Welcome. Each episode of the Christmas Story has been written by a different author adding to what has been written previously. Part Twelve is brought to us by Sue Perkins
Tears sparkled in Madison's eyes as she looked at her grandfather. "How are Mom and Dad going to be honest with one another if you won't let them be together?"
"Good point Maddy," Sean looked at his father. "Let's get this straight. A darkness is attacking Christmas. From what I saw Heather and I are on opposite sides, both of us keeping secrets from each other. You say only Maddy can save Christmas, presumably by bringing both sides together. Is that right."
"More or less." Santa looked at Madison, sadness in his eyes. "Do you think you can be brave enough to help us, Madison?"
Maddy gulped as she looked up into Santa's eyes. "I'll try. What do I have to do?"
"Quiet Sean. Madison, you saw your mother bring the darkness back to your house. She's fighting the darkness, but it's hard for her. Your Dad and I come from the light family and your mother's family is the dark. Only one can win. If the darkness wins there will be no more Christmas."
"My mom is not dark. She's nice and kind and loves me and my dad. Mom is not the dark." Maddy stamped her foot, hands on hips as she glared at her grandfather.
"In darkness there is always a spark of light. Your mom is the spark. As the child of both sides, only you can save Christmas. Without Christmas the world will fall into gloom and despair." Santa looked at her. "You need to fight for what you believe. Will you do this?"
"I don't have to fight my mom?" Maddy's eyes grew big and round.
"I don't think so, she seems to have chosen the light."
"So what do I have to do?"
Nobody spoke for a few moments. Madison looked from her father to Santa, and when the silence lengthened tears sprang to her eyes.
"I don't like this. I want everything to go back to as it was before my Dad disappeared. Make all the nasty stuff go away, please." She flung herself into her father's arms and sobbed. Sean smoothed her hair, trying to calm her.
"What is the darkness, Dad. Why haven't I heard of it before?" Sean looked at his father over the top of Madison's head.
"As long as there is light, there is also darkness. Until now the dark has kept a distance but the feud has been going since the beginning of time. The closest it came was when you and Heather married. Darkness and light clash every couple of centuries and the fight for dominance begins. I knew this time would come when Madison was born." Santa shook his head. "I did think we'd have a bit more time."
"So what does Maddy have to do?" Sean stood his daughter between his legs and mopped her face dry.
Santa sat down beside Sean and leaned over to take Madison's hands in his.
"Madison, do you truly believe in Christmas?"
The girl nodded solemnly.
"I'm your grandfather, but your mother's father is your other grandfather. You have to convince him Christmas must continue or all the joy will leave the world. Everyone will be unhappy, nothing will get done and the world will die. Do you think you can convince him?"
"Will my Mom and Dad be with me?"
"No, sweetheart. I'm afraid you will have to do this on your own."
"If you think I'm going to let you send Madison into that darkness on her own..."
"Sean, I don't like it any more than you do, but you and Heather have your own job to do. You have to be honest with one another and decide which side you're going to be on."
"It goes without saying. The light of course." Sean looked grim.
"And if your wife decides to stay with the darkness of her family? What will you do then?"
"I'm still not letting my daughter deal with the monster of the dark."
Sean stared stubbornly at Santa. Madison looked up at her father then across to her grandfather.
"Please don't fight." Her voice shook as turned to stand in front of her grandfather. "Tell me what I have to do."