The Night of Merry Massacre
Nutmeg was shaking his head violently from side to side. “This can’t be happening,” he shrieked. “It’s not happening!”
His twin sister, Nougat, seemed to be mostly annoyed with him. “Stop being such a baby,” she snapped.
“Did you not see?” he screamed at her, trembling, “They were attacking elves. They were eating them!” He looked around wildly. “Did none of you see? The elves…After they got attacked…they turned. They turned into…those things, those ghouls. They will get us! We’re doomed! We’re all doomed!”
Nougat slapped Nutmeg in the face. The loud slap shook them all up, it was so unexpected. “Get a hold of yourself,” Nougat said forcefully to her brother, not without some satisfaction. “Panicking won’t help anyone.” She looked at the others for support. “Right?” she added.
Drummer, who was sucking on a candy cane, just nodded. Ginger shrugged, and Plum mumbled a barely audible “right.”
All heads turned towards Yule. He wanted to yell “What? Why are you all looking at me? What do you expect me to do about it?” But he didn’t. He was the oldest. They listened to him when he had been yelling for them to get into the workshop. He had acted like a leader. Whether he liked it or not, they all expected Yule to act like a leader again. They wanted to be told what to do. The problem was, he didn’t know what they should do, either. And he was just as scared.
“You’re right Nougat,” Yule said, “panicking doesn’t help anyone. But Nutmeg is right too. Only Cheery ate from the fruitcake. But there were many more…creatures. Elves who are attacked must turn into creatures themselves.” He was thinking out loud at this point, more for himself to get a grip on the situation than for their benefit. A thought struck him. “Did anyone see any of the guard in the great hall?”
The elves, Yule had already started thinking of them as his elves, all shook their head. Okay, so, the guard were not among those effected just yet. “Good,” Yule said. “That’s great, actually. The guard will be able to deal with the creatures. They are much bigger and stronger, it’s their job to get things under control.” He was nodding as he spoke, hoping he sounded much more confident than he felt.
Drummer pulled the candy cane out of his mouth. “But what are we going to do? We’re just Christmas elves.”
Yule’s eyes were drawn to Drummer’s candy cane, sucked to a sharp point and polished by saliva. He grabbed the candy cane from Drummer’s hand. “Were did you get this?”
“There’s two big boxes of them over there,” Drummer pointed.
A tiny smile started to form on Yule’s face. He turned around and overlooked the workshop. Carving stations with chisels, knives and hammers to his left. To his right, nails, more hammers and little saws, where elves had been building boats not too long ago. Right in front of him, the Jack-in-a-box stations with little gears, springs, and latches. There was plenty of wood and metal parts still around. And each of them was a master craftsman, trained to work at high speed under stress.
He turned back to the elves. “Everyone, grab a candy cane and start sucking. When they look like this,” he held up Drummer’s cane, “Start a fresh one.”
“Why?” Plum asked confused
“Ammo” Yule simply replied. Not to mention, it would get some much needed sugar to burn into all of their bodies. “I am making a candy cane launcher,” Yule waved to the work benches behind him. “I bet each of us could easily make some sort of weapon from the stuff around the workshop.”
“Weapons? What are you planning to do with weapons?” Ginger asked apprehensive.
“Drummer is right. We are Christmas elves.” Yule replied, trying to make himself look as tall as possible. “And today is December 24th, Christmas eve. Come nightfall, Santa is expecting his sleigh to be loaded with gifts for all the boys and girls. Creatures or no creatures. We are going to do what we are supposed to do. We are going to load that sleigh, and we are going to make sure those gifts get delivered.”
Nutmeg and Nougat looked at each other, quizzical, and by some sort of communication that only twins share, seemed to reach some sort of decision. They slowly started grinning. Plum and Drummer were nodding agreement.
“With our skills, we can create the weapons we need to keep those creatures at bay. We can do this. The six of us are going to save Christmas.” Yule added, trying to pump the elves up.
It seemed to work. Drummer clapped his hands and exclaimed: “All right!”
Nutmeg grabbed a handful of candy canes “Let’s do this!”
They spread out, each collecting the tools they thought they would need to fashion their weapons. Ginger stayed behind. She looked at Yule. “Do you really think we can save Christmas?”
“As sure as Santa’s beard, we are going to save Christmas.” Yule said.
Ginger picked up on the little undertone of desperation that had crept into his voice. “Or die trying?” she responded. It was as much question as statement.
“Yeah, pretty much,” Yule admitted.
Ginger nodded. “Okay,” she said with a brave smile before sticking a candy cane in her mouth and running off into the workshop.
“Okay,” Yule echoed and started gathering parts for his candy cane launcher.