December 25: It's Coming!
Grace, Age 12, Edson, AB

December 25th is when everyone in Opposite World draws their curtains, locks their doors, and hangs their Christmas Trees in front of their house to protect themselves from....from....Santa Claus!

Everyone knows about him. The evil man with the snow-white beard and the blood red outfit. He travels the globe with those terrifying reindeer, and lands on your roof, about to travel into your chimney and kill you and your family. He’s been doing it forever - and each family needs to protect itself.

You know how the crucifix sends vampires away? A tree, or a Christmas Tree, sends Santa away, too. Also bright lights, candy canes, gingerbread men, those kinds of things.

Anyways, let me tell you what happened that fateful night on December 25.

Mother and my older brother, Christopher, hung up our Christmas Tree, right by our fireplace. They also decorated the outside of our house with those bright lights Father bought a few years ago. My younger sister, Penny, and I made gingerbread men and hung them all over the house, along with candy canes.

"Is he coming yet, Mother?" Penny asks nervously, as soon as we are finished.

Mother checks her watch. "It's eight-thirty. I think you three should get into bed now." We get into bed early, because then we won't be so worried. At least that's what Mother says.

I make my way up the stairs that lead to our rooms, holding five-year-old Penny's hand as we walk up, because she is afraid that Santa might pop out at her. Christopher and I tuck Penny into bed, and make our way to our rooms.

I hang a stocking at the foot of my bed, like Mother and Father tell us to do every year. It protects us while we're asleep.

I curl up into my covers, and leave the light on. I can hear Penny's door creak open, and the floor squeaking. She's probably going to my parents’ room because she's too scared to sleep by herself. I can't blame her-I did the same when I was her age.

My eyes start to get heavy, but I force them to stay open. I don't want to admit it, but I'm scared. I clutch my blankets and stare at my bright red stocking. It'll protect me, it'll protect me....

I can hear Father's harsh snores and Mother's soft ones. They're already asleep. Maybe I should sleep, too. Besides, we're safe. We locked our door, we hung up lights, trees, candy canes and gingerbread men all over the house. We're completely safe.

Suddenly, my roof starts creaking. I jump up in surprise. How does a roof creak? Unless someone is stepping on it....

My heart beats fast as I try and think of what I should do. Santa Claus is on my roof! Maybe I should tell Mother and Father. No. I don't want to upset them. Maybe I'll....maybe I'll...

A crazy and wild thought enters my head. There's a door in our attic that leads to our roof. Maybe I could...

I grab the lamp that rests on my bedside table. I'll hit him with a lamp! That's a good idea! Hit a mass murderer with a lamp! That'll kill him for sure, or at least drive him away from our house.

I open my creaky door, lamp in hand, careful not to wake anyone up. I pass the halls of candy canes and lights, until I reach the staircase that leads to our attic.

I make my way up, my hand clutching the lamp so hard it hurts. Maybe I shouldn't do it...I could be killed...

Too late. The old, gritty smell of my attic reaches my nose as I enter it. I find the familiar door that leads to our roof, and with a deep breath, push it open.

The chilly air enters the attic, and I see a dark sky, with little tiny dots of stars in it, along with a large circled moon.

I look around my roof, and nearly fall back into the attic. My lamp falls out of my hand and clatters onto the roof. I see HIM. Santa Claus.

He's just like people say he is. Bright red suit, beard, and those reindeer hooked up to the sleigh. But there's something different. He has a bulging sack in his sleigh, and his cheeks are rosy red, and there's a kind smile on his face. His reindeer seem friendly, especially the one in the front with the glowing red nose.

"Robin?" he turns around suddenly, his voice deep. He has light blue eyes-not dark, evil red ones.

"H-How did y-you know my name?" I splutter.

"Santa knows a lot of things, Robin. Would you like a present?" He smiles at me.

"A-a present?" Santa doesn't give out presents. He tries to kill people!

"Yes, of course! I know you’ve wanted that laptop all year." He turns around and digs into his sack, and, to my surprise, pulls out a laptop, with a bright green ribbon on top of it. Santa hands me the laptop, and I grab it from him.

He's not lying. I've been begging my parents for a laptop all year. And now I've finally got one!

"And for your sister-" Santa pulls out a Barbie doll, the exact one that Penny told Mother and Father she really wanted. "And for your brother-" he pulls out a brand new hockey helmet, the one that Christopher admires in the Skate Shop every day. He hands them both to me.

"Have a merry Christmas, Robin" Santa smiles to me and laughs, a nice, jolly laugh, and hops into his sleigh and dashes off into the night.

I grin to myself and realize that this is going to be the best day of the year.

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