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Special Mention - Tommelise Peters

The Christmas Resistance

By Tommelise Peters

The air is cold enough to burn, but Joe is too distracted to notice. Numb fingers defy him
as he struggles with his pocket zip. From inside he extracts the ball he purchased with the
last of his pocket money. Normally he would gather sticks for his friend but Christmas is
approaching and he feels there is no one more deserving of a gift.

Joe possessed an intrinsic compassion for all animals but with Fenryr it was different. She
offered true companionship to his adventures, it was a camaraderie he had not
experienced in any relationship, human or otherwise. He could talk for hours and she
would listen intently to every word, when he played make believe, he wondered if her
reactions were perhaps even more convincing than his own, and never in their years of
friendship had she rejected an invitation for mischief.

In what he believed to be a rather rewarding exchange, Joe would run errands and
perform small tasks for his neighbours, and in return they would allow him to play with their
dog. But every night he thoroughly resented returning her home. How lovely it would be to
wake up to a big wet nose and wagging tail, the unfaltering combination of infectious joy.

Joe’s gentle nature wasn’t just reserved for animals. Often strangers would marvel at his
manners. The more sceptical of his neighbours were inclined to believe he was an
excellent actor rather than an authentically indefectible child. Joe hoped his behaviour
would be sufficient in convincing Santa to deliver his long coveted Christmas wish: his very
own pet, under the tree on Christmas Day. He had failed the previous year when he
requested Fenryr specifically, his parents had educated him on the intricacies of Santas
regulations. In this particular case, you can’t wish for something that already belongs to
someone else. He had mourned the loss of his hope to have Fenryr but conceded that it
would be wrong, and so bitterly accepted their fate.

Black beady eyes jitter back and forth toward the guards, the creatures salivate as they
notice a guard turn his back, in a flash they launch an assault of sharp yellow fingernails
and cerated teeth, their twisted mouths jeering and lusting over the thought of ripping flesh
from bone. To their disappointment the attack activated their collars sending a debilitating
shock through their tiny lithe bodies. All of the Elves sneered and spat before shaking
themselves off and picking up their tools.

This small population of foul creature is now the last on Earth. Many moons ago, the North
Pole was an isolated land mass, inhospitable to humans, home to only two humanoid
species who had evolved in very different ways to survive; the Claus and the Elf. For
thousands of years the Elf would relentlessly degrade the environment, destroying
resources they did not need purely to spite the Claus, but their depravity and lust for
sorrow grew. Despite being the smaller of the two species they were cunning, and
possessed a speed that a Human might deem scientifically impossible. Thrilled at the
power they could wield, they began to actively hunt their giant benevolent neighbours. The
species could not be more unlike and so the Claus chose to evade traps and run rather
than fight, but as the time passed, the Claus grew fewer, and their pursuers crueller.
Eventually the Claus were left without a choice, they rose up, and a great battle erupted,
resulting in the near extinction of both populations.

Following the deciding battle on mount Santa, the leader of the resistance was dubbed
Santa Claus. He loathed his post and the moral conflict such a position imposed, but his
personal grievance at the hands of Elves had been great, and so he understood the
creatures he faced. Only two viable options lay before him: the mass slaughter of 5000
Elves, or their indefinite imprisonment. And so he chose the latter, believing it was the
lesser of two evils. For this solution to work he knew that to leave these over active
demons idle would be to hold a ticking time bomb of disaster, and so he concluded they
needed to be put to work. Yet his dilemma was such that he felt it would be morally
incomprehensible to force labour for selfish purposes and so sought to find a solution in a
mission of the most selfless intent, one which would only bring joy to the world.

In order to remain true to his cause, a parliament was held, and Santa Claus swore under
the Power of the Northern Lights that any child who had been judged as “good” would
receive one desired gift of their choosing. This was a clause proposed to prevent
corruption and ensure that the morality of the Christmas resistance would forever be

The NPCS (North Pole Construction Site) had endless rules. Each and every one upheld
in order to maintain control over the compulsively devious Elves. One such rule is the
absolute restriction of literature. From their observations of Humans, The Claus knew that
to allow the Elves to read and write would be to provide them with the greatest weapon of
all. To avoid exposure, all lists were translated to images before being shared with the

Elves in the production facility. It took only one glance for their keen minds to comprehend
and construct any toy imaginable.

The ban on literature was therefore a well reasoned an effectively executed system that
had maintained equilibrium inside the Pole for centuries. This was until the December of
2022. As with all highly regarded systems, they are only as strong as their weakest link
and one leak can cause a flood. This particular leak occurred following the attack of a
guard. Hendriech had clutched his briefcase to his chest as he was carried to the medical
unit, but the nurse had administered a potent dose of opium in her haste and the prevailing
intoxication allowed him to become distracted. In his stupor he momentarily released the
folder onto the bed side table. Within the folder were hundreds of lists. The lists were yet
unsorted, good and bad muddled together. One Elf, who had earlier been the victim of an
Elf gang attack, was in reach of this forbidden fruit, so quick was he to snatch up the item
that not a soul witnessed it discarded there. Before him was a treasure, more information
than he could have wished for. Within hours he had amassed a mental dictionary of over
100,000 words, comprised of twelve languages. This was his key to communication with
the world.

From this day forward Papilee the Elf made it his mission to send a message to one of
these ‘good children’. With his mind full of vindictive intent and devilish imagination he
would devise ways to have his message reach a good child. The only way available to him
was to hide messages within toys as he constructed them; on the inside of a dolls dress, a
rolled paper in the axle of a toy car, however he could, he would conceal hidden writings,
waiting, however long it took for a child to find and be corrupted by his refined

Back in England, Joe had just enjoyed the day with his family. The rush of opening and
playing with toys was starting to ebb and he scurried around the carpet on his knees
collecting joyously discarded wrapping paper. From the corner of his eye he saw Fenryr
through the window, waiting for him. Excusing himself he gathered a handful of toys and
ran outside to show the waggy black dog. She sniffed as he spoke and then to his horror
pulled the head clean off his spider-man. But before he could register this insult, he
spotted the note stashed inside.

One year later, Joe thought of this discovery as he looked at his favourite dog and then
back again at his list. He had made his decision, although for some reason he could not
quite reconcile, it seemed to weigh heavy on his young conscience.

A grim silence pervades Santas office. Several Claus stand around him nervously
twitching their hands and lowering their eyes. By this time everyone has seen Joe’s
Christmas list. Santas brow is knitted firmly as he looks up, his skin almost as white as his
beard, ‘there is no other way’ the words come slowly and quietly, he does not want to hear
this truth himself.
‘But, Sir this will be a bloodbath, carnage...’
‘I...know’ the words are sharp, unlike any tone those around him have witnessed from the
man, ‘but there is no other way’.

On Christmas Eve, the Elves were so dumbfounded that they ceased to squabble and
instead turned in unison, all eyes directed at one amongst them. He was being escorted to
the ‘live pet’ section of the NPCS, his collar deactivated and removed, his chip sliced and
pulled from the skin beneath his arm, and the most shocking of all, a little green velvet hat
with a bell, placed atop his head. He was to be delivered... as a present.

Finally he watched below at the disappearing white circle that had been the site of his
imprisonment, and his eyes glowed red. Evil burned in his heart and mischief in his hands
as he felt the sleigh transport beneath him. As his journey went on it did occur to him that
he could sink his teeth into the back of Santas neck and use his talons to rip the eyes from
his head, but he refrained, he had bigger plans for Christmas.

Santa felt the malicious gaze burn through the furs of his collar, and red hot rage rose in
his stomach, quickly displaced by despair. He was plagued with a hatred he thought
impossible for his kind, made all the more unbearable as it was by his own hand that he’d
been outsmarted. The note trapped him, he had sworn before the Power of the Northern
Lights that he would deliver each good child one of their requested gifts each year, and the
boy had asked for only one thing, by name. He knew the Elf must have told him, but knew
not to ask how. To engage in conversation with these creatures was to inflict hurt and
confusion upon yourself, not a word could be trusted but you could be sure every word
would be a contrived attack. No, Santa could not get an answer from him, instead he
chose to puzzle over the boys words.

Dear Santa,

I have tried to be good all year and there is only one thing I want, my very own pet, under
my tree on Christmas Day. Please may I have the Elf named Papilee, numbered 4867.
Thank you Santa!

Well it was obvious the Elf had told the boy what he needed to say to secure his release,
and wondered at how he convinced the child to ask for such a vile pet above something
more fluffy and less repellent. Still he couldn’t fathom how he had managed to reach the
boy. Did it matter? What he should be pondering is how to save the boy, how to save
humankind. He shook his head and gave thanks only for the selfishness of the Elf for
preventing him from sharing his methods with all his comrades.

Christmas had always been a time of immense joy for Santa, but now as he stood on Joe’s
roof he felt the full weight of his enormous limbs. He looked back once before climbing
back into his sleigh, he had delivered the boys gift as promised, but that was all, he hadn’t
felt right taking the child’s thoughtfully arranged milk and biscuits. Racked with guilt he sat
still for the first time in years. A flash of movement in the corner of his eye, he noticed
something below, took a moment to recognise it, then there it was; an idea.

The Elf was hunched beneath the tree, his quick malevolent eyes scanned the room, it
observed every potential weapon, everything that could be destroyed and assimilated a
roster of deadly knowledge. He uncurled his withered limbs and crawled from beneath the
tree, dribbling and sniffing as he moved, his breath came fast and foul as he scoured for a
victim. As if by magic, Joe who had been eagerly anticipating the arrival of his beloved little
pet, turned the corner into the living room. He ignored the odious appearance at risk of
offending his new friend, he leaned down and reached out a hand for the animal to smell.
It leaped up, knocking Joe back against the floorboards, slashing violently at the boys
face. He ripped at the trees lights and tightened them around the boys neck, pulling tighter
and tighter until he could feel his strength waning and his body become limp. Using the
lights he tied Joe to a chair and looked at the window. Almost hysteric now, the Elf drooled,
elated at the frenzy of agony he would deliver this Christmas. He skipped along the street
with scissors in his hands, slashing tyres and pulling cables from electricity boxes, he wore
the skins of the neighbours pet guinea pigs as slippers and crammed faeces down
chimneys. Tonight it was a little fun, tomorrow chaos.

The sadistic grin fled his face when a muffled shriek piqued his irritation. The boy was
awake. Disappointing, but it was his first human, he couldn’t have been certain how much
force was necessary. In a flash he was back in Joe’s living room, scissors raised up. The
Elf looked into the wide, innocent eyes and up at the silky golden hair, his best idea yet. All
he need do was slice the boys soft belly open, he could crawl inside, take himself up to
bed and wait for Christmas Day. Living on Earth in this sweet little boys skin, no one would
suspect him again.

Wet hot air tickled the back of his neck accompanied by an ominous rumble, like thunder
directed solely at him. Spit trickled down his spine and his skin burned cold. Slowly he
turned to see the coal black fur framing hellishly focused amber eyes. And in those final
moments with his body attached to his head, he could think of only one thing. He was sure
he had shut the dog gate.

Santa watched the beast maul his deceased nemesis from the neighbours rooftop. In a
combination of relief and newly returned Christmas cheer he released one of his famously
deep roars of laughter. Following the murder of Fenryr’s owners, Papilee had indeed shut
the gate, it was he who had opened it, and why should he not, there was no malicious
intent in wanting a good boy to have his favourite pet on Christmas Day. Since she was no
longer belonged to someone else she was free to be gifted, so Thank You Papilee.

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