Sharing Christmas with a Writer
“Elf on Ice”
by members of Authors’ Tale
A few times throughout the year, a photo is uploaded into the group for a fun event called the Short Story Thread. This collaborative thread uses 7 rules, all of which include reading comments to stay updated with the story and to only comment three sentences at a time. In the end, we ended up with a great 2,616-word short story, which I pieced together and did some light copy editing. I wanted to keep this as raw as possible, so it’s edited to reflect those who wrote it.
I will gladly share the story with you tonight, and I’ll provide the photo they used at the end of the story. Meet your writers:
Cayce Berryman, Crystal Burton, Cecelia Marriott Chittenden, Hayley Hardman, Christine Kavanagh, M.W. King, Ann Martin, Jack Pewitt, and Karen Pollack
This is an excellent children’s story, so don’t hesitate to share this! Hope you enjoy it. 🙂
I couldn’t shake the nerves that chilled me through the thin, red felt wrapped around my body. I chanted my name to myself, trying to remember the good children Santa sent me for, and I smiled at the name they had both managed to change for me last year.
“Okay, Crystal O’Cheery. You can do this.”
I took one last longing glimpse at the falling snow; the fresh blanket glittered in the moonlight. With a deep breath, I used my magic to crack open a window and slip inside the darkened house. It was a relief to see the children still went to bed at a decent time.
I tiptoed past their bunk beds, my felt slippers silent on the hardwood floor. I searched for a nice, comfortable nook in which to settle down for the night. The shelves were cluttered with the books and toys that had accumulated over the past year, but I spied a small space on top of the dresser and clamored up.
The space was tight but cozy. I settled between a tattered paperback and a well-loved giraffe, ready for the long wait ahead of me. The soft sound of the children breathing, safe and content, comforted me as I waited.
I wondered if sugar plums danced in their heads as they slept peacefully. I could feel my anticipation for them to wake up. My favorite moment so far was the excitement of the first morning when they would notice my arrival.
I was dozing in and out, as being an elf was surprisingly hard work. It was morning, but the dawn’s light had yet to grace the abode. When I wanted to return to my rest, I heard an almost inaudible creak downstairs.
Startled, I almost fell from my perch on the shelf. There shouldn’t have been anyone up at this time, I was certain. I strained to hear the noise again through the early morning chatter of birds outside.
A faint scuffling came from the hallway. I climbed up on the back of the stuffed giraffe I had been resting my head on, just barely making out a tiny figure scurrying across the floor. A flash of movement crossed the threshold into the children’s bedroom; I would have thought it was a mouse if it hadn’t been a bright, icy blue.
Then I heard more noise on the stairs. A noise I knew well—the click of a dog’s toenails on the bare wooden floor. Oh, gosh! Please don’t let him come in here, he will surely find me.
I almost fell off the giraffe when I heard a voice behind me. “Who are you and what do you want?”
I turned to see a beautiful blonde woman about four inches tall. Her eyebrows pulled down, showing her concern.
“Shh!” I whispered, “The dog will find us!”
If the idea of being crunched up by a dog alarmed the tiny woman, she didn’t show it. “I will not ask again; who are you and what are you doing here?”
She tapped her foot impatiently and scowled at me. Obviously, a dog was not an endangering threat to her. “I, I, I—” I shuddered, making my stutter worse.
I didn’t move an inch, unsure what to say. She held up her wrist and curled her fingers upward. “You’re not welcome here, and if you don’t tell me who you are…”
“I’ll immediately whistle for the dog. He’s used to me, not you. So what’s it going to be: are you going to deal with me or the dog? And you best decide quick.” I hoped my lie would affect her more, but she didn’t even blink. “I’m the elf.” I gave in, regretting my choice when she smiled beneath a curiously arched eyebrow.
“The elf?” She raised the other eyebrow in obvious amusement and menacingly tapped her wand at my feet. “You are the elf that we have been warned of? And yet you appear timid and harmless. Elves are mischievous, and they cause lots of trouble this time of year. But you don’t look as if you could cause much trouble, I knew you were just trying to scare me. Didn’t work!”
I crossed my arms over my chest and glanced at the beds behind her to make sure the children still slept. “Fine, but I’m here for the children, so don’t get in my way.”
“Elf, you have no place here, and I intend on making sure you realize your mistake.”
“And just how will you do that, my pretty little fairy? How will the children feel when they wake and cannot find me? Go ahead and sprinkle your fairy dust, but it will not make me disappear.”
She frowned, and my confidence fell. “I’m not a fairy.” She dropped the wand as if to make a point, threw me another icy, threatening glare, and strode away with her cape flowing like a mist behind her.
I breathed a sigh of relief as she walked to the other end of the shelf. Nobody had said anything about having to face off against angry fairies—or whatever this woman was—at the North Pole, and I doubted my floppy limbs would be much use in a fight. Looking towards the sleeping children, I hoped they would wake soon.
I felt another burst of confidence and called out to the odd woman. “Well it’s been very nice speaking with you, but now I must be about my business. The children, I’m sure, have been anticipating my arrival. My good lady, if you know this dog, please let him know I mean no one any harm.” The words were barely out of my mouth when I heard footsteps and a low growling sound. I stared down at my knees and tried unsuccessfully to make myself invisible. But it was too late.
Just as the dog’s teeth were about to clamp onto my red felt slippers, I heard a miraculous sound. A sleepy little girl’s voice echoed through the quiet room. “Brutus, you leave Crystal O’Cheery alone! Or else she won’t be able to report our good behavior back to Santa every night.”
I fell limp against the paperback book to my left, my joyous relief painted on my face and frozen in place by the magic of the children’s gaze. I couldn’t move so long as they saw me—it broke too many rules. But from what I could gather, the same magic held the arrogant woman, as well. I was safe … for now.
I watched the children act their best throughout the day. Their parents reminded them I existed a few times before I caught them acting up, but I remembered how they saved me that morning and chose not to tell Santa.
Their love for that doll, that “Elsa,” as they called it, disturbed me as the day flew by. Three times I saw them almost acting up were because they were fighting over which one of them could play with her. Apparently, she had some sort of ice powers or something like that. It was times like this I wish the children could play with me.
As night fell once more and the children prepared for bed, the ice queen doll was placed beside me on the shelf.
“There you go, Elsa. So Crystal O’Cheery can show you the North Pole! I bet you’ll love it there.” The little girl beamed a joyful smile at us then yawned and rubbed her eyes, ambling over to her bed.
I decided to give this Elsa character one more try, since the kids seemed to be so fond of her. It may actually be fun to try and take her back to the North Pole to meet Santa and the elves.
Before I could open my mouth to invite her, she spoke.
“Don’t even think about it, elf.”
I wasn’t going to argue; I quickly hopped off the dresser and rushed to the window, sneaking out and whisking myself to the North Pole before she could change her mind. My second chances didn’t usually last long, so she had just lost hers. I didn’t need to mind her; I came for the children, not for a stubborn doll.
After checking in with Santa, I flew right back. When I got through the bedroom window, I realized Elsa wasn’t on the shelf any longer.
I didn’t want to run into Elsa again, but I glanced at the children’s beds again, smiled, and ran out the door and into the hallway. Before I could catch myself, I fell, face first, into the floor, my feet held firm. I twisted to see what trapped my felt feet and my heart dropped at the clinging Velcro laid across the bedroom threshold. I struggled to pull my feet free from the trap. There was only one person who would do this, and a flash of blue confirmed my suspicions.
“I thought I made myself clear,” Elsa said with an icy tone. “You’re not wanted here. I’m the only one the children need.” She tapped her chest with a tiny, elegant finger.
I couldn’t believe a toy would have such a thought. I ignored her, pulling the threads of my feet from the Velcro. “You can’t keep me from doing my job, Elsa.”
“Oh, can’t I?” A mischievous grin spread across her plastic lips, and I saw a look of malicious intent flash in her frosty, blue eyes. Freeing myself from her trap, I backed away slowly.
She threw her hand up, shooting a stream of ice at me. I was able to tuck and roll around a corner, the ice passing by just centimeters away from my cheek.
I ran down the hall, not bothering to see if she was following. My flimsy legs made me slow and clumsy though, and I knew it wouldn’t be long until she caught up to me. Another stream of ice narrowly missed my head and I almost fell into the deep plush of the carpet.
I managed to scurry to the kitchen, hoping to lose her among the cabinets. I only made it to the counter before my luck ran out. A chilling breeze washed over me, and I watched in horror as a frost spread across my limbs, the icy crystals growing fast into solid ice. I looked out from my ice cube prison. Elsa’s face was lit up by a huge smile. She turned and walked away. I tried to call out to her, but my mouth was frozen.
My limbs failed me and the bitter chill halted my motions. The power of the yule tide granted me the resolve to break through the ice around me, and I turned to Elsa, sure the doll was more witch than fairy, even if the children thought her someone different.
“I will never yield to the likes of you, witch.”
The sound of clicking claws announced Brutus as he sprinted across the kitchen, his eyes trained on us. He jumped up toward the counter. He didn’t quite make it, but he did get his teeth on Elsa’s dress, dragging her off the slick tile.
I peered over the edge, frightened at the screams of agony I heard from Elsa. The black lab tossed his head back and forth, whipping the doll through the air. His teeth latched on her, and the doll fell limp and silent.
Trying to think quickly, I grabbed the roll of paper towels and threw it at the dog. He dropped Elsa in his surprise and something across the room caught his attention. In all the commotion, the kids had come downstairs. I dropped my arms and froze my face in a false smile. I didn’t have time to jump down to check on her. They looked at me, up on the counter, but their delight at the easy find was overshadowed by their horror at Elsa’s devastating predicament.
“Brutus! Mom!” they cried in unison, racing out of the room and into the pair of running parents. Their cries echoed throughout the house in despair. I couldn’t move, but I felt the same horrific pain.
The rest of the month went by without incident, though I was extra careful to avoid any run-in with Brutus. I was still upset about Elsa. She hadn’t seemed like a bad toy, just jealous of the children’s attention … perhaps there was something I could do to fix this and give the kids a happy Christmas.
Over the weeks leading up to Christmas, the children kept asking their mom to fix the Elsa toy.
“Fine, I’ll go buy a new one,” their mom said in exasperation.
“No!” they both shouted in unison. “We want this Elsa!”
They didn’t seem concerned with my existence. They didn’t act up any more than crying for the broken Elsa that sat high on a shelf. I needed to do something … for them, and for Elsa.
On my last night there, Christmas Eve, I jumped up to the shelf she sat on. I tried using all my Christmas magic, but nothing worked; she just laid there, broken in pieces. Just as I was giving up hope and ready to leave for good, a genius idea popped into my head.
I went to the Christmas tree and anxiously awaited Santa’s arrival. When the familiar sound of bells jingled on the roof, I jumped up and stood by the fireplace. Santa came down, and I whispered my plan into his ear.
The twinkle in Santa’s eye and his jolly laughter told me he would help. After patting me on the head, he turned and walked toward the shelf. He gently picked up Elsa, examining her for a moment.
As I had hoped, Santa brushed his hand across the doll, and the pieces came together like a simple puzzle. He set her gently against the rest of the gifts and whispered something in her ear, though I didn’t hear what he said.
“Good work this year,” he said, looking at me with a red-cheeked grin.
Elsa’s eyes fluttered open, and she looked up at me incredulously. I just winked, happy that I could make the children smile one last time for the year. Elsa shook her head.
“Thank you, Crystal O’Cheery! I’m sorry I acted so silly and jealous … I’m so glad you let it go,” she whispered with a soft smile.
Santa gave her a jolly laugh, which erupted throughout the house. Sounds of rushing feet announced the children had heard it, and when I turned from the sound to tell Santa, he had already escaped up the chimney. I ran behind the tree, hiding myself before the children saw me, too.
“Mom, look!” One of the girls shouted, pointing at Elsa, who sat at the front and center of the gifts, with a red ribbon tied around her waist. The sight made me grin uncontrollably, and I realized that this was my favorite part—seeing the joy on the kids’ faces as they opened the gifts they had rightfully earned.
The excitement had calmed down after an hour, and the family retreated to their rooms to get ready for the day. This was my chance to get home to the North Pole until it was time to return next year. I stole one last glance at Elsa as I slipped out the door.
“See you next year!” she called out with a smile and a wave.
She threw me a challenging wink, and I knew what it meant. She’d have fun in store for me next year, but next time it would be different. Next time, it would be fun.
Want to know the inspiration? This was the image that started the story. Hope you enjoyed it!