Word count: 2394
Summary: When Becca finds out her Christmas list never got mailed to Santa, her friend Mariah comes up with a plan to save the day.
Author's notes: I wrote this a few years ago for an online course I took through my highschool, called 'Writer's Craft'. We were supposed to write a short story (the only creative writing we really got to do) and it was around Christmas and this was what I came up with. It came to me as I was playing around in Poser, working with some children figures. My teacher pointed out that she didn't think parents would approve of a couple of the things in it (children going off with a stranger, speaking gramatically incorrect), but, truthfully, even though it's written in a children's story style, I never really intended it to be for one audience over another. Anyway, I've tweaked it a bit to improve it and I thought I'd post it, since 'tis the season.
Becca was moping. She was doing it quite well, in fact. With her chin resting on her hand, Becca stared out at the snow covered paradise from the front steps of her house. She sighed every few minutes and looked woefully at her dog, Thane, who lay beside her. Thane, to his credit, was equally upset on behalf of his owner. Undoubtedly, he had no idea what was going on, but for solidarity's sake, he was thoroughly upset.
It was Christmas Eve day, a day most children should be bouncing around the house, annoying their parents and begging to open ‘just one present, please!’ Becca would have no presents, however, because her mother hadn't mailed her letter to Santa Claus.
She was sure it was an honest mistake. After all, Becca had been a very good girl all year (except for that jumping on the couch incident, but she'd paid for the lamp from her allowance). There was absolutely no reason why her mother would think she didn't deserve presents from Santa Claus this Christmas. No, Becca was positive her mother had simply forgotten. However, it was Christmas Eve and there was no way to mail it to him now.
Up the long the driveway of Becca's house came Mariah, dragging her little brother, Cody, on a sled. Mariah was Becca's very best friend in the whole world. She lived just down the road a bit and the two girls had known each other forever, practically.
"Merry Christmas!" Mariah called, excitedly.
She hurried up as fast as was possible without tipping Cody out onto the ground. He, being only two, was wrapped up in a puffy white hooded snow suit, gloves and a scarf. Becca thought he looked like a giant marshmallow.
Mariah stopped at the bottom of the steps and looked up at Becca expectantly. When she received no response, she put her hands on her hips, a sure sign she was about to be bossy. Mariah loved being bossy.
“Why aren't you merry?” She accused. “It's Christmas Eve, Becca! Santa comes tonight!”
“Not to my house he won't,” Becca replied, with a sniffle. “Mommy didn't send my list to him.”
Mariah plopped down on the bottom step in shock. Thane got up and sniffed the back of her head, curiously, but quickly turned his attentions to Becca when she started to cry.
“Why didn't she send it?” Mariah asked, still in shock. “Are you in trouble 'bout something?”
Becca rubbed her eyes and shook her head. Thane put his front legs on her knee and licked at her cheeks to dry the tears that were falling.
“I think she just forgot. I went in her room this morning to find socks and I saw it on her dresser top. It didn't even have a stamp on it or nothing! She said she would mail it once she had a stamp, but she never did! Now I'll have no presents tomorrow morning, ‘cause we can't mail it now ‘cause the mail man don't come today!”
Mariah moved up to the top step and hugged her friend. Thane rowled at her for sitting on his long, bushy tail and climbed over Becca's lap to the other side.
“I know!” Mariah said, suddenly. “I gots a plan!”
“What?” Becca asked, warily.
Mariah, being six and a year older than Becca, always had a plan.
“We can go to the North Pole and give it to him ourselves!” Mariah announced.
“How are we gonna get to the North Pole?” Becca wondered, skeptically
“We can walk there. Mama always says we might as well be living at the North Pole, so it can't be far away,” Mariah reasoned. Mariah's mother was from Vietnam and didn't like winter very much. “I gotta baby-sit Cody, but he can come with us on his sled. We can pull him. And Thane can come to protect us!”
Becca sat silently, pondering this. Her mother might be mad if she went away without telling her but she didn't want to make her mom feel sad by explaining why she needed to go. Grown-ups forget lots of important things, after all. You couldn't blame them for being grown-uppish. Still, she better let her know. She told Mariah to wait a moment and hurried inside. Her mother was in the kitchen, baking mincemeat tarts. Yuck!
"Mommy! I'm going to the North Pole with Mariah and Cody!" She yelled from the doorway.
"Alright dear, be back before dinner," her mother replied, absently.
Becca skipped outside to find Mariah trying to help Cody get back on the sled, which was a challenge with his layers of clothing.
"Bend!" Mariah ordered, pushing at his legs.
“I can go!” Becca announced. “But we gotta be back before dinner time.”
"We will be," Mariah insisted. "I know 'xactly where we're goin'."
What seemed like a very long time later, Mariah was leading Becca, who was pulling Cody (and a reluctant Thane) on the sled through the woods behind Becca's house. Mariah had pointed out that the North Pole had to be to the north and north was always forwards, because that's the way the compass point went. Becca didn't argue. It was very hard to argue with Mariah. Now, however, her feet hurt and she was sure they weren't anywhere near the North Pole.
“You don't know where you're going at all, do you?” She cried at her friend. “You're just making it up!”
“Am not!” Mariah returned. “I told you, we have to go this way.”
“But we've been going this way forever!” Becca complained. “We're never going to get there!”
“Never say never!” A merry voice rang out through the woods.
Becca and Mariah, momentarily forgetting their spat, both whirled on their heels to look behind them. There, petting Thane's head while the puppy's tail wagged back and forth eagerly was a very tall man, with very pointy ears.
“Who are you?” Mariah demanded, stepping in front of Becca and pulling Cody to her protectively.
“Oh! Forgive me,” the man said, with an elaborate bow. “I am Fernando P. Hopscotch, head navigator for the North Pole.”
Becca stood on tip-toe and peer over Mariah's shoulder. “You're from the North Pole?”
“Of course, I just said that, didn't I?” Fernando replied. “I am an elf. One of the most important, actually. I make sure Santa goes the right way on Christmas Eve. I invented the GSPS.”
“Wassa GSPS?” Mariah wondered.
“Global Santa Positioning System,” the elf said, proudly. “It's very ingenious.”
“Elves are s'posed to be small,” Becca pointed out.
“Common myth. If we were small, how would we get everything done? All our toys would be tiny and you couldn't play with them. Now, I don't have time for this chit-chat nonsense. You have to be back for supper, so we better get going. Get on the sled.”
“We’re not s’posed to go with strangers,” Mariah announced.
“I’m not a stranger, I just introduced myself,” Fernando said, with a sigh. “I don’t have all day, you know. Here, I have a badge…”
He reached very far into one pocket and pulled out a little wallet with a shining badge in it, shaped like a snowflake. It had a picture of Santa Claus engraved on it, a bunch of numbers along the bottom and Mariah carefully sounded out ‘North Pole’ written above the numbers.
“I don’t know what an elf badge looks like,” Becca whispered. “Do you think it’s real?”
“I think so,” Mariah whispered back. “And if he tries to kidnapped us, we’ll make Thane bite’m, ‘kay?”
Becca still wasn’t sure, but Fernando, true to his name, was hopping from one foot to the other impatiently and she didn’t want to miss the ride. She nodded to Mariah and they climbed aboard the sled, behind Cody. Thane hopped on behind them. Fernando took the handle at the front and snapped his fingers.
Both girls shrieked, while Thane barked and Cody giggled as a whirlwind of snow came up around them. It wasn't cold and it didn't hurt, it was just unexpected. It blocked out the view completely and when it died down once more, they were in front of a massive building. To their left, there was a very big green and red flag pole, with a flag on it.
"Nooooorth Pooole," Mariah sounded out, again, reading the writing on the flag. "I told you I knew how to get there!"
Fernando led the girls inside the building, where everything seemed to be giant-sized. A pointy-eared woman behind a large desk was speaking into a red and white striped telephone.
“North Pole, please hold. Pôle Nord. Attendez s'il vous plaît .Der Nordpol. Warten Sie bitte....” She recited, while holding her nails up to the light to check out the polish on them critically.
“Here, put these on,” Fernando requested, handing each child a sticker.
Becca recognized her name, but there were other words underneath that she couldn’t read. Mariah was busy sounding out her words and suddenly looked up, angrily.
“I am not bossy!” She declared.
Fernando shushed her and stuck Cody’s sticker on his snowsuit for him, and Thane’s onto his collar. He took Mariah’s from her and stuck it over her mouth, so Becca quickly stuck her own to her coat before she got in trouble.
“There, now nobody will bother us while we pass through. Please stay together and don't wander, we have very little time!”
The elf hurried over to a set of small rail road tracks set along the floor at the far end of the room. He pressed a button and a shiny blue train sped out of a tunnel to stop in front of them.
“All aboard!” An elf wearing a engineer's hat called. He pulled on the whistle three times. “All aboard!” He smiled to himself. “I love saying that.”
Fernando lifted Cody into one of the little benches set in the train cars and helped Becca and Mariah in next to him. Thane sniffed warily at the contraption, but ultimately hopped on the next car with Fernando.
“Please keep all arms and legs inside the vehicle at all times,” The conductor called out. “And tails!”
The elf pulled on the lever and the train sped away through the tunnels. Becca and Mariah leaned over to watch each room as they went through it. The toy shop, the wrapping department, the sled repair, the navigation station... in each area, elves were running here and there, yelling out commands to one another.
“They look very busy,” Mariah commented. She had moved her sticker to her coat.
“I should hope so!” Fernando replied. “It's Christmas Eve! The most important day of the year here. Tomorrow we get the day off, but today, it's all work.”
Finally, the train chugged to a stop inside a cozy room with a fireplace blazing in the corner. A large, white haired man sat in a big armchair in front of the fire, going down a list that rolled off his lap and around the room twice, then out the door.
“That's Santa Claus!” Mariah squealed, hopping out of the train and dragging Becca behind her.
“Tanta?” Cody wondered, in awe. He held out his arms in the direction of the jolly old man, hoping he would come rescue him from the train.
Santa looked up and smiled with delight at the children (and dog) who had arrived on the train. He carefully marked his spot on the list and stood up to greet them, intercepting Mariah's flying hug just before she would have smacked into him. He lifted her up easily and set her on his hip.
“Ho, ho, ho!” He laughed. Becca noticed that his stomach did, in fact, shake like a bowl full of jelly. “What have we here? Mariah and Cody Parkinson and Rebecca Tate!”
Thane ruffed indignantly.
“Oh yes,” the old man added. “And Thane. I am glad you're here Miss Tate. I didn't get a list from you this year!”
Becca's mouth moved, but no sound came out. She was completely overwhelmed at the sight of the great Santa Claus. He sat down again, shifting Mariah onto his lap and gestured for Becca to come over as well. Fernando gave her a push from behind and she woke out of her spell and hopped up onto Santa's lap.
“My mommy forgot to mail my list,” she explained, woefully. “That's why you didn't get it. So Mariah said we should come see you ourselves and then Mr. Hopscotch helped us get here!”
“Well, that was very brave of you,” Santa declared. “It's good to have such intelligent friends.”
“Now, why don't you tell me what you want, so I can get the elves on it right away?”
“All aboard! All aboard!” The engineer elf cried again, as the train returned to the front lobby.
“We're already aboard,” Mariah pointed out.
“I know, I just love to say that,” The elf replied. With another blow of the whistle the train sped off.
“Polo Norte. Por favor espere. Het noorden Pool. Gelieve te wachten. Palo Del nord. Prego attesa...” The elf at the desk continued into the phone.
“Lola, could we have some candy canes here, please?” Fernando asked her.
She nodded and pulled open a desk drawer, removing four candy canes and handing them to the elf.
“North pole, thank you for holding,” she told the caller. “Je suis désolé, nous ne fabriquons pas de poneys ici. Joyeux Noël!”
“Here you go, kids,” Fernando said, handing each child a candy cane. He waved his hand over the last one and it turned into a biscuit for Thane.
“Mmmm, marshmallow fluff!” Becca said, after she'd tasted hers.
Mariah was making a rather disgusted looking face.
“Mine tastes like spaghetti...” She said.
“Oops! They're supposed to taste like your favourite food, sometimes that happens,” Fernando explained. He waved his hand over the candy. “There, peppermint. Now, outside quickly everyone! It's almost dinner.”
The next morning when Becca came downstairs, there were heaps of presents under the Christmas tree. She opened each one with abandon and squealed in delight, as, one by one, everything she'd asked Santa for was revealed.
“Wow, Mommy! Santa didn't miss one thing,” She told her mother.
Holding her new baby doll in her lap, she looked thoughtful for a moment.
“Mommy, where does the Easter Bunny live?”