"Wait, Santa. I forgot my sweater. I need to go back and get it," I said.
"Surely you won't need it in the kitchen for lunch. We can come back after lunch and it will still be here," said Santa. I could hear his stomach grumbling.
"But Santa, I was hoping to run out and visit the reindeer right after lunch before we went back to looking at books. Even at school we get a lunch recess," I replied.
"Okay, go in and get your sweater. I'll be right here," said Santa, his stomach grumbling again.
"It's okay, you don't have to wait for me. I can hear your stomach grumbling for lunch. I'll find the sweater and come right to the kitchen. I'll be fast. I just have to figure out which aisle I left it in," I said.
"Santa, if it takes him half as long to find his sweater in the library as it does in the morning before school, we'd better go get some lunch or we'll starve," said Abbie.
"It's true, Santa. He has a heck of a time keeping track of his things," said Mom.
Thank you, Mom!
"Okay, Ethan, but don't forget to close the library doors behind you," said Santa.
Yes! I was in and no adults around. I found the box quickly and my sweater as well since I knew exactly where I'd put it. I laid the sweater out, placed the box on top and folded the sweater around the box, closed the library doors and ran to the mudroom where I put the box in Abbie's boot and tied the sweater around my waist. I ran back to the library where I took a few breaths and walked back toward the kitchen. Everything was in place.
Lunch was lovely. Jacob, Abbie and I ate as fast as we possibly could, which had to be faster than the adults if we were going to make this plan work. As soon as Jacob ate the last bite of his sandwich, we all jumped up and asked to be excused to visit the reindeer. We were excused and walked out of the kitchen but as soon as we were in the hall we ran with all our might to the mudroom. We got dressed in extra layers since we didn't know what to expect in the South Pole. Just as we left the mudroom, I grabbed three North Pole issued walkie talkies, one for each of us and then we ran/waddled to the main barn.
When we got to the barn, we explained to all the reindeer what we intended to do. We were going to the South Pole to try and save Christmas. We explained we needed someone who was familiar with Sandy's location and we needed transportation for all three of us. I also made sure they knew that neither Santa nor our parents knew what we were doing but that we truly believed this was the only way to defeat the spell.
Rudolph stepped forward, "I have knowledge of Sandy and the South Pole. I will provide help and transportation there. Climb on my back Ethan. You'll have to duck as we enter the portal. It's not a very large portal. I believe it was intended to be used only by small children."
I climbed on but was not as graceful as I wanted to be.
Comet came forward, "I will transport Jacob. You may climb on my back."
Jacob climbed onto Comet's back and Comet humphed. "I've got the heaviest load. He's almost full grown size," mumbled Comet.
Dancer came forward last, "I will be honored to carry you, Abigail. Please climb on my back."
"Thank you, Dancer. I would be very pleased to ride on your back," replied Abbie, before she climbed onto Dancer's back.
We were ready. I looked at all three of us, smiled, and reached down and set the box on a chest at the end of the room, opened it and turned the knob. There was a scene of white, swirling snowflakes in front of us, the South Pole.
"Please, keep this a secret as long as you can," Jacob said to the remaining reindeer.
"Let's go," I said as I hunched over as close to Rudolph as I could get. I was followed by Jacob on Comet, and Abbie on Dancer.
Just as we went through the portal I heard an, "Oh dear! Oh dear!"
I looked back through the portal and saw Penguin Max jumping around and flapping his wings while the rest of the reindeer circled round him. I turned and smiled. The rest of the reindeer would take care of that situation. I just hoped Penguin Max wouldn't be too traumatized by it.
I looked around me and all I saw were swirling, white snowflakes. It was exactly the opposite of the calm, crisp snow in the North Pole. "Any idea where we are Rudolph?" I asked in his ear.
He nodded and led us on. I looked back and was glad for the snow because it hid the portal unless you came right on it. We would need to remember where it was so we could return. I hoped Rudolph was good at that kind of thing.
Rudolph led us to a snow hill that was near a bunch of buildings. Luckily, it wasn't very far because I was already very cold. I can't imagine how Abbie was doing in this cold. I was glad for the extra layers we put on back in the mudroom and, even though we had to waddle to the barn, they were wonderful right now!
We gathered round in a circle and, through our scarves and chattering teeth, we came up with the plan. Rudolph knew where Sandy's study was located so he and I would sneak through the main building and see if the book was there. Since she had used it for the force field spell, we thought it might be sitting out on her desk and easy to find. We were hoping so!
Jacob and Comet were to go to the reindeer stables and be our lookout from outside. Rudolph knew there was a small lean to on the side of the stables where they kept fresh hay that Jacob and Comet could hide in. They could see the only outside entrance to the study from there and alert us if anyone was coming. If they saw anyone approaching, they were to beep us on the walkie talkie. Rudolph pointed out the stables as best he could in the swirling snow.
We also needed to keep the way back to the portal in our sights so we could make our escape without any major problems and be sure no one else found the portal. Abbie and Dancer were to hide in the woodshed we could see from our small hill.
"And just what are we supposed to do if we see someone moving toward the portal? " Dancer asked. "We don't have any weapons or even a rope to tie someone up with. We should have brought the stun ray guns! They would have come in handy for just such an operation."
"You're right Dancer, we should have brought them but we didn't. All you can do now is look around for a rope and use the walkie talkie to call us for help if you need it. Remember you must stay quiet because you will be near the elves dormitory. They have excellent hearing," Rudolph warned.
"Those darn ears," grumbled Comet.
"Ethan and I will enter the main hall through a side door and make our way to Sandy's study from there. It isn't very far but a very public area. If we're lucky, we'll make it there undetected and find the book. Once we find the book, we'll radio you guys and see if the coast is clear outside. If it is, we'll leave through the outside door and then we all need to fly to the portal and get through it just as fast as we can!" said Rudolph. "Any questions?"
"Nope, everything is clear as mud," said Comet.
"Let's do this," said Jacob.
We each went our separate ways through the swirling snow. Soon I couldn't see anyone, but that was good because then no one could see us either. I was trusting Rudolph to get us through this. He carried me until we reached the side of the main house. There was a side door there you could tell wasn't used very much because of the snow piled outside of it. We dug out the snow and then I opened the door. I was glad it wasn't locked but I think Rudolph knew it wouldn't be. We entered a small room that had gardening tools in it which seemed weird to me since there was only snow here.
"Sandy hoped to someday make a greenhouse where she could grow fruits and vegetables. Everything for that venture is in this room. She was hoping to add the greenhouse on just past the door we just came through. Once I saw there was no greenhouse, I knew this room would be empty," said Rudolph.
"What were we going to do if the greenhouse had been there?" I asked.
"Storm the front door and hope for the best," said Rudolph.
"I'm glad the greenhouse wasn't built yet!" I exclaimed. "We need to work on our back-up plans."
"We'll worry about that later. Open the door and look down the hall and see if you can see anyone," said Rudolph.
I opened the door and surprisingly, no one was in the hallway. Thank heavens, since I didn't want to know what his back-up plan was for this. I whispered back to Rudolph, "It's all clear, we can go."
Rudolph lead the way down the hallway toward a large room. We could hear talking and I knew we weren't going to be able to get by them without a major diversion which I hope Rudolph had a better plan for than storming the room and hoping for the best.
We snuck up to the corner so we could better hear the conversation.
"Jeffrey, what am I going to do?" asked Sandy.
Rudolph whispered to me, "Jeffrey is the penguin that Sandy always relied on to help her out, much like Pete helps out Santa."
"Oh," I mouthed. I didn't want to miss the conversation.
"You are just going to have to come clean with Santa. There's no way around it because it's almost Christmas!" said Jeffrey.
"But I can't," said Sandy.
"You can, you just don't want to. You could try contacting Rudolph, he might be able to help," suggested Jeffrey.
"That's true, but it's rather tricky getting hold of Rudolph without actually going to the North Pole, and I think if I showed up in the North Pole right now, it might be problematic!" said Sandy.
"That's for sure. They'd probably tie you up and torture you with sweets and licorice until you talked. I guess we'll just have to go back to the original plan of you coming clean with Santa about what you did," said Jeffrey.
"I'd rather not. Keep thinking," said Sandy.
Rudolph and I looked at each other. What were they talking about?
Just then we heard bells clanging up and down the hall and a loud, voice booming, "Intruder alert! Intruder alert!"
Check back tomorrow to see what happens when they find the intruders!