Back at the wharf Santa kissed Mz Clawz goodbye and she in turn gazed hard at Ruedov who snorted at her obviously responding to some kind of message. Then she and the dwarves who were driving got back into the trucks. The memory of such an elegant lady like Mz Clawz in her dark red gown effortlessly jumping behind the wheel of a massive truck and handling it like an old pro stayed in the minds of many of the officers fondly for a long time. She and the dwarves had been approached by a taskforce to hunt for the Piper and they were going to join them.
Staying on the creaking wharf an organized effort of solders, police, dwarves, regular people who had sneaked in, and the looming figure of Santa made a wild mix.
People practically fell forward preparing the sleigh and all along no one was really quite sure exactly WHAT was going to happen.
Suddenly, Jack Frost arrived, seemingly from out of nowhere. Santa had called him in. The reason he arrived so late was the officers back at the derelict mansion HQ had been questioning him. Jack Frost uses a tiny version of the fold to travel- so small only one person can fit and goes so fast you see nothing most of the time until you get to the arrival point. He goes from one hemisphere to another for winters on either side of the planet and sometimes comes back for cold springs and cold-snap summer nights and spends time on mountaintops studying and creating new kinds of frost and snow. They knew the criminals were using this same method of travel. Checking weather reports the officers were able to clear him of wrongdoing.
Jack Frost and Santa conferred quickly on large and small Folds and how they would find and follow a trail within. He gave Santa a fine crystal mist to spread inside where any trails that were once hot would show up but not for long. Jack Frost also came up with something very strange. He seemed to think they should look for something odd- a hole or a strange pocket of time that can be seen in the Fold. He thinks that these criminals probably go to the same place every time and it could probably be seen once inside if they knew what to look for.
Jack Frost turned to Lenny and said many things ending with, “Look for a wobble.”
Lenny looked down and said "You mean the one not in my knees?" He laughed until he saw that Jack Frost thought he, Lenny, was going with Santa.
A place that did not exist in real time would look different from other places that are viewable inside the fold. It would not appear to be in focus all the time, Jack continued to explain.
The fish under the wharf heard it all so you know this is true…
“Hey pal, you’re better at this than I am- you are going with him correct?”
Jack Frost explained to a distressed group of officers that he could not go because Santa’s Fold was too hot and Frost really was a Being born of frost and cold. He would die. Then suddenly he announced he had to leave!
"Excuse me I have to go see to a sudden frost on an apple orchard tonight."
Lenny asked, "Isn't that a bad thing?" "Not this- I have word from a bookworm that this batch has been poisoned by a hag. Better economic hardship for a season than the alternative."
"Not this- I have word from a bookworm that this batch has been poisoned by a hag. Better economic hardship for a season than the alternative."Lenny had to agree.
"Hey is it in my precinct?" "I'll check that out for you." "Call me- I wanna get this hag- call me even if it isn't because I know a lot of guys who might want to know someone is poisoning apples!" "Sure thing- and Lenny, you will be alright."
"I'll check that out for you."
"Call me- I wanna get this hag- call me even if it isn't because I know a lot of guys who might want to know someone is poisoning apples!"
"Sure thing- and Lenny, you will be alright."
Lenny thought to himself that Frost guy was certainly a warm person for someone of his profession, but he didn’t like the idea of going with Santa on this. There were younger guys.. who of course would jump at the chance.. they would agree he was also too old.. so in a matter of seconds Lenny had talked himself into going.
People watched in relative silence as the reindeer got harnessed and Lenny crawled into the sled with one other officer, then all the dwarves that were going followed and Santa himself climbed up to get ready. There was a murmur of conversation and some laughter. Even when the parents of the missing children came forward to wish them safety and success, there was still just a murmur. Then the officers cleared the wharf. Everyone filed off to watch the take-off.
Now you read what it was like to see the Fold occur, so imagine the people watching, without a clue. The silence turned to murmurs to raised voices and gasps of shock- and then actual screams. As Santa rose into the air and cracked the whip with the sounds and the lightning and then the explosion of sky into the glittering Fold, it sent people running and yelling, some jumping into the water.
Others stood frozen, the rare few began to cheer. It was mayhem in general. Lenny knew what to expect but had not been through it physically. He turned to the one young officer chosen to go next to him in time to see the man diving over the side of the sled into the water below. It was too late to do anything though, the WHRROOSHing of the hooves had begun and the sled was moving and before he could have any second thoughts about jumping over too, they rocketed forward.
If he could have seen the wharf behind he would have seen the officer wasn’t the only one in the water and the streets were filled with running people.
The only striking difference was among all that motion and crazy action, a large group of people stood on the waterfront road watching still and wide eyed. It was the parents, nothing could scare them since the most frightening thing had already happened to them. They merely watched the amazing Fold open- its beauty lost on them- they only saw a door open, Santa go in and soon after it slammed shut. The sky was dark and silent again. All they could do was wait now. Five hours was the limit, it felt like having to wait for five years.