tummy – Santa was on his way! Quietly she got out of bed, put on her dressing gown, tiptoed down the hallway and into the lounge. She sat down in front of the elegantly decorated Christmas tree and gazed up at it in awe. At night, the lights shone brighter and the glitter from the baubles twinkled ever so gently. She could smell a slight musty scent from the tinsel and the tree. Cate was jiggling with anticipation, there was no way she could get to sleep on Christmas Eve!
Cate and her family lived in a small town called Brighton. They lived across the road from the Brighton beach. She thought it was the best little town around because the local dairy served the biggest ice creams and at Christmas time, people decorated their houses with lights. As Cate lay down to rest in front of the Christmas tree, she listened to the rolling waves in the distance crashing upon the sand and wished that Santa would hurry up and arrive.
The sound was broken by a faint jingling noise. Jingle jingle jingle, someone was walking around with bells on. Cate sat up right and peered out the window.
All of a sudden she heard a squeaky voice announce, “Santa will be here in 10 minutes! Get the runway ready!”
Cate quickly jumped to her feet and dashed outside into the warm summer night. The barbeque on the deck still smelled like burnt sausages from tea earlier that evening. She hid behind a bush on her driveway which looked out onto the beach front.
From around the corner came six little elves! They were no more than a meter high, but unlike the winter elves from the North Pole, they were wearing apple green coloured shorts with a matching t-shirt (it was summer after all). The elves had on small gold sandals with bells that jingled when they walked. Cate watched with excitement as the elves flip-flopped their way to the beach. The lead elf was giving orders to all the other elves.
“Right you lot, last year someone did not cover up the sleigh tracks on the beach. You were lucky there was a high tide that night,” growled the lead elf.
“But why must he land on the beach? If he just landed on the road like he used to then we wouldn’t have a problem,” questioned one of the elves.
“Because it's quieter if he lands on the beach. Remember three years ago when he landed on the road and crashed into the street sign? It made a huge noise that could have woken up the whole street!” replied the lead elf, “Now I will hear no more chit chat, get those lights out and get to work. He will be here soon!”
Cate could not believe her eyes. She was watching six elves getting ready for Santa’s arrival. She watched as they rolled out the poles onto the ground and smoothed out the sand so that Santa could land safely. She giggled to herself as she watched two elves tumble around as they tried to untangle a string of lights. They started arguing with each other and she could hear them shouting,
“You take this end and I will… no you take this end!”
“I have got this end, you just need pull on it.”
“I tried pulling but it is not working!”
“Right, just let go. Now, pick up that piece and pull.”
She watched as they mastered the string of lights, slowly pulling it apart in different directions until it lay flat across the sand. They grabbed the lights and formed a big rectangle which was held in place by the poles.
“Hey guys, this is perfect. Take one of these and stand along each side,” the lead elf ordered as he handed out paddles that were lit with different colours. The elves wandered off to their spots and waited patiently for Santa to arrive. Cate was still behind the bush watching and fidgeting with her dressing gown. She so desperately wanted to go out across the road to the elves. She started jiggling around with nerves in her tummy and a big grin on her face.
Suddenly she saw him, she saw Santa! Emerging from the twinkling stars came Santa’s sleigh. He flew over Cate’s head with a loud whoosh and circled around the beach. Cate stood up in pure delight as Santa and his reindeer came in for landing. She watched as he pulled on the reins to slow the reindeer down and land with a gentle thud on the sand.
“Oh my gosh!” Cate squealed with delight as Santa got out of his sleigh.
He had dressed for a summers evening in a bright red shirt, navy shorts with gold buttons and a pair of sandals on his feet. Santa, sadly, was also wearing white socks. The reindeer were brown with enormous antlers and she could even see Rudolf’s bright red nose.
“Ho Ho Ho,” Santa chuckled, “Marcel, you have done a splendid job on the runway this year. I shall have Mrs Clause make you a nice pair of socks that you can wear with your sandals” he said while giving his toes a wiggle.
“Oh gosh Santa, thank you” chirped Marcel.
Cate couldn’t help herself, she was overjoyed to see Santa so she yelled out, “Santa! Hi Santa!”
The elves all turned to look at her standing in her fluffy dressing gown. They exchanged unpleasant glances between each other.
“Marcel, did you do a security sweep before I arrived?” Santa asked.
“No, I’m so sorry Santa, we were running late and…”
“Don’t worry Marcel, I will go and speak to the little girl,” Santa informed him as he made his way across the road.
Cate was beside herself with excitement. Santa walked across the road and over to where she was standing.
“Hello Cate, shouldn’t all good little girls be in bed?” Santa said with a twinkle in his eye.
Cate, speechless, gazed up at the jolly man in his big red shirt. Then she gazed down at his sandals and socks.
“Are your feet cold Santa?” she asked.
“No” he replied, looking down at his feet, “Is this not…hip?” he asked.
“No Santa, you look silly!” she giggled.
“Oh,” he said, looking disappointed, “Well, um, perhaps you would like one of your gifts now?” Santa asked.
Cate nodded. Santa beckoned an elf over with a gift. Santa gave the box a little shake to check it was for her then held it out for her to take. Cate took the box and sat on the ground. She quickly ripped all the paper off and looked down to see a beautiful doll with curly blonde hair and bright blue eyes looking back at her.
“Santa, it is just what I wanted!” she exclaimed.
Cate jumped up and gave Santa a big hug.
“I thought you would like it. Now, you really should be going to bed. I have a lot of work to do,” insisted Santa with a big smile on his face.
“Ok Santa. There is a cup of milk on the table and a few biscuits too. I got you chocolate ones this year,” Cate said.
“How wonderful of you Cate, thank you. Do you have any carrots for my reindeer? They get a bit grumpy if they haven’t eaten, you see” Santa asked politely.
“Yes Santa, they are in the fridge. Take as many as you need,” Cate replied with a smile.
“Thank you Cate. Now you run along to bed,” he ordered.
“Night Santa! It has been amazing to meet you,” Cate yelled as she ran back up her driveway.
She ran inside and closed the door. She tiptoed back down to her room, jumped on her bed and looked out the window at Santa and the elves. Cate laughed as she watched Santa sit down and take his socks off then throw them in the back of the sleigh. He turned to face Cate and gave her a small wave. She waved back enthusiastically and jumped up and down on her bed.
Santa then hopped back into his sleigh – he was ready for take –off.
“Ho Ho Ho, Merry Christmas” Santa sung as he pulled on the reins and lifted the sleigh into the air. With another big whoosh, he was gone.
The elves cheerfully packed up their lights and their poles. They covered up the sleigh marks and quietly flip-flopped away. Jingle jingle jingle, Cate listened to them as they disappeared into the silence of the night.
She took off her dressing gown and hopped back into bed. She lay awake wondering if what she had seen was real. With her new doll tucked under her arm, she slowly nodded off to sleep dreaming of elves, reindeer and of course, Santa.