Ebooka przeczytasz w aplikacjach Legimi na:
Odsłuch ebooka (TTS) dostępny w abonamencie „ebooki+audiobooki bez limitu” w aplikacji Legimi na:
The 5 series.
Published by Ripley King, 2015.
This is a work of fiction. Similarities to real people, places, or events are entirely coincidental.
First edition. November 18, 2015.
Copyright © 2015 Ripley King.
Written by Ripley King.
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Also by Ripley King
The 5 series.
One Last 5
5 Omnibus Edition
And Jesus Wept
Earth Improvement Day
Lonely Hero Thing
Nightstrider: The Spaces Between
The Pre-dead Saga
Watch for more at Ripley King’s site.
Also By Ripley King
Only ___ Shopping Day(s) Left Until Xmas!
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue
The Boogeyman’s Sister
Have you ever felt real . . .
Shoosh, it’s a Secret
Sign up for Ripley King's Mailing List
Also By Ripley King
About the Author
For the little children in all of us. We like to be scared.
Christmas. Hates it, I do. Little cheery elves everywhere. I hunts them. I hunts them down and kills them dead. I likes them dead. I needs them dead. All ofs them dead. I don’t gets caught. Perhaps you’d like to hunts with me?
That evil dark sonofabitch had the gall to smile and wink at me, right before he sent a bolt of magical plasma into the crowd over at Shipping & Receiving. He almost got me, too. I dove behind one of the wrapping machines just as it took out two of the baggers, taking the fresh little thing who worked the mechanism down to the floor with me. My body over hers. I was happy to do it. Cyndie lou was, well, let me just say I wanted her to be sweet on me.
When I peeked over the rollers a minute later, he or it, that thing was gone, and I had no choice but to stop my investigation into Cyndie lou and help those still alive. My name is Jo. I’m an Elf.
I flipped open my cell and punched numbers.
“I need everything you got over at Shipping and Receiving, Jamie,” I said. “And pronto is the key word. At least four are dead, and . . . seven . . . eight . . . eight wounded. It doesn’t look good. I need Bobbo out here, too. And do me the favor of canceling my appetite. I’m not hungry anymore.”
“You got it, Jo.”
“Thanks, Jamie. I’m glad you’re there and not here.”
“Bubble wrap? Please, anyone, bubble wrap?”
It was a gnome whose guts had spilled out thanks to a ribbon cutter.
“Please, the bubble wrap . . . please . . .”
He was busy, trying to pack up his innards. I think he wanted the bubble wrap to keep his insides, inside.
“Help is on the way,” I told him.
“Could you get me the bubble wrap? I don’t want to lose anything.”
“Let the Medicos do that when they get here. What’s your name?”
“Garvey. I just started today.”
“Well then, Garvey, this is your lucky day. You’re still alive. Here, fold this box over your stomach to keep the dirt out, and try to stay calm. The Medicos will be here soon. They’ll see to it that you’re taken care of.”
“Help me! Help me! I’m over here! I’m over here!” Came the high-pitched plea. It took me a minute to realize it was coming from behind most of the last hour’s outgoing packages, or the packages could have been incoming. I couldn’t tell.
“That’s Rubere’,” Garvey said. “He’s my friend. My good friend. Sweet Rubere’. Please help him?”
When I got over to Rubere’, the first thing he said to me was, “I can’t feel my leg. Is something wrong with my leg? It doesn’t hurt, but I can’t feel my leg.”
I looked and said, “That’s because it’s gone, sweetheart. Hold still and I’ll see if I can save your life.” And quickly tied a pink ribbon tourniquet around his still-spurting stump, twisting the ribbon tighter, using my penknife for leverage.
That did the trick. Rubere’ had stopped bleeding. By then the first of the Medicos had arrived, and I didn’t have time to stick around.
“Can you hold this tight for me?” I asked.
“Yes,” Rubere’ said.
“Loosen it and you bleed to death, right?”
Each year it gets worse, it does. They sings those nasty songs, and they dances their awful dances. Wraps what they needs to gives, they do. Never gives me nothing, they don’t. Never asks me to dances. Never asks me to sings. And they smells of goodness. That’s how I hunts them. I smells their goodness.
I hides in the shadows, I do. It’s cool here. Quiets. I likes it in the shadows. I moves with the shadows. I goes where I wants.
Can you hears that? Jingle Bells, it is. Hates the song, I do. Hates it! Hates it! Hates it!
“You think Boscoe can sniff this thing out?” I asked Santa. “The first attack was a few injuries over at the train depot. Nobody died. Now this.”
Santa said, “He’s a polar bear. You can’t take him down there with all that blood. Intelligent or not the poor thing would go absolutely bonkers.”
“I’ve got to do something, boss. If I can’t get ahead of this thing, there isn’t going to be much of a North Pole left. I need to end this, and fast.”
“I could do a mind swap between you and Boscoe. It isn’t going to be easy, controlling the instincts given a polar bear, but, what the fudge. It might work.”
“I’ve thought it out, just now, and I’ll make it work. Make sure you feed him good, that’s the first thing. I don’t want to be nibbling on anybody’s bobbles or beads.”
“I’ll have to drug you with . . . something. The real you, not the new you. You don’t mind, do you? I’ll have to do it before the switch is made so I don’t scare Boscoe half to death.”
“Drug me up? What the hell, let’s do it before I change my mind.”
They fed Boscoe, all right. Fresh, juicy red meat. He was so stuffed I could scarcely move. Very uncomfortable. I almost blew chunks, but the thought of re-eating anything raw and red stopped me cold.
Bobbo, my part-time support, had been permanently assigned to help me out with full-time wages, hours and benefits, and held the door open for me. I got some strange gazes from the Medicos, tagging and bagging the last of the body parts, but life’s too short to worry about what looks one gets.
The smell of blood in the air was rich. It was like I was walking through a pink fog. And though I was full, it certainly made my mouth water.
I picked up numerous scents. Two females were in heat. One of which recently made it with the Medico working the far corner. Plus, I found several caches of junk food in various lockers or drawers.
I could smell something in the shadows. It was a somewhat familiar smell, yet in this case, nasty bad. It was everywhere and nowhere at the same time, if that was possible.