As we were soaring through the sky, I could feel the wind rushing past, freezing my cheeks. The stars above us looked like blurs of light, just zipping across the midnight sky, and the ground with the rolling, white, snow covered hills below looked like a frozen sea just waiting for a ship to set sail to unknown destinations on it. It was strangely odd. Surprisingly, I was able to see everything so clearly, even with us traveling as quickly as we were, and when the only lights came from the twinkling stars, the bright full moon over head, and the soft red glow from Rudolf's nose.
I turned to my left and Santa was directing the reindeer with ease. He called out the directions to them in gentle tones, never once having to raise his voice. I was in complete amazement of how magnificent he looked, so totally in his element. No one could deny that this was Santa Claus, Papa Noel, Saint Nicholas, or the myriad of other names for him. It was as if he commanded authority from the large beasts in front of us. Looking at the reindeer, you would never think they'd respond to a softly spoken 'raise altitude', or 'slow down', but these magnificent creatures were doing just that.
As I turned to look at the back of the sleigh, I saw Santa's bag of toys. It wasn't much larger than a trash bag, and appeared to be made from a red velvet, and had a beautiful golden drawstring around the top to keep it closed. Since it was the end of the night, it was laying limply in the back of the sleigh, but the thing that amazed me the most was the thought that this one tiny little bag, in this one tiny little sleigh could hold all the toys and gifts for all the children of the world. I mean, think about it, there are billions of people in the world, how could one man visit every child in one night, even with the time zones creating time differences, and even then how could he fit all of those gifts into such a small space. This truly solidified my belief in the Christmas magic, because without it, none of what I've just shared with you would even be remotely possible.
After a few short moments of near silence as I looked around and took everything in, Santa pointed off into the distance and asked me if I could see it.
I looked and looked, but with no knowledge of what or where 'it' was, and not knowing what I was looking for, all I could see were the Northern Lights, the Aroura Borealis. I asked Santa if that's what he was talking about, but he simply shook his head no and said "Just wait. If you can't see it now, you'll see it in a moment." He didn't even seem upset that I couldn't see it or anything, just patient. It reminded me of a father in all of his years of wisdom, simply guiding a child to make the correct decision, even if the child doesn't understand.
So, I waited. I waited for what felt like forever, but was really less than 5 minutes, when out of nowhere it looked like a huge city just sprung up from out of the ground! I know my mouth dropped open and had to have been laying on the floor of the sleigh. Once again Santa just laughed that same spellbinding, deep guttural laugh of his when he saw my expression. After he finished laughing, he simply said "I guess you see it now."
I nodded and with a voice full of amazement and wonder when I spoke, it was with a voice that sounded similar to that of a child who's seeing something new for the first time, "Is that..."
Santa nodded and said "Yes". With a grand gesture of his hand he proclaimed, "Welcome to the North Pole."
With those few simple words, it was like the dam burst and all of my excitement started flooding out. It was like I couldn't contain the hundreds of questions that I didn't even know I had until I heard them spilling out of my mouth. "So do you really have thousands of elves that help you to get ready for Christmas every year, do you work year round to get toys to every child or do you get to take a break, is Mrs. Claus really as good of a cook as she is made out to be, I mean I'm sure she is but... Will I get to meet the elves and Mrs. Claus and..." I just couldn't stop. Heck, I was hardly breathing enough to continue speaking. As a matter of fact, when Santa cut me off to speak, I was practically gasping for air.
Santa laughed and reached over covering my mouth with a single finger and said "One question at a time dearie. All of your questions will be answered in due time, and yes, Mrs. Claus is a wonderful cook. If you decide to stay you will definitely be able to have some of her food while you are here. There's just one thing you should know, you can only enter and exit the North Pole once a month on the 24th, so you won't be able to go home again until the end of January. I can make it so that your absence is not noticed using the Christmas magic though. Is that going to be a problem, because if so I can turn around and take you home now."
It took less than a second of thought as my almost immediate reply was "I'd like to stay Santa, if you don't mind that is." I glanced at my phone and saw that it was about 2 minutes to midnight, and without pause to consider how he could get me home and be back here to enter the North Pole all in two minutes I gave him my answer.
He responded by saying "If it was a problem, I wouldn't have offered." and with that he blew some dust into the air and told me that it would spread and that is what would keep my absence from being noticed. I turned and watched the dust shimmer and swirl in a magnificent show of color and sparkles as it spread out across the land, floating back toward the direction we had just come from, off to mask my sudden disappearance.
With that Santa said "Hold on" and seconds later there was a massive jump in speed lasting for about a minute as we surged forward through the sky and finally crossed the territory lines for the North Pole, before we slowed considerably and landed mere moments later in a large, open, snow-covered field that was very flat compared to the hills outside of the city. When I looked up, standing right there in front of us was a large barn.
To be continued...
Disclaimer: Keep in mind, that I do not own Santa... he belongs to all of the stories told over time. This story is gaining me no financial profit and is written solely as an outlet for some of my creative juices. I'm not going to beg for reviews, but I will say that any reviews are greatly appreciated (they let me know you guys are reading my story and how you feel about it) and reviews with constructive criticism are even better. I will say though, that without reviews updates will come slower and when I feel in the mood to write (maybe every month or so unless things change). Reviews will speed that up as I will know that people are reading and enjoying the story, even if it's something as simple as saying "Hey, read your story." *Wink wink.