The Night After...
You better be good, you better be nice. A bonus Christmas story.
Issue #19, Christmas Eve 2022
The Night After…
As Mummy tucked Katie into bed that night, she repeated yet again: “Now go to sleep, darling. If you lie awake he might not come, and then think how disappointed we would all be in the morning.”
“Yes, Mummy,” said Katie sleepily. But she had her fingers crossed, so it didn’t really count, did it?
She did go to sleep for a while, she really did, but when she heard the gentle clatter of hoofs on the roof, she woke up immediately and clambered out of bed, being ever so quiet so as not to wake her baby brother Billy. Then she snuck out of her bedroom door and tip-toed down the hallway. When she got near to the stairs, she knelt down and then started to crawl, gently, gently, until she could just see through into the kitchen.
When they had moved into this new house, just a year ago, Katie had been really upset, and her Mummy had asked her why. “There’s no chimney in this house, how will he get in?” Katie had bawled. But her Mummy had explained to her that they would leave the kitchen window open just a squeak, and he would be able to get in there.
Now Katie crawled forward a little more to look between the bars of the handrail on the landing. She couldn’t quite see the kitchen window from here, but she could see the table, all loaded up.
There! There was a creaking sound, and moments later, she gave a gasp. There he was—the tall, fat figure looming over the table! She couldn’t quite see him perfectly, but it was him, it really was! She had to put her hand over her mouth to stop a squeal of excitement. He mustn’t know that she was here, or else he might go away without doing the presents.
The green-robed figure began to eat what had been left out for him. It was no wonder he was so fat, Katie thought, as he ate into all of the left-over turkey and ham, gulping it down greedily. Then it was the turn of the bowl of half-eaten trifle. Gulp! Gulp! It was all swallowed down in moments. She gave a little giggle. If she ate like that, Daddy would growl at her so bad!
Then, all the leftovers gone at last, he left the kitchen, and Katie crawled just a little further to see better, keeping as quiet as a mouse. As a very, very quiet mouse.
He ambled into the lounge room, carrying a big sack swung over his back. She could see him better now, and he looked every bit as he did in all of the storybooks—the big, fat man in his bright green costume, with the black fur trimming his hood and sleeves, and his long dark beard flowing down his chest.
He loomed over the presents all laid out under the tree. “Oh, oh, oh!” he said in a deep, booming voice. “What have we here?”
Then he pulled out a long list and consulted it. Oh, please, please, please, Katie thought, I’ve been ever so good!.
He bent down and picked up the awful purple sweater that Auntie Jessica had made for her, and popped it into his sack. Yes! thought Katie in delight. Then the tacky plastic ironing set that came from Grandma. Into the sack, as Katie giggled and hugged herself. Then it was all the extra clothing that little Billy had been given—all those endless jump-suits and pale-blue cardigans and booties. Into the sack!
Then it was Mummy and Daddy’s turn. The big fat man seemed to be chuckling as he picked up the book that would never be read, the CD of music which Daddy didn’t like, several pairs of socks, the badly-smelling perfume, the scented bath-bombs, the ugly vase Auntie Flora had found somewhere, the digital photo-frames. Into the sack with it all! Katie clapped her hands with joy, realising a moment later that she’d given herself away.
At the sound the big man looked up, chuckled, and gave her a wink, hefted his loaded sack onto his back, and then he was gone in two strides, into the kitchen and out of the window.
Katie gave a contented sigh and crept back to bed, happy.
At last, she had really seen him. The Anti-Claus.
About This Story
Written in 2011 and spurred by a photo prompt (a little girl looking through the uprights of a bannister of a staircase).
Just a bit of seasonal fun!
I wish a happy holiday season and New Year to all my readers. See you in the new year!