• THE
    Writing Prompt
    Boot Camp

    Subscribe to our FREE email newsletter and get the Writing Prompt Boot Camp download.

Your Elf on the Shelf is Stealing From You

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

Your brought an Elf on the Shelf into your home, but instead of him visiting Santa every night, you believe that he is mysteriously stealing money from your wallet and taking nightly trips to (fill in the blank). One night you stay awake and secretly follow him to find out the truth. Write this scene.

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

Want more creative writing prompts? Consider:

The Writer’s Book of Matches

 

 

You might also like:

  • Print Circulation Form

    Did you love this article? Subscribe Today & Save 58%

30 Responses to Your Elf on the Shelf is Stealing From You

  1. Marco Kenen says:

    Ok, no more playing the nice guy. A mischievous grin appeared on David’s face. He already knew what he’d be doing tomorrow. He’d start with an early morning trip to the local hardware store. Some super-glue was all he needed. The elf on the shelf would be staying on the shelf, permanently. Money was already fairly tight. David didn’t need an elf with kleptomania, stealing the little he had left. Tomorrow night they’d have a nice long chat about stealing other peoples belongings. “Crap!” The little criminal had left the house. David jumped up from behind the couch, grabbed his jacket, and quickly followed him outside. For a moment it had looked like he had vanished into thin air. And then, at the last second, David spotted him going around a corner. “Speedy little bastard!” A couple of mad dashes and some anxious peeks around corners had left David standing puzzled in front of a small convenience store. Had the little critter run out of cigarettes and booze?

    The young elf walked through the store like he owned it. Its other clients, or staff for that matter, could not see him. Only David could, as he was his owner. The young elf smiled like he had just won the lottery. This would score him major points with the boss himself. And he wasn’t all too David had only been able to follow him because it had been apart of the elf’s grand plan.

    The selection of groceries and gifts had been stashed in the elf’s magically enhanced, little backpack. He swiftly deposited the cash he had “Stolen” from David’s wallet in the cash drawer when the cashier opened it for another client’s transaction. He wasn’t a thief, not really!

    David watched in disbelief when he saw the elf walk out the door and continued his nightly excursion. Now where was he going? A secret date? Close to half an hour had passed before the elf appeared to have reached his destination. For some strange reason this street familiar. And then it hit him! David couldn’t believe his eyes when the elf knocked on the door of his ex girlfriend’s house.

    For some strange reason David had rushed over to the house. What was he thinking? They’d broken up about 9 months ago, when she had cheated on him with his ex best friend. Beads of sweat started to form itself on his forehead. He’d be better of running in the other direction.

    Time slowed to a crawl when Elizabeth opened the door, holding the cutest baby David had ever seen. Since when had she become a mum? The elf sat down a small hourglass, its sand slowly trickling down from the top bulb to the lower one. “I’ve run out of time my friend, so I’ll keep it short. The child she is holding is yours.” David didn’t know what to say. Why hadn’t she told him anything about their child? “She doesn’t yet know the child is yours, not for another couple of days. For your child’s sake, try and rekindle your relationship with her. He’ll grow up without a father if you don’t.” The elf gave David a last warm smile, and then vanished. “David? …”

  2. ShannonG says:

    “I promise you Brandon, the elf really does report back to Santa.” At 6 years old my son needed more convincing about things like magical elves.
    “Is he real? Why does he have a tag attached to his back?”
    I sheepishly glance where my son is pointing. That little piece of fabric is sticking out of his backside telling me what an idiot I am. How could I have forgotten to cut that stupid tag off? Now what do I tell him?
    “It’s bedtime.” There. That should end the conversation.
    Brandon trudges toward the stairs looking skeptically back over his shoulder at the elf. As soon as I know that he is asleep I place the elf inside his stocking with only his head peeking out. I smile as I anticipate his reaction the next morning when he realizes the elf has moved.
    The next morning I open my eyes as my son shakes me awake.
    “Mom, I can’t find the elf. He’s not where he was last night. I think he really is alive!”
    I roll out of bed proud of myself for introducing my son to a new Christmas tradition. I walk downstairs to help my son find his elf.
    “Where is he?” I sneak a glance to the stockings hanging over the fireplace…and he’s not there! I walk towards the stocking convinced that he has simply fallen inside. He’s not there.
    “Oh, here he is mom. He’s hiding in the dog door.” I look to where my son is pointing as see the elf lying at the base of the dog door with part of his foot stuck in the flap. I notice a bit of gold dust grazing his left shoulder. What in the world? My husband must have moved him. As soon as my son is off to school I call my husband and ask him if he moved the elf. He assures me he did not. Later that day as I’m getting ready to pay for my Starbucks I notice that I am missing $10.
    A few more days pass and every night I go to bed and place the elf in one spot and every morning I wake to find the elf in a different spot with a bit of gold dust on his shirt and money missing from my wallet. Finally on the fifth night I decide to stay awake and find out who is moving the elf and stealing money from me.
    I lie in my bed with the video baby monitor aimed at the elf. Hours pass before I notice a slight movement. I cannot believe my eyes. The elf has gotten up off of table and is heading towards the patio door. I race down the stairs and arrive just in time to see the glass door slide shut. I follow him as quietly as I can. He is heading straight for the forest beyond the yard. All of a sudden he stops beside a particularly thick old tree. I crouch down and wait for him to begin moving again. To my shock another figure appears at the base of the tree having wandered in from the opposite direction. As if watching a toy elf suddenly spring to life and walk out of my house wasn’t strange enough I can hardly grasp what I am looking at right now. The other little figure appears to be a leprechaun and the elf is giving him my $10.

  3. Barney R says:

    The elf is looking around, trying to see if all is well for his nightly raid. Tonight he feels money is not enough and looks for something bigger, something more important and worth much more. This guy is almost tapped out, he didn’t have much cash lying around, but he did have something worth much more. His little girl. She was four and ones that young brought more money that even he could imagine. Yes, he would steal the girl.
    I watched in my secret hidy hole in the coat closet by the stairs. I watched the elf climb the stairs with me in the shadows behind him. He approached my daughter’s room and slipped under the door. I silently opened the door a crack and I saw him sprinkle something over her and saw her shrink to doll size. I could see he was getting ready to leave and I lunged as he finished his incantation and caught his foot and was pulled for this universe into another.
    Once in this other universe, he became larger, much like my size and my daughter was in his arm still asleep. He looked at me and said, “How dare you come into this place. This is a sacred place and not for humans like you.”
    “Then leave me my daughter and never return to my world again.”
    He laughed and continued to laugh as I pulled my daughter from his weakened arms and said, “Begone with you, elf of the Nadarine. You have invoked the wrath of Aganar the magnificent, ruler of the twelve realms. I banish thee to the realm of the demon Satana never to bother the realm of the humans again.”
    A puff of brimstone smelling smoke appeared and the elf was swallowed by the smoke and disappeared screaming. I spoke a couple of words under my breath, and we arrived back into my daughter’s bedroom where I lay her back in bed, covered her, and kissed her forehead. As I rose I heard, “Thank you Daddy, I love you.”
    “And I love you too Princess.”

  4. Jess189 says:

    The buzz of the motion detector tipped me off. Through the sleep-induced fog of my brain I managed to turn off the alarm and stare at the clock. 3:14 am. What the hell was he doing up at 3:14? Certainly not trimming the tree.

    Tugging a coat over the outfit I’d slept in, I brushed my hair out of my eyes and tiptoed to the stair landing. Below I heard a rustle, my wallet no doubt, and then the jingle of keys before the door clicked shut.

    Wasting no time, I scurried out to the garage only to find it empty. I did a double-take. Someone had stolen my car.

    A horned blared and I looked up just in time to my childhood Elf on the Shelf doll hanging off the wheel of my SUV as it swerved down the street, around the corner, and out of sight. The neighbor’s porch light flipped on at the few choice words I screamed after the deranged Christmas decoration.

    In a moment of temporary insanity, I mounted my ten-speed bike and pedaled off at a breakneck pace.

    “Claire?”

    I glanced up from my furious pedaling to find my not-too-shabby next door neighbor keeping pace beside me in his car. I braked and he followed suit.

    “It’s twenty eight degrees outside.”

    I flushed. “I know. I’m…exercising.”

    He looked like he was hiding a smile. “At this time of night.”

    “Early to rise, early to get in shape?” I suggested and he chuckled.

    “If the early bird gets cold, I could warm her up.” He patted the passenger seat of his car. “High quality seat warmers.” I tried to control my breathing. Was it possible the man I’d been lusting after actually liked me too?

    “And what are you doing up at this time of night?” I narrowed my eyes.

    The smile practically knocked me off my bike. “Couldn’t sleep. Guess that’s something we have in common.”

    Getting out, he opened the passenger door for me and took my bike to load in the trunk. I shut the door and felt the warm leather seat against my cold fingers.

    Someone knocked on the window and I jumped. Looking out, I found myself face to face with the mischievous doll himself. Rolling the window down I only had time to catch my wallet he tossed in and not enough time to grab the wrapped present that hit me in the face. Then he was gone, a cigarette dangling from one tiny hand, and my car speeding away from the curb.

    “What’s that?” Jim asked, climbing in the driver’s seat.

    “Um, this is for you.” Looking curious, he unwrapped it and his face broke into a wide grin.

    “Merry Christmas, Claire.”

    Craning my neck to see inside the box, I felt his lips on mine and I stopped caring what I’d supposedly bought him. Wrapping my arms around his neck, I kissed him back.

    Merry Christmas indeed.

  5. LennyDRock says:

    ‘Someone is stealing money out of my wallet.’
    ‘Why are you whispering? And no, nobody is stealing your money. Who would do that?’
    ‘Pssst. It could hear us.’
    ‘It? What are you talking about?’ My wife turns on the light, looking annoyed at me.
    ‘The Elf.’
    ‘What Elf?’ Then she started to laugh. Not very friendly, by the way. ‘The Elf on the Shelf? Are you serious? Good night!’ It’s dark again. I just can hear my wife rustling with the blankets, snoring.
    What should I say to that? It sounds crazier when someone say it out loud. But it must be that elf. The clock strikes midnight. Isn’t that a magic hour? I had to proof it. As silent as I could I left the bedroom, picking my trousers and sweater, sneaking down the stairs where my wallet lies. And there I saw it. In the pale moonlight: The Elf on the Shelf with my wallet. My first instinct was to shout but my curiosity what the Elf is doing night after night with the money was stronger. So I followed it as it left the house. Unfortunately I forgot to put on some shoes what I learned the moment I came on dog poop and nearly slipped. ‘Shit!’ Disgusted I tried to get rid of it frantically, rubbing my foot on the neighbor’s grass, forgetting for one second why I’m out in the cold in the middle of the night.
    The Elf? Where is it? Then I saw it. It’s creeping around the house on the other side of the street. Is it a burglar? That can’t be! Not this supposed to be innocent Christmas-toy for my innocent, lovely kids!
    I followed it and peeked through the window watching the elf, putting my money into a box. Now I’m confused. What’s that all about? Suddenly I heard a thin voice in the dark.
    ‘Are you following me? Don’t you know that you risk your children’s gifts with that kind of thing. By the way, not that they need any more toys as they’ve plenty of them already?’
    ‘What?’
    ‘Yes. You heard it. It’s the same with stalking Santa. You see him, he’ll disappear and there won’t no gifts. Not that I’m thinking being as important as Santa. But I’m one of his crew. So …’
    ‘What are you talking about?’
    ‘Forget it. It’s over.’ The Elf looks so sad, I nearly forgot that he stole my money and I’m catching a bad flu standing here in the cold barefoot.
    ‘No, I won’t. Tell me. What did you do with the money and what did you do here in this house?’
    ‘All right, I’ll tell you. But don’t think me crazy.’
    ‘Me?’
    ‘Well, they need the money here to buy some food for the kids. The orphanage hasn’t enough as some people gave their donations to Africa at this time of the year. Not that they need it, too. Don’t misunderstand me. But it’s always a hard time for those who are living here.’
    ‘Wow! I had no idea! What could I, what could we, my family, do?’
    ‘Give them a nice and happy Christmas. Maybe your kids could give them some of their toys they aren’t playing with anymore. Wrap them as gifts. Because these kids here won’t get any this year, otherwise.’
    ‘That’s a great idea. Maybe our friends want to do that too. Thank you.’
    The Elf has vanished. It’s not been seen in our house again. Its mission is fulfilled. This year our Christmas has been different. Our children enjoyed it a lot to share their toy with children who has nothing, seeing the joy they had to unwrap their presents.

  6. assaultymcnulty says:

    My Elf on the Shelf

    I’ll admit, I was pissed off at the world. I was 36 years old and suddenly found myself unemployed a week before Christmas. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I hadn’t paid my mortgage and my wife Bree’s car payment was late not to mention the kids school tuition was in serious delinquency. I recognized the tone immediately. It was the same voice she used to talk me into getting that dog that never stops yipping. I slowly swallowed my anger like a rock and regained control of my breathing before entertaining the idea.
    “Oh John come on, they’re so cute!” my wife, Bree schmoozed through her pearly white smile. I managed to half smile back.
    “I’m sorry I’m just not feeling the cuteness.” I said with sarcasm. She had no idea.
    “The kids will love it!” she said with soft eyes that soothed a broken man.
    “Bree… I lost my job…I’m sorry.” I said with shame washing over my face. I felt my body lower.
    Bree, kissed me soflty and caressed my tense shoulder, instantly melting my anger like a popsicle on a warm day.
    “We’ll be okay.” She said with a warm smile.
    My palms began to sweat and I half – heartedly agreed.
    It wasn’t until the third night that I noticed something wasn’t right. Being the one to go to bed last, it was my job to move the elf to different spots, to prove to the children that he was reporting back to Santa, only he was never in the same spot that I left him.
    Bree assured me that she had nothing to do with it and my children were too young to reach my wallet. But either way I was a saw buck short every night and I certainly remembered when ten bucks wasn’t a lot of money.
    The next night I positioned the blankets just enough to barely cover my eyes and I waited in the darkness of night to catch my prey. My wallet was positioned in my top drawer. The incandescent glow of the moon edged through my window and illuminated a triangular beam of light that hit my bedroom door. I was waiting to pounce on him but truthfully, I never saw him move, just the ting of my dresser drawer handle as it shut. I flew out of bed and raced down the stairs and noticed the dog flap swinging and the dog yipping. For a 12 inch toy he was quick. I kept my eyes on him and as I rounded the corner at the bottom of the street I observed him enter Sal’s corner store.
    I slipped up alongside the window ads and peered over the giant milk graphic, behold, there he was scratching away on lottery tickets. I burst in.
    “Aha! I knew it was you!”
    He turned around and a smile smeared his cheeks from ear to ear.
    “We won!” he said jubilantly.
    I swiped the ticket from his grasp to see for myself. They say miracles are few and far between and that may very well be but truthfully, I never thought one would happen to me.

  7. itsjules says:

    I’m sorry, I’m stuck on the typo. “Your brought…”?

    Disappointing, in a supposed WRITING site.

  8. rapidbutterly says:

    It started out as a joke. My friends Jen and Jenn bought me this stupid elf on the shelf. They thought it would be funny, a goth purple haired girl in her dark lair of a house with a sweet innocent elf sitting on the book shelf in between Dracula the real prince of darkness and a grimoire. It stuck out like a sore thumb but Alice was part of the family now. Yes Alice as in Alice cooper. If he was going to stay in my house he was gong to have a name.
    I woke up the next morning thinking the joke was still going. My dear Alice had some how found his way to the living room window. At first I thought the Jen’s had snuck in and moved him but every window and door was locked. The next two days were the same, I was starting to think the Jen’s were playing santa and creeping in through the fire place.
    By the fourth night I had had enough. I camped out on the sofa pretending to sleep. Before I started to drift off I heard a zipper opening. I took a quick peek, I couldnt believe what I saw. I had expected to see the Jenn’s in action, instead Alice was digging through my purse. That little imp was stealing from me just my luck I get the purse snatching version of chucky. Alice grabbed the money and headed out the door squeezing out through the mail slot.
    I threw my coat on and followed him down the block watching him dodge from shadow to shadow until he made his way to the back of a gentelmens club. I snuck in behind him finding myself in a dressing room. Alice sat at the vanity looking as innocent as possible.
    “Wheres my money elf.” I tried to ignore the fact that I was yelling at a doll.
    ” I saw you move, dont play with me I’ll give you to my pitbull and you know sprinkles is dying for a new chew toy.”
    Alice ran over to an mp3 on the vanity and pressed play, I’m in love with a stripper started playing. ” Come on really?”. The sound of hooker boots on the wooden floor headed our way. I ran into the closet praying it wasnt time for a wardrobe change.
    Peeking around the door I could see the dancer in her semi doctors outfit, a lab coat and tall white boots and then I saw her. Sticking out of the labcoats pocket was a tiny silver pixie. I knew she was the reason why Alice had been sneaking out.
    The stripper took the pixie and flung her across the room.
    “So much for good luck” she mumbled storming out.
    I rushed over to the pixie, her blue wings cracked. She looked like she had been thrown before. Alice was going to run away with her. Tucking the pixie in my pocket I grabbed Alice and left. I fixed her wings and named her Jet like Joan Jet, they sit on the shelf and my purse stays far away.

  9. kchula-rrit says:

    * Hopefully, fourth time does it… *

    He showed up the day after Thanksgiving, courtesy of a “friend,” who thought a cute elf would raise our spirits. Something that cute just has to be pure evil.

    Being a “Lord of the Rings” fan, The Better Half named him Legolas. I wanted to call him Apophis, like the Goa’uld from “Stargate”. When we named him his eyes glowed for a moment, confirming my opinion.

    The next day my wallet went missing; the Better Half denied any knowledge. The wallet turned up next to Legolas. It had been picked clean, even down to the pennies in the change section.

    That night I stayed up, courtesy of some old Adderall pills, to find the sneak-thief. The Better Half thought I was nuts. I found culprit when that elf stirred, jumped down from the shelf, and kicked the dog awake. He held his hand out, his eyes glowed, and the dog just sat there while he climbed up, like the Long Ranger mounting Silver. They coursed through the house like a steeplechase, only stopping to grab any cash, whether it be in pocket, purse, or cookie jar. I gave chase when they dashed out the front door, only to see them turn the corner.

    The next night I Velcroed my mobile phone to the dog’s collar and left it on, so I could track them over the Internet. The trace showed them lingering behind one of those temporary Christmas shops that pop up around Halloween and disappear on the 26th.

    So I hid behind the shop one night. Legolas/Apophis showed up on-cue, meeting with a fat man who waited in the gaudiest sled I had ever seen. The elf handed over our money, and received a small vial in return. Then he rode off into the night, the poor dog gasping for breath. Neither said anything.

    The Internet trace showed zig-zags all over town, so I just went home and waited. When the little culprit returned I grabbed him to stuff him into our old cat carrier. His eyes glowed, and I yelped in pain as I dropped him. Apophis indeed.

    “That’s why the book said not to touch me!” His voice was throaty and arrogant. Like a Goa’uld. Great.

    “Why?” I asked the elf.

    “I had to meet my connection,” he replied. “This stuff keeps me alive, but it’s pricey. The company cut their health benefits so we have to pay our own way. Coal distribution is up this year, and that cuts into the heating budget. The Big Guy doesn’t get his usual kickbacks from the toy companies, with the kids asking for food and such things. We can only afford a month’s worth of treatments, then we have to hibernate.”

    I stood there, stunned. What could I say? There are still three weeks left.

    Legolas/Apophis promised to keep the damage to a minimum if we paid for his fix.

    Our “friend” is getting their very own Elf-On-A-Shelf next year. I’ll name it Chucky.

  10. radioPanic says:

    (Well, if the past 4 days are any indication, here goes nothing….)

    ****

    Dear No-one,

    I’ve been here since December 5th. Reached The Village on the second night and asked around how to earn a drink or ten. Washed dishes in a tavern. Bought a Guide to Edible Flora in the Great Forest. Located a parchment tree and a swamp of pencil grass, to write down this warning.

    Bill was right. He’d squinted at that thing, tongue working his molars, and said, “Something unwholesome there.” I resisted suggesting he discuss it with his mother.

    First morning after my mother-in-law perched the Elf-on-a-Shelf on our mantel, Bill was at work, and my billfold empty. Second morning, same thing, though I’d hidden the billfold in my underwear drawer. That evening, I drank coffee. Left the billfold on the dresser and witnessed the little bastard in the act. Followed him downstairs, where he vanished into the fireplace. Kneeling in front, my hand was just quick enough to prevent the door in back swinging shut. I crawled through and found myself here.

    Temporarily ignoring the ramifications of a Great Forest behind our hearth, I followed the sound of rustling, always catching a ghost of a trail when I thought it’d vanished. I reached a clearing, where the little bastard sat puffing a hookah with a unicorn, a white rabbit, a trio of trolls, and a lizard prince.

    I stepped in. “Frankie. Really?” (Jenny, grimacing, had named him after a bully in her third-grade class.)

    The elf scrambled to his feet, facing me with red-ringed eyes. “How’d you get here?”

    “Followed you.”

    “Your kind is unwelcome here!” Frankie said, staggering.

    “‘My kind’ only followed to warn your kind against stealing from my kind,” I said, slow enough to sink through the glaze of whatever he’d been smoking.

    He swayed on his tiny legs, glaring. The rest watched, reddened eyes drooping. “Bella,” he said.

    The unicorn clambered upright, lowered her horn, point glinting in the moonlight, and pawed the ground.

    Frankie’s plastic lips stretched into a grin. “Get her!”

    I whirled and dove into the trees, cinching my robe tighter, shooting for the thickest brush. And kept running. Everyone must have been plenty baked, because the pursuit died within the hour.

    In The Village, I shovel stables and wash dishes to afford information. Grease for the wheels. No one knows how to find the door again without help from its creator. But I’ve uncovered a secret quirk in the postal system here. A letter to ‘No-one,’ addressed to ‘Nowhere,’ absent a return address and sufficient postage, will be returned to Everyone. Everywhere.

    So! Whoever finds one of these creeps gracing their mantel, do this:

    1. Start a nice, roaring fire.
    2. Toss the elf in. Towards the front, in case it has a door in the back. Hold it down with an iron poker.

    And Bill: if Frankie somehow leads you through that door, wedge something iron through to keep it open. You’ll find me in The Village. Just check the stables during daylight, the taverns at night.

    Love,

  11. mooseshoes says:

    You distance yourself as you watch him fly down the stairs, a small light filters from below and the faint smell of a stale cigar quickly fills the air. You quietly step in the shadows and hide under the steps. The basement not the most pleasant part of the house with dark corners and lingering fragrances of fresh paint and musty mold, you wipe a spider web from your hair and the chill climbs your spine.
    A small flash of light moves you closer to the steps and to your amazement you can’t believe what you see. Five, no wait six elves are now sitting around the old card table. Smoke rings encircling their tiny heads, ashes falling from their stogies on the newly painted floor. Beer cans pop open with splats of beverage sprinkling the cards. The sound of poker chips carefully stacked was all so surreal. Then, you see it. lying on the table next to your elf was your wallet! That little elf stole your wallet to finance his game.
    My thought of last week and accusing the kids of taking my money now falls on that little thief! I had to do something, but what? If I take him down how will I explain to the kids what happen to the Elf?
    The rancid smell of something dead drifted upwards into my nostrils, I look around me, expecting to see a dead rat on the floor when I feel a tap on my left shoulder. I’ve been spotted. Dare I move? No, I freeze like that sneaky little elf does.
    Again, a fat little frumpy elf with a cigar hanging from his mouth taps me on the shoulder and asks, “Hey man, you got any toilet paper for the crapper?”
    “Oh, and a plunger, if you don’t mind.”
    Your head drops, and you wonder, is this a dream?

  12. penney says:

    This was one Christmas tradition I didn’t want to start. We read the story, gave it a freaking name (Ty) and even registered his adoption online. Now it was time to wait and see the magic.

    “Now remember mom, you can’t touch him. Don’t ever move him.” My son said with all seriousness.

    I patted him on the shoulder. “Okay honey, I promise.”

    Every time I passed the mantle, he creeped me out like those paintings that follow you. I knew the story. Ty was the ears and eyes of Santa. Worse, every night this creature was supposed to move. The kids and my husband were no help either. At first, Ty stayed put. One morning though, he wasn’t on the mantle. He was on the kitchen counter next to my purse. I was in a hurry and reached to put him back.

    “Mom, no! Don’t touch him!” My oldest screamed. I jumped back and looked to her.

    “Honey I don’t have time for this,” I said.

    “Just leave him mom, please.” Jenny pleaded. So I left him.

    He continued to move. My family denied any involvement. True to form, the myth seemed to come true. I didn’t care. There was another mystery. My one indulgence, a 32oz blended Mocha with no whipped crème, was being denied. It wasn’t much, just six dollars worth of heaven gone everyday.

    My family pleaded innocence. My head was reeling from caffeine withdrawals. One night my youngest, Macy, suggested Ty did it.

    “That’s ridiculous.” I said looking around the room.

    “Mom, that’s part of the mystery. Besides, we couldn’t find him today,” she said.

    “Come on, he’s…” I stopped and looked around the living room. “Look there, he’s on the bookshelf.” I rolled my eyes, trying to play along. This was getting a little weird though.

    Without letting them know, I planned a night of sleuthing. I pretended to fall asleep during a late night show. I had nested on the sofa with my purse and laptop. As the evening went on, I laid there listening to the house settle. Then it happened. I peeked through cracked eyelids at an elfin creature as he approached my purse.

    I leaned up and looked right at him. “What are you doing?”

    Matter-of-factly he responded. “I’m taking your coffee money.”

    “Why?”

    “To make your wish come true.” He continued, “How do you think Santa gets all those wishes accomplished? He’s not a rich man you know.” He paused, “It’s not like you need it.”

    I was a little shocked. Ty looked at me. “I have saved over $180 that you would’ve wasted. I’ve got to get this money up to Santa. Now, I haven’t had a cookie since yesterday, I’m hypoglycemic, and Prancer’s waiting. Can I go?”

    “Of course.” I laughed in disbelief as he floated up the chimney.

    From then on, I never touched him. When he disappeared after Christmas, I didn’t question it either. I knew we’d see him again next year.

  13. assaultymcnulty says:

    I’ll admit, I was pissed off at the world. I was 36 years old and suddenly found myself unemployed a week before Christmas. I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I hadn’t paid my mortgage and my wife Bree’s car payment was late not to mention the kids school tuition was in serious delinquency. I recognized the tone immediately. It was the same voice she used to talk me into getting that dog that never stops yipping. I slowly swallowed my anger like a rock and regained control of my breathing before entertaining the idea.
    “Oh John come on, they’re so cute!” my wife, Bree schmoozed through her pearly white smile. I managed to half smile back.
    “I’m sorry I’m just not feeling the cuteness.” I said with sarcasm. She had no idea.
    “The kids will love it!” she said with soft eyes that soothed a broken man.
    “Bree… I lost my job…I’m sorry.” I said with shame washing over my face. I felt my body lower.
    Bree, kissed me soflty and caressed my tense shoulder, instantly melting my anger like an ice cube flowing over a hot griddle.
    “We’ll be okay.” She said with a warm smile.
    My palms began to sweat and I agreed.
    It wasn’t until the third night that I noticed something wasn’t right. Being the one to go to bed last, it was my job to move the elf to different spots, to prove to the children that he was reporting back to Santa, only he was never in the same spot that I left him.
    Bree assured me that she had nothing to do with it and my children were too young to reach my wallet. But either way I was a saw buck short every night and I certainly remembered when ten bucks wasn’t a lot of money.
    The next night I positioned the blankets just enough to barely cover my eyes and I waited in the darkness of night to catch my prey. My wallet was positioned in my top drawer. The incandescent glow of the moon edged through my window and illuminated a triangular beam of light that hit my bedroom door. I was waiting to pounce on him but truthfully, I never saw him move, just the ting of my dresser drawer handle as it shut. I flew out of bed and raced down the stairs and noticed the dog flap swinging and the dog yipping. For a 12 inch toy he was quick. I kept my eyes on him and as I rounded the corner at the bottom of the street I observed him enter Sal’s corner store.
    I slipped up alongside the window ads and peered over the giant milk graphic, behold, there he was scratching away on lottery tickets. I burst in.
    “Aha! I knew it was you!”
    He turned around and a smile smeared his cheeks from ear to ear.
    “We won!” he said jubilantly. I swiped the ticket from his grasp to see for myself. They say miracles are few and far between and that may very well be but truthfully I never thought it would happen to me.

  14. Dane Baylis says:

    I admit it. I brought it into my home. Not a kid in sight and Santa had gone the way of the Easter Bunny and the Passenger Pigeon. But a deadline is a deadline, I had promised “Over Indulgent Parent’s” magazine the greatest Christmas story since Dickens and I was totally blocked. Figured having a shelf elf couldn’t hurt.

    Even with this fetish it was tough going. I get it down and undo it. Then I’d back up and try again…and again…and…Anyway, five pounds of coffee, a case of energy drinks and all the microwave popcorn my credit card could stand and I was steadili hallucinating scenes from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and only about halfway through.

    I caved and hit O’Malley’s dive in hopes a little liquid relaxation would help. I ordered a round and dug out the wallet only to find I was about tapped out. Maybe I hadn’t used the card to buy everything? How many brain cells does caffeine kill at these levels? The barman knew me so I ran up a tab and, perhaps a little too relaxed, headed home.

    Letting myself

  15. Dane Baylis says:

    I admit it. I brought it into my home. Not a kid in sight and Santa had gone the way of the Easter Bunny and the Passenger Pigeon. But a deadline is a deadline, I had promised “Over Indulgent Parent’s” magazine the greatest Christmas story since Dickens and I was totally blocked. Figured having a shelf elf couldn’t hurt.

    Even with this fetish it was tough going. I get it down and undo it. Then I’d back up and try again…and again…and…Anyway, five pounds of coffee, a case of energy drinks and all the microwave popcorn my credit card could stand and I was steadili hallucinating scenes from “It’s a Wonderful Life” and only about halfway through.

    I caved and hit O’Malley’s dive in hopes a little liquid relaxation would help. I ordered a round and dug out the wallet only to find I was about tapped out. Maybe I hadn’t used the card to buy everything? How many brain cells does caffeine kill at these levels? The barman knew me so I ran up a tab and, perhaps a little too relaxed, headed home.

    Letting myself

  16. MCKEVIN says:

    Tuesday… I moved Ditto again and picked up my wallet. It felt light again. I looked at my sleeping
    Angel-faced son JR, and convinced myself “he wouldn’t.”
    My wife however…

    “Honey, did you take money from my wallet?”
    “No! But, what if I did?”
    “No problem. I was just asking sweetheart!”

    We laughed, but money was missing. I’d counted it yesterday when I first moved Ditto.

    Wednesday… I was twenty short. “JR couldn’t” I told myself. I decided to stay up to see who’s robbing me and slept in JR’s closet. 12:01and Ditto came alive. He jumped from the shelf to the desk and landed on the chair that held my pants. He got my wallet, bypassed ones and fives and went for tens and twenties. That thieving elf stole a hundred dollars. He returned the wallet and refolded my pants. He slid down the chair’s leg, scurried across the kitchen and dashed outside through the cat-door opening. I followed Ditto heading for the backyard. He kneeled down, prayed and a neon red fairy appeared through a white cloud.

    “You have ze money?”
    “Hun nit as promised.”

    Red counted the money, reached in her wing satchel and pulled out five pea size black velvet mushrooms. Ditto took the fungus buds like he done it thousand times before. He placed them inside his green jacket pocket.

    “Zemember, ate one at ze time.” Red said.
    “Okay, but…”

    POOF!!!!

    Red was gone as quickly as she came. I’d ducked behind the compost bin when Ditto turned to go in the house. He rushed through the door and I was on his heels. He climbed up JR’s bedspread, used a spider plant to pull himself up the shelf and popped a fungus bud in his mouth. His eyes stopped blinking and he looked catatonic.

    “Ditto, you okay?”

    Nothing and he looked frozen in time.

    “SNAP!”

    I clapped my hands looking for a response. Nothing! I thought he was dead and that I’d lost my mind. Elves don’t exist. They’re figments of imagination right? Ditto stared into blankness. I turned to leave, but stopped because of Fairy- Red and the black mushrooms. If it wasn’t real, he wouldn’t have any. I lifted his coat and four fell onto the shelf. They’re real! I picked up two and they smelled like chocolate. I was about to put them my mouth and…

    “Don’t do it!”

    I ignored JR and downed them. The room blurred and spun quickly. I laughed wildly as I tried to stop it. I had to vomit and diarrhea at the same time. My heart raced uncontrollably. My wife came in and…

    I … I said.

    “BAM!”

    I fell to the floor hitting my head. She turned me over and felt no heartbeat or pulse.

    “Oh My God! He’s dead!” She hollered.

    She stood up, saw and smelled the mushrooms.

    “Ooh Chocolate!”

    She raised them to her mouth.

    “Don’t do it!”

    She ignored me, JR and DITTO. Ate ‘em and fell over dead.

  17. dougero1 says:

    “You have to get an Elf on the Shelf,” my coworker insisted. “Your kids will love it and you’ll have a ball with it.”
    It didn’t take a whole lot of convincing. My wife and I had been talking about getting one of the little elves to move around the house and control the kids with fear. At least that’s what the plan was. It seemed to work with the kids responding to my wife’s arrangement of the elf each night. My first clue that something wasn’t right was money started disappearing from my wallet. One night I woke for some reason. It could have been a noise or maybe it was pure luck. I got out of bed to get a drink of water and noticed our elf leaning back on the dresser with my wallet in his lap. My wife is pretty clever, I thought.
    In the morning the elf was posing out near the Christmas tree and all was right accept money was missing again. At this point I began hatching a plan of my own. We went to bed as usual that night but I stayed awake. Around midnight I heard what could be described as a noise but it was faint. I sat up in bed and glanced at my wallet on the nightstand. Our little elf was clutching my wallet. I must have fallen asleep and allowed my wife an opportunity. Setting up in the bed I decided I would move the elf and beat her at her own game. I reached for the little fella but he was gone. I grabbed my wallet, opened it and discovered another ten dollars missing. Realization dawned on me in a slow burn it couldn’t be my wife, she was asleep next to me.
    Jumping out of bed I grabbed my slippers and a flashlight from the nightstand and left the bedroom. At the bottom of the stairway I noticed cold air blowing through a raised window. The window should have been closed, it was too cold outside. I opened the door and stepped out onto the porch. In the quiet of the night I heard what sounded like a large crowd in the distance. With darkness surrounding me I ran toward the noise. It was coming from the woods behind the neighborhood. Once there I couldn’t believe what I saw.
    Hundreds of elves crowded around a small cage containing two squirrels wearing miniature shorts. Bets were placed in a scene rivaling Wall Street trading and a fight ensued, squirrel on squirrel. It was horrible. The next morning I thought it all may have been a dream; mud on my slippers and on the elf’s convinced me it wasn’t. An old birdcage in the basement that had outlived an unfortunate pet became the elf on a shelf’s new home. He remains there today, three years after I found him gambling my money away at a squirrel fight club.

  18. lhollowell says:

    * First, I apologize for it being a little over 600 words rather than 500; didn’t have time to pare it down further. *

    I spotted him at the bar, leaning over an almost empty glass, a short red straw between his lips. The dingy paneled walls sucked the dim light from the dusty bulbs, turning it into a yellow haze. The few other patrons had left him to himself, although they snuck furtive glances his way, dutifully avoiding eye contact. A dollar bill lay beside the glass.

    I walked up and sat down next to him.

    “Danny,” I said. “Fancy meeting you here.”

    The straw fell from his lips as he placed his white-gloved hands on the top of the glass and turned his full nine inch height to look up at me.

    “Crap. You got me,” he said. He sat down facing me, his back against the glass. The elf made an interesting sight, with his red suit and boots and white flowerlike collar. A short lock of brown hair peeked out from under his white cap. One of his white gloves had a dark spot on it, probably from the liquor.

    “What are you having?” I asked.

    “Jack,” he said. He bore a resigned expression.

    “Jack and Coke,” I called to Johnny the bartender, hovering discreetly nearby. “Give him another, too,” I said, pointing to Danny’s glass. Johnny gave a quick nod. I glanced down at the dollar bill. It had been in my wallet earlier today, bearing the circular blue mark I had placed in its corner . I looked at the elf. His dark eyes met mine. “That’s my dollar,” I said.

    Danny slowly stood, leaning on top of his glass. He stared down at the bar before facing me. “Sorry about that,” he said. “It’s just so hard this time of year.”

    Two clack-clacks got our attention as Johnny placed our drinks on the bar. “Thanks Johnny,” Danny said to the man’s retreating back.

    I picked up my glass. The drink felt comfortable running down my tongue and throat, like catching up with an old friend. “Go on,” I said.

    “Yeah,” Danny sighed. “Like I said, it’s so hard this time of year.” He took the straw from the old glass and placed it in the new one, jabbing at the small ice cubes. “All this Christmas stuff. That’s not what an elf’s life is supposed to be about.”

    I felt my brow furrow. “But you’re an Elf on the Shelf. That’s what you do.”

    He shook his head. “That’s what we’re reduced to.” He made a couple more jabs with the straw. “Ever read Lord of the Rings?” His face brightened as he said the words. “The Silmarillion?”

    “Sure,” I said. “Wait a minute. You’re not saying –“

    “That’s exactly what I’m saying.” He spread his arms, looking at his clothing. “Would Elrond ever be caught dead in an outfit like this? Would Feanor?”

    “But I don’t understand. Didn’t all the elves leave the world after those, uh, events?”

    “Yeah, most did,” Danny said, frowning. “But you know how it is. Some of us just had to stay. After all, Sauron was gone, so we wanted to see how things were gonna be.” He turned, took a quick slurp from his straw. “At first, it wasn’t too bad,” he added, “but over time, as there were fewer and fewer of us, people forgot about us and turned us into – this,” he said, waving his arms. “What a crock.”

    I shook my head. “How do the other elves handle it?” I said.

    “I have no idea,” he said sadly. “I don’t even think most of them remember anymore.”

    I didn’t know what to say. Finally, I called Johnny over. “Give Danny anything he wants, every night he comes in. Put it on my tab.” Johnny nodded. I turned to Danny. “See you tomorrow?”

    He smiled up at me. “I’ll turn up somewhere around the house. Thanks.”

  19. Derfdan says:

    We named him, Jackie. The thing gave me the creeps when my wife had bought it, but Jeremy and Anna loved it. They were good kids anyway, so they had no fear of the Elf running back to tell Santa of any wrong doings. Ugh, the thought of that thing running on its stick legs—the little pecker doesn’t even have any feet.

    I found a dirty magazine on Jeremy’s desk the next day—not even hidden under a stack of papers, just sitting out and waiting to be found. I confronted him about it, told him that I wasn’t mad, but he was too young to look at that kind of stuff. He started to cry and he denied it of course. I assured him that we could forget about it, but I would not have him lying to me. We agreed.

    That night we had decided to order a pizza. Jeremy had bucked up by then and was playing with Anna and his hamster, Kibble, in the living room. They started to argue because Anna wanted to hold Kibble. “No,” Jeremy told her, “you’re too rough.” I told them to settle down while the Elf watched them.
    “You two don’t want the…uhm…Jackie to tell Santa, do you?”
    When I went to the door to pay for the pizza, I found that the five I had kept in my wallet all week was gone. My thoughts immediately went to Jeremy and I hated myself for it.

    It was 2 a.m. that night when I heard the sound in the hallway—a soft tapping. Anna’s bedroom was wide open though she usually keeps it cracked. I looked down the hall and my gut twisted. The Elf was standing in the dim light with its back to me. I slipped into Anna’s room, her presence making me feel safer. A small kitchen knife was on her bedside stand. Next to the knife was Kibble. I’ll save you the details, but I had to contort my body to keep from screaming at the mess of him. I wrapped him with a discarded shirt before leaving the room. I made sure to check on Jeremy and everything seemed in place except for the empty hamster cage.

    The Elf was perched on the living room mantle as if nothing had happened. I took it down and turned it over in my hands then I dropped it to the floor and held it in place with a foot. It only started to squirm when I lit the fireplace.
    “What have you been doing to my kids?”
    “The Elves are tired,” it hissed in a faraway voice. “We’re getting rid of the work load, one child at a time. No good boys, no new toys!” It screamed and laughed as it flailed like a severed air hose before being tossed into the fire. I disposed of Kibble then, and then sat on the couch, keeping an eye on the fire for the rest of the night.

  20. JRSimmang says:

    Normally, I don’t get suckered into buying things. I hate Christmas.
    But, I met a girl who loves it, so, guess what, I have to love it now too.
    We’ve been together for a little over a year, and I quickly found out that Christmas is her favorite holiday. I thougth I would do something special for her this year and actually participate in the spirit. After all, I didn’t want the Marley brothers to come visit me. He he.
    I went out to the store, and seeing how we have a mantle over our fireplace in our new apartment, I thought it would be nice to get her something as unique as she is: an Elf on the Shelf. Holy shit. That thing creeped the living crap out of me. I gave it to her 12 days before Christmas.
    She loved it. It went up on the mantle that very day.
    Now, don’t call me superstitious, but I think we have a real elf living on our shelf. The thing was pristine when I bought it, but the very next day its clothes were wrinkled and it smelled like the street. This went on for three days when she started asking questions. “What do you have against Christmas,” she’d say, or “you know you don’t have to change for me.” That was the worst. We had some rough arguments during that time. I tried to convince her that I haven’t touched her elf. She’d say, “I know. Why not? Am I too fat for you?” And that would be a whole ‘nother argument. I couldn’t stand it any more.
    So, I commandoed it. I camped out to see what was happening to this damn thing. I started to wonder if some of the neighborhood kids were somehow getting into our place and dipping this elf into old bath water. I hid behind the Christmas tree.
    The first night nothing happened. I started to doze off around 4 a.m. When I woke up, nothing. So, I did it again the next night thinking they saw me get into my hiding place. I went into the bedroom like I was going to go to sleep, but then took a turn out the other door of our bedroom and wound around the backside. I got into a sitting crouch and waited.
    Then, roundabout 1:00 a.m. the most marvellous thing happened. The light was almost too bright to look at. It came from within the elf. Then, the thing hopped off the mantle, waddled into the bedroom, and grabbed my wallet!
    Then, he snuck out the front door.
    First, he crept downstairs to the first floor. Waiting for him there was some sort of costumed child. Its skin was deep, blood red, it had horns and this snaky tongue that kept lolling out of his head. The elf shoved his tiny little fingers deep into my wallet and extracted the $100 bill I was going to use to get Beatrice something nice. He handed it to the little imp, who smiled visciously, and disappeared into a puff of smoke. Kids these days!
    After that, he trudged on down the street and took flight. That little thing took flight. So, I hopped in my car and followed him. I followed him straight into some snowstorm and out into a battlefield.
    That’s where he stopped me.
    “You’re following me.”
    “You’re right, you little bastard. Now give me back my wallet.”
    He floated up to my eye level. “Here’s your stupid wallet. From now on, you can protect yourself from the demons your little girlfriend has hired to suck your soul!”
    “Huh, wha?”
    “You see this?” He motioned to the world around him. For the first time I noticed what he was talking about. Strewn about us, other Elves on the Shelves were lobbing elfin magic blasts at demon hordes. Bodies were bleeding out some sort of bluish liquid light. “This is where we all go when you are all nestled in your beds, dreaming of sugar plums.” He got this sneer on his face. “Stupid, lucky sugar plum fairies…”
    “What?” was all I managed to get out.
    “This is the real war on Christmas!” And with that, he shot straight up in the sky, blasting fireballs out of his tiny hands. I was there, stranded, unarmed, and freezing in the Battle of Yuletide.

  21. slayerdan says:

    (I am saddened by the contribution level here as of late, many of the people that were regular seem to have disappeared–for the same reason I myself took a 5 week sabbatical. Hope the new year brings some people back. Here is my latest–yes it is over by 61 words, a pet peeve of mine but its Christmas time, so the 61 words are a gift to myself.)

    CHARLIE’S PLACE

    It’s two a.m. The night air grips like the icy hand of death. My breath hangs heavy in front of me, each exhale a testament to my fitness level. Still, on I must press. Behind bushes. Crouched low behind a car. Tracked mercilessly by an emotionless moon, its light begging to give me away.

    Following an elf is not a task to undertake too lightly.

    That little bastard can move. And of course by all rights he should be able to. He is two feet tall and thin as a rail. He maybe weighs 5 pounds. Of course, he is also a mixture of plastic, glue and wood. Which means my big ass is certifiable or mom bought this little, thieving bastard from Merlin. Regardless, I will see where he is going every night.

    What else can I do? Tell my mom the Christmas crap she bought me is alive? And stealing five bucks from me everynight? I blamed the kids at first, even grounded Tommy. Then the money went missing when the family was visiting that beast Aunt Hildie. A little video work showed me the truth.

    A lot of vodka helped me deal with it.

    It has been about a mile now. I cannot feel my feet and he just continues to bounce right along. Harder to hide in town. This is madness. Perhaps I am dreaming? Or drunk? Did I drink the vodka and then hallucinate?

    “Hey chubs”, slaps me out of thought, “what are you doing following me?” Hands on hips, my prey stood in front of me, his wooden nose crinkled. Grasping at words, my mouth hung open and silence followed.

    Peering into his eyes, a chill gripped me as I felt even colder than before. His eyes, his blue eyes, they were alive! Not painted pieces of plastic, but moving blue eyes, filled with life! And they were staring back at me. Taunting me. Threatening me. Judging me.

    “ Last time, hamhock, why are you following me?”, he repeated, his voice soothing and shrill at once.

    “ How can you be alive? How can you walk? And talk? And…” exasperated at what I was doing, at 215 in the morning in town, silence once again followed.

    “Look, I only have a few more minutes to get to Charlie’s Place so spit it out”, he said, his voice higher pitched than before.

    “Charlie’s Bar?” I asked.

    “You got it Major Milk dud,”came the fast reply.

    My pulse quickens and a much needed rush of warmth comes over me as I bend lower,” so you are a real elf?”

    “Real as they get Roseanne, “ he replied. “ Look, I need to get to Charlie’s and get a couple of beers in me before they close and you are messing that up for me,” he chimed in.

    “ But how?” I asked.

    “Not my fault you didn’t read the instructions all the way, putting me on that damned shelf like a trophy,” he replied, turning as he spoke and dancing toward Charlie’s. “ Go home,” he said with a finality,” I will be back before the family wakes”.

    I stood and watched as he got to the door, my insanity almost complete. Turning to me before he entered, a smile crept across his face.

    “ And quit hiding your wallet,” he yelled,” Charlie doesn’t take elf money”.

    • penney says:

      This was fun. Pulls you away from the cute and snuggly impression of this elf. Nice job and nice to hear from you. I agree, all the regulars are MIA. It doesn’t help that the last few prompts aren’t very inspiring and very typical to expect around the holidays. Then as I say this I realize, that may have been the purpose…try to write for even that subject matter you feel you can’t? Hope you have a good holiday season. Thank you for writing. I’ll get started on mine

  22. handyman43127 says:

    X RATED ELF!

    Some days are good, some are alright and some just suck! Usually they suck when my ex-wife knocks at the door but this time I thought it was different when she showed up with a peace offering, it was an elf on the shelf. I was the one person that did not know what he was but with a quick lesson she explained it all to me.

    Placing him on the mantel over the fireplace she smiled and bid me farewell. I, after she had left did what any x-husband would have done. I picked up the ugly little creature and searched for a hidden camera or listening device. Convinced he was clean I returned him to his perch and told him to sit, with a little grin and a lot of laughing.

    That night the sounds of the house were overwhelming, I had grown to ignore them though, after-all my home was more than a hundred years old and the bumps in the night were normal. How could I have known the noises were coming from an elf searching for my wallet.

    Sitting at the table with a cup of coffee I waited for the paper boy. It was Saturday and that was collection day. I had stopped at the ATM on my way home from work to secure enough money to pay him. The door-bell rings and I grab my wallet and greet him, but when I open my wallet it is empty. While I assure him that I will have the money in the morning I wonder to myself how my X managed to loot my wallet right in front of me.

    Days pass, my wallet continues to remain empty. With no visitors my attention turns to the elf. I devise a plan that will catch the thief. Pretending to be sleeping I watch as the elf goes for my wallet. I allow him to take the money I have in there and quietly follow him from the house.

    At the end of the block he stands as a car pulls up, It is my X! As the car comes to a stop he is waiving the money in the air, my money. He gets in the car and they pull away. I follow from a distance in my car. I watch as they pull into her drive.

    I suppose it was wrong but I had already come this far, so I peeked. Yea through the window! Call it creeping or whatever but what I saw shocked me! There was my X dancing in a revealing chemise and the elf poking dollars into her panties!!

    • penney says:

      Yah that would be creepy. I assume that elf never got back on the mantel after that? It might have been interesting to follow the approach to weeding out the elf. The jump from no other logical suspect to “it’s the elf” could help the reader. It was good though, thank you for being one of this weeks few writers.

    • MCKEVIN says:

      Oh that tramp! The least the elf could have done was invite some of his elf over so the girl could make a decent buck. He obviously have no idea what the price of Strip Teases classes and Pole Dancing go for these days. Very good.

Leave a Reply