The Night of Merry Massacre
December 1st, 2016
It had become tradition for Jolly, Trinket and Noel to finish the long work day in front of the fire place with a big mug of mulled wine, to relax and talk over some of the tasks they still had to accomplish. Each of the young elves were absolutely convinced operations at the Happy Workshop on the North Pole would come to a screeching halt, if the three of them hadn’t been there to keep on top of things. As such, they were criminally under appreciated. Sure, they might not be running candy-cane corner, nor hold the prestigious post of head wrappers, but all of those positions would be completely pointless if the elves at logistics didn’t have their shit together. Sitting behind computers all day might not seem very Christmasy, but without Jolly, Trinket and Noel, there would be no Christmas at all. They were the unsung heroes of the season. To those in the Christmas based professions, unsung stings like hell. Specially when even the damned snowman gets it’s own song. And what does he do? Nothing but stand outside with a stupid grin.
“Did Spin Master ever get back to you?” Noel asked.
Trinket grimaced. “They did. They say they can only deliver about two-thirds of the Hatchimals requested on the wishlists. We’ll have to get creative for the remaining third.”
“It’s the same damned story every year.” Jolly remarked, shaking his head. “Some hot new toy hits the market, and by the time we put in the Christmas order, the manufacturer just can’t deliver the goods. Humans. You’d think they’d learn. I bet things were much easier back in the day we made all they toys right here in the workshop.”
“You are a bunch of damned fools!” a deep, hoarse voice roared from the other side of the fire place.
The three young elves looked a little uneasy. The elf who spoke up was ancient, and a bit of a legend around the workshop. He held no official position. He always sat at the fire place, staring solemnly into the flames. An old red and green blanked covered his legs despite the heat from the fire. He was the only elf on the North Pole to never joke or smile. Not one ounce of merriment to be found in his day. He tended to hit the eggnog hard, specially as it got closer to Christmas.
There were many wild rumors about old Yule. Each more fantastical than the next. But the one undeniable truth about Yule Frostbaubles, was that he, like no other, had the deepest respect of the big man himself. Santa treated the elf with a reverence that was at least equal to that shown to Kris Kringle by small children. They would never admit to it, but old Yule scared the young elves a little. And it seemed they had provoked his scorn.
“You sit on your asses all day and call it work. You have no idea what hard work really is!” Yule growled at them. “Back in the day, nothing was happy about the workshop. And starting November, it was an absolute nightmare. Be grateful you never endured the tyranny of mistress Claus.”
“Hey, now wait a minute,” Trinket objected angrily, “I’m not going to allow you to slander Mrs Claus like that.” The young elf had secretly carried a torch for the missus ever since his first day at the workshop.
Old Yule glared at him. “Not the current Mrs Claus, you insolent twerp. I’m talking about Kringle’s first wife.” He downed the eggnog in his glass and refilled it, putting the carafe down next to the over stuffed chair.
“His first wife?” Noel asked confused, “Santa was married before?”
Yule snorted. “You probably think old man Kringle got hitched for the first time in the 1840s, don’t you? Don’t you?”
The three young elves nodded.
“Of course you do. Everyone does. Do you know why no one else remembers his first wife, huh? Do you know why no elf ever tells her tale?” Yule asked leaning towards his reluctant audience. The young elves anxiously shook they head. “Because they are all dead!” old Yule screamed at them. They recoiled in shock.
“I am all that’s left,” Yule pounded on his chest with the palm of his hand. “Me! I saved Christmas.”
He fell back in his chair. “I saved Christmas. But do I get a VHS? Do I get an HBO special? No, of course not. The humans want cutesy stories about saving Christmas with sharing and good cheer. They don’t want to hear stories with elf guts splattered all over the workshop,” he muttered. “No one wants my story. I can’t say I blame them.”
“It’s late, lets go to bed,” Trinket said, eager to get away from the drunk rambling elf.
“No, wait a minute guys, I want to hear Yule’s story.” Jolly said.
“What are you doing?” whispered Noel. “Don’t encourage him.”
“Santa holds this guy in high regard,” Jolly whispered back. “Don’t you think it’s a good idea to get in his good graces?” He walked up to Yule’s chair and sat down on the ground, looking up at him. “I would like to hear your story, Yule. Tell me about Santa’s former wife.”
Yule snorted, but he seemed just a tiny bit less gruff. “You might have heard her name whispered as a way to scare little elves into behaving properly. She was called Krampus.”
“I thought Krampus was a man,” Trinket interrupted.
“No, she was female, all right. A horrible witch of a woman. If she felt you were slacking off, she would punish you herself. Let me tell you, after you got chained up and whipped with birch wood twigs for a couple of hours, you’d work until you passed out.”
“That’s horrible!” Trinket exclaimed. “Why would Santa allow that?”
Yule shrugged. “Who knows? In those days we never saw Kringle in the workshop. Only on December 24th, when the work was done and the sleigh was getting loaded, to congratulate us on a job well done.”
“And he was married to this creature?”
Yule nodded slowly and stared at the flames in the fireplace. “Married to her until December 24th, 1836.” he said darkly. “I should know. That was the night I killed her.” His voice broke when he added: “That night, I had to kill them all.”