People didn't just go about meeting Santa everyday. He stayed up North working and creating and living with his wife. No one was like him. He was not just zoned in the FGT in one country but zoned almost all over the world and was in his own bracket shared with no one. The Fairytale Gift Tax was created for him long ago so people could always have him come on Christmas Eve and bring gifts.
Santa invented the “holiday” model. The one night/day a year, the slip into the house at night, the gift (or service) left behind. Santa was also magical in a very deep and old way. Many of the holiday folk were magical- usually able to bend gravity in some form to be able to climb walls or leap high up or jump way down, but nothing compared to Santa.
He was from a long-lived race of wildmen rumored to be descended from grizzly bears. He could speak to animals like they were human, some said he even hibernated, but the main thing he possessed was the ability to create what he called The Fold. It was how he moved the long distances in a short time. The few non-magical people who had seen it happen on Christmas Eve had never forgotten it. You didn't just see it but you heard it and felt it.
Lenny had seen it as a child when he and several other children ran away. They snuck onto the Northern Cargo Train and thought they would be in the sleigh on the way back warm and having fun. Santa was kind and let them watch him take off on Christmas Eve but they had to take the Northern Cargo Train back and it was rattly and cold. Santa was stern that they should not run away like that again. Once there Lenny and the other kids realized they could not stay but he had never forgotten it and never regretted sneaking up there. Now he was an old man, and when Santa arrived by helicopter later that night he looked exactly the same. He recognized Lenny even though he was old and he laughed out loud and called to him.
The other detectives were shocked. Santa was not a jolly, red cheeked, red nosed, elf-man. He was well over 6 feet tall, very wide and was more like a pro-wrestler with a huge deep booming voice. Santa was scary.
Unfortunately there was no time for fun or introductions. Santa quickly discerned from the reports the only hope was to go into the Fold and search for a trail. This soon after he would be able to see something faint. It would lead to an exit or to something hidden he had never seen before. He made a call.
Santa then explained to them the consequences of opening the fold now to save the children, it could only be opened like this once a year. Everyone nodded and said it was fine and let’s get on with this.
Santa strode outside and everyone followed him. He moved so fast they had to run or jog to keep up. He looked at one lot of buildings after another grunting and thinking. Then he swept his hands wide. The mice and rats listened in shock to what was going on so this is all true.
“Everything has to go. All of these warehouses here- I am warning you now you better move fast because they are on their way.” “Warn us? Who?”
“Warn us? Who?”Lenny asked getting very worried.
Santa gestured to all the derelict buildings directly behind the wharf and next to the Mansion and pointed along the street going out to the main road.
“We need to clear this out, we will need to take off from the wharf and shoot directly for the spot that had opened - I can still see its point of entry but it won’t be there for long. I need a clear shot from the Train Station you have here too, the Northern Cargo Train is coming and another cargo is coming in the from the airport- call the Highway Patrol tell them to block off all roads.”
People didn’t even wait for the officials who had gathered to give the okay, they just ran. It didn’t look like anyone would oppose the plan because secretly they were amazed at what they were hearing. ‘Take off from the wharf’? Santa was bringing his sleigh? His reindeer?
Santa had secrets of speed no one could ever understand and that he for many reasons would never explain but Lenny knew Santa never joked and NEVER exaggerated- if he needed the town and roads around cleared away it HAD to happen. And it did. Old buildings crumbled, and machines carried away debris. It also brought in hundreds of onlookers from miles around. Eventually the armed forces came to help with crowd control. Nearby rooftops were being overrun- every window had people in them watching. Parents of missing children seemed to gain celebrity status as they were let through barricades with tear stained faces and people called out who they were and many even clapped to show support.
The buildings were torn down and the highways and roads cleared in time for a dramatic arrival. From the direction of the airport where a huge cargo plane had landed came eight massive black trailer trucks, double wide and rumbling everything around. Night had fallen and the lights glared and made people shade their eyes as they arrived. They looked even bigger as their edges blended into the darkness.
They pulled into the cleared spaces all at once, right as a call went up that the Northern Cargo Train had arrived and another black truck was waiting to bring the contents of the train to the site. People could not believe what they were seeing. It was nothing like the Santa/Holiday greeting cards at all.
There were dwarves at the wheels of these trucks- they got out and even though they were smaller in height, their width and obvious strength was another shock. They had long beards and hair tucked into tool belts. Their eyes were glittering from beneath large tasseled hats. No one smiled at them and people quickly cleared paths as they prepared to open the trailers.
Then out of the last truck Mz Clawz appeared. People could not remain silent this time- oohh and ahhs came from the crowds. She was lovely and wild looking in her ornate dark red gown and stormy looking black hair. She had a whip coiled at her waist. This was not the jolly faced cookie baker of their storybooks. She was like a warrior fairy princess from a magic kingdom.
There was no hesitation, she snapped her fingers and all the trailer doors opened at once. Steam rolled out from the backs of the trucks and wooden planks slammed to the ground. It was the Reindeer. People gasped and backed up- frightened of the looks on these fierce faces that appeared- especially Ruedov. He was the obvious head of the pack- his eyes really did glow red deep inside the pupils. Their antlers looked deadly. These weren’t cute fluffy animals.
The only relief from this growing fear of what everyone thought was supposed to be cute and sweet was the arrival of the Sleigh. The last truck arrived from the train station and when it was unloaded people burst into cheers and applause and didn’t quite know why. Maybe because finally one thing looked the way they expected.
The Sleigh, and its massive secondary sled trailer were strong and heavy looking- but festive! Red and gold and exactly what people expected but just larger and lined with colorful blankets and straps. These were later revealed to be concealing many sharp bag hooks and poles. This put people at ease somewhat and the organizing of the sled launch began in earnest.
That we stop here to tell of Santa and his history will not delay the preparations for the rescue so do not be alarmed. Remember what you are reading happened a long time ago.
Check out the previous parts of Happily Ever Over right here.