What of the Piper?
Mz Clawz took the trucks to chase after the Piper. Cops at the wharf got a call that he was spotted at a town, not known for much other than it was at the border of the Sea Of Grass. They felt he would try to hide there but Mz Clawz told them no one hides there, in fact no one has ever come out of it once they go in. The Sea of Grass had been there longer than she had been alive. The officers heading there still asked for her help.
They decided to try to race for the town to stop the Piper if they could. The cops said they'd send two cruisers but Mz Claws said she and the dwarves would be faster.
Like a scene from a wild race the multiple massive trucks rumbled and roared and took corners like they were magnetically attached. The roads were cleared ahead of them just barely in time to see the trucks race by. The two police cruisers were also sent out but were soon left far behind.
When the officers in the cruisers finally arrived, Mz Clawz and the dwarves were watching someone at the border of the endless green waving mass known as the Sea Of Grass. It was the Piper, and he was also watching them. The cops stepped out of their cars just as he stepped into the long wild prairie grass and was gone. The whip Mz Clawz carried was unfurled. The cops wondered if she tried to stop him with it. They could see something had happened.
She told them they couldn't go in after The Piper. Even to stand too close to the border was dangerous. The officers brought out a megaphone and shouted to him. A helicopter flew over but she said they will never see or find him. They didn't believe her. An officer called out he was going to go in and she told him to hold her whip. She whip cracked it out and the cop took the tip with a humorous look on his face and went in.
There are small furred creatures that can live in places like that without danger but for humans it is different. These little creatures witnessed the whole thing. The second the officer was inside he became disoriented. All sound was muffled to non-existence except for the rubbing of the tall grass shafts that stood taller than he did. The sky was blotted out by their waving and it grew darker as he tried to walk. He tried to turn back around but couldn’t remember which way he came from even though he had a grip of the whip end. He began to twist around and felt like he was being closed in and suffocated. Mz Clawz felt the whip jerking hard and she pulled him back out with a hard yank. The officer was pale and shaken even though he was only a whip length into the grasses.
The officers knew now it’s true that they will never get the Pied Piper. Mz Clawz told them about snowstorms where you can be inches from your own door and not know it. The Sea Of Grass is like that and in days when people were trapped in prairie grass they were found to have just walked in circles until they died. The Sea Of Grass was worse. The only reason a person goes into it is to never come out again. She did ponder that since the Piper was a magical person he might survive to come out on the other side one day. It was all they could hope for. The officers alerted the border towns. Maybe one day they could bring him to justice.
Mz Clawz heard the wonderful news over the radios that Santa had returned with all the children safe. She and the rest of the dwarves raced back to the wharf.
And now the end
Not long after these dramatic events, a major awards ceremony followed to honor all involved. Everyone including the reindeer received a medal of bravery that had the Mayor’s image on it giving a big thumbs up. A secretary explained they didn’t really have that much time to make them but the sentiment was sincere.
The eventual bad news came as a shock. Santa, his beard and hair growing back, accepted his medal and decorative collars for the brave Reindeer, when the Mayor called out:
"See you soon! Christmas is almost here!" There was a mouse under the Mayor’s chair that heard the whole thing. This might have been the same mouse that had hidden in the sled because he seemed to have heard quite a lot.
In the passion and fever of rescuing the children no one had completely heard Santa properly explain the price for the rescue. It was that there would be no Christmas.
If there was ever a moment that the World stood still, this was it. Lenny shook his head because he knew what Santa meant but no one had listened back at the wharf when he told them the first time. Santa had to explain it again to the stunned crowd.
"The Fold bends distance and alters time and in it I can move at a high rate of speed coming down to one house after another looking to you like real time but in fact I am moving from one place to another in a matter of seconds. Its why children need to be asleep, so I can move quickly, so I don't mistakenly have a child sneak into my bag and go with me. They will be thousands of miles away in a few minutes if they did. The Fold allows Christmas to happen and it can only occur once a year. In December’s cold, it’s easiest and lasts the longest- that’s why Christmas is where it is- in the winter weather where I create the strongest effect. This way it also carries me to the Southern Hemisphere. But the atmosphere will not let me make it happen for another 11 months. I have tried. It will not happen." "So what does this mean Santa?"
"So what does this mean Santa?"The Mayor asked in a trembling voice. He was close to tears. The Mayor's wife spoke up-
"That means dear- we buy our own presents this Christmas."
In the silence that followed, a gradual relief came over everyone. If it was just presents- well THAT they could handle. In the wake of the rescue it seemed like if Santa didn't come on Christmas something terrible would happen. But if it just meant shopping... needless to say everybody ended up hugging and laughing.
Santa left and gave Lenny a last rocking handshake that nearly made him lose his glasses. They both laughed. Little did he know that’s the last time he would ever see Santa again.