Bad news: Jack and Sally's wedding is a week away, but everything's chaotic, nothing is ready, and the poor couple is stressing out.
Good news: An elf from Christmas Town is more than willing to help the wedding go on.
Poor Snow sits on her bed in the girl elves’ dorm, pondering.
She has just come from Santa’s office, where she had been sent to drop off the daily tray of milk and cookies. (Today, they were sugar with red and green sprinkles.) Santa was reviewing his naughty/nice list, as it was only a week to Christmas. He looked up from the list and smiled at Snow. “Hello, Snow,” he said.
“Hello, sir,” she replied, setting the tray down on his desk (after he moved the list off). “Today’s cookies are sugar with sprinkles.” She always loves announcing the cookie of the day.
Santa inhaled deeply. “Mmm, they smell delicious.” He picked one off the plate and was about to take a bite when there was a tap. “Hmmm?” They both looked toward the frost-covered window.
It was a magical paper airplane waiting patiently outside.
“Snow, will you get the window?”
Snow complied and hurried to the window, unlocking the hatch and raising the pane with great effort. Sparkles fell and disappeared from the paper airplane as it flew inside, stopping in front of Santa. It lost its magical flair the second Santa’s gloved hand touched it. He unfolded it and read what it said, his expression changing from a warm smile to a furrowed brow. “Hmmm,” he simply said after reading everything.
“What is it, sir?” Snow asked.
Santa looked over at the ten-year-old and said, “It’s from my friend Jack. He’s getting married-”
“Awwww!” Snow cooed. “That’s so sweet!”
Santa smiled and nodded. “It is, and he says they’re gonna be married on Christmas.”
“On Christmas?” she echoed. “Why on Christmas?”
“It would mean a lot to him and Sally, his fiancée, if they got married on Christmas. Plus, they wanted me to come, and I told them I would be available after I delivered all the presents. Anyways,” he continued, holding up the letter, “he wrote that he needs some help in Halloween Town, so-”
“Wait, it’s that guy?” Snow’s pale gray eyes widened, remembering the tall skeleton that had once tried to take over Christmas, and the next year saved Christmas.
Santa just chuckled good-humoredly. “Yes, it’s ‘that guy.’ He needs some help getting the wedding ready in time and asked if I was available.”
“Are you gonna help?” Snow asked. Right after she asked that, she realized, “Wait, it’s really close to Christmas.”
“Exactly.” Santa sighed and laid the letter on the wooden desk next to the tray of cookies. He rubbed a hand down his face. “I wish I could give them some help, but I have to be here in case anything goes wrong these last few days.”
With big, sympathetic eyes, Snow asked, “Is there anything I can do to help?”
Of course, what she meant was could she get him extra cookies or take special deliveries over to different departments, something to soothe his nerves. But Santa surprised her by saying, “If you could go to Halloween Town and help them in my place, I would be very grateful.” He mistook her wide eyes and silence as surprised joy, and said, “Perfect! Pack your things today and we’ll leave first thing in the morning to take you there.” He gave her permission to go back to her dorm and when she left, he finally ate the cookies.
Now, she sits on her bed in the girls’ dorm at the North Pole Boarding School for Young Elves, wondering what she should do. She does love helping, but can she really go all the way to another town she’s never been to before? What would she even do to help them at all? She tried designing clothes for the toys, but no one chose her designs. Heck, no one would even look at them. She also tried building and sewing the toys, but she either couldn’t finish the minimum number of toys within the allotted time, or she messed up. All she is good at is bringing the snacks to everyone. (Of course, that was the only job left when all the students were choosing possible future jobs to try out.)
And what is Halloween Town like? She’s never seen any pictures, but she’s heard rumors that it was really dark all the time and that the people drank blood and ate flesh. Everything was made of darkness and shadows, and they loved terrorizing people. It sounds so farfetched, but since none of the elves had been there and Santa doesn’t talk about it much, Snow wonders if maybe that was true.
She sighs and happens to look up at her window just then – a little ice spider is making a home in an upper corner. She watches it as it weaves its silver web. Suddenly, the ice spider misses a step and falls onto the sill. “Uh, oh.” Snow hops off her bed and hurries over, cupping the ice spider. Its body is no bigger than her pinkie’s fingernail, and it’s white with a silver snowflake on its back. “Are you okay?” she asks the ice spider. It crawls around on her palm. Snow smiles and, still holding the little arachnid, walks over to the window and rests her forehead against it. She can see elves busying themselves with toy deliveries and opinions over which ornaments should go on the tree in the plaza this year. Big elves, little elves, elves with pointy hats, elves with solid green uniforms –
She recognizes one of them. “Dad!” Spider crawling along her arm, she runs out of her dorm room, down the hallway, down the stairs, across the foyer, and out the door. “Dad!” she shouts again.
One of the green uniform elves stops and looks over his shoulder. His blue eyes twinkle when he sees his little daughter running up to him. “Snow!” He holds his arms out and scoops her up in a big hug. After a moment, he sets her down and ruffles her silver-white hair. “How’s my girl?”
“Santa wants me to go to Halloween Town with him,” she tells him, hoping he would know what to do.
“Really?” The smile leaves his face. “What for?”
“Oh, right! I forgot!” Snow is surprised to hear her father say this. “The memo at work said we could go if we wanted. ‘Any and all holiday folk are invited.’”
“Daddy, what should I do?” she interrupted.
“Well, what do you want to do, sweetheart?”
“Um, well…” Snow mumbles, fiddling with her fingers, “I would like to go to the wedding, but I can’t do anything. I’m no good.”
“Don’t say that.” He kneels down and looks up at her, giving her shoulder a reassuring squeeze. “You are very good.”
Snow hangs her head. “But he wants me to help out with the wedding. I don’t know how to do that.”
Another squeeze and a rub. “I’m sure you’ll think of something.” Her father straightens and brushes the snow off his pants. “You could always make them cookies.” Snow shrugged.
“Hey, Tinsel!” one of the other green uniform elves shouts from across the way.
“Coming!” Tinsel shouts back. Turning to his daughter, he says, “If you want to go with Santa, you can. Just let your mother and me know what you’re doing.” He hugs her, then runs off to join his group.
Snow stands there in the snow. She feels a tickle on her wrist and looks down – the ice spider. She’d forgotten all about it. “What do you think I should do?” she asks it.
The spider trails down, leaving a silvery thread behind. It quickly works, spinning and weaving a design. As the spider finishes, Snow realizes it says something. Holding up her wrist and tilting her head, she reads: “Go.”
She looks at the spider resting on her hand. “Okay,” she says. “I’ll go.”
It's been so long since I posted something!
It feels good to be back!