Up On the Tree Top, by Larry Kollar
A gentle poke. “Saaaaaaantaaaaaa…”
“Santa. Wake up.” Another poke, a little harder.
“What… oh. Hello, Angel. Is something wrong?”
Angel held up her soft glowing light, making Santa squint as she darted back and forth above his head. “Not at all. Everything’s going to be perfect! Come on, Santa; I want to show you something.”
Santa eased out of bed; Mrs. Claus’s soft snoring paused, but only for a moment.
“What is it?” he whispered.
“I’ll show you.” She lighted the way to his front door, where his red jacket and black boots awaited. Flitting back and forth before the door as he dressed for the long Arctic night, she seemed eager, impatient for him to be ready. At last, he opened the door and she slipped through before him.
“This way!” she laughed, flying back to circle around his head then leading him onward.
Santa took a deep breath, savoring the pure, cold air. The only scent was his own jacket, the comfortable smells of wool and sweat. *The missus will want to clean it soon*, he thought, following Angel into the night. The snow squeaked under his boots, a familiar and happy sound.
“We’re here,” said Angel. In the glow of her light, he saw branches.
“The Tree,” he said with reverence. The true father of all Christmas trees, it soared a hundred feet straight up from the North Pole. In a way, it *was* the North Pole — its roots anchored the world in place. Here, all directions were south. Angel flew away, leaving him alone in the months-long night. He could not see The Tree at all now, yet felt its presence.
Suddenly, The Tree blazed with thousands of tiny lights!
Santa gasped — “Angel… we’re supposed to light The Tree tomorrow!” — but a part of him was pleased. His only vice, as he reckoned it, was a somewhat proprietary feeling toward The Tree. He and it were joined, in a way, as two of the most recognized symbols of Christmas. He was tempted to do this very thing each year — to slip out and light The Tree early, by himself and for himself. He gazed upon its eternal beauty, looking up and up and up. He heard and felt Angel return, but paid her no mind.
“Beautiful,” he breathed. “It’ll be even better tomorrow though —”
A huge hand seized him and jerked him upward, making him dizzy. The hand turned him to face Angel; now she was nearly as tall as The Tree, and her eyes blazed with icy white fire.
“Tomorrow?” she snarled, her face contorted in rage.
Santa, as shocked as he was, could feel her rigid fingers, wanting to crush him but holding back… but for how long?
“Tomorrow? When you stick me onto The Tree?” She laughed, and the sound chilled him more than Winter ever could. “Not this year. We’re going to have a new tradition!”
In mute horror, Santa felt something poke his backside, felt the draft as her sword-sharp fingernail ripped open the seam of his pants.
“This year —” Angel gave him a monstrous grin, big enough to swallow a reindeer whole — “we’ll see how *you* like being The Tree topper!”
Posted on December 22, 2011, in Issue 2: Creepy Christmas and tagged creepy christmas, e-zine, flash fiction, horror, microfiction, short stories, The Were-Traveler. Bookmark the permalink. 13 Comments.