December 26

So, in the spirit of the season, I thought we could write a good old-fashioned Santa story. Only this one takes place after Christmas; the presents have been delivered, the cookies and milk have been digested, and it is time for Santa, Mrs. Claus and their elves to begin considering the New Year.

The chandelier dominated the room in the same way that Cortez dominated the Aztecs. It was huge, and old, and glorious, and twinkled as intricately as a distant galaxy, hanging there from its golden chain. Some twenty feet below the chandelier were two tables about twenty feet long, giant Baroque slabs of mahogany held up by miniature caryatids at the corners, surrounded by plush red velvet armchairs.  At either end of the long hall were two gigantic fireplaces, each with logs the size of dockworkers blazing merrily under the ornate marble mantles. Each table had a huge red leather throne at its head; one eight feet high and crowned with antlers, and one six feet high and ornamented with silver bells. Between the two tables was a featureless polished block of obsidian, about three feet on a side, with rounded corners and edges.

Upon the obsidian block was a flint knife, chipped and blackened with age and use, and a sprig of holly.

The End

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