This is not the fabrications of Santa Claus told to children so they remember the magic of the season and ignite a selfless desire to give. No, this is the truth. This is a warning to those who try to catch a glimpse of the head elf and see that twinkle in his eye. For if you do, it will be the last thing you see in this life before the curse takes hold of you and you are forced to serve the dark master of mischief forever…
Take heed to this warning.
He knows when you are sleeping.
He knows when you’re awake.
He knows if you’ve been bad or good,
And if you're bad, your soul he’ll take.
As the story is told, Saint Nicholas delivered coins to those who left their shoes out overnight. He placed small gifts into stockings hung on the window to dry. He did many selfless acts of kindness. Great deeds that could fill volumes. But that is only part of the story.
The thing most people don’t know is that Nicholas was like any other little boy, overly curious with an utter disregard for the rules and an insatiable desire to prove how strong and brave he was. This is how the curse began over two thousand years ago.
Nicholas’ mother had told him to feed the chickens and pigs before going anywhere. So, naturally, he shirked his chores and ran off to play and explore the hills and caves far from town. The countryside, of what we know today to be Turkey, was familiar to Nicholas. When he and his friends weren’t causing mischief in the village, they went exploring. And being the fearless leader he was, nothing phased Nicholas.
That is, until he encountered an old hut deep in the woods.
His friends had already beaten him there and were awaiting his arrival.
“What is this?” Nicholas asked, an excited twinkle in his blue eyes.
“We just got here and were waiting for you.” Peri answered, rubbing his hands together greedily.
“Yeah. Thought we would try and knock it down.” Cin, the smallest of the boys added.
Cin picked up a stone and handed it over to Nicholas. Nicholas wound up and let the stone loose. It sailed through the air with a whistle, hitting the door with practiced precision. The old hut wobbled and crumpled down. All three boys laughed triumphantly as they ran to examine Nicholas’ kill.
When they arrived, they heard what sounded like an old woman groaning.
“Help me please!” Someone pleaded from inside the rubble.
Nicholas picked up a nearby stick and pushed aside some of the rotten wood. The wrinkled, spotted face of an old woman looked up at him. Pained tears glistened in her eyes.
“Please, boys.” She begged again, “Help me out of here, or else I will certainly perish.”
Nicholas smiled, his cheeks turned rosy, “For all we know, you are an evil witch and I have saved my village. Why should I help you?”
Bright, colorful lights surrounded them, freezing the boys in their tracks. The woman floated up from beneath the debris and toward the bewitched trio. She transformed into a beautiful, young woman in a sparkling ice blue dress.
The woman sang.
“If sainthood you desire, your wish is my command.”
“Only good will you do, else beware the reprimand.
“From now until the end of time, a servant you will be
“Of kindness and good fortune, but do not let them see.
“If in your twinkling eyes they look, this will be the cost
“Forever they will serve you, and their souls be lost.
“Now go along your jolly way, serving without pause
“Eternally the King of Elves, forever Santa Claus.”
The woman vanished. The lights dispersed, swirling around the three boys, gathering closer together until they entered Nicholas’ heart. Suddenly he could move again. He first met Peri’s eyes. In a flash of red and green smoke, Peri was gone. The smoke cleared and left behind a hairy stone-gray creature no larger than a toddler. Long, pointed ears poked out from his head and he looked back at Nicholas with large coal black eyes.
“Peri?” Nicholas crouched down
Peri bowed. “I live to serve you.”
Cin kneeled next to Nicholas. Nicholas turned his head and the two boys’ eyes met for only a second. Red and green smoke exploded in Nicholas’ face, making him cough. He waved away the smoke. Another small creature remained, this one forest green.
“Hello, master.” Cin smiled, showing yellow pointed teeth.
Nicholas stood up and ran home, Peri and Cin following close behind.
“Mother!” Nicholas yelled. “Mother something happened.”
Nicholas’ mother looked up from the chicken coop where she had been attending to Nicholas’ chores. Her angered expression turned to worry as she saw her son running home with tears in his eyes. Then melted to horror as she glimpsed the furry elves chasing after Nicholas. She dropped the bucket of feed, sending the chickens into a hungry frenzy, and ran inside. Once Nicholas crossed the threshold, she slammed the door and dropped the bar across to lock it. Two loud thuds rattled the door.
“What’s happened Nicholas?”
Nicholas turned his head away from his mother and buried his face in his hands.
“Please Nicholas, talk to me.” She tried to turn him around. “What is wrong?”
Nicholas shook his head and fought against his mother, trying hard to not look at her. Finally, she turned him around and wrenched his hands from his face. With a puff of smoke in red and green, Nicholas’s mother was no more.
“Mother, no!” Nicholas cried out. “I’m sorry I was a bad boy.”
As the smoke cleared, a pink elf with curly hair and long eyelashes appeared, smiling up at him.
“Azra at your service,” she said, bowing deeply.
“Oh mother.” Nicholas wept. “I never meant for this to happen. This is all that old witch’s fault! I must find her and make her undo the curse!”
Nicholas packed a bag and left the village at once, the three elves following close behind. He trekked back to the broken hut in the wooded hills. There he searched among the debris for any clues as to who she was or where to find her.
“I have to find this witch, if it is the last thing I do.”
“We know where to look.” Peri said.
“Yes, follow us.” Azra added.
The elves rushed deeper into the woods. Nicholas ran to keep up and quickly found he didn’t tire. He kicked his legs faster. As he did, a swirling vortex of light appeared ahead of him. He and the elves ran right through it, coming out into a vast frozen tundra. Nicholas stopped running and slid across the icy ground. When he stopped, the witch appeared in front of him.
“You found me sooner than I thought.” She marveled.
“You have to take the curse away.” He said. “And change my mother back. I promise, I will be good from now on.”
“I will not do that. This is your cross to bear through the end of time.” She replied.
Feeling angry, Nicholas crouched down, picked up a handful of snow, and shaped it into a ball.
“I wouldn’t do that.” the witch warned.
Nicholas pulled back his arm and threw the snowball as hard as he could. It sailed straight for the witch, circled around her, and straight back at Nicholas. He tried to dodge out of the way, but the snowball hit him square in the face.
“You’ve learned nothing.” The witch scolded. “Let this be my last warning to you. Your insolence and cruelty will not be upon you, but upon those souls you carry.”
She reached out her hand toward Azra. The elf fell to the ground and writhed in pain.
“Stop it!” Nicholas yelled.
The witch lifted her hand and Azra lay still, breathing heavily.
“The next unkind act will result in the death of one of your elves. I don’t give second chances lightly.” With that, the witch vanished in a shimmer of light and colors.
Nicholas picked up the elf that was his mother and held her close.
“We need to get back home.” He said.
Light swirled up around Nicholas and the elves and they were now standing in Nicholas’ home.
Nicholas tried hard to avoid eye contact with everyone in the village. Occasionally he would make a mistake and steal another soul, adding to his elves. It wasn’t long before he vowed to only go out at night, and only when necessary. He would listen by the homes of those that were suffering. He took what little money his mother had saved and dispersed it among the poorest in town.
In time, he learned to hone the powers that came with the curse. He could create things with his hands. He would send the elves to search for materials. Soon, he was making toys, treats, and coins to pass out among his town. Spirits rose among the people. They realized that it had been Nicholas helping them in secret. He hid in the rafters of the church and listened as they bestowed the title of Saint on him.
As more time passed, he recognized he was not aging at the rate he should. Nicholas knew it was only a matter of time before the village noticed, so he started traveling further. He traveled from village to village finding many in need. Sometimes he would come upon a vagrant ready to cause trouble. He decided these evil doers deserved to share his fate and added them to his elven collection.
For years this went on. Stories were told of Santa Claus visiting each year and delivering gifts. Songs, poems, and books were written in his honor. None realized that when wicked men and women would mysteriously vanish, it was Nicholas taking their souls and turning them into his elves, forcing them to do his bidding. He justified it all in the name of Sainthood.
But not all his victims deserved their fates. Sometimes he took the innocent, claiming they were at fault. They tried too hard to catch Santa’s eye. To see Saint Nicholas performing his selfless gift-giving deeds.
Sometimes, that victim was a single mother whose little boy already lost his father to a senseless act of carelessness. That mother was trying to take care of her boy and was stolen from him. And that little boy grew up without parents. Without a family. Maybe that little boy didn’t deserve it. And maybe sometimes little boys like that grow up to tell their stories.
I’ve dedicated my life to finding out the truth behind this red coated villain. I vowed to avenge my mother after watching helplessly from behind a cracked door as she unknowingly walked in on Santa placing gifts under our tiny tree. I watched helplessly as she turned into one of his elves and followed him away into the night without a glance behind.
It has been thirty years, but I have been a good boy all that time. I got a job at an orphanage, knowing he couldn’t resist stopping there. And now I’m waiting for his arrival. It is nearly time. I am standing and waiting behind the tree covered in hand-made ornaments. I can hardly contain my excitement that I will at last put an end to his tyranny.
The first bell of midnight chimes. Jingle bells ring overhead and I hear a thud of the sleigh touching down. The fire light dims. Sparkles of light tingle into the room and form into a bearded man. He stops next to the plate of cookies, sets down his large sack, and takes a bite.
His back is turned to me, the time is now. I tiptoe out from behind the tree, my gun raised and ready to fire.
“Goodbye Santa Claus, you devil.” I say.
He turns and his twinkling blue eyes meet mine. I’m completely mesmerized. I try to step toward him but cannot move. And then I hear a dull thud as the gun hits the ground and I am surrounded in green and red smoke. I have failed, and Santa Claus has claimed another victim.
So, if you hear the bells ringing and a thump in the dark of night near your Christmas tree, stay snug in bed and cover your head. If you don’t, I may see you in Santa’s workshop for all eternity.
About the Creator
Autistic author, husband, and father of 3. I write because I love telling stories. More than that, writing is a way for me to communicate more clearly and express my innermost thoughts and feelings.