An Adventurer's Dream

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North Pole Interview 2016

I stare up with wide eyes, horrified at the sight in front of me. I shouldn’t be surprised at what is happening. I’ve seen so many crazy things at the North Pole, but I never would have thought this would be something that could happen. And I have to wonder, will this finally be the end of the North Pole?

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(Preparations for Christmas ended a bit earlier this year than usual, so the North Pole is bustling around to celebrate in the free time that they have. I’m walking with Jack Frost from the main house over to the North Pole Square. Colorful lights are strung from house to house, sparkling even more brightly than the stars in the sky. We can hear Christmas songs blasting out from up ahead and a few of the reindeer dancing through the air above the Square.)

Me: I’m so excited, Jack! This is my first time getting to celebrate Christmas with everyone.

Jack: * sips on a hot cup of Mrs. Claus’s hot cocoa * That’s right, you don’t usually get to stay around after Christmas to celebrate with us.

Me: * nods * And the past several years have been extremely… adventurous. There was no time to celebrate.

Jack: Well, you’ll get to see how everyone parties it up in the North Pole. The parties are crazy.

Me: * snorts * Oh, I’m sure Santa and Mrs. Claus just throw the most wild parties. I’m sure the reindeer sneak some of the hot cocoa and go berserk.

Jack: * grimaces * Don’t remind me.

Me: * shakes my head * I’m wondering if I should be a bit concerned.

(We finally make it to the Square. Santa and his wife are dancing with some of the elves around a giant tree. Reindeer are flying in the air, moving to the beat of “Rocking Around the Christmas Tree” and a few of the ninja elves are riding on their backs. George the yeti walks up to us with Comet in tow.)

George: * growls *

Comet: He says Merry Christmas!

Me: Merry Christmas, George. Are y’all enjoying the party so far?

Comet: We are! Don’t tell anyone, but Rudolph and I just downed two cups of hot cocoa. * eye twitches * I feel on top of the world.

Jack: Maybe you shouldn’t have any more hot cocoa. Especially with your flight in a few hours.

George: * growls *

Comet: * glares at George * Don’t agree with him. I’ll be fine.

Me: Comet, I think we’re going to have to –

(I freeze as the ground starts to shake underneath me. Jack and I exchange a look.)

Comet: Maybe you’re right. I’m going crazy. It felt like the earth itself moved underneath my hooves. * lifts a hoof off of the ground and stares at it *

Jack: I don’t think you’re crazy, Comet. I felt that too.

Me: Does the North Pole even get earthquakes? Is that possible?

(The earth shakes again. A single ornament falls from the heights of the Christmas tree, shattering as it crashes into the ground. Someone has turned off the holiday music as everyone stops what they are doing to stare at the broken ornament.)

Santa: That is unusual.

Mrs. Claus: I would say that is an understatement, dear.

(I walk toward Santa and Mrs. Claus, Jack following along behind me. I can sense the tension in him as the air grows a little more frigid. Another series of movement rumbles through the ground and this time I can hear loud noises coming from the other side of the Santa’s Village.)

Me: Santa, is there any construction going on that I don’t know about? A new workshop or anything like that?

Santa: * shakes his head * Nothing of the sort, Brittany. Tim, get the ninja squad on this right away.

Tim (who has appeared out of nowhere): * nods * I’m on it, Santa.

Me: * turns to Jack * Let’s follow them.

Jack: * raises an eyebrow * Weren’t you just lamenting the fact that you haven’t had time to celebrate Christmas when you visit?

Me: I wouldn’t call that lamenting, Jack. If there’s one thing you should know about me by now, it’s my deep love for adventures.

Jack: That I am definitely aware of. * holds out a hand to me * Let’s go. You ready?

Me: * smiles * Ready as ever.

(I grab ahold of Jack’s hand and he transports us to the other side of the village. My eyes go wide as soon as they come upon the source of the ground shaking and noise making. Jack freezes beside me as his hand tights around my own.)

Jack: How the heck is that possible?

Me: Christmas magic?

(We stumble in place as the ground shakes below us. I stare up, my jaw dropping as I watch a giant gingerbread man make his way through the buildings on the edge of the village. He towers over everything and I suspect his height is at least forty feet. Several of the ninja elves are attacking it, but their shurikens just bury themselves into the gingerbread.)

Me: We need to stop it. It’s going to destroy the village.

Jack: Stay here, Brittany, I’m going to see what I can do to help. Don’t move.

Me: * nods * Be careful.

Jack: * teleports away *

Mysterious Voice: Finally.

Me: * whips around * Who’s there?

(The shadow elf and reindeer that tried to destroy the North Pole a few years ago jump down from a nearby roof, smirks on their faces. I take a step back, horror filling me as I realize why this is happening.)

Me: You.

Murray: Us. We told you we’d be back. It just took us a little longer than planned to come up with a good idea for the North Pole’s destruction. I hope you’re ready to tell the world that nobody will be getting presents ever again.

Lance: How entertaining will it be to watch this stupid little village fall to pieces by a symbol of the holidays? These gingerbread men will destroy the buildings one by one.

Me: Men? There’s only one. * points *

Lance: * laughs * Not for long. Give it a few minutes and the town will be surrounded. Nobody will be able to stop us.

Me: That’s what you think. We’ll find a way out of this. We always do.

Murray: You should learn that hope is worthless. Even your precious, little Jack won’t be able to stop the gingerbread men. He can’t help you this time around, darling.

Lance: Don’t you think it’s time for a little visit to ole Saint Nick? Time to say goodbye to the old man.

(A barrage of snow suddenly falls down on top of the two and I let out a shout of surprise. Anger fills their faces as they try to get out of their prison and fail in doing so.)

Jack: * sitting on the edge of a nearby roof * If I don’t get to call Santa an old man without him complaining, you sure as heck don’t get to call him that.
Me: Jack!

Jack: Thought I’d come check on you to make sure you actually stayed where you were supposed to. Didn’t think I’d find you here with these old friends of ours.

Me: It was a surprise to me, too. Jack, they said there are more of the gingerbread men coming to the village. They should be here at any moment.

Jack: * jumps down from the roof and walks over to where Murray and Lance are buried, only their heads sticking out from the white snow * How do we stop them?

Murray: * spits * You don’t.

Lance: * laughs * They’re indestructible.

Me: Jack, can’t you just freeze them? The gingerbread would get stiff – they wouldn’t be able to move.

Jack: What do you think I tried first? It didn’t work. The cold doesn’t seem to affect them.

(Tim, Rudolph, and a few of the ninja elves walk toward us from one of the outer streets. There is a grim look on all of their faces.)

Rudolph: These two again.

Lance: Fancy meeting you here, Red Nose.

Rudolph: * ignores Lance * I’m guessing they’re behind this.

Jack: Good guess.

Me: And they’ve apparently made them impervious to cold.

Tim: It also doesn’t help that the ninjas weapons are basically useless against them.

Lance: Like I said. Indestructible. The North Pole is doomed.

Me: That’s what you thought last time and it didn’t quite turn out how you planned.

Murray: No thanks to you.

(There is a loud noise in the distance and we turn to the left to see three more gingerbread men walking toward us just from outside the village. While their steps are slow, each one causes an eruption of snow into the air.)

Jack: I think it’s time to stop with the idle chit chat. Tell us how to stop them. Now.

Me: * falls to the ground and the ground shakes again * We don’t have time to play games with them. We need to focus on the gingerbread men. Sitting here having Murray and Lance talking in circles isn’t going to solve anything.

Tim: You’re right. Squad Three, let’s go.

(Tim and the ninjas disappear into the darkness, leaving Jack and I alone with Rudolph. There is more destruction in the distance and I flinch.)

Me: Jack, I’m going to go with Rudolph. Rudolph, are you okay with us doing some reconnaissance?

Rudolph: Sounds like a plan to me. We should probably get going.

Jack: Don’t let her do anything crazy. I’ll be keeping an eye on the two of you.

Me: Just make sure the other one is on the gingerbread men. Rudolph, let’s head out. * climbs on top of Rudolph *

Rudolph: * flies toward the first gingerbread men that appeared in the village * What’s our plan?

Me: I haven’t really thought past the part we’re currently at. Let’s fly around him and see if there’s anything worth noting.

Rudolph: I think their size is worth noting.

Me: I would say that’s already been noted, Rudolph. Goodness, can you imagine trying to climb that thing?

Rudolph: No.

Me: You’re no fun. Hey, looks like George went and grabbed some of the yetis. They’re working with the ninjas on the legs.

Rudolph: Too bad nobody is working on the arms. * dodges as the gingerbread man tries to hit us out of the air * See anything special?

Me: * goes to shake my head and then pauses * Wait. There’s something sticking out of the neck that is sparkling. We need to get closer.

Rudolph: * nods * Hold on tight.

(Rudolph takes us toward the neck, where a strange sphere is imbedded in the side of the gingerbread man. It glows a deep green and I feel a plan start to form in my head.)

Me: Rudolph, I am sure Jack would veto what I’m about to say, but he’s not here right now. You need to put me down on the should of the gingerbread man.

Rudolph: * shakes head * Not happening. I don’t want to die of frostbite when Jack finds out.

Me: He’ll be fine. Just set me down and we’ll be good. Seriously, this is the North Pole and Christmas that we’re talking about. We need to save it.

Rudolph: * sighs * Fine, but I’m getting you out of there in three minutes. Take it or leave it.

Me: I can work with that.

Rudolph: * flies close to the neck, dodging another arm, and drops me off on the shoulder *

Me: * steps closer to the strange sphere * Let’s see what you do.

(I grasp the sphere in my hands and start to pull it out of the gingerbread. It doesn’t budge. I plant a foot on the neck of the gingerbread man and brace myself, pulling against the sphere with all my might. Slowly, I am able to get it out and the green light disappears. A smile alights my face as the gingerbread man comes to a complete pause.)

Me: It worked! Rudolph, find Jack and let him know that we need to get rid of these spheres.

Rudolph: Will do. Climb on.

Me: * shakes my head * Don’t worry about me. You need to get to Jack. Just come back for me in a bit.

Rudolph: * leaves hesitantly *

(A few moments after Rudolph leaves, the gingerbread man begins to move. I cling to the side of it as my face pales. I’m not sure why my plan didn’t work when it had seemed to stop the gingerbread man in his tracks.

Murray: Looks like you found out you were wrong.

Me: What?! How did you get out of your prison?

Lance: You think we aren’t used to the snow? Jack Frost can’t hold us down. Especially when his focus is on other things.

Me: His focus may be on other things, but we’re pretty close to figuring out how to stop you.

Murray: Remember what I said about hope earlier?

Me: * standing up straight * I have even more hope now. You wouldn’t have come out here if I wasn’t close to figuring this out. This little sphere is more important than it looks. * waves the sphere in the air *

Lance: * flies towards me and tries to knock me off of the gingerbread man *

Me: * ducks and avoids Lance * You’re scared, aren’t you? That your plan is going to fail?

Murray: We’re not scared. The North Pole is going to be destroyed.

Me: So you say! But I can tell you it’s not going to happen. * holds sphere out * What happens if this breaks?

Murray: * smirks * Absolutely nothing.

Me: * frowns * What?

Lance: Why don’t you try it and see if we’re lying?

Jack: * suddenly transports beside me * They’re not lying. I’ve already tried it. What did I tell you about not doing anything crazy?

Me: This is definitely not crazy, Jack. What’s crazy is that breaking this stupid sphere doesn’t stop the giant gingerbread men rampaging on Santa’s village.

Murray: The North Pole is just the beginning.

Jack: * holds up another sphere, but this one is glowing bright white * No, it ends here. I realized right away what these are.

Me: * glances at the sphere curiously * What are they, Jack?

Jack: They’re infused with magic. Once they attach to the gingerbread man, it slowly leaks the magic into the creature and brings it to life. The magic can’t get out, so getting rid of the sphere doesn’t do anything.

Me: And that’s helpful, how?

Jack: Because it can be infused with a different magic. And that magic can take over the poison already inside the gingerbread men. * places sphere into the neck of the gingerbread man *

Murray and Lance: * shout in frustration * No!

Gingerbread Man: * freezes and begins to crumble underneath our feet *

Me: Jaaaaaack.

Jack: Hold on! * grabs ahold of my wrist and transports us to a different gingerbread man *

(Jack takes the sphere out of my hand, pouring his own magic into it. A moment later he hands it back to me and I shove it into the gingerbread. Once again, the creature begins to crumble underneath us. We do this until all of the gingerbread men have been destroyed. However, along with the gingerbread men lay the destroyed homes along the outskirts of Santa’s Village.)

Me: We were too late…

Jack: We may not have saved all of it, but we put a stop to the destruction before everything could be destroyed.

Me: The toy vault?! Do you think they got to it?

Jack: * shakes head * No, they started on the wrong side of the village for that. I think we should be on track to continue Christmas. But let’s go find Santa and see if anything else needs to be done. * transports us *

Santa: Jack! Brittany! You’ve made it back. Thank you for your help.
Me: It’s the least we could do. But will everything be okay? Is Christmas still on?

Santa: * nods * Yes, we’ll be able to continue as planned. Mrs. Claus will work on getting the village back to its normal state. With a bit of Christmas magic, all will be fine.

Me: * sighs in relief * I’m so glad to hear that.

Jack: * nods * Murray and Lance didn’t win this time.

Me: What happened to them? Did they get away?

Tim: * nods * Unfortunately, we weren’t able to capture them. But we’ll be prepared.

Me: Hopefully we don’t have to deal with them for a long time.

Jack: I would agree with that sentiment.

Santa: Let’s stop thinking about the bad of what could be and start thinking about the near future! It’s time to get some presents to good children. Rudolph, everyone, let’s get set up!

Jack: Have fun, Santa. Merry Christmas!

Santa: Merry Christmas!

Jack: Brittany, are you ready to head home?

Me: * nods * I think I am definitely ready after tonight’s adventure.

(Jack transports me back to my parent’s home after that, where Pepper awaits me anxiously outside. We say our goodbyes and then Jack is gone. I’ve headed inside now, a cup of hot chocolate in my hand and Christmas music playing in the background. While we didn’t get to finish celebrations at the North Pole, I am more than excited to celebrate at home with my family. Everyone, have a Merry Christmas and maybe don’t leave any gingerbread men out for Santa this year.)

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North Pole Interview 2015

My heart is beating rapidly as I take deeps breaths, trying not to cry. Jack squeezes my shoulder as I stare out at the empty expanse. This has to be the worst thing to every happen to me. My mother is so going to kill me. I’ve lost Pepper in the North Pole.

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Me: Pepper! Don’t do that! Sorry, George, it’s been a while since he last saw you.

George: * growls *

(I am currently standing the main square of the North Pole, where Pepper is running around George and barking at him. I reach down and pick him up scolding him for treating my friend the yeti so poorly. He quiets down, but I can tell he is still wary of sweet, ole’ George.)

George: * reaches over and pats Pepper on the head while growling *

Comet: * walks up beside us * He says he doesn’t mind. He’s a cute dog.

Me: Comet! Welcome to the party.

Comet: * looks around to see nobody except for me and George * What party?

Me: Well, it’s getting started. We’re all early.

Comet: Whoo! I don’t mind that, then. Where’s Mrs. Claus’s hot chocolate?

Me: Oh, no. None of that for you so close to Christmas Eve.

George: * growls and nods in agreement *

Comet: * pouts as much as any reindeer can * You two are mean.

(I laugh and shake my head. A second later, a snowball hits me from behind and I turn around to see Jack standing on a roof with a huge pile of ammo. I set Pepper down and make a snowball of my own, take aim, throw, and… It melts.)

Me: Jack! No fair!

Jack: * laughing * Nobody said that I had to play fair.

Me: * suddenly stumbling as snow falls on me from above * Jaaaack!

George: *growls and throws a giant snowball as big as my microwave at home *

Jack: * yells out in fear and jumps to the ground *

Me: * smiling * Good one, George!

Jack: * grumbles something * Come on, let’s go get your interview over with.

Me: Sure, Jack. But just know that we’re still going to get you when we finish up.

(I grab Pepper, who has been barking wildly, and turn to the yeti and reindeer.)

Me: Sorry, guys. Tonight is super special.

Comet: How so? How does anything beat saving the North Pole from being destroyed?

Me: I get to see the inside of the toy vault.

Comet: * gasps * Really? Even I haven’t seen that!

Me: * laughing * Well, maybe if we ask nicely, Santa will let you join in.

Jack: * smiling * She managed to talk him into letting me see it. If that’s not a Christmas miracle, I don’t know what is.

Me: I didn’t have to do much convincing, Jack. I think Santa knows he can trust you.

Jack: * shakes his head * If you say so. But, come on, let’s head back over so we can get back and I can totally show you who’s the master of snow. I mean, graciously let you lose.

Me: * rolls my eyes * Neither of those are going to happen. You are going down. I have George.

Jack: * eyes the yeti * Well… You may have a point there.

(We start heading toward the Toy Vault, laughing as walk.)

Me: Santa!

Santa: * envelopes me in a warm hug * Welcome back, Brittany! It’s always wonderful to have you visit. Especially when nothing horrible is happening.

Me: It is a bit more relaxing.

Jack: Just a bit.

(Santa ushers us into the workshop and I let Pepper down as I’m handed a steaming mug of hot chocolate. I take a sip and then look back at Santa.)

Me: Okay, I can’t even pretend to be focused on anything else right now. Can we go to the Toy Vault? The readers are diligently waiting to learn about it. And Jack.

Jack: * nods * I want to see how I can get through that high-class security system you got going there, old man.

Santa: * puts his hands on his stomach as he laughs * You won’t be able to figure that out, Jack. * growing more serious * And what have I told you about calling me old man?

Jack: * shrugs *

Me: * starts walking toward the Vault * Come on, boys. Let’s not bicker. It’s time to see all of those toys.

(Pepper is already at the Vault, tail wagging as he stares at it expectantly. He turns to look at me for a second, whining like he does when he wants a treat. Even dogs know how special Santa’s Toy Vault is.)

Santa: Brittany, why don’t you have the honors? * hands me the key *

Me: * face lights up * Really?

Santa: * nods *

Jack: Come on, hurry up. * pushes me forward *

Me: Gosh, Jack. Patience is a virtue.

(I lean forward and insert the key into the keyhole, feeling a bit like a keyblade holder from Kingdom Hearts and holding the key to a world in my hand. Quite literally. After a moment, I turn the key and push open the door. I walk in to find a huge room, reaching as far as the eye can see and even further. I wonder if it even ends. A string of lights dots the ceiling, shining down on us as if we’re under a spotlight. It couldn’t be more exciting, except for one thing.)

Me: Where are all of the toys? Did you already prepare them for the sleigh, Santa?

Jack: * walking in behind me * Darn it. Someone beat me to it.

Santa: * walking into the Vault, panic clear on his face * This is not a joking matter, Jack. Where are all of the toys?!

Me: Maybe it’s not so bad. Maybe they’ve just been misplaced.

Santa: * face red as he looks around * It’s a little difficult to misplace enough toys to give to the world.

(We are silent for a moment. Pepper is sitting by my feet, tail still wagging as he stares off into the distance. I look over at Old Saint Nick and I’m a bit concerned he is about to go into full cardiac arrest.)

Jack: * breaking the silence * What did you say earlier about nothing bad happening?

Me: Oh, goodness, Jack…

(Santa storms out of the room as soon as the Vault closed behind us. The security box flashes yellow and then beeps to let us know it is locked. Pepper is whining as he tries to wiggle out of my arms and go back to the Vault.)

Jack: * scratching Pepper’s head * He really wants back in there, huh? Too bad there’s nothing fun to look at.

Me: * looking at Pepper curiously * He doesn’t usually act this way, especially for nothing. I wonder if he sensed whatever happened in there. Maybe there was some magic left behind or something?

Jack: I don’t know. But I do know that we’re in a lot of trouble if we don’t find those gifts by tomorrow night. I don’t think any child would be okay with an IOU underneath the tree instead of a present.

Me: Probably not.

Jack: What do you think happened?

Me: I’m not sure. But we know someone who can help.

(A few minutes we are sitting inside of Tim’s office, reviewing security footage of the door from the past five hours – the last time someone had gone into the room and dropped off a load of toys.)

Tim: I don’t see anything out of place. They went it, they left, they locked the door. There’s no other way to get the presents out of the Vault. It’s just as secure as the vault for the Naughty and Nice list.

Me: There’s no other way at all?

Jack: If I’ve learned anything, it’s that there’s always a loophole. Someone’s figured out how to get around security.

Tim: * shakes head * I just don’t understand. There’s no way anyone could have gotten out with all of that. Santa’s bag is still in his room. Unless someone else is using some sort of Christmas magic, it’s just not possible.

Me: And the Ninja unit hasn’t found anything yet?

Tim: * checks his phone and sees no notifications * Nothing at all.

Jack: * lets out a sigh * This is ridiculous. Maybe we should go check the Vault again. Nobody has been in since we left. There could be a clue.

Tim: It’s as good an option as anything.

(We head back to the vault, where Tim unlocks the door. The security box flashes yellow again before the door is pushed open, where we are once again met with the unending room. Pepper is whining in my arms. I sigh and set him down, letting him wander around as I talk with the other two.)

Jack: I don’t feel any frost from the outside. Definitely wasn’t a break-in in that aspect.

Tim: And the door wasn’t broken.

Me: It’s just weird. If there’s no reason that someone should have gotten in, how did everything just disappear into thin air?

Tim: Your guess is as good as ours.

Me: * thinking * Unless… Whoever came in here before us did use Christmas magic to stuff everything into a pocket or something.

Jack: Is that even possible?

Tim: It’s Christmas, Jack. Anything is possible.

Jack: Touché.

Me: * sigh * Maybe we should go check-in with Santa and make sure he’s still okay. I’ve never seen him quite so upset over anything.

Tim: It is a bit of a big deal.

Me: That it is. We only have one day and then Santa needs to head out. What will happen if we don’t make it in time?

Jack: We’ll make it. Don’t worry.

Me: * nods * Yes, we have to.

(I turn around to call Pepper, but notice that he’s disappeared. I freeze in my spot, my heart pounding in my chest as my eyes wander the room. In all the emptiness, why is it that I can’t find him?)

Me: Pepper!

(Only silence greets me and I force myself to take a deep breath. This isn’t happening. I did not just lose my dog in an unending empty room that has been mysteriously emptied of Christmas toys. Mom is going to kill me.)

Jack: * sets a hand on my shoulder and squeezes * Don’t freak out yet. He was just right here. We’ve handled more dangerous things than looking in the Toy Vault for a lost dog.

Me: * trying not to cry * But, but…

Jack: * smiles gently * We’ll find him. Don’t worry. Tim, mind grabbing the Mrs. and Snow?

(A few minutes later, Tim returns with Mrs. Claus and Snowflake trailing behind him. Mrs. Claus hugs me tightly when she sees me, patting my back. She lets go of me and I reach down to pet Snowflake, whose tail is wagging like crazy. She’s still the most adorable white ball of fluff that I know.)

Jack: Mrs. Claus, you think Snowflake might be able to sniff out Pepper? If he disappeared this easily in here, maybe he’s also where the toys are.

Mrs. Claus: * smiles * A good idea, Jack. I am hoping that is also the case. * leans down and pats Snowflake on the head * You heard him, girl. Let’s go find your friend and missing toys. It’s up to you.

(Snowflake barks and starts sniffing the ground. A moment later, she is walking straight ahead. We follow right behind her, keeping together as we roam the possibly dangerous room. After a few minutes, she suddenly turns to the left and starts running. I take off after her, surprised when she jumps into the air and disappears. My eyes widen as I try to come to a stop. My legs hit against something and I fall forward, half hanging off of some invisible wall. And there, on the other side, are Snowflake and Pepper.)

Me: * groans * I found them. And an invisible wall.

Jack: * helping me back up * I bumped into something when we turned this way as well. But it didn’t feel like a wall, more like…

Me: * gasp * A pile of toys.

(I grab the wall I landed on and notice that it’s made of lots of boxes and stuffed animals. Jack and I look at each other with a light in our eyes as Mrs. Claus and Tim catch up to us.)

Jack: The toys are still here.

Mrs. Claus: * giving him a curious look * In all this emptiness?

Jack: Yes. They’re just invisible.

Me: Watch this. * reaches over and grabs both Snowflake and Pepper *

Mrs. Claus: * gasps as the dogs appear * My goodness.

Tim: * smacks his forehead * An entire North Pole full of elves working to create top-notch security to protect everything for Christmas and not a single one of us thought to check the security setting.

Me: There’s an invisibility setting? That’s a thing?

Jack: Apparently. But, in this case, that’s definitely a good thing. At least it wasn’t set to ‘spontaneously combust.’

Tim: No, that won’t ever happen. I made sure to get rid of that function upon installation.

Jack: I was joking about that…

Tim: I wasn’t.

(We head back out of the Vault, our two precious dogs following along behind. Tim closes the door and messes with the security box before opening the door back up again. This time it flashes green. My jaw drops as I stare at the amount of toys filling up the room before us.)

Tim: * cries out in joy * Thank goodness!

Mrs. Claus: Oh, Santa will be so thrilled to learn that everything is fine.

Santa: * from behind us * Saying I’m thrilled is an understatement. I’m ecstatic! How did you all figure this out?

Me: Well, short story, Pepper and Snowflake helped us figure it out. They’re the real heroes today.

Mrs. Claus: I have some good dog treats in the kitchen for the two of you!

Pepper and Snowflake: * ears perk up at the mention of treats as they follow Mrs. Claus out of the workshop *

Santa: * grinning from ear to ear as he looks in the Vault * I have never been so happy in my life. I couldn’t stand to disappoint the children.

Me: Looks like that won’t be happening for a while.

Jack: Thankfully. I want to hang out around here for a little while longer. I don’t need you going out of business, old man.

Santa: Never going to happen, Jack. Now, how about we head back to my house to meet Mrs. Claus and the pups for some Christmas cookies?

Me: I’m never one to turn down sweets. Before we go, I just have one thing to say about the Vault.

(They all turn to look at me curiously as I walk inside the door enough to stare inside and then face them again. A smile lights up on my face as I laugh at the thought in my head.)

Me: It’s bigger on the inside. * laughs *

Jack: * groans and shakes his head * You did not just say that.

Tim: I think she did.

Santa: * laughing * Come on, let’s go and get our treats to make up for all the panic we just went through.

Jack: * throws an arm around my shoulder we close the door and head that way * Some sweets to energize us. And then back to our snowball fight for you to lose. I think it’s a pretty good day, overall.

Me: I would have to agree with that. Except for the losing part. I’m pretty competitive, Jack, and I don’t like to lose.

Jack: We’ll see who’s the better snow thrower.

(I headed back with the team to eat some delicious Christmas cookies and hot chocolate. As soon as we finished, we were back outside and preparing ammo for the oncoming war. Somehow, the entire village was out and joining in on the fun. I managed to hit Jack on the back of the head. He is still threatening his revenge. I finally got home just a little bit ago, just a bit exhausted from the day’s festivities. I will say, I don’t mind there not being any real trouble this year, but I do always enjoy the adventures at the North Pole. Until next year’s adventure… Merry Christmas!)

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North Pole Interview 2014

I stare in horror at the sight before me, my mouth wide open. A deep rumble resounds from within the earth and my legs begin to shake – not from fear as they should be doing, but from the ground moving underneath me. And above the sound of my heart beating against my chest, I can hear a voice calling out my name.

______________________________

(I have just walked outside, joining Pepper as he walks to the fence and stares down the hill at a deer that has crept out of the trees. It’s momentarily silent before my dog starts barking wildly at the deer. He freezes up and stares up the hill at us.)

Me: Pepper, hush. Leave the deer alone. You know, this is why I keep you inside when the reindeer come to pick me up.

(He continues barking until I go to pick him up. He grows silent, his eyes still turned toward the deer. I shake my head, then turn around to walk back inside with him.)

Mysterious Voice: Hello.

(I let out a squeak and turn my gaze toward the roof of the house to find a black reindeer staring down at me.)

Me: Oh, you scared me to death. Hello! I don’t think I’ve met you before.

Pepper: * starts barking at the reindeer *

Reindeer: I’m sorry about that. I came to get you for your North Pole Interview this year.

Me: Oh? Wasn’t Jack going to come pick me up again?

Reindeer: Something came up, so he’s a bit busy.

Me: * frowns * Ah, okay. Well, let me just go grab my coat and I’ll be right back.

Reindeer: * shakes head * There’s no time. We must go now.

Me: But –

Reindeer: * jumps from the roof and picks me up with his horns to throw me on his back before flying away *

Me: * hugs Pepper against my chest before realizing I am still carrying him * Oh, Pepper! Well, I guess this is your chance to go to the North Pole with me.

(We are silent for several moments before I start speaking again to the mysterious reindeer.)

Me: What’s your name?

Reindeer: Lance. * returns to being quiet *

Me: That’s a nice name. Why haven’t I seen you before? Are you new?

Reindeer: * silent *

Me: * dejected * Well, uh, okay. * looks at Pepper * Doing okay, Peps?

Pepper: * slightly whines *

Me: Ah, I know, it’s scary, huh? We’ll be back home as soon as we can. Oh, you and Snowflake can play together when we get there!

Lance: We’re not going to visit Santa.

Me: * freezes up * Wait, what? Of course we’re going to visit Santa. That’s the whole point of my North Pole Interview.

Lance: Not this year. This year you’re going to report the news of the destruction of Santa’s Workshop.

Me: No. That can’t happen!

Lance: * chuckles * Oh, it can and it will. And you’re going to have the best spot to watch the show from.

Me: Why are you doing this?

Lance: * falls silent again * There’s no reason for someone like you to know. Now just sit and be quiet. Unless you want me to drop you?

Me: Um, not at all…

(We are quiet the rest of the way to the North Pole.)

(Lance touches down outside of the entrance of the secret tunnels we used several years earlier when the yetis had attacked and captured Santa. I’m a little confused, but follow Lance as he heads into them. Pepper is shaking in my hands, the cold getting to him, so I try to quickly hurry into the caves where there is a nice heat.)

Me: * follows silently until we reach a huge opening in the cavern * Where are we?

Lance: * glances back before turning his head to stare at a huge machine that reaches the top of the cavern * This is where we’ll start the destruction of Christmas.

Me: So, that machine… It’s huge. What does it do?

Lance: You’ll see in good time.

Me: * thinks * Why do villains have to say that?

Lance: * shouts * Snow, I’ve grabbed the girl!

(A small elf comes out from around the machine, dressed in all black and a grey tint to his skin. He has a scowl on his face.)

Snow: How many times do I have to tell you not to call me that? It’s Murray, Murray!

Lance: * snickers * Okay Murray, Murray.

Murray: * rolls his eyes and then turns to me * So, you’re Brittany? I was expecting something else. Taller. Blonde, maybe.

Me: Um, I’m sorry?

Murray: * waves hand at me * It’s fine, it’s fine. You’ll do. We just need you to write your story.

Me: * shakes head * I’m not going to write about the destruction of Christmas, because it’s not going to happen. Someone’s going to find out about this, whether it be Jack or the Ninja squad or one of the reindeer…

Murray: * laughs * They won’t. Christmas is tomorrow and they have no time to search the secret abandoned tunnels that they always forget about. Plus, I’ve already captured the one person who would hold a threat to us.

Me: * suspiciously * And who is that?

Lance: * grins in only a way that a reindeer can * Your dear friend, Jack Frost. He’s probably dying to see you.

Me: What did you do to him? Let him go!

Lance and Murray: * both laugh *

Murray: * points into an adjoining cavern * Go ahead and see him for yourself. He’s not leaving anytime soon.

(I give them both a pointed glare, then walk over to the opening to where they said Jack is. A wave of heat hits me and I turn my face to the side with a gasp. If Jack is in there, I don’t know if he’ll survive. I look down at Pepper, unsure of whether or not to take him with me. After a second, I enter, knowing he would follow me even if I put him down.)

Me: Jack? * looks around until I find Jack trapped inside a cell, laying on the ground * Jack! * runs over *

Jack: *slowly turns his red face to look at me in shock * What… why are you… here?

Me: Oh, Jack. We need to get you out of here. * sets Pepper down and kneels down *

Jack: You have… to leave… Dangerous…

Me: * shakes my head * No, I can’t leave you here. Plus, I don’t think those two will let me leave even if I wanted to. They want me to do my North Pole Interview about them ruining Christmas and destroying the workshop.

Jack: * closes eyes * This is the worst….

Me: * goes to reach through the bars, but the metal is burning hot and pulls hand back quickly * Ouch. Jack, how long have you been here?

Jack: * softly chuckles * Oh, just a few… days…

Me: * in horror * A few days? Even I couldn’t stand to be in here that long. This must be worse on you. I’m getting you out.

(I look around to find that Pepper is nowhere to be seen. I stand up, my eyes wide in horror. I can’t lose him. I look at Jack, then back at the empty room.)

Me: Pepper! Pepper, come here!

Pepper: *comes running as his pawsteps resound throughout the cave walls *

Me: * leans down to pick him up * Don’t you dare do that again.

Pepper: * keeps looking down the hallway he came from *

Me: What did you find over there?

Pepper: * wags tail *

Me: * looks at Jack again before walking in the direction Pepper came from * It doesn’t hurt to check it out. Maybe something helpful will be over here.

(I walk for a few minutes down the passage, pausing every now and then to make sure that Murray and Lance haven’t noticed I’m not near Jack anymore. Pepper is still whining and I try to shush him to no avail. Finally I find several trunks and machinery parts lying around on the ground.)

Me: What in the world are these? * pokes at a metal cylinder taller than me * Maybe parts to that mysterious machine? It’s so strange.

Pepper: * whines again *

Me: Hush, Pepper. We can’t let those guys find us.

(I go to open a trunk and pick something up in my hands. It is a small explosive and I almost drop it to the ground in surprise. After I calm down, a small plan forms in my mind. I head back to the room I was just in.)

Me: Jack.

Jack: Brittany? Why are you… still here? You should have… escaped…

Me: I said I wouldn’t leave you. We need to get you out and go warn Santa and the rest.

Jack: How?

Me: Well… I’m going to blow up your cell real quick. Can you move to the back?

Jack: * eyes shoot open and he struggles to get up before moving to the back of the cell * Are you sure…. about this?

Me: Sort of. * goes to put explosive down and presses a button *

(A moment later there is a small explosion. Some of the cave wall flies away, forming a hole. The cell bars are broken, bent, and otherwise destroyed. A small smile alights my face.)

Me: * jumps up and down * I can’t believe that actually worked!

Jack: * slowly shakes head *

Pepper: * starts wiggling in my arms and barking at something behind me *

Lance: What are you doing in here?

Me: * turns around * Um… Some redecorating?

Murray: * runs into the cavern room * What did you let her do, Lance?

Lance: Nothing! You’re the one who sent her in here!

Murray: Well… * looks at me * That’s not going to help you. He’s still weak from the heat.

Me: Jack? I don’t have a plan past blowing up the cell. Any ideas?

(Suddenly Rudolph bounds into the room, his nose lighting up the cavern walls. Lance and Murray part, scowls on both of their faces.)

Me: Rudolph!

Rudolph: One quick look in the underground passages and I find a potential hazard to Christmas right away. What are the two of you doing down here?

Me: Nothing much, just captured by Lance and Murray over there.

Rudolph: * looks at the two * I’ve never seen either of you before.

Lance: * glares * For a good reason. We would never be associated with you Christmas loving fools.

Rudolph: Brittany, can you get Jack on my back?

Me: * nods * I’ll try. *walks over to Jack and helps him over to Rudolph *

Jack: Ugh…

(Lance charges at Rudolph. Jack, now on the reindeer’s back, groans as Rudolph dodges and jumps into the air. I run forward and go past Murray, who tries to grab at me. I am just out of his reach. Rudolph lands in front of me and I jump on, albeit clumsily, trying to keep Pepper comfortably in my arms. Before I can get settled, Rudolph is racing through the tunnels and out into the snow-covered land of the North Pole.)

Santa: What does the machine do?

Me: I’m not sure, Santa. But it’s huge, maybe twenty, thirty feet high.

Jack: Probably taller.

(Jack is sitting in a chair, the window open beside him as he sips on a glass of water filled to the brim with ice. His skin has reached is normal, pale tone. Santa, Mrs. Claus, Jack, Rudolph, and I sit around a table as we discuss what we found under the workshop. Pepper and Snowflake are laying down beside each other on the couch next to me.)

Rudolph: It looked ridiculous, there were so many pieces and knobs to it. And those two… They were strange looking.

Me: * nods * They were like shadow versions of the reindeer and elves here. So much hate for the North Pole and for Christmas.

Santa: It’s the night of Christmas Eve! I don’t have time to worry about the North Pole being destroyed.

Mrs. Claus: * worried * This is just not good at all.

Me: * shakes head * It’s not. We need to get this solved, and fast. I just don’t know how to destroy that.

Jack: Once I get back to full power, I can freeze it.

Rudolph: We can’t wait for you to charge. Let’s get the ninjas.

Santa: Fine. Gather the ninjas. Rudolph, I can’t let you go. We have to leave within the hour.

Rudolph: But Santa-

Santa: * holds up a hand * No buts. We can repair the workshop by next year, but we can’t fix this night if we don’t head out.

Rudolph: * sighs *

Mrs. Claus: Don’t worry, dear. We’ll handle this here.

Santa: * kisses Mrs. Claus on the forehead * Oh, I know it’ll work out just fine. Brittany, I’m sorry that we’re not getting to do your interview again this year.

Me: It’s not a problem at all, Santa. I’m more concerned about saving the North Pole.

Santa: * smiles * And that’s why you are forever on the Nice list.

Me: * chuckles * Good to know, Santa.

Santa: * stands up * If you’ll excuse me, I’ve got to go get my red suit on. Come on, Rudolph. Go get ready for lift off.

Rudolph and Santa: * leave room *

 

 

(I’m back in the caverns, this time with the ninja squad behind me. Pepper is behind with Mrs. Claus, safe away from any danger. Jack stayed back since he wasn’t recovered yet from his capture. Some of the elves joined our party along with a few yetis. Tim and George are both beside me as we creep through the tunnels.)

 

Tim: * whispering * You never get to see a simple Christmas anymore, do you?

Me: Well, the same goes both ways.

Tim: * chuckling * Touché. So, what do you think it does?

Me: The machine? Something bad. As long as it’s not a giant bomb…

George: * growls *

Me: Ah, I wish Comet were here to translate. I’m sorry, George, I don’t understand.

George; * growls and shrugs *

Ninja Warrior: * motions for us all to stop right before the entrance of the cavern room where the device is *

Me: * pushes toward the front and stares inside to see both Murray and Lance working to press buttons on the machine * That’s not good. We need to stop them.

Ninja Warrior: * nods and motions for everyone to rush into the room *

(We all enter the room, the ninja elves taking out their weapons and racing toward Lance and Murray. Growls reverberate off of the cavern walls as the yetis walk in. Murray jumps on Lance’s back, who flies out of reach. I run up to the machine, trying to find a button to stop whatever is about to happen but everything is unreadable.)

Murray: * laughing * There’s no way that you can stop it now. Say goodbye to the North Pole.

Lance: There’s no home for any of you here now. * dodges as a throwing star wizzes past him *

Me: No, we’re going to stop it!

(The ground starts shaking underneath us as the machine begins to creak and groan, its pieces whirling and moving. Several stalactites fall from the ceiling and crash into the ground, George barely jumping out of the way. I cling to the machine and glare up at the two hovering above us.)

Tim: How do we stop this? Tell us!

Murray: * laughs * You don’t. Your world is going to come crashing down around you, literally, and you won’t be able to do anything to stop it.

Lance: Santa hasn’t left yet and I don’t think he will be going on his trip this year.

Me: * starts looking at the buttons again * We’re going to figure a way out of this.

Tim: * joins me at the machine * If we just start pressing any random buttons, it can’t be any worse than what is happening now.

Me: Unless we speed the process up.

Tim: Aren’t we supposed to be positive around Christmas time?

Me: Yes, but right now we’re in a cave and it’s collapsing and I don’t want to destroy the North Pole before we can save it.

Tim: * silent a moment * Good point.

(Several ninjas are trying to attack the machine at this point. The sound of metal on metal fills the air. Suddenly the vibrations in the earth grow worse and I am thrown off of my feet onto the ground. A crack starts forming from the machine to the cave walls and up toward the ceiling. I stare at the crack in wide-eyed horror.)

Me: No, no, no.

George: * growls and picks me up, setting me gently on my feet *

Tim: * leaning against the earthquake machine * We need to get out of here before we die.

Me: * bites lip * But we need to stop this.

Tim: I don’t think we’re going to be able to do that in time. The best thing would be to try to escape the North Pole before something happens.

Me: I… I… I guess so.

Lance: There’s no hope. You won’t make it out in time.

Murray: We still need the girl to write the story about our deeds. Let’s take her.

Me: What?! No way. I’m not writing anything for you.

Murray: We have ways to make people do things.

 

(Lance starts flying toward me just as there’s another large shift in the earth below us. Everyone falls to the ground but I rise up as Murray grabs me by the arms. I struggle to get out of his grasp.)

Me: Let me go!

(Suddenly I feel his hands retract and I am falling down. A scream rises from my throat and then suddenly I am in the arms of George, who looks down at me with a smile. I snuggle against his warm fur, so thankful to have him there.)

Jack: Sorry for taking so long.

Me: Well, you were just a little late. But you made it.

Jack: * grins * Yeah, well, I couldn’t let those guys steal you away now, could I?

Me: That would have definitely been uncool of you, sir.

Jack: And I’m the coolest person you know. Literally.

Murray: Blah, blah, blah! All this talking is so irritating. Accept the fact that you are all doomed.

Jack: Nope. Not doomed at all. I’ve already disengaged your system and crushed the engines. My ice is back at full power.

Me: * suddenly notices the ground is still again *

Jack: You’re kind of defeated already.

Murray: * growls * No.

Lance: I knew he’d ruin everything.

Murray: Don’t worry. This isn’t the last time you’ll hear from us. We’ll be back and we’ll destroy everything.

Jack: Good luck with that! * blasts a stream of ice at the two, but they dodge and escape through the opening of the caverns *

(We’re back in Santa’s workshop. Santa has left to start his travel around the world and the rest of us are all outside, celebrating the start of Christmas and the survival of the North Pole. Pepper is in my lap as I sit in a chair around a bonfire. I sip on a cup of Mrs. Claus’s famous hot chocolate.)

Jack: * comes up and sits beside me * I’m sorry you had to go through all of that.

Me: * shrugs * It’s fine, honestly. I’m used to having some crazy adventures up here with all of you. I love it.

Jack: * chuckles * You’re a strange one.

Me: Which means I’m awesome.

Jack: If you say so.

Tim: * walks up with his kids * Thanks for everything, Brittany, Jack. You two are always there and ready to help out.

Me: Anything for everyone up here.
Jack: * nods in agreement *

Tim: Did you get any questions in for your interview this year?

Me: * shakes head * No, not at all, but I don’t really mind. I think this was probably the craziest adventure yet.

Tim: Well, tell your readers that Christmas almost really didn’t happen this year and that they should make sure to enjoy the holidays to the fullest extent.

Jack: And to stop whining about their weather. Just live and have fun with their family and friends.

Tim: Also, tell them to expect something awesome coming to them this year.

Me: Oh? Something awesome?

Tim: We got a new system this year and were able to get some extra special presents made for children all around the world.

Me: Nice! I’m sure they’re all going to love that.

Pepper: * moves in my lap and raises his head to stare up at me *

Me: * leans down and kisses his forehead * I guess I should get you home. Jack, will you take me, please?

Jack: * stands up * Always! Let’s go!

(I’m now home, bundled up underneath my blankets and relaxing with Pepper right beside me. This year’s visit to the North Pole was definitely different, but I’m glad that everything turned out all right in the end. I just wonder what will happen with Murray and Lance. Will they come back as they threatened? Why do they hate the North Pole and Christmas so much? They are so full of hatred and it is concerning. But, wait. That’s not what is important right now. Right now, Christmas starts here in ten minutes. When will Santa stop by? Probably soon. Get your cookies ready, my dear readers. And don’t forget, expect something amazing. But above all, have a wonderful and blessed Christmas!)

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North Pole Interview 2013

The holiday season is one of my favorite times of the year. The sparkling lights, the gorgeous decor,  the comfy and fun fashion styles… or perhaps it’s that Christmas magic that seems to coat everything in just a little more cheer than usual.

When I was younger, I started sending out email newsletters to my immediate family and friends. The first Christmas, I decided to do an interview with Santa. My readers loved it so much (I don’t care how biased they were), I decided to stick with it. I did it the year after. And the year after that. And the year after that.

Now it’s a tradition that I can’t bare to break – and I would never want to. Not only is it fun to come up with a new story each year, but I love getting to feel a little more apart of the holiday season and share something fun with an even larger group of friends and family.

Sadly, I noticed that I haven’t posted my last three years of stories. I think it’s time to make up for that. I’ll be posting an interview each day until Christmas, with the 2016 interview being posted on Christmas Eve.

Please read on and enjoy! Perhaps they are not the best in quality, but I hope they put a bit of a smile on your face.

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After last year’s excitement at the North Pole, I didn’t get a chance to really interview Santa. I’m determined this year to get that interview, but it seems that it’s going to take a little bit longer than I expected it to be. At the moment, I’m somewhere out in the forests surrounding Santa’s Workshop, partnered with Jack Frost and Tim the elf as we search for a very specific plant that grows in the North Pole. The reason why? I’ll start this year’s report from before arriving at Santa’s Workshop.

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(I am reading a book when my cell phone starts to ring. I look at the caller ID to see that it is a private number. Curious, I answer the phone.)

Me: Hello?

Familiar Voice: Brittany, this is Santa!

Me: Santa! How are you? What are you calling about?

Santa: Well, the North Pole is in a bit of a rough spot right now. I’m calling to cancel your visit this year until we’ve gotten things together again.

Me: * silence*

Santa: I’m very sorry.

Me: What’s wrong, Santa? What’s going on?

Santa: Well…

Familiar Voice #2: * in the background * Santa, tell her! She handled the yetis last year! I’m sure she’ll even want to help out this year.

Me: Is that Jack? Santa, please tell me what’s going on!

Santa: * hesitant * I don’t like to ever say that Christmas might not come, but… Christmas may not happen. Most of the reindeer have fallen ill and Christmas magic will not work on them. They can’t fly or… talk. * is silent for a moment * Mrs. Claus and I don’t know what else to do. This has never happened before.

Me: Omigoodness… Santa, that’s terrible!

(There is a scuffle on the other end of the phone and then Jack’s voice comes through.)

Jack: Brittany?

Me: Jack!

Jack: The old man thinks there might be some sort of plant out in the forests around his workshop that might be able to help. We have a general idea of where it might be, but we still have to do some searching.

Me: * grins * Christmas can be saved! That’s great!

Jack: Maybe. * sound of a box falling to the ground * Want to come help search? You can get your interview after we save Christmas. Again.

Santa: * in the background * Jack! You’re about to get put onto the Naughty list! Brittany isn’t used to the cold up here. It’s dangerous for her. I don’t want her involved.

Jack: So she bundles up! * into the phone * Wear a thick jacket.

Me: * laughs * I don’t know if I have a jacket thick enough for the North Pole.

Jack: Hmm…. * to Santa * Do we have thick jackets?

Santa: * grumbles something in the background *

Jack: Looks like we’re in! I’ll come pick you up in a few minutes, Brittany, so get dressed.

(I can tell Santa is trying to say something but Jack hangs up before he can get to the phone. I shake my head, wondering what I’ve just gotten myself into. But, hey, I braved the yetis last year. Maybe this won’t be so bad.)

__________________________

(True to his word, Jack arrives within a few minutes and transports me up to the North Pole. I am bundled up in layers of clothing, my thickest jacket, and a super warm fuzzy hat, but I am still concerned about traversing through the snow for a long amount of time.)

Jack: Santa wants to give you a briefing before we go out.

Me: A briefing?

Jack: * nods * Yeah. It’ll be really quick, though.

Me: Okay. * thinks * I’m starting to feel like I’m on some sort of task force or something.

(We walk over to Santa’s house, where I am greeted warmly by Mrs. Claus and Snowflake, their super adorable puppy. I pick Snowflake up and kiss her on the head.)

Me: It’s been so long!

Jack: * chuckles * I think she’s more interested in the puppy than anything else.

Me: * shoots him a glare * What’s wrong with loving a puppy?

Jack: Nothing. Nothing at all.

Mrs. Claus: * laughing * You children…

Jack: I’m way older than her! I’m not a child!

Me: Neither am I, Jack. * laughs *

Mrs. Claus: * shakes her head with a smile on her face * Now, now. You two have a very important mission to go on. Let’s go meet Santa in the back room.

(Jack and I follow Mrs. Claus into a back room that I haven’t seen before. Santa is sitting down with a steaming mug of hot chocolate, pictures and maps strewn across the tabletop in front of him.)

Santa: Welcome! Please, take a seat and let’s get started.

Jack and I: * sits *

Me: What are these pictures for?

Santa: * pushes a picture of a plant towards me * This is what you, Jack, and Tim are going to be looking for. It’s the cure for the illness that the reindeer have caught.

Me: Tim is going to be there?

Santa: The more people, the better. The ninja squad is already searching the forest, but Jack has a little bit of an advantage wherever he goes.

Jack: * grins * Just a little bit.

Santa: * pushes a map across to me * We think the plant should be in this area. * points to a large area just north of Santa’s Workshop * This is where you’ll be looking.

Me: Sounds like a plan.

Santa: It’s going to be cold.

Me: * motions to my outfit * I’m very well dressed.

Jack: And I can make it warmer around her while we travel. It’ll be fine, Santa. Stop worrying.

Santa: * sighs * I try not to, but I can’t help worrying. I’ve never been so stressed before, not even last year when the yetis locked us in the toy factory. Christmas is so close. If the reindeer don’t get well…

Me: Santa, Jack’s right. Don’t worry! We’re going to fix this for you.

(We stay a few more minutes before heading out and meeting Tim the elf on the edge of Santa’s Workshop. He’s excited to see me, despite the circumstances. We quickly hug each other before heading out on our search. As Jack promised Santa, he has made the temperature a bit more comfortable for me as we walk throughout the forests.)

Tim: It’s a bad time for this to happen.

Me: * nods * Especially with Christmas tomorrow. Do you think… that the reindeer will be better in time for flying?

Tim: There’s no way to tell. All we can do is hope for a Christmas miracle.

Jack: Everything’s going to work out. We’re going to find this plant, heal the reindeer, and get Christmas rolling.

Me: We can do it!

(We walk for about a half hour. I can feel my legs starting to ache and I think that I really need to work on walking more often. We haven’t seen any plants other than the nearby trees. Everything is buried in snow, though, so I worry a bit that our journey’s goal has been hidden underneath a blanket of white somewhere.)

Me: What if we miss it?

Jack: We won’t.

Me: But-

Jack: Trust me, Brittany. We won’t miss it.

Tim: Yeah, there’s no way we can miss it.

(A little bit confused, I don’t respond but follow them quietly as we continue our search. After a few more minutes, I stop to take a breather. Jack and Tim don’t notice, but I don’t call for them right away. I will start back up in just a minute.)

Random Noise: * growls *

Me: * freezing, I look around to see where the growl is coming from *

(A flash of movement catches my eyes and I turn around, looking into the forest. I see a large ball of white, as if a giant ball of snow is moving around through the trees. Cautiously, and a bit stupidly, I walk out into the trees… and am met with a blast of freezing cold air. I’ve left Jack’s winter weather shield.)

Me: * hugs myself as I start shivering * This i-i-isn’t g-good.

Random Noise: * growls *

Me: * takes a step back *

Random Noise: * growls louder *

Me: * prepares to scream *

(Suddenly the mysterious object appears in front of me and I realize it is one of the yetis that live nearby. I let out a giant sigh of relief.)

Me: Thank goodness! I was afraid there was something out here that was going to… kill me. That would not be a Christmas miracle!

Yeti: * growls *

Me: * thinks * I can’t understand at all.

Yeti: * leans over and picks me up *

Me: * not sure what to do * Thank you. Could you help me find Jack Frost and Tim? They left without me…

Yeti: * growls, softer *

(The yeti starts walking. I really hope that it understands me, but there’s nothing much I can do other than snuggle against its fur and keep warm. After a while, we hear a shouting noise. Jack and Tim come barreling through the trees, relief on their faces as they see me. I can feel the temperature rise again.)

Jack and Tim: Brittany!

Me: * out of the yeti’s arms * Jack! Tim!

Jack: * attacks me with a hug * Where did you go? One minute you were there, the next you were gone. We were so worried!

Tim: We couldn’t find you at all!

Me: I got tired and then distracted… But this yeti found me and started carrying me around.

Jack: * to the yeti * Thank you! You’re a lifesaver!

Me: * giggles * Literally! It was too cold without your magic, Jack!

Jack: * looks at the ground * I’m really sorry.

Me: Don’t worry about it! I’m all good and we’re all together again. What we need to focus on is finding this plant.

Yeti: * growls *

Tim: If only Comet were here… He’s the only one that can understand the yetis.

Jack: Let’s just keep looking.

(After another ten minutes of what seems like pointless searching, we see a faint light coming from in front of us. Jack, Tim, and even the yeti get extremely excited and run ahead. I stare at them confused.)

Jack: * stops and looks back at me * Brittany, come on! We can’t lose you again!

Me: * still confused, but runs to join the group *

Tim: It’s real! It’s really real!

Yeti: * excited growl *

Me: That… That’s the plant?

(In front of us is the plant that we’ve been looking for, but it’s glowing a bright blue. The light pulses slowly. Somehow, I’m not even surprised at all that a plant can glow. But that seems like nothing compared to seeing Santa and talking reindeer and elves and Jack Frost and yetis.)

Tim: This is definitely it! * reaches into a pocket and pulls out some sheers to cut off pieces of the plant *

Me: I’m so glad that we found it! But can we make it back in time? We’re pretty far from the workshop.

Jack: I’ll just teleport us back from here. I couldn’t do it before because we didn’t know where to go.

Me: * jumps in joy * That’s awesome! We don’t have to walk and we’ll get to help the reindeer faster!

Jack: * grins *

Yeti: * grabs both of us in a hug and growls *

(As soon as Tim finishes collecting pieces of the plant that we need to make the medicine for the reindeer, Jack transports us back to Santa’s Workshop. A liquid, and slightly glowing, medicine is quickly made and distributed to the reindeer. I wait patiently with Jack, Tim, the yeti, and the only reindeer still not sick, Comet.)

Comet: * all of a sudden * Brittany, George says he thinks you’re pretty.

Me: * blushes * George?

Comet: * moves head and points antlers at the yeti *

Me: * smiles up at George * Thank you! You’re so sweet!

George: * growls *

Jack: * laughs *

Me: * punches him in the arm softly * Don’t be a jerk!

Jack: * continues laughing *

Tim: * shakes head *

Santa: * running outside with a large smile on his face * The medicine works! Christmas will be going along as scheduled!

Everyone everywhere: * shouts in happiness *

Me: I’m so glad that it worked out well!

Jack: Me, too. And I’m glad that you could come help us out!

Me: I didn’t do much, but it was definitely fun to search with you and Tim. And George.

George: * growls *

Me: I guess I should head back home. Jack, would you take me?

Jack: What about your interview?

Me: I don’t want to bother anyone. It’s been stressful and Christmas is just a few hours away and there’s not really any time. I’ll just try again next year.

Jack: You could always interview me.

Tim: And I can help out, too.

Me: Really? I’ll just do quick questions. I really don’t want to keep anyone.

Comet: Wait, what about me and George.

Me: * giggles * Of course I’ll interview the two of you! Okay, so first question. What’s your favorite part about the holidays?

George: * growls *

Comet: He says now that Santa is bringing the yetis presents again, that’s his favorite part. But he also likes seeing his family from the other side of the North Pole.

Me: Awww. And you, Comet?

Comet: Mrs. Claus’s hot chocolate!

Tim: As is the favorite part of all the reindeers’ holidays… Mine is getting to see my little ones’ faces light up as they see their presents Christmas morning.

Me: You’re so close with your kids, Tim! And you, Jack?

Jack: Um… * thinks for a moment * Getting to see everyone at the North Pole and hang out with them every year since the accidental blizzards in 2011. It’s been fun since then.

Me: And hectic! There never seems to be a break up here. Okay, I’ll only ask one more question. Any advice for the readers this Christmas?

Comet: Put out carrots! Carrots! Enough for all of the reindeer. Or just put my name on it. That would be fine, too.

Tim: Enjoy your time with your family or friends. You all deserve some holiday happiness!

Jack: Don’t get mad at me if you don’t have any snow… And wear good clothes for the cold! Don’t freeze.

George: Be happy!

Me: Yes, be happy! Wait. * confused * You speak?

Everyone: * silence *

George: * growls *

Comet: He says that he doesn’t know what you are talking about.

(I say my goodbyes to my friends at the North Pole and Jack transports me back home, where the weather is much, much warmer. Jack jokes about sending a cold front to Texas and I just roll my eyes at him. He disappears, back off to the North Pole for him, and I wander into my home to type this report. It’s been an interesting visit to the North Pole this year and I am a little concerned that I’ll never have a normal visit again. But, then, who could say that visiting Santa and the North Pole is normal? All in all, Christmas is still set to run and everyone can enjoy the holiday to the fullest! Make sure to put out carrots and cookies and enjoy each other’s company, not just the presents. Merry Christmas, everyone!)

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