Welcome. Each episode of the Christmas Story has been written by a different author adding to what has been written previously. Part Fourteen is the final part and is written by Heather Haven.
“We need to turn the sleigh around, son. Heather is dealing with the Dark Lord. We can’t be there. If she wins, she will come to us. Meanwhile, the most important thing is to keep Madison safe. He mustn’t get her.”
Santa signaled the reindeer to return to the North Pole.
“I don’t understand,” Sean said. “Why can’t we go to Heather?”
“I want to be with mom. We need to help her.” Madison’s voice broke on her final words and she began to sob.
“I know, I know. But we can’t risk it.” Santa landed the sleigh and stepped out. Sean and Madison followed him back into Santa’s Workshop. Santa knelt in front of his granddaughter, his hand resting on her shoulder.
“You see, my dear, everything depends on you. I’m Christmas past. Your father is Christmas present. But you are the most important. You are Christmas future.”
She stopped sobbing and looked up at Santa. “I am?”
“Yes. Only you have the power to control the future of Christmas. I’ve done my best, but the Dark Lord has cast his shadow over children everywhere. More and more are turning away from me, not believing what their own hearts tell them.”
“What’s that?” she stuttered.
His fingers brushed away a lock of golden hair from her forehead. “That the power of Christmas lies not in me, but in each one of them. I only represent what is good in the world. The spirit of giving, compassion, hope, and love burns within each one of them. Children are Christmas. Sadly, so many have stopped believing in this wondrous day, it’s in jeopardy of going away forever.”
Madison gasped; her eyes wide with fear. “You mean, there might not be any more Christmas?”
Santa didn’t reply, but shook his head slowly. Then he looked up, as if he saw something inside his mind. “Your mother has arrived. She’s won.” Santa turned to mammoth twenty-foot high double doors, decorated with candy canes, lollypops and gingerbread cookies. He took Madison’s hand but before they could take one step, the doors burst open and Heather ran in, followed by Gibb.
Heather ran forward and knelt down, embracing her daughter tightly.
“I was so worried about you,” Heather said.
“We were worried about you, darling.” Sean took a hesitant step forward. “But you look all right. In fact, you look beautiful.”
“Sean!” Heather stood and rushed into Sean’s arms. Madison followed and wrapped her arms around both parents, hugging them as hard as she could. Heather broke free in a flash of anger and pushed her husband away.
“Where have you been? It’s been a month.”
“That’s my fault, I fear,” Santa said, coming up to her. “At this time of year, I do tend to lose track of time. Except Christmas Eve. Can’t lose track of that!”
“Heather,” Sean said with a gulp. “Meet my father, Santa Claus.”
“And don’t forget me, son.” A short, rotund woman dressed in red and green came through a small door on the other side of the room.
“I am Mrs. Claus, but I’m hoping you’ll call me Mom, Heather.” Mrs. Claus bent down to Madison. “And you can call me grandma, my pet. Come and give me a big hug.”
She opened her arms wide and without hesitation, Madison threw herself into them. After a moment, her grandmother straightened up and looked at Santa.
“And you, Mister Claus,” she said, with her hands on her hips. “You need to take care of this right now. The Dark Lord is gone, but that’s solved only half the problem. Do you have the locket?”
“I’m in big trouble when she calls me ‘Mr. Claus’,” commented Santa to the young couple. He reached into his pocket and pulled out a glittering gold locket dangling from a chain.
“Here it is, Madison. Only for you, the first granddaughter in each generation of Santa Claus’s.”
As Santa fastened the necklace around the little girl’s neck, her eyes lit up. “Why, granddad, I can see into every single boy and girl’s heart throughout the world.”
“I knew it!” Mrs. Claus nodded. “The power is always in the Claus women. Clasp the locket in your hand, Madison, and whisper to each wee one to hold Christmas forever close to them.”
Eyes shut tight and grasping the locket in small fingers, Madison nodded, silent words forming on her lips.
“I can feel it.” Santa said, a big grin covering his face. “I can feel the power of Christmas becoming stronger and stronger. My goodness!” He studied Madison’s concentrating form. “Why, she’s nearly through all of Sweden! She’ll be done in less than an hour.” Santa walked over to Heather, took her hand in his, and kissed it.
“Forgive an old man, my dear, for taking your husband away like that. I was desperate. I thought Sean had the power, but try as he would, it wasn’t him. It was Madison. Now that Christmas has been saved, I have lots of presents to deliver. I must fly.”
He hoisted a large bag of toys on his back and turned back. “When I return in the morning, I hope you’ll still be here. We can have a hot cup of Gibb’s Glůgenćaden cider and get to know one another better over Christmas dinner.”
“We’ll be here,” Everyone shouted in chorus.
“Gibb,” Santa bellowed, “to the sleigh!”
“Granddad!” Madison called out, stopping Santa in his tracks. “There’s another voice I can hear above the rest, strong and clear. He says ‘Remember the true meaning of Christmas; the child.’”
“I will always remember,” Santa murmured, glancing up to the heavens. “For he was and is the greatest gift of all.”
Santa winked at his granddaughter. “Merry Christmas, Madison.”
“Merry Christmas, Santa.”