Now that NaNoWriMo is over and done with, I’m back at #FridayFlash! Be sure to check out the other short stories — great for a slow Friday at work or over a quick lunch break. I’d love to hear your comments re: my story below! Thanks for stopping by!
THE DEATH OF SANTA
Santa was dead.
There was no other explanation. Bernard had been on his best behavior all year long! Well, if not all year long, then at least since Thanksgiving! And didn’t that count for something?
And even if it hadn’t been enough, where was his lump of coal then? That he could have at least understood. But this! For Santa to not even show up?
Something was obviously very, very wrong. He went straight from his stockings to the window to look for evidence of foul play or perhaps even a terrible accident. The snow was thicker than he’d ever seen it, and on any normal Christmas morning, he’d be anxiously awaiting the moment — after having torn through his stocking of course — when his mother would give him permission to go outside. He’d build an army of snowmen and a base of snow forts, stocked to the brim with snowballs for the sure-to-be-epic battle he and his friends would have later in the day. But how could he think of such frivolities at a time like this?
The snow was untouched. No tracks, neither Santa-sized nor hoof-printed. No wreckage or debris of any kind. Not even a strand of errant tinsel. He had to be missing something. He hurried back to the fireplace, where his stocking sat empty, for a closer inspection. He ran a finger along the marble in front, but there was not a trace of soot to be found — and Santa always left tracks, much to Bernard’s mother’s chagrin. He jumped up onto the hearth and inspected the cookie plate: not a morsel had disappeared from the bevy of cookies he’d insisted on leaving.
And then the worst thought occurred to him. He laid down and scooted his head into the fireplace. He took a deep breath and opened his eyes. He let out a sigh of relief as the light from the sky shone down through the chimney — just barely, but there was clearly no large man in a big red suit blocking the way. At the very least, Santa had not expired here in his chimney. Though Bernard could not help feeling that, if he had, at least he might have had a shot at retrieving some of the presents.
Not knowing what else to do, he trudged to his parents’ room, tears beginning to sting his eyes. He opened the door to find them fast asleep — as if nothing in the world had gone amiss!
“Mom? Dad?” he asked, his voice quivering.
They stirred, and then they shot bolt upright. They each grabbed their clocks on either side of the bed, which Bernard now noticed were both flashing 12:00. They suddenly looked as terrified as Bernard felt.
“The storm…” his mom said.
“What storm?” asked Bernard.
“I thought you set your phone, too,” his dad responded, as if Bernard were not even there.
His mother grabbed her phone from the bedside table. Her face fell. “Dead.”
It was everything he feared. Bernard sat down on the floor and burst into tears.