Snow overpowers me. Winter approaches, all run for cover. Not even the mountains that surround us can block out the snow. Nothing can defend us. Nothing can stop Christmas.
The Humans run, trample my grass with their careless feet– but soon, the trampled grass transforms into footprints in the snow as the blizzard comes down on them like a gavel.
Brown mud frosts over to white. My lakes freeze, my leaves fall, turn yellowredbrown, waste away. They leave my tree branches to reach desperately out for their fallen friends, but they too are suffocated by snow.
I am so cold.
And so lonely.
No-one protects me: only themselves.
The Humans in the South all run to the only shelter in my valley: the little barn with the sloped thatch roof and its dark spruce walls. It’s not big enough for all of them, and not all of them can run fast enough – most of the children are left behind. My poor children.
One little boy – “Nathan!” his Mother screams after him from the safety of the barn – trips over his untied shoelace. He tries to get up but slips again and cracks his head down on the black ice like a whip. The snow catches him, snowflakes quickly engulf him, covers the jumper that’s as red as his cold-bitten skin. Slowly, slowly, the change begins. His red jumper mutates into a red jacket. A black hat grows out of his head. Flesh becomes wood. His mouth hangs open. Little Nathan is the first to fall victim to Christmas. But not the last.
More Humans, from the North, charge to the barn but cannot get in. Those inside barricade the door. “No more!” they say. “No more room in the barn!”
Oh, please, let them in.
Those outside scream. They pierce through me like a bed of needles. But they soon quieten. The barn is no longer surrounded by Humans, but Snowmen. And Nutcrackers. Elves. They surround the barn, frozen, forever trying to enter. They are the next to fall victim to Christmas. And won’t be the last.
Even if, one day, they will be safe enough to leave the barn, – their prison – no matter how much they hack and dig, shovel and plough: they will starve. No food can grow through my frozen ground. No fruit can grow on my barren trees. My water lies dead still in my lake.
There is no life.
I am so cold.
Wait, what – what’s happening? My trees – they’re growing something… baubles. Baubles have sprouted from the leafless branches. The trees have new friends – but their new friends are too heavy. My weaker branches snap off and hit the ground with a mushroom cloud of snow.
Fairy Lights dance into the valley with their blinding light. The little grotesque creatures hop from branch to branch, nutcracker to nutcracker, dash across the snow, light glowing from their twisted wings. The disgusting things line up in perfect formation, giggling. Are they making a path? A – runway?
A red sleigh crashes down from my sky. The Reindeer that pull it thrash with their antlers, send Fairy Lights in all directions. Still, the Fairy Lights giggle.
“Hold! Hold! Hold!” says the big fat man in the suit redder than my little Nathan’s cold-bitten skin.
The Reindeer stop. Look around. Sniff.
The big fat man cracks a whip.
“Father’s going to find you,” the big fat man whispers.
The Reindeer stomp. Sniff.
“Are you sleeping? Are you awake?”
Fairy Lights giggle.
“Father Christmas is coming – for you!”
Fairy Lights illuminate the barn that protects my people and the Reindeer charge into action – the sleigh skates across me, cuts deep into me.
The Snowmen, Nutcrackers, and Elves that surround the barn unfreeze. They hammer on the door, walls, windows, once more. The rhythmic thump thump thump echoes around the valley until they eventually break in. And the screams begin again as the Humans are flushed out of the barn. It’s stopped snowing; at least they’re safe from that.
The big fat man – the Father of Christmas – cracks his whip from atop his sleigh. CRACK! CRACK! CRACK! With each and every CRACK! a Human becomes an Elf. With each and every CRACK! they forget me, who held them so carefully, so lovingly, since they were a baby, despite all they did to hurt me. With each and every CRACK! they kneel before him. Slaves to his w-w-w-will.
The snow is fal-falling again. The little br-br-brown barn is overcome by the wh-wh-white blizzard.
T-the co-cold. It’s too-too-too m-much. I-I-I I’m f-f-f-freezin-ing. N-no I must h-h-help th-them. I-