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Why Did Santa Kidnap You?

Categories: Creative Writing Prompts Tags: creative writing exercises, creative writing prompts, writing prompt.

You wake up in a daze only to find out you’ve been kidnapped and are currently tied up to a chair. After hours of unsuccessfully trying to escape, a door starts to open. Your kidnapper is none other than—Santa Claus? Write a story explaining why Santa kidnapped you and what he intends to do with you.

Post your response (500 words or fewer) in the comments below.

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45 Responses to Why Did Santa Kidnap You?

  1. Fawn Redwood says:

    Five hours. I counted five hours but it must have been more. The room was pitch black, I could only tell that it wasn’t big. My voice bounced off the walls when I screamed.
    At last there was a creaking sound, the sound of a moving door, and I wished I was anywhere but here. I felt another scream die in my throat as my breath began to flutter.
    “Well, Kat,” the voice said from the shadows,”we meet again.”
    “Who are you?” I whispered, my voice hoarse from screaming,”and why am I here?”
    The stranger gave a humourless laugh which chilled me to the bone.
    “It’s me, Kathryn Lewis, don’t you remember your old friend?”
    “I was supposed to be spending Christmas with my only family, my sister from Norway. But I can’t even do that,” I felt like crying but I didn’t dare show weakness.
    “But I am your family, Kat,” he said, his voice no longer playful. Instead it held unimaginable spite.
    “I don’t understand,” I said, my voice wavering.
    “My father is yours,” his eyes glinted as he came closer to me.
    “What do you mean?” I wanted to spit in his face but I focused on attempting to undo my bonds. “My father is dead.
    “Christmas!” He said,”I’m your brother and your father is Christmas!”
    I almost laughed, “Come on, we all know Santa doesn’t really exist!”
    A larger figure entered the room. He was tall and big and gave a cold presence.
    “I’m sorry Kat,” he said, his voice echoing around the room,”I’m sorry for everything.”

  2. Ratboy111 says:

    Chestnut, Clover, and I didn’t expect to be kidnapped by Santa Clause before Christmas. We were playing in the snow that evening. Later, we got ready for bed. Unknown to us, Santa Clause snuck in our house through the chimney. He entered my room first and woke me up while holding a roll of duct tape in his hand. Before I could scream, he gagged me with the tape and taped my arms and legs. He carried me on his shoulder and entered Clover’s room. He did the same thing to her and stuffed us both in his sack. He grabbed Chestnut, tied him up, and stuffed him in the sack with us.
    The next thing I knew, we were in a dark room tied to chairs. The door opened and Santa entered. “Ho, ho, ho!” He bellowed. He ripped the tape off of my mouth. “What do you want from us?” I asked him. “I desperately needed some money to buy presents for Christmas. So I decided to hold you three for ransom until I got the money.” He told us. “Here’s a suggestion. GET A JOB!” I yelled. He slapped the tape back on my mouth and approached my sister with a crazed look in his eyes. I tried to wiggle my arms free of the tape but the tape was too strong. I swayed my chair to the floor and secretly picked up a razor. Santa untied me from the chair and took me to a vault where he threw me in and closed the vault door locking me in.
    I freed myself from the tape and searched for a way out of the vault. Suddenly, the vault door opened and Chestnut was thrown inside with me. I was about to attack Santa, but his elves tackled me to the ground and wrapped duct tape around my entire arms and legs like a mummy. Before Santa closed the vault, he placed a piece of tape across my mouth and whispered something chilling in my ear. After he locked the vault again, I knew we had to find Clover soon before it was too late. Chestnut was able to break free of the duct tape using reindeer antlers and untied me. I located a vent and we crawled in it to find the room where my sister was. Once we found the room, I took a peak to see what Santa was doing to her. “Listen up Clover. If you’re naughty, I’ll bury you and your brothers under a pile of coals in the ground. If you’re nice, you can have all of the Christmas presents you want.” Santa told her with a creepy smile. He rubbed her face with his hand and I saw her salty tears roll down her face. Chestnut and I broke through the vent and landed right on top of Santa. I untied Clover and we all ran while Santa was in pursuit. We stole the sleigh, left Santa hopeless, and flew home.

  3. LexyRoad says:

    You wake up in a daze only to find out you’ve been kidnapped and are currently tied up to a chair. After hours of unsuccessfully trying to escape, a door starts to open. Your kidnapper is none other than—Santa Claus? Write a story explaining why Santa kidnapped you and what he intends to do with you.

    My head hurts. How long have i been tied up here? I futility try to squeeze my arms out of the bindings that attach my forearms to the chair, just as I have for the past few… I don’t know, hours?

    Twisting my head, I once again attempt to take of the soft material that covers my eyes by rubbing my head against my shoulder. The movement sends my long dark hair skittering over my bare skin, which reminds me that I’m not really appropriately dressed for being kidnapped. If I had my way, I’d be wearing some jeans, a leather jacket and some kick-butt boots. But, nooo. I’m wearing a loose pajama pants, fuzzy pink socks and a blue skin tight tank top. Go me.

    Then the door opens. Cool air rushes in, dancing across my exposed skin and smelling of… gingerbread? I scrunch my forehead and take a deep breath. Yeah, definitely gingerbread. What the-

    Footsteps sound across the room and I suck in a breath, feeling my muscles go rigid with fear. Oh, man, I’m going to die, I’m going to die. The footsteps circle around me and I dig my nails into the palm of my hands to keep from screaming. I don’t like people behind my back at the best of times and this is pushing it for me.

    There’s a light tug and then the soft materials flutters away from my eyes and I can finally see where I’m being held. There’s nothing in it. Apart from the chair I’m tied to and the half open door with golden light spilling around the corner, nothing.

    The person walks out from behind me and I get my first good look at them. Now, I’m going to be completely honest and say that if this guy hadn’t kidnapped me, I’d totally hit on him. He’s all long and lean muscle under a tight red shirt, which constricts around the arms when he folds them. His dark hair falls over holly leaf green eyes and his skin is the tan colour of someone who works outside. Long legs and narrow hips encased in dark denim plant themselves in front of me and I notice that the guy is not wearing any shoes. It makes a grin curl my lip for a second before I raise my eyes to his bright green ones.

    He stares at me with his head on the side, like a puppy. I have to fight the urge to want to pat him on the head.

    ”Why did you eat my biscuit?” I tilt my head, because I can’t have heard him correctly. I run it through my head again with the same result.

    ”I’m sorry, what?”

    The boy sighs and crouches swiftly in front of me. ”My biscuit, the one next to the carrots and whiskey – nice touch by the way – why did you eat it?”

    I jerk my arms against the bindings angrily and snarl, ”Is this some kind of joke? Great, hardy-har-har. You tricked me, yay, now let me go.”

    He scratches the back of his head, runs his long piano playing fingers through his hair and glares at me. ”This is no joke. You ate my biscuit. Why?”

    What goddamn biscuit? It’s only a few days away from Christmas, so I’ve been saving myself for the inevitable feast. The only biscuit I’d eaten recently was to anger my little sister and that’s because it was Santa’s-
    Hold it. ‘My biscuit’? As in Santa’s biscuits. No, Don’t be ridiculous.

    ”Because I’m supposed to believe your Santa Clause.” I raise my brows, sarcasm dripping like honey.

    ”Why is that so hard to believe?” His, ‘Santa’s’ head tilts again.

    ”Maybe because your,” hot, ”young?” He smirks like he knows what I didn’t say.

    ”Nah, people see what they expect to see. You didn’t know what to expect, so you see me.” with this he stands and sweeps his arms out in a gesture and encompasses his entire body. ”So, about my biscuit.”

    ”Oh, yeah. I was doing it to irritate my sister. I was going to replace it later.” I lift my shoulders as much as I can with the ropes attaching me to the chair.

    When he sees this, the guy leaps forwards and quickly unties me. ”Sorry about that. The elves wanted to attach you to the reindeer and let him drag you about in the snow. I thought this would be a safer option.” His warm hands rub my numb limbs as he pulls me to standing position. His concerned green eyes are really close to mine and it’s a little distracting.

    ”So, you’re not angry?”

    ”No, not at all.” He grins at me, his hands now still on my slightly sore forearms. ”I didn’t mean to leave you for so long – there was a candy cane crisis.” I tilt my head back and search his green gaze, but he seems completely sincere.

    ”Did you fix it?”

    ”Yep. Issue forty-two, resolved.” He smiles at me and it’s so infectious that I grin back.

    ”One question: I mean, its great to be here, but why? And isn’t this the busiest time of year for you?”

    ”The elves just want me out from underfoot. I have a urge to micro-mange if I spend to long out there. And I wanted to ask if you wanted to go out on a date with me.”

    Whoa, what? Santa, the Santa, wants to go out on a date with me? This is unreal. I’m probably dreaming. But the anxious boy in front of me looks very real.

    ”You know what, that sounds great. When do you want to meet up?” Santa (this is the weirdest thing I’ve ever been part of) slides with hand down my arm to twine our fingers together.

    ”How about now? I’m really busy for the next few days, and I happen to know this awesome little chocolate shop that does the best hot chocolates.”

    He sounds so excited and adorable, with his cheeks slightly reddened as if he’d just been outside in the cold.

    ”Okay. As long as I get to meet your reindeer.” I tease, holding up a single finger.

    ”If that is what the lady wishes.” He ducks in a curiously old-fashioned movement and brushes his lips over the back of my knuckles. Heat rushes to my cheeks and I have to bite my lip to keep from giggling like a schoolgirl.

    He starts to lead me to the door, our palms clasped together. ”What should I call you? I mean, do you like Santa? Or is it something else?”

    He laughs, slow and deep, swinging our intertwined fingers together. ”Santa is my title. My name is Nicholas but call me Nick.” Nick grins at me over his shoulder and leads me out the door.

  4. wickedDream says:

    My head felt like someone had beat on it like a drum, my thoughts whirling inside my mind as I fought the urge to slip back into unconsciousness. Why do I smell treats? My eyes shot open trying to scan the room only to find that I had been blind folded. Something was seriously wrong. I had been bound around my waist to a chair with my wrists bound behind my back and my legs strapped to the chair legs.
    Crreeaakkk!! A door had opened to my left. “Well, well, well, what do we have here?” A voice asked as I felt my blind fold being snatched up off my head. “Mark Kasper.”
    My swollen eyes barely opened up as I noticed a hefty man in a red suit standing before me. Christ, I must be long it. “You can’t be Santa Claus.”
    “Depends on the country as I have many names, but that’s not the point. You took something that did belong to you and I want it back.” His face red with rage.
    “How can one take something from a figure as mythical as you?” I asked incredulously staring up into his brown eyes with a smirk.
    THWACK!! The left side of my face erupted in pain.
    “Where did you take her?” He asked rubbing the knuckles of his right hand.
    “Who are you talking about?” I replied knowing full well of whom he was talking about. Mrs. Claus was tired of being bossed around by the big man herself and the straw that had broken the camel’s back was when he made the elves slaves for his toy factory. She felt like she no longer knew the person she had married and come to me because I was the best at reinventing people’s identities. However she would have to give up the one thing that she loved and that was baking.
    “So she is no longer in the baking business. Don’t let me interrupt you from thinking.” He said with interest as he leaned against the gingerbread table in front of me with his arms folded across his chest.
    “Still the same prick who hasn’t changed when you drove her away the first time.” I replied casually. “Take a hint she hates your lard ass that lives off of the labor of others who deserve credit and freedom”
    THWACK! The right side of my face throbbed in pain. Moving to sit up I noticed a silver key dangling from his belt as he waddled to stand behind me.
    “I got you where I want you,” Mumbling under my breath out of his hearing range as he leaned closer.
    BAM!! Slamming the back of my head against his head as stumbled back in confusion. Giving me time to unlock my chained wrists with the silver key I snatched from his belt before head butting him. This prick was giving Christmas a bad name and for that he must die so the next one can take his place.

  5. Smileyface256 says:

    Yet another late post. Advice is welcome. :)

    Hours had passed since I woke up in the darkness, struggling against the ropes binding my hands to the wooden armchair. I held my breath as I heard heavy footsteps approaching from behind. The light switched on and I was blinded for a few moments. I looked up to see…Santa Clause? No, it had to be someone dressed up in a Santa suit. I knew that Santa wasn’t real. “Who are you?” I tried to keep my voice steady.
    The man looked at me with flint-gray eyes. “I’m from the IRS. You didn’t pay the taxes that you owed, and now it’s time to do so.”
    “But—but I paid my taxes! I owe nothing! If you’ll just let me go I have the paperwork to prove it—”
    “According to our records you have not paid your taxes for five years. It’s payback time.”
    “For me or you?”
    “Oh, don’t play those games with me; I can assure you that you’ll lose. Now for my lie detector.” He reaches in his bag and I watch in horror as he pulls out…a taser. “I will use this to get a confession out of you, and if you still don’t comply you will be incarcerated.”
    “But my taxes are paid! Please don’t use that on me!” I struggle madly at the ropes as he advances, my body drenched in sweat. Suddenly the ropes come loose and I fall onto…my bedroom floor. I look at the clock: three am. I heave a huge sigh of relief as I get back in bed, thinking of opening presents in just a few hours…tax free.

  6. Emma says:

    Creak. Creeeeeeak. Creeeeeeeeeeeeeeeak.

    The floorboards above started to sag as a colossal weight moved across the landing. The creaking was swiftly followed by thunderous footsteps. The sounds were drawing nearer above the dark, dingy and desolate basement. Inside, a cowering figure held its breath and began to quiver uncontrollably. The heavy footsteps stopped. A lock clunked open. Hinges squealed. The mystery mass came into view and towered over the unsuspecting victim.

    “Santa?!” a tiny voice croaked.

    There was no mistaking that the kidnapper was in fact, Santa, or at least someone who was pretending to be. Santa clomped towards the voice that emerged from the darkness. He held out his chubby hand towards his victim. Afraid of what might happen to him if he didn’t obey, a frail hand extended towards Christmas personified.

    “What do we have here? Why are you so scared, lad? What’s happened to you? Why are you in my basement? As you can see, I don’t do much down here. It’s just where I store my firewood.” Santa’s voice was as jolly as one would imagine.

    Stunned, the victim didn’t answer. Why would Santa kidnap him and then act like he didn’t know anything about it?

    “Come on let’s get you up in the warm, I’ll get my elves to get you something to eat and something warm to wear.”

    Elves. It all came back to him. The elves. The tiny little creatures. Their heinous laughter. Their pointed fingers. Their empty eyes. The last thing he remembered was the elves attacking him on his way to his car, after leaving late from work. The next thing he knew, he woke up dazed and confused in the damp basement with no explanation and no way out.

    Seeing the fear on the man’s face at the mention of his elves, Santa felt like his heart was in his throat. His palms began to sweat. The man’s hand slipped from Santa’s grip.

    Oh no, not another one.

  7. Stefanie says:

    The darkness and headache left me confused on multiple accounts. Was it still Christmas Eve?

    Was this a sadistic Seven Minutes of Heaven? If so, the bondage concerned more than excited me. I felt as

    though I was glued to the chair, arms and legs both tethered. My pupils strained to see something, my nose

    stinging with the heavy dust around me. The familiarity of the situation, bred of too many horror film viewings,

    struck me, and I could feel tears running down into the cloth gag fastened around my face.

    My horror was amplified at the sound of a door unlocking. Would my captor bear a gun, or a

    knife? Maybe a bomb… I live in New York. You never know. His outline in the brightened doorway was

    rotund. The lights flicked on, sending me into a blindness far more painful than seeing nothing. It was the

    feeling of my mother turning on the lights in the morning. It was the feeling of not being ready to face what

    was entirely out of my control.

    My clearing eyesight brought into focus the Jolly Old Elf of every childhood dream. His boots

    were patent leather, his pants and coat plush enough to sleep on. As suspected, his beard ran out of control

    down his chest. The temptation to choke on my own spit was well and present, however, as I took in the

    sight of his balding pate. Not a Santa hat in sight, his head shone, mottled and sparsely covered in the

    blackest hair possible on any caucasion male. With a closer look at his face, I saw that he was neither jolly

    nor spritely. He was flushed, with a bulbous red nose, not filled with Christmas cheer, but more likely booze.

    “Sorry ‘bout the gag.” His voice was thick from overuse, with the rasp of tobacco. At my stare, he

    laughed. There was no “Ho-Ho-Ho,” but rather a soaring laugh, ending in a spectacularly messy

    cough. “Name’s Larry. I ain’t no Santa Clause but to pick up a few bucks at Christmas time.”

    “Mm-hmm,” I sighed into the gag. It wasn’t intelligent, but my options were limited.

    “I was leaving work,” Larry began. “You cut me off at an intersection. I got pissed. I’m no psycho,

    but I had some hooch in me… I wanted to teach you a lesson.”

    This time, a whimper was all I could manage. My intelligence doesn’t follow me into stressful

    situations.

    Larry laughed again. “Here’s the deal – I cut those ropes, turn off the lights and walk out that door.

    You give me 10 minutes, and you’re home free. I can’t go back to jail, and I‘m taking these classes…”

    Momentarily, Larry’s pleading face appealed to a part of me not forcibly restrained, the victim of a

    man likely too dangerous to hold all day. My want for survival called it as I allowed the portly drunk to

    unstrap me and send me into darkness once more.

  8. cjarda says:

    The room smelled sweet like candy, yet I was scared. My hands were tied at the wrists, my ankle to the leg of the chair I was sitting in. My eyes were blind folded with something sticky, was it duct tape? I thought to myself. The last thing I remember as being in line at the mall waiting to take a picture with Santa. Michelle! I try to scream, my mouth is covered with something as well. Where did Michelle go? Is she here too? I strained my ears in hopes of hearing something, anything, anyone—nothing.

    I scream through the sticky stuff on my mouth, I could feel the veins bulging in my neck and head. I desperately try to rock the chair back and forth, but it seems bolted down to the ground because no matter how hard I twist and turn and rock and back and forth—I go nowhere. Where is Michelle? Suddenly I hear what sounds like a warehouse door rolling open. Heavy footsteps walk towards me. I muffle out, “let me out of here” which probably sounded more like “hen e hout o ere” I can feel someone is close to me. I scream through my gag and twist and turn as violently as I could.

    RIP

    I blink my eyes, my eye lashes are sticky from whatever was on my face. I blink through the blur, a big red object is in front of me. I roll my neck and squint to get a look. The red blob is pacing back and forth. My eyes start to focus. Could it be? Am I really looking at…

    “Santa?” I whisper

    There before me was a man dressed in a Santa Suit. If he was a more jolly shape I may have believed it was him, solely due to the feeling of possibly being drugged. The man continues to pace back and forth, stroking his long white beard. From where I sit, it looks real. He pulls out a leather case from his santa sack. He lays it down and unrolls it on a table. From where I sit I can see 4 knives. He stops fingering the knives and looks over his shoulder at me. He turns around and walks quickly towards me. I close my eyes and brace myself.

    RIIIIIIIIIIIP

    The tape of my mouth stings

    “Ahh! What the hell! Who the hell are you?! Where am I?” I scream. “Where’s Michelle!”

    “Oh, you want to know where Michelle is?” His voice is slow and calm. His eyes are sincere.

    “Yes, Please, I beg you where is she? I’ll give you whatever you want!”

    “Oh, you have nothing I want Mr. Peppercorn.”

    How does he know my name? Who is this guy?

    “Who are you? How do you know my name? Where is my daughter!”

    “Oh, she’s with my daughter. Do you know where my daughter is Mr. Peppercorn?”

    “No! I don’t know who you are, or your daughter. Just get me the hell out of here!”

    “Oh, you don’t do you?”

    He reaches into a pocket inside his coat and pulls out a piece of paper and holds it to my face. The letterhead is from my office.

    “What is this?” I scream

    “Read it.” He growls through his teeth.

    “Where’s Michelle!”

    “Read it Mr. Peppercorn!”

    “Dear Mr. St. James, we regret to inform you that your insurance claim was not approved. Please visit our websites for additional resources on how you can set up payments for your medical services. So what? We send these letters all the time. Where is Michelle!”

    “Did you know that my daughter had a heart condition?”

    “No! I’m sorry to hear that.”

    “Really? Isn’t this your signature at the bottom?”

    “Yes, it is, but—“

    “Shhh, Mr. Peppercorn, It’s going to be okay. Soon You’ll see Michelle.”

  9. margo10 says:

    TIME TO TAKE A BREAK

    “Okay, who played this sick joke on me” Come on this isn’t funny, Missy shouted as she tried to untie her hands.

    Then suddenly the door opened and in walks this big man in a Santa Claus suit. For a moment, Missy thought it was her husband, but he continued to walk towards her, she realized it wasn’t him. So she thought it was one of his friends, until he belted out this big laugh, and knew none of his friends laughed like that, but it was contagious.

    Missy wanted to laugh with him, but was to angry and upset about being tied up, that she started screaming at him to let her go. But he didn’t pay any attention, instead he grab a chair and placed it right in front of her. He then sat down, and she could of sworn he had a twinkle in his eye.

    “Now Missey, he said, you’ve been running around so much, like a chicken with no head, (of course he never said that) and it’s time for you to slow down a bit.”

    Then he proceeded to tell her that she needed to take some time out for herself, to relax a bit and enjoy the wonders of the holiday season. That she was missing out on all the joy it brings, and then he abruptly got up and went to the back of her chair, and gently untied her.

    Missy was so happy to be free from her prisoner, even if it was Santa Claus, that she ran towards the door, and was just about to step outside, but instead turned back. She walked over to where Santa was and planted a big kiss on his cheek.

    “Thank you for helping me realize, that I need to slow down and just enjoy Christmas, instead of making it another chore that just had to be done.” But next time, if you want to help someone, don’t kidnap them, just take them out for a nice cup of hot chocolate, and maybe a marshmallow or two.”

    Santa belted out another laugh, and then agreed.

    And when Missy got home, she gave her husband and children a big hug and kiss, and told them she was spending the evening with them.

  10. secret squirrel says:

    (I tried to post this draft 3 previous times from my home Mac beginning 12-21-12 to no avail. I’ve just sneeked into an office (Sat) at a neighboring college to use one of their PCs. Hopefully it’ll make a difference) 500 words exactly.

    A Christmas Nightmare

    As I slowly gain consciousness, I’m in a state of confusion. Where am I? I’m disoriented. Why am I sitting in this chair bound with duck tape? My head also aches unmercifully. There’s also a burning sensation on my scalp and I can tell my face is wet.

    I look around. Not much to see in the dark. Should I call out, or is this a dangerous move? The last thing I remember is going to the mall to buy a present for my girlfriend. I’m beginning to remember.

    It was Christmas Eve and almost closing time. After buying the gift, I went to the food court and picked up some grub. There was an old guy dressed as Santa sitting by himself. He looked familiar. I was pretty sure I knew him, so I sat down at his table. As it turns out, I wasn’t able to remember where I had seen him. He wasn’t able to recognize me either. He was a quiet fellow who seemed a bit odd. He also didn’t have much of a sense of humor.

    We talked for about 30 minutes as we ate. He had just finished his seasonal job as Santa and was planning to leave town in the morning.

    When we had finished eating, he asked me to help him carry some of his packages to his car. He didn’t have that many, but he said his back was giving him grief.

    The Christmas rush was over and the parking lot was pretty much deserted. Here is where my memory begns to fade. The last thing I remember was placing the old guy’s packages into the side entrance of his van. He went to the back of the van to get something. He then came up behind me and… For the life of me I can’t remember anything else. It doesn’t matter. I’ve got to get out of here.

    Just then I hear footsteps. Someone is approaching. I can hear the sound of keys jingling and a heavy lock being turned. I want to run, but can’t. The door at the top of a set of wooden stairs slowly opens. Ambient light spills in. On my God, I’m in a basement! Standing in the doorway ominously, in partial silhouette, is the old Santa guy from the mall. It then all comes back to me.

    As I was joking around with him while we were eating, I told him he looked just like that serial killer guy that the cops were looking for. The story had been all over the news for the past few days. Like I said, the old man didn’t have a sense of humor.

    The light from the doorway, like a spotlight straight from freaking hell, is now partially illuminating my clothing and the floor at my feet. A primordial wave of terror consumes me because I can now see that there’s blood on my clothes and on the floor. Lot’s of it…and it’s mine

  11. DRS29 says:

    I open my eyes slowly, after a goodnight’s rest. I tried to wipe the crust from them but my arms didn’t budge. They were tied behind my back with some coarse material that made my wrists itch. I looked around and saw that I was in total blackness except for a yellow light seeping into the room from a door faintly etched out ahead of me. Fear swallowed me whole as I realized my surroundings were unfamiliar. Kidnapped? I was kidnapped! I attempted to stand up but couldn’t. The chair that held me captive, miniature in size was barley holding massive body.
    I tried it all, thinking up something to get me out of this chair and out of this mysterious closet. I tried wiggling back and forth; maybe letting myself slither out of the chair, but instead almost tipped it over. I also tried pulling my wrists and ankles out of the twine but came to similar results as my previous attempt.
    It felt like hours before the door handle began to rattle. I looked up alertly, thanking God, for whoever this savior was. The door opened and the bright lights from civilization distorted my blackened view. A large figure entered the room. As he got closer my heart thumped faster and I saw he was wearing a red themed attire. He was tall too, giving only an inch or two of room between the ceiling and the top of his head.
    “Danny, how are you?” he asked, his voice rough and deep. I also saw then that he had a bushy white beard on his face.
    I cleared my throat and said, “Who are you. Can you get my out of here? Please!”
    “You know perfectly well who I am. In fact, you have been convincing people of my non-existence since you were thirteen years old. And now you have a book out on how I’m a myth. Do I look like a myth?”
    And then it clicked. “Santa?”
    “I thought I never existed, Danny.”
    “No…I…I just…I saw my parents buy the gifts and now I buy my kids their presents. You neh-never came into play, with any of the—“
    He put his finger on my lips to shush me. “No, I didn’t. But I did before you found out your parents were doing everything. And you never believed so why was I gonna help you?”
    I was flabbergasted. My bestselling book on how Santa was false was now being proved a lie. I did the research and I had my facts straight. I knew I did.
    “Santa, I’m sorry.”
    “You know how to repay me,”
    I looked up at him, perplexed.
    He cocked his thumb back behind him towards the toy factory and the elves and said, “Get busy,” as he untied me from the chair.

  12. TimeChaser says:

    Hope I don’t get kicked out for saying this but c’mon guys. Give us some writing prompts. Santa Clause, elves, tooth fairies… seriously? Please, oh please, give us more credit than that. Perhaps your marketing research is telling you that’s what people want, but just remember that’s the same reason that authentic literature is out and garbage is in… no one will publish literature anymore because they don’t think it’ll sell and for them, sadly, it’s all about the cash. Don’t be those guys. Give us some real contests and writing prompts. Trust me guys, your research may be telling you that bored housewives and stupid college kids are your bread and butter, but have a little faith in the American public and a little more pride in what you do. If you build it, they will come.
    Some constructive criticism,
    TC

    • handyman43127 says:

      Where was I when the prompt was for tooth fairies, I have some great ideas for that story. I suppose a great white whale chased around by a sea captain or a girl named Alice living in a wonderland is not what the public wants to read, not to mention a cat with a hat. Give it a break TimeChaser, seriously it is your job to take the prompt and deliver what you believe people want to read. That can be like A Christmas Carol full of ghosts or an Elf on a shelf. There are sites that delve into the depths of literature that you speak of, why not write there. I for one did not attend college but am an American, who enjoys reading and especially writing story’s that just make me smile! Why must we be so serious and intelligent all the time, we need a break from that. Just a little constructive criticism from my point of view.

    • fbxwriter says:

      TimeChaser, this feature is free. You are free to take it. You are also free to leave it. And you are free to start your own website where you can write your own prompts. Let us know if you do.

    • secret squirrel says:

      I’m sure it’s easier to write to prompts about love, war and the meaning of life, but the person who can take a prompt about being kidnapped by Santa and make it sing, he/she is a writer.

  13. secret squirrel says:

    As I slowly wake up, I’m in a state of confusion. Where am I? I’m disoriented. Why am I sitting in this chair bound with duck tape. My head also aches unmercifully. There’s also a burning sensation on my scalp and I can tell my face is wet.

    I look around. Not much to see in the dark. Should I call out, or is this a dangerous move? The last thing I remember is going to the mall to buy a present for my girlfriend. It’s coming back to me now.

    It was Christmas eve and almost closing time. After buying the gift, I went to the food court and picked up some grub. There was an old guy dressed as Santa sitting by himself. He looked familiar. I was pretty sure I knew him, so I sat down at his table. I couldn’t quite remember where I had seen him. He wasn’t able to recognize me either. He was a quiet fellow who seemed a bit odd. He didn’t have much of a sense of humor either.

    We talked for about 30 minutes as we ate. He had just finished his seasonal job as Santa and was planning to leave town in the morning.

    When we had finished eating, he asked me to help him carry some of his packages to his car. He didn’t have that many, but he said his back was giving him grief.

    The Christmas rush was over and the parking lot was pretty much deserted. Here is where my memory begins to fade. The last thing I remember was placing the old guy’s packages into the side entrance of his van. He was in the back of the van getting something. He then came up behind me and… For the life of me I can’t remember anything else. It doesn’t matter, I’ve got to get out of here.

    Just then I hear footsteps. Someone is approaching. I can hear the sound of keys jingling and a heavy lock being turned. I want to run, but can’t. The door at the top of a set of stairs slowly opens. Ambient light spills in. Oh my God, I’m in a basement. Standing in the doorway in partial silhouette is the old Santa guy from the mall. It then all comes back to me.

    As I was joking around with him while we were eating, I told him he looked just like that serial killer guy that the cops were looking for. It had been all over the news for the past few days. like I said, the old man didn’t have much of a sense of humor.

    The light from the doorway, like a spotlight straight from hell, is now partially illuminating my clothing and the floor at my fee. A primordial wave of terror consumes me because I can now see that there’s blood on my clothes and on the floor. Lot’s of it…and it’s mine.

  14. Laura S. says:

    It seems like hours I have been twisting and wiggling to try to set myself free. Suddenly, I hear a robust laugh but can’t place where it’s coming from. My vision is blurry but when I squint all I can see is the red coat and white trim.

    “What the..?” I can’t believe what I see in front of me. This has to be a dream or a very mean joke.

    “You have been so bad. To think you have the nerve to tell little Miranda there’s no Santa!”

    I groan from the booming sound of his voice; it hurts. I want to reach for my head but I am tied to the chair. Suddenly we are nose to nose. The fat man standing in front of me is obviously furious.

    “N- N-No! I mean yes. You are real?”

    “HO! HO! HO! I really look fake to you do I, huh. What nerve of unimaginative people like you.”

    “What do you want from me?” The sweat begins to pour down my forehead and armpits.

    “Glad you asked.” With a motion of his hand a little elf runs past me. I jump and both chuckle at me.
    The elf turns to look at me and says in an unexpectedly deep voice, “Yeah, now who looks silly?”
    As the elf walks away his little green elf shoes jingle which makes me giggle. Santa realizing that I found those elf shoes amusing pointed behind me and two more elves run past me. Each carried a very large pair of elf shoes with a candy cane design and a bell at the pointy end.

    “I believe you need a lesson in faith and humility. Santa always encourages children to believe in themselves and to have hope. You took that from Miranda so you will help restore that to her and apologize to me.” He was pointing at me again and his stare could have burned a hole through my head.

    He turned and picked up the shoes from the chair the elves set them on. “Therefore, you will wear these shoes you found so amusing for one week. They will automatically find thier way to your feet should you try to make a break for it.” He then dragged a chair to sit face to face with me. “You will also help Miranda with her Christmas play she does every year with you for the family. I will be watching.” He leaned in closer and said, ” So write a good one, I don’t like to be disappointed. You understand?”

    I knodded my head as two elves cut me free. I looked behind me for those elves that seemed to come from nowhere. To my surprise there was nothing behind me at all. When I turned around to look for Santa he was gone too. Suddenly a door appears as I get closer I notice a little gift on the floor. Inside the box was a sketchbook and utencils Miranda had asked for. I walk out the door and I suddenly am back in my front yard. I run inside and lock my door. When I sit on the couch I look down at my feet and realize I am wearing the elf shoes Santa gave me. It was not a dream after all.

  15. justhowitsounds30 says:

    I come to again, exhausted and sweaty. If I had to guess, one of those drugs I’m familiar with has been used on me. There’s irony. My wrists and ankles no doubt will have extensive bruising from trying to escape their rope-constrained status. In a hard-backed chair in a nondescript room (aside from the odd aroma of gingerbread), I tremble while coming to terms with the idea I may be stuck here until I die. Until I’m too dehydrated, too weak, too crazy to do anything but sit in this chair.
    I’m snapped out of the reverie when I hear a doorknob twist and turn somewhere behind me. I strain my neck as far as possible to see what lurks in the room (no point in acting nonchalant or disinterested in kidnapping situations, I think to myself). Black large boots first catch my eye and as I look further up I see nothing but red satin-y material with the occasional white accent. Regardless of the clothing (where HAVE I seen it before?), the figure is formidable. I start to open my mouth to speak but the kidnapper beats me to it.
    “Do you ever think that we don’t get the recognition we deserve? We get a month out of the year when parents threaten and invoke our names so that children will do as they’re told. Hell, you don’t even get 30 consecutive days adding up to a month! Aren’t you as tired of being iced out as me?” the male voice asks, conspiratorially.
    “’Iced out,’ I should be used to that. Damn Arctic Circle!” he mutters to himself.
    “I…I think I know what you mean.” Choose your words carefully. “There’s a lot of unpleasantness at work. Peering into open mouths all day isn’t great. My therapist wants me to find positive outlets for the stress. It’s a process…Santa?!” registering everything.
    He snorts. “It’s me. Talk about stress, huh? I’d love to see you get around the world in a night, keeping in mind time zones, climate changes, and one lame-ass group of reindeer.”
    “Santa, if it’s really you as in you do exist and I’m not delusional, may I ask something? How is holding me hostage beneficial to either of us? From childhood meetings, you didn’t strike me as a homicidal maniac. Maybe too dependent on cookies, sure, but I’d consider you relevant everyday of the year—haven’t you read about the decline of adherents of most major religious denominations? You remain an adorable idol for the masses to worship. You’re Kim Kardashian, but with a job!” I conclude with bravado.
    “You’re right—I’m still needed! Parents expect teachers to raise kids, right, so I have to fit into the equation, too!” he flashes me a toothy grin.
    “That’s absolutely correct, Santa. Now if you don’t mind, let me go. And remember you’re due for a root canal from Hermey.”
    “Yes, pray for me. I wouldn’t mind your assistance with that,” Santa says.
    “We’ll see, Santa. We’ll see.”

  16. fbxwriter says:

    AN UNEXPECTED TRIP

    497 words

    Bill scanned his surroundings, taking in the door and chair in front of him. Then he saw the tables and carts, piled high with headless dolls. Bill’s eyes widened. Had he been captured by that serial killer calling himself Santa? Bill tried to stand, but realized he was tied to a chair. He strained at his bonds. The door opened. A man dressed like Santa walked in.

    “What do you want?” Bill asked.

    “You’ve caused me problems,” said the killer, waving to the dolls as he sat in the other chair. “Now you’re going to help solve them.”

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

    “Thought you’d say that,” Santa said. He put a finger to one side of his nose and nodded his head. Bill was overcome with sleepiness and nodded off. He jerked awake, looked around, and realized he was now sitting in the killer’s lap. He struggled but found he was firmly tied and held.

    “Tell me your name and what you want for Christmas,” the killer said.

    Bill found himself compelled to tell the truth. He fought the urge.

    ‘I…I…my name is Bill, and I want my freedom.”

    “Tell me your FULL name and what you want.”

    “My name is Bilbo Baggins,” Bill said, giving in. “What I want most is to have a new name.”

    “A new name?”

    “I hate the name my hippie-freak parents gave me.”

    “Still fighting the urge, I see. No matter. You’re Baggins. Now, if you want freedom you must help me.”

    “OK. OK,” Bill agreed, already planning escape.

    “Much better,” said the killer, standing Bill up and patting his head. Santa cut Bill’s bonds and headed for the door. “Don’t try to run. That would be naughty.”

    Bill followed the killer out into a long, white hallway lined with red doors. Double doors were at each end. The killer headed one way. Bill bolted the other. He burst through the double doors into another hallway, ran down that toward more double doors. Looking back, he saw no one following him. It seemed too easy, but he plowed through the doors anyway.

    Bill ran out into a snowstorm, stopping as the cold wind whipped snow into his face. He lifted an arm for protection and saw a sleigh and team of reindeer.

    “Ho! Ho! Ho!”

    Bill jumped, spinning around. There stood the man dressed as Santa. Was this really the killer?

    “I’m glad you are eager to go. Now, get in the sleigh and lead me to this Lonely Mountain.”

    “Lonely Mountain?”

    “Of course,” said Santa. “That’s where that Gandalf fellow is taking them. To fight in the Battle of the Five Armies. Said he needed everyone he could find.”

    “Taking who?”

    “Don’t play the fool with me,” Santa said. “My elves, of course. Now, climb into the sleigh. I need them back ASAP. We’ve got to get there and back again before Christmas.”

    “What if I can’t lead you to them?”

    Santa glowered.

    “Then heads will roll.”

    • Andrea says:

      This started out as a very nice read, Bill’s full name really hit me by surprise, and I loved it! However, I was hoping he’d be a real guy whose parents were just real Lord of the Rings fans, and this has been hell for him, instead it finished.. well, in a meh way. But all in all, it was nice.

  17. peetaweet says:

    When I awoke, tied to that chair, I tried to take in my surroundings: a cabin of some sort, shades drawn tight, a laptop and some video equipment set up in the room, a bright light shone on the wall where a Merry Christmas tapestry hung behind an empty chair.

    Shaking my head, I attempted to clear cobwebs. I smacked my lips, my mouth bore the distinct taste of peppermint. A man in green stared down, his beady eyes enhanced by his furled brow.

    “Good, you’re awake. Now we can get started.” My captor said in a shrill tone that reminded me of puberty.

    “What’s going—“ A cookie was lodged in my mouth. Sweet and sugary, I couldn’t help but chew.

    “You will find out soon enough.” He answered, and it was only then I noticed the bells on his slippers and his bright green tights. Later, when this part of the story was recounted, I couldn’t help but notice the suppressed laughter among the CIA operatives.

    I worked my hands back and forth in effort to loosen the rope holding them together. Even in my weakened condition I figured I could take the elf, but I never got the chance; he ran to the door, standing on his toes to look out the small window before backing away. I could hear heavy steps approaching, and then the door slowly opened, bringing with it a biting cold gust of snow.

    A large, bearded man entered, his large black boots punishing the floor with each bulky step. Pulling up a chair, he sat down in front of me, studying my face. His white beard covered his neck, his cheeks soft and pink. Heads were going to roll for a prank of this magnitude

    “So” he said, shifting in the chair. “A repeal of Christmas…of all the things I’ve heard, this is one is truly—“
    “Look, first of all, do you know how much trouble you’re going to be in? Who put you up to this, Simmons? Flounders? We didn’t repeal Christmas, people are free to celebrate it as they deem fit, it’s just in this day and age, our government cannot condone, much less sponsor legislature, that—“

    The gag was once again in place…again with the peppermint. Where is secret service when you need them? He resumed, with a bit more authority seeping into his voice, leaving little doubt who was in charge.
    “You’re the naughtiest of the naughty Mr. President, you know that?” He glanced in the direction of the spotlight. “And here’s what’s going to happen. You’re going address the nation tonight, resending this ridiculous legislation—“

    “I will do no such thing!”

    I felt my chair swing back, bracing for the fall only to be caught, my legs dangled off the floor as a thick milky substance is poured over my face. I’m drowning, gasping as I kick my feet and attempt to turn my head, frantically trying to escape. Suddenly I’m up again, tasting egg nog on my chin.

    “Are you ready, or do you want more”

    • fbxwriter says:

      Great job! Love all the details. I like how you tied the prompt into a modern subject. Couple of little things. In the sixth paragraph from the bottom you’ve got “legislature” when you mean “legislation.” (Got it right the second time.) And the president says “I will do no such thing” even though a peppermint-flavored gag is in his mouth. Easy fixes. Oh, and I love the President reveal at the end.

  18. sheifert says:

    Well, here we go again. Being tied up to this old Victorian rocking chair year after year is getting ridiculous. I’ve been here for hours and it’s time to get this show on the road. The air in here is cold and heavy, filled with an interesting combination of pipe smoke and sugar plums. The wall paper hasn’t changed in twenty years, still a faded red and green plaid. You’d think old man would spruce up a bit. Guess I was wrong.

    I’m not sure why we still go through this song and dance. I’ve told him a hundred times I’d happily give him the information stateside without any fuss, but he insists on this whole snatch and grab thing. Something about being followed. Truth is the FBI and CIA have been on to him for quite some time now and with drone technology we’re wise to the comings and goings of just about every reindeer and elf north of the article circle, but if keeps the big guy happy, I’ll play along.

    The door swings open and his all too familiar anxious shuffle soon follows.

    “Dave.” He said calmly.
    “Claus.” I replied nodding.
    “How are the boys?” He asked.
    “Good…”
    “And the misses?”
    “Well, she didn’t divorce me yet so I have that going for me.”
    “Ahhh, be nice Dave.” He said patronizing me.

    He gestured to one of his miniature henchmen to remove my binds. You have no idea how itchy silver garland can be to your skin.

    “Look Santa let’s cut the chit chat, I’ve got work to do.” I said while rubbing my wrists.
    “Ok, ok, you know why your here Dave.”
    “The List.” I said.
    “That’s right Dave, the list.” He responded.

    You see the Earth’s population had gotten out of control the last century, and quite frankly, the fatman couldn’t keep up. We had been doing his dirty work for years now compiling the naughty and nice list… even checking it twice. Santa got the information he needed to keep delivering the goods and we made sure our kids stayed on the nice list. It was a win win.

    I reached into my coat pocket and retrieved a candy cane shaped thumb drive. I flipped it to Santa and he one handed it mid-flight with his leather riding gauntlet.

    “Nice touch.” He said referring to the festive design.
    “I thought you’d like that” I said.
    “Standard crypto?” He asked.
    “The usual.” I replied.
    “You make sure to tell the boys back at Langley I appreciate all their hard work.” Santa said.
    “You just make sure the kids get the good stuff this year, none of that bargain basement stuff.”

    Santa had been skimping the past few years and I needed to make sure he knew we weren’t oblivious to it. He said it was the economy and times were tough. I reminded him that considering the valuable information we were providing, times for us were never to be tough.

    “And next year Santa, just give me a call, I’ll email the damn list. Enough with the dramatics.”
    “Now Dave, that just wouldn’t be my style would it?” He said.
    “I guess not, but I’m getting tired of explaining to my wife why I disappear this time every year, she’s got enough reasons to think I’m running around.”
    “Just tell her the truth Dave, you’ve been kidnapped by Santa Claus” he said jokingly.
    “Oh of course!” I said sarcastically, “I just don’t think she’d believe me.”
    “Ha!” Exclaimed Santa, “Don’t you just hate non-believers?”

  19. ajay64 says:

    (Apologies in advance since this first draft is 70 words longer and is quite fast paced near end.)

    Darkness.

    Freezing, suffocating darkness.

    The darkness had devoured my vision, leaving me with no other choice then to rely on my other senses. Senses, which have never been sober enough.

    Wait…that was not right.

    Right way of saying this would be either I have never been sober enough to use them properly, or they have never worked properly from beginning. My throat burned like someone had clawed it brutally from inside. My whole body throbbed so badly that I wished for unconsciousness. My eyes felt like lid and throbbed like somebody had used a pepper spray on them.

    Slowly I tried to open up my eyes. Worst decision ever. The moonlight or atleast that’s what I thought it was, assaulted my eyes, making me forcefully shut them, and cry painfully.

    “FUCK!” I swore, “What kind of mess I have got myself into now?”

    Gently, I tried to move my hands but I couldn’t. A rope was binding my arms and my legs.

    “Great,” I yelled desperately, “Just bloody great.”

    Somehow, I managed to lift myself up from the cold, soggy floor and look around few times through my blurry vision.

    I was in a cell. A godforsaken stony, dark cell that even had mouse running around, squeaking madly like end of world had come. The only source of moonlight or any light was a very small iron-bar window. The floor, the damn floor was a mini version of a pond. Yes, that was how much soggy my cell was.

    CLACK! CLACK! CLACK!

    Footsteps! Someone was coming. My hope rose up to new heights by the mere thought of that person being my savior. Then, like an adult walking into your room while you’re having sex, a torrent of morbid thoughts barged into my already confused mind.

    What if that person is your Kidnapper?

    To say that I was scared would be like telling a person, ‘Don’t worry. You are only going to die tomorrow.’ My already throbbing throat became awfully dry, and my legs and arms started to shake frantically. I was scared. I was so scared that for the first time in my life, I had prayed.

    As the clacking increased in noise, my praying started to reach from desperate to frantic levels. I could feel my heart pounding furiously in my chest. I could feel my breathe juggling between being labored to near impossible levels. My praying gained another level in speed when that clacking sound stopped in front of my cell’s iron-bar door.

    The person cleared his throat, which made my breathe hitch. “Well, Andrew,” He said amusingly, “I hope you are enjoying your Christmas gift.”

    Christmas Gift? What the hack?

    “What are you talking about?” I asked in a confused, scarred voice after I had mustered my remaining courage. “What Christmas gift? And how the hell can this be a gift?” I cried in outrage. “I am in a freaking cell. And who the hell are you?”

    “My, my,” he said humorously, “I am Santa Claus, my dear Andrew.”

    The only thought which ran in my after that was: Seriously? Santa Claus? Are you fucking kidding me?

    “I asked for a Cell- Phone!” I shouted, “Not a night in cell, you old man.”

    He blinked few times and then, he went through his list. After checking it few times, he looked at me and again said humorously, “Well…I think I have made a mistake.”

    That moment, I desperately wanted to shout: No shit, Sherlock.

  20. sheifert says:

    First time posting. Seems like a fun thread. I’m a little rusty, but trying to make a comeback. Thanks for reading.

    Well, here we go again. Being tied up to this old Victorian rocking chair year after year is getting ridiculous. I’ve been here for hours and it’s time to get this show on the road. The air in here is cold and heavy, filled with an interesting combination of pipe smoke and sugar plums. The wall paper hasn’t changed in twenty years, still a faded red and green plaid. You’d think old man would spruce up a bit. Guess I was wrong.

    I’m not sure why we still go through this song and dance. I’ve told him a hundred times I’d happily give him the information stateside without any fuss, but he insists on this whole snatch and grab thing. Something about being followed. Truth is the FBI and CIA have been on to him for quite some time now and with drone technology we’re wise to the comings and goings of just about every reindeer and elf north of the article circle, but if keeps the big guy happy, I’ll play along.

    The door swings open and his all too familiar anxious shuffle soon follows.

    “Dave.” He said calmly.
    “Claus.” I replied nodding.
    “How are the boys?” He asked.
    “Good…”
    “And the misses?”
    “Well, she didn’t divorce me yet so I have that going for me.”
    “Ahhh, be nice Dave.” He said patronizing me.

    He gestured to one of his miniature henchmen to remove my binds. You have no idea how itchy silver garland can be to your skin.

    “Look Santa let’s cut the chit chat, I’ve got work to do.” I said while rubbing my wrists.
    “Ok, ok, you know why your here Dave.”
    “The List.” I said.
    “That’s right Dave, the list.” He responded.

    You see the Earth’s population had gotten out of control the last century, and quite frankly, the fatman couldn’t keep up. We had been doing his dirty work for years now compiling the naughty and nice list… even checking it twice. Santa got the information he needed to keep delivering the goods and we made sure our kids stayed on the nice list. It was a win win.

    I reached into my coat pocket and retrieved a candy cane shaped thumb drive. I flipped it to Santa and he one handed it mid-flight with his leather riding gauntlet.

    “Nice touch.” He said referring to the festive design.
    “I thought you’d like that” I said.
    “Standard crypto?” He asked.
    “The usual.” I replied.
    “You make sure to tell the boys back at Langley I appreciate all their hard work.” Santa said.
    “You just make sure the kids get the good stuff this year, none of that bargain basement stuff.”

    Santa had been skimping the past few years and I needed to make sure he knew we weren’t oblivious to it. He said it was the economy and times were tough. I reminded him that considering the valuable information we were providing, times for us were never to be tough.

    “And next year Santa, just give me a call, I’ll email the damn list. Enough with the dramatics.”
    “Now Dave, that just wouldn’t be my style would it?” He said.
    “I guess not, but I’m getting tired of explaining to my wife why I disappear this time every year, she’s got enough reasons to think I’m running around.”
    “Just tell her the truth Dave, you’ve been kidnapped by Santa Claus” he said jokingly.
    “Oh of course!” I said sarcastically, “I just don’t think she’d believe me.”
    “Ha!” Exclaimed Santa, “Don’t you just hate non-believers?”

  21. secret squirrel says:

    I slowly wake up. There’s something wrong. Where am I? This is not my bedroom. I’m disorientated. And why am I sitting in this chair instead of lying in my bed? This is strange. Where am I? The room is dark. It’s quiet. Too quiet. What’s going on? And oh my aching head.

    I’ve never had a headache like this before and there’s a burning sensation on my scalp. Did I stroke out or something? Am I dead? What’s going on? I reach for my head, but my arm is stuck. It’s restrained. I think I’m tied down. Yes, my arms are secured to the arms of the chair with some kind of tape. What the… And my feet are also bound to the legs of the chair. And the chair won’t budge. This is not good. Panic begins to set in. What’s going on? Is this a dream? No it’s not. The pain in my head is all too real. What am I doing here?

    I look around. Not much to see in the dark. There’s only one small window high up on one of the walls. A
    small bit of dim night light is shinning in. I can barely make out objects in the room. It’s cold and damp. I
    call out, “Hellooo. Is there anybody here? My voice has a slight echo to it as if inside an unfurnished room. Maybe I should keep quiet for now. I could be in danger.

    How did I end up here? Think. “What’s the last thing you remember”, my inner voice asks. It’s all fuzzy. Like a dream. Think. I was at the mall. I think I was working. I’m a journalist. No wait. I wasn’t working.
    I was shopping…after work. I work for the Thousand Oaks News Chronicle. I went to the mall to buy a present for my girlfriend. Ok, it;s coming back to me.

    It was Christmas Eve and it was almost closing time. I went to Gems R Us and bought a gold necklace with a small crucifix for Nora. I hadn’t had dinner so I went over to the food court and picked up some grub from the Mongolian Barbecue stand. The cloud is lifting.

    There was on old guy dressed as Santa sitting in the food court. He looked familiar. I was pretty sure I knew him, so I sat down at this table. As it turned out, I couldn’t remember where I had seen him. He wasn’t able to recognize me either. He was a quiet fellow. Seemed a bit odd. He didn’t have much of a sense of humor either.

    We talked for about 30 minutes as we ate. He had just finished his seasonal job as Santa and was going to be heading back to Arizona in the morning. When we finished eating, he asked me to help him carry some of his packages to his car. He didn’t have that many to carry, but his back was giving him grief he said.

    We went out one of the side employee exits that the general public doesn’t know much about. The Christmas rush was over and the parking lot was pretty much deserted. Here is where it starts to get fuzzy
    again. The last thing I remember was placing the old guy’s packages into the side entrance of his van. He was in the back of the van looking for something. He then came up behind me and… For the life of me I can’t remember anything else. It doesn’t matter, I’ve got to get out of here.

    Just then I hear footsteps. Someone is coming. I feel terror. This is not good. I hear the sound of keys jingling and a heavy dead bolt lock being turned. The door at the top of a set of stairs slowly opens. Ambient light spills in. Oh my God, I’m in a basement. Standing in the doorway is the partial silhouette of the old Santa guy from the mall. It then becomes clear to me.

    I was joking around with him while we were eating. I told him he looked just like that serial killer guy the cops have been looking for. You know, the guy that’s been all over the news for the last couple of days. Like I said, the old man didn’t have much of a sense of humor.

    The light from the doorway, like a spotlight from hell, now partially illuminates my clothing and the floor by my feet. I see blood. Lots of blood….and it’s mine.

  22. AnElysian says:

    The Santa Syndrome is the phrase I coined, the change in the pockets of my life that are significant and profound. The planet cracked and my axis tilted; I know now that even vertigo becomes balance eventually. The division bell, the low ohm that reverberates through the veil and awakens what lies dormant in the flesh, a tone and vibration that alters ones entire frequency and shakes loose the debris of environmental circumstance from our form so that one is barren and born..again.

    The first tolling, its rolling, forming slowly and approaching the child; and she woven in magic and bound to it beyond just the belief into the realm of knowing and owning, a hybrid shining and steadfast; a tapestry of complexity and innocence she stood, loyal, fierce and incapable of comprehending what was beginning and ending. The shifting and rolling, the humming caused by the sound of the air tearing as the fabric of the facade began unraveling and her, a part of it, coming undone. The words that reach her ears become just monotonic underwater detaching.

    The slow motion reaching up and touching (in the new barren aware) of the bones in her face, (SKELETAL) and tasting something unknown, foreign and irreparable (TERROR) the electrochemical mechanism of animal nature and origin crouches quickly wide eyed and SURROUNDED by lies, illusion, evolutionary confusion, ALONE, a whimper, again the hands to her face, crying and scanning the environ SOME MISTAKE, far from home ALONE.

    NO MAGIC? NO MAN? CONSPIRACY!?! THE FALSE FRONTS TORN DOWN, SEEING WHAT LIES BEHIND, THEY USED SANTA TO KIDNAP HER CHILDHOOD; BUT REAL MAGIC SHE VOWED TO FIND IN HER MIND AND THE REST OF WHAT WAS LEFT DID FOLLOW AND HAS BECOME; WOVEN, STEADFAST, SHINING AND BELIEVING, WELL ACTUALLY IT IS MORE OF AN INHERENT KNOWING, OF WHO SHE IS, WHERE SHE IS FROM AND WHERE SHE IS GOING.

  23. aikawah says:

    Mary was sure it had been the eggnog. It had been the only item on the menu she hadn’t personally served the guests. She must have dropped her guard for a moment, and James must have drugged her then. The lights of a hundred Christmas decorations glimmered over the rest of the neighborhood like a fallen constellation of stars and from the crack of the door behind her, strains of merry music leaked as dinner went on without her. There was a sudden heave in her stomach and she swallowed hard to avoid throwing up on the carpet. Her head swum and her eyelids were drooping lazily over her eyes as she fell under once again. The kids… mom… why had she agreed to invite him so soon after the divorce? What was that bastard planning to do? Why was the bedroom light so bright?

    When she came to next it was dawn. James had moved her, chair and all, to the middle of the living room and spent the rest of the night drinking himself silly. He was sprawled on the couch fast asleep, still in his Santa costume. The gifts were scattered all over the place in various states of destruction. He and the kids had opened them a day early, and without her. She was sore, drowsy and terrified of him but she realized now with surprise that above all that, she was angry, darn tooting livid at the nerve of him.
    ‘I divorced the son of a bitch’ she reminded herself studiously, almost speaking out loud.
    ‘He’s out of my life, out of our lives forever. And I’m going to press charges for this shit he’s doing now’ she thought, ‘where are the kids?’
    He stirred suddenly then, making a sound in his stupor, an empty bottle of wine rolling over the edge of the couch as he shifted. She couldn’t hold her anger back. Lifting herself just enough for the chair’s legs to clear the floor, she barelled towards him, bellowing at the top of her lungs. Her feet were too wobbly from whatever drug he had used to carry her far but the distance between her position and the couch was not much. As she toppled over, she drove her head as hard as she could into his body hitting him where his belly was widest. He screamed in shock and pain, pushing her away instinctively. The chair went back on its feet then the momentum carried it backwards and down, slamming the back of her head on the floor. She had a vivid moment of pain and then the ceiling seemed to grow further, darker, and she realized she was passing out again.

    She woke up in a hospital bed, lights blinding her dazed eyes, her mother’s hazy figure looming above.
    ‘She’s awake’ someone proclaimed.
    She raised her hand to shield her face from the bright lights in the ceiling. What was it with Christmas and lights?
    ‘The kids’ she mumbled.
    ‘They’re okay honey’ replied her mother’s soothing voice ‘I’m so sorry.’
    ‘Where is he?’
    ‘He turned himself in this morning, said he just wanted to see the kids. He said to wish you a merry Christmas.’

  24. Joel H says:

    Hi everyone, I’m Joel. I’m checking out the site. Looks good.

  25. DRS29 says:

    My eyes opened slowly, after a goodnight’s rest. I tried to wipe the crust from them but my arms didn’t budge. They were tied behind my back with some coarse material that made my wrists itch. I looked around and saw that I was in total blackness except for a yellow light seeping into the room from a door faintly etched out ahead of me. Fear swallowed me whole as I realized my surroundings were unfamiliar. Kidnapped? I was kidnapped! I attempted to stand up but couldn’t. The chair that held me captive, miniature in size was barley holding massive body.
    I tried it all, thinking up something to get me out of this chair and out of this mysterious closet. I tried wiggling back and forth; maybe letting myself slither out of the chair, but instead almost tipped it over. I also tried pulling my wrists and ankles out of the twine but came to similar results as my previous attempt.
    It felt like hours before the door handle began to rattle. I looked up alertly, thanking God, for whoever this savior was. The door opened and the bright lights from civilization distorted my blackened view. A large figure entered the room. As he got closer my heart thumped faster and I saw he was wearing a red themed attire. He was tall too, giving only an inch or two of room between the ceiling and the top of his head.
    “Danny, how are you?” he asked, his voice rough and deep. I also saw then that he had a bushy white beard on his face.
    I cleared my throat and said, “Who are you. Can you get my out of here? Please!”
    “You know perfectly well who I am. In fact, you have been convincing people of my non-existence since you were thirteen years old. And now you have a book out on how I’m a myth. Do I look like a myth?”
    And then it clicked. “Santa?”
    “I thought I never existed, Danny.”
    “No…I…I just…I saw my parents buy the gifts and now I buy my kids their presents. You neh-never came into play, with any of the—“
    He put his finger on my lips to shush me. “No, I didn’t. But I did before you found out your parents were doing everything. And you never believed so why was I gonna help you?”
    I was flabbergasted. My bestselling book on how Santa was false was now being proved a lie. I did the research and I had my facts straight. I knew I did.
    “Santa, I’m sorry.”
    “You know how to repay me,”
    I looked up at him, perplexed.
    He cocked his thumb back behind him towards the toy factory and the elves and said, “Get busy,” as he untied me from the chair.

  26. TheAwkwardLlama says:

    Cold. There is something cold and damp under my face. I must have fallen on the floor. I reach out to pick myself up and crawl back into bed, but I can’t move my arms. Is this a dream? I twist my shoulder to read the display on my watch but remember that I can’t move my arms. A rush of panic and adrenaline wakes me up from the fog. I can lift my head, and I see that I am in a dimly lit square room with a concrete floor. I seem to be the only thing in the room, as I crane my head about. I contort my body to take a better look at it, and I see through my peripheral vision that a rope is wound about my waist several times, constricting my arms. I can barely feel my feet, and a partial sit-up confirms that my feet are similarly bound. My memory is fuzzy; I know who I am, where I live, who the President is, etc. but I am not quite sure about the events leading up to me waking up in this room.
    I roll over faster than I think possible when the door creaks open. A man in a red suit has pushed open the door, and his back is to me. From the grunting and similar noises, he seems to be carrying something into the room. “Open the door more, Grandpa!” someone on the other side says. “It’s Santa,” says the man in red.
    The two people shuffle towards me, and set down what appears to be another unconscious tied-up person. “What the hell, Grandpa!” I shout. The man in red is my grandfather, and is dressed (rather poorly) as Santa Claus. The second person wears an elf costume, and is my cousin Brantley. “Language, young lady!” my grandfather says with a grin. “Ho ho ho! Do you want to end up on Santa’s naughty list?” Brantley kicks my shoulder with his pointed boot. “He’s not our grandfather. He’s Santa Claus. Tell her, Santa.”
    “I don’t have much time left for this world, darling, and I’ve come to realize that for the remainder of my years I must be possessed by the spirit of Christmas. Of innocence, of childhood. In other words, Santa Claus,” he intones and clumps out. Brantley remains, a fiendish smile on his face. “Ok Brant, we all know Grandpa has Alzheimer’s but where do you come in?”
    “The old bat is on his way out, Clare. One word: Inheritance. I play along, and you better believe I end up on Santa’s nice list. I told him he should kidnap all of my cousins so we can tell them about the spirit of Christmas. And when he forgets this bullshit and goes home to watch Matlock reruns, I can make doubly sure that none of you are in the will.” He flicks a lighter, laughs like no elf should laugh, and follows Santa into the snow.

  27. Love this prompt. (got a little carried away though but had fun with this first draft)

    I wasn’t sure if I was dreaming or not. Disoriented, and in a very thick, cloudy fog, I had a strange feeling that I was somehow sitting in an upright position but was unable to move my hands, legs and feet, my head was pounding and hurt like hell from all the booze at the Christmas eve party. I must be dreaming I thought. Just another one of those strange dreams where I am trapped and held down by unidentifiable entities while the beat on me. I try to escape but am never able to. This dream is different though. Most of the time when I have these types of dreams I am not aware that I am dreaming, but I have had dreams where I’ve known I was asleep and dreaming fought to force myself awake. But not this one.

    As I slowly gained consciousness I began to realize that no, I was not asleep. I was not dreaming. I began to panic and my heat began racing as the fog began to clear and I began to realize that I was not in my own bed or house, I was in fact not only sitting in an upright position but I was tied up.

    Still in a fog, confused, and scared halve to death, I struggled to free myself but to no avail. This is a strange looking place I thought, the walls were made of large light brown and tan square stone blocks of sparkling porphyry granite. And the floor tiled with what appeared to be slabs of slate.

    There were no windows, only a large arched doorway with a huge heavy oak door that hung on large rot hinges. The door had a small square window opening that was covered with rot iron bars. The look of the room and door gave the impression of an ancient mid evil style castle dungeon, and through the small window opening I could hear what sounded like squeaky children’s voices singing. Other voices were laughing and giggling.

    By now I was fully awake. Confused, and terrified I struggled for what seemed like hours trying to free myself from the little chair I was tied to. I was to horrified to yell or scream for help. I had a strange feeling I was being watched and the tiny voices were laughing and giggling at me as I attempted to escape from the garland used to tie me up to the chair.

    The other room suddenly became silent as the sound of a heavy door slamming echoed through the small window opening. Then a loud deep voice broke the silence, Ho, Ho, Ho, everyone. Time for lunch, It was then followed by the sound of dozens of little voices cheering and footsteps stampeding that slowly faded in the distance as they got further away.

    Then the sound of the clicking of the heavy latch on large oak door, and the door swung open. A little man, in a bright red and white suit, not much more than three feet tall suddenly stood in the doorway glaring at me. He had bruises and scratches all over his face and his thick white beard was soaked with dried blood and his red suit jacket was torn and ripped, dirty and muddied.

    “Who, who, who, are you, and what do you want with me?” I managed to stutter with a shaky trembling voice.
    “You don’t remember?” He said…. In an angry voice.
    “Remember what? Who are you, what do you want, and where am I?” I shouted. “Let me loose; untie me right now” I demanded.
    “No, No, No, Not so fast. Your in a world of trouble here Mr.”
    “Wa, Wa, what are you talking about? What trouble?”
    “You sir, have ruined Christmas this year.”
    “I don’t know what you’re talking about and if this is some kind of joke I don’t think it’s at all funny. Now untie me and let me loose” I demanded.
    “I don’t think so. You have not only ruined Christmas you assaulted me and shot and killed Blitzing my most prized reindeer, (beside Rudolph that is).”
    My memory began to come back to me.
    “OOO I remember now…You’re the you’re the thieving bastard that broke into my house last night and was trying to steal all the Christmas presents under the tree. How the hell did I get here anyway?”
    “Your lucky your even alive, my team of reindeer nearly trampled you to death, had I not woken up after you whacked me with that baseball bat and stopped them you’d be dead right now….Trampled and poked to death and it would have served you right”
    “Yes that’s right too…I remember a bunch of wild deer came crashing through my window and attacked me after I caught you in my house stealing my presents.”
    “I wasn’t stealing your presents you idiot…..I was delivering gifts. I’m Santa clause you fool, And you ruined Christmas this year you moron. And not only that you killed one of my reindeer. You are now under arrest and will stand trial for deer murder, assault with intent to do bodily harm to Santa, and Grinch like conduct on Christmas eve. You’ll stand trial before the honorable Spirit of Christmas and if found guilty sentenced to life on the island of Grinch’s.”
    TBC (and edited and revised)…

  28. imprinted says:

    There was no mistaking whose footsteps those belonged to. Hard yet soft from years of practice creeping around in people’s houses in the dead of night, silent yet deadly if only they knew what I knew, and soon the whole world would know it as I was about to bring Santa down for the low-life he really was.

    The door creaked ajar, slowly at first until his giant framed silhouette fit the door and he descended on me like a tower of toppling books.

    “We’re on to you!” I say “We know what you are, who you work for, and kidnapping me won’t make a blind bit of difference, I am not the only one working on this case”

    “Oh, Oh, Oh Sonny” he spat back as he sat before me I could see one of his so called elves pandering to him, bringing him a chair, the chair sighed under his weight.

    “Pathetic!” I shouted

    “So why don’t you start by telling me who spread these vicious lies about me” he replied calmly.

    “With pleasure” I say no longer caring who I hurt in the process as I pulled on the restraints

    “You’re wife!” I admitted, Santa’s face dropped and changed from a flowing red to ashen
    “Yea that’s right” I added, “She sung like a canary with the right leverage. “We know all about the slave trade triad you and the Easter bunny have going on, we know those aren’t elves as you say, but nothing more than poor innocent children from the most poverty stricken parts of the world. We at fair trade have been working against you for some time now”

    Santa stood, he came closer towards me, I could feel his beard tickling my face as he leaned in, he sickly sweet breath leering over me and he whispered

    “That slut of a wife can’t be trusted, you know she has a candy cane addiction?” he stuffed a stocking in my mouth to silence me and walked over to a filing cabinet and pulled out a thick file with my name on it.

    “Rex Harris” he began

    “You have been on my naughty list since you were… eleven I believe”

    My muffled tones got louder as I pulled against my restraints while he continued

    Santa said “I can’t have you slandering my good name.

    I spat out the sock and laughed “Ha, good name? Santa is an anagram of SATAN!” I shouted.
    His eyes grew dark, I had gone too far, he closed the open door and replaced the sock into my mouth; my muffled cries were lost to a deserted wasteland of snow outside.

  29. DRS29 says:

    Does anyone know if the posting is not working? My post isn’t showing…

  30. MCKEVIN says:

    Very Good Handyman41327. Very good.

  31. MCKEVIN says:

    Nick came through the door half naked, aroused, obviously drunk and followed by a slew of reindeer and two elves.
    “Jingle, Jangle, get Candy ready.”
    Nick’s plan of getting me eggnog drunk and tying me up is so out of character, Oh, we play our little games to keep things interesting but where’d he get this idea? I know he’s under pressure and gets weird this time of year. Blitzen and Dasher untied and placed me on the workshop’s table. Comet and Cupid fastened me in two pair of fur covered handcuffs and all eyes in the room were on me.
    “They’re too tight!” I hollered.
    “Quiet wench!”
    I love when he talks like that. Cupid had a heart and loosened the cuffs on my feet and wrists.
    “Nick, if this about…”
    “Quiet!”
    I get goose bumps when he speaks demands. Last week, I thought he said he wanted a lap dance. I gyrated, grind and humped him as we stood in the middle of his living room. I rubbed my saggy bags in his face, did a split any gymnast would envy and waved my sexiest Granny panties over his head. He didn’t enjoy the show because he snatched my bloomers…
    “I need my RED PANTS!”
    It was hilarious until I turned around to pick up my bra and looked in our neighbors faces. I was so embarrassed. I wished I hadn’t taken off my hearing aids and glasses.
    “Go find Rudolph!” Nick said.
    Dancer, Prancer and Vixen rushed from the room but the elves looked at me with lust. It was a turn on of the sickest kind.
    “Turn her over and leave us be!”
    “But sir!” The elves moaned.
    “Now!”
    The elves flipped me like a hot pancake and Jingle, jangled my feet before he left.
    “Nick, if you want to play…”
    He picked up a thin yardstick size candy cane and spanked my bottom.
    WHACK!
    “Are you out of your mind…” I screamed.
    Whack!
    It stung but it felt hot good.
    “Oh.. Nick…”
    “Who’s your daddy?”
    “Nick, what game are you…”
    Whack!
    “You better…”
    Nick sucked, bit and kissed the back of my neck and I could smell evergreen on his breath.
    “Oooh, Nick don’t…”
    He grabbed my hair and pulled my head backwards.
    “Who’s your daddy?”
    “This is not funn…”
    Nick pressed his sweet eggnog flavored lips against mine and tongue snaked me like he was digging for gold. The roughness of his beard against my face made me wince and remembered why I wanted this man.
    “Who’s your daddy?”
    “You are Saint Nick, You are…”
    He undid my blouse one button at time. His breath was hot. There was a knock at the door.
    Knock!
    “Rudolph reporting sir!”
    “Not Now Rudolph!” I yelled.
    The knocks continued.
    Knock! knock!
    “Cane him!”
    “Can’t, we need his nose.”
    “Sir!”
    “Go Away! CatDaddy lay down so you can finish what you started. Nick you read 50 ways in the hay didn’t you? You love me?”
    HO! Ho! Ho!

  32. DRS29 says:

    My eyes opened unhurriedly, after a goodnight’s rest, and I tried to wipe the crust from my eyes but my arms didn’t budge. I tugged at my arms again and then realized they were tied behind my back with some coarse material that made my wrists itch. I looked around and saw that I was in total blackness except for a yellow light seeping into the room from a door faintly etched out ahead of me. My heart began throbbing and I realized I had been kidnapped. I attempted to stand up but my legs were in the same situation as my arms. And that was when I understood I was tied to a chair that felt like it was for little kids; my body massive on its miniature frame.
    I tried it all, thinking up something to get me out of this chair and out of this mysterious closet. I tried wiggling back and forth; maybe letting myself slither out of the chair, but instead almost tipped the chair over. I also tried pulling my wrists and ankles out of the twine but came to similar results as my previous attempt.
    It felt like hours before the door handle began to rattle. I looked up alertly, thanking God, for whoever this savior was. The door opened and the bright lights from civilization distorted my blackened view. A large figure entered the room. As he got closer my heart thumped faster and I saw he was wearing a red themed attire. He was tall too, giving only an inch or two of room between the ceiling and the top of his head.
    “Danny, how are you?” he asked, his voice rough and deep. I also saw then that he had a bushy white beard on his face.
    I cleared my throat and said, “Who are you. Can you get my out of here? Please!”
    “You know perfectly well who I am. In fact, you have been convincing people of my non-existence since you were thirteen years old. And now you have a book out on how I’m a myth. Do I look like a myth?”
    And then it clicked. “Santa?”
    “I thought I never existed, Danny.”
    “No…I…I just…I saw my parents buy the gifts and now I buy my kids their presents. You neh-never came into play, with any of the—“
    He put his finger on my lips to shush me. “No, I didn’t. But I did before you found out your parents were doing everything. And you never believed so why was I gonna help you?”
    I was flabbergasted. My bestselling book on how Santa was false was now being proved a lie. I did the research and I had my facts straight. I knew I did.
    “Santa, I’m sorry.”
    “You know how to repay me,”
    I looked up at him, perplexed.
    He cocked his thumb back behind him towards the toy factory and the elves and said, “Get busy,” as he untied me from the chair.

  33. handyman43127 says:

    SANTA’S CLAUSE

    My sight that was blurry just a moment ago begins to clear. Along with a pounding migraine my ears were ringing. Looking down at what was restricting my movement I discover that I have been bound to a chair with Duct tape and rope.

    Searching my surroundings I find myself in a small glass enclosed room with presents that I had bought scattered about me. There were others, what looked like hundreds of other people, also tied up and in their own little cubical. As I tried to free myself from my bondage my mind wondered back to my last memory I could recall before waking.

    I had just left the mall, my hands full of gifts I had purchased for my kids for Christmas morning, which was just one day away. Bags were ripping and presents were falling as I struggled to unlock my cars trunk. A kindly old gentleman offered to help, I accepted and thanked him. That’s the last memory I have!

    Snapping back to reality I continued to struggle. I twisted and turned my body, contorting in every position I could. The bindings just tightened and began biting into my exposed flesh. In one last attempt to escape I began to rock the chair back and forth trying to break it. Managing only to tip the chair over. I lay helpless and unable to move, trapped laying on my side and unable now to see the other captives.

    Time crawled until I could hear footsteps coming closer and closer. I could hear the door beginning to open. I lifted my head from the floor struggling to see. In walked a man dressed in red. “Santa, is that you?”

    “Yes who else were you expecting, Frosty?”

    “But you, I mean, why would you do this?”

    “Listen buster I’m tired of adults telling children that Santa does not exist and telling them that the presents are from them instead.”

    “You kidnapped me!”

    “Nope, read our contract, it gives me authority, have you forgotten?”

    “Contract, what contract?”

    Pulling a single piece of paper from his pocket Santa begins to read. Dear Santa my name is Billy and I have been a good boy this year. I have not lied and promise not to etc,etc, etc. “Get it now?”

    “You kept that letter from me this long?”

    “Yep and now I’m taking back Christmas, I will leave a letter describing where you are on the coffee table next to the cookie crumbs and empty glass of milk , that I get to drink this year!”

    “You gonna leave me like this, what about these presents?”

    “Here let me set you up, now behave and stay still, you can give those presents to your kids when they come to collect you. “Merry Christmas HO, HO, HO.”

    “Yea, that’s easy for you to say!”

    • MCKEVIN says:

      Very good handyman 41327. Very good. I think they got the posting fixed. x fingers crossed…

    • fbxwriter says:

      I like it! Especially the part where Santa has kept the letter for all those years. One minor punctuation error got me briefly confused. When Santa says “Yes who else were you expecting, Frosty?” I thought the person tied up was Frosty. I think that should be written “Yes, who else were you expecting? Frosty?” Not a big deal, though.

      I just looked at the top of the story and reread the part about your protagonist seeing “hundreds of other people.” Ha! Santa’s clamping down!

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