Santa’s Last Christmas
By Darren Gallagher
Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
But in his secret lair below, the old man was hunched over his worktable, making his final preparations. Tonight would be the night, that he finally killed Santa Claus.
He sat counting nails; he knew how many he needed to make the coffin sturdy. When he counted all 78, he lifted the hammers hilt, spun around on the stool, and stood up. The hammer’s head trailed across the table in a low riveting sound.
His steps were sluggish; his centuries old body no longer what it once was. He made it to the table where the coffins skeleton lay, and placed the items on the sideboard. The planks that would fill the coffin’s exterior were positioned on the table beside the skeleton. He only needed to straighten them up and hammer in the nails.
When he was finished, he dragged his tired old body over to the far end of the room and got into bed. Everything was ready. The traps upstairs had been laid the previous night, and now the coffin was completed. The old man closed his eyes and slept.
The sound of hoofs awoke him. He cursed himself for oversleeping on such an important night. Old age or not, it was no excuse.
He hobbled across the floor grabbing a plastic box from the worktable on his way to the tunnel. It spiralled upwards into the back hall of the house. He could hear the old fat man getting out of the sleigh and walking towards the chimney. He was making good time, all wasn’t lost.
The door to the sitting-room was slightly ajar. He had a good view of the fireplace; the traps were still in place. He smiled.
Soot started falling into the fireplace gently as Santa made his way down. He watched the fat man squeeze out of the chimney. Santa dusted himself off, even though there was nothing on his red suit; there never was. Santa then pulled the bag out of the chimney and walked towards the tree.
As Santa was placing the toys, the old man held the plastic box out in front of him, opened it, and pressed one of the buttons. At the fireplace something shot out from the four markers he’d placed and created some sort of shield over the opening. Santa heard the hum from it and spun around. The old man pushed the door open and confronted him.
“You,” Santa said. “What are you doing?”
“I swore revenge on you Santa, and tonight I will have it.”
“This is ridiculous!” Santa said. “Stop with your foolishness.”
“I will not, you had no right doing what you did. I cannot forgive you for that.”
“You were a bad boy, bad boys get ashes!”
“No, I wasn’t! You were wrong. I never did anything bad!”
“I’ve had enough,” Santa said and walked towards the fireplace.
The old man smiled and waited. Santa tried to go up the chimney but something blocked him from entering. The old man laughed.
“What have you done you fool?”
“You’re not going anywhere, Santa.” The old man pressed another button and wires shot down from the ceiling and wrapped around Santa so tight that he couldn’t move.
“What are you doing? Rudolph, Prancer, get down here.”
Hooves sounded on the roof and then stopped. The old man waited anxiously for them to reach the shield, he didn’t know if it’d stop them or not. He hoped it would, those pesky reindeers hindered his plans in the past, and he didn’t want them interfering tonight.
There was a bang on the shield as a red nose pressed up against it. The old man smiled. “Looks like they can’t get in,” he giggled and walked towards Santa.
“Would you stop this foolishness! It’s been going on for far too long.”
“Whose fault is that Santa?”
“It’s yours! Why do you keep doing things like this?”
“Because Santa, you’ve made my life a living hell ever since I was a little boy.”
“I did not!”
“Yes you did! I had no Christmas when I was five, all because you left me a bag of ashes. Do you know what that does to a child?”
“You were a bold boy that year. I had no choice.”
“You judge everyone. You think you’re wonderful because you know right from wrong. But who judges your decisions? Who decides if you’re naughty or nice?”
Santa was stunned by his outburst and found no words to reply.
“I’ll tell you who... Me!”
The old man pushed Santa and he went crashing to the ground. He walked out of the room and lifted the cable that was in the hall. He came back in and attached it to the rope around Santa’s feet and pressed a button on the plastic box. The lead tensed and pulled Santa out of the sitting-room, through the house, and down the spiral tunnel into the lair. The reindeers were getting rowdy on the roof; he knew they were looking for a way in.
The lead stopped pulling and Santa was left lying on the ground near the table with the coffin.
“What are you going to do?”
“I’m going to get rid of you once and for all.” He replied while working with some electrical equipment.
“You can’t do that! What about the children?”
“Would that be the good children or the bad children?”
“You’re a liar. You don’t care what happens to the so called bad children. You need to be punished for your crimes, Santa.”
“Don’t do this!”
The old man ignored him and pressed another button. Two mechanical arms extended from the wall. He moved two little sticks with his hands and guided the arms towards Santa. The vice like attachments at the end clamped onto Santa’s feet and upper body. They lifted him up into the air, and the old man manoeuvred them above the coffin on the table. Then he released the clamps and Santa fell with a smash inside it.
“What... What is this?”
“This Santa is your new home. For eternity!”
“Don’t do this, don’t do this,” Santa repeated over and over again.
The old man walked around and lifted the lid and placed it on top of the coffin. Santa continued to talk; only it was a roar of desperation now. He tried to fight his way out, but the ropes were wrapped too tight. The old man lifted the hammer and the remaining nails and started to seal the final piece.
When he hammered the final nail into the coffin, Santa’s pleas were almost nonexistent. He smiled in disbelief; he couldn’t believe he’d finally gotten his revenge. He was thankful for modern technology. Hundreds of years ago when he tried to get his revenge, he had to do everything himself. But now, he only had to press a button.
He walked back around to the controls and began to move the mechanical arms again. He had designed a handle at each end of the coffin especially for this moment. The arms grabbed hold and he lifted the coffin and manoeuvred it towards the wall directly behind the table.
A huge hole laid waiting in the wall, and the coffin fitted perfectly into it. He released the arms and pulled them out of the hole. He walked over and pressed the button on the wall. Huge amounts of earth fell on top of the coffin and out onto the floor of his lair. He let out a huge sigh of relief.
“Told you I’d get you, you old bastard! You’ll never spoil another child’s Christmas again.”
The old man walked over to his bed and lay down. His life’s work was finally completed, his vendetta settled. The time for rest was finally upon him.
“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good good-night.”