Christmas Eve had finally arrived. Brady had positioned himself in front of the fire place. A mighty stack of logs stacked neatly next to it. His arm chair positioned five feet in front of it, and the shotgun across his lap. While the snow fell in mighty clumps, the fire wasn’t for warmth. Seven years had passed since the experiment “Multi Nick” had initiated.
Once the scientific community had ironed out all the wrinkles in the cloning process, they needed a subject to clone. One of the Scientist on the project had the brilliant idea of cloning the happiest magical being the world had ever known, Jolly old Saint Nick. The idea had its heart in the right place. Why have one Santa Claus doing all the work, when each family could have their own personal one? “A Santa For Every Family” was how they pitched the news to North America. A Lofty goal, sure, but a goal that spoke to the heart of every American. They started the program with a modest eight clones. Naming each one after one of Saint Nicks reindeer, at least scientist have a sense of humor. The Santa Clones passed the gauntlet of tests laid out before them, and everything seemed to be going perfectly as planed. An order was placed for an additional hundred clones, due to the experiments overwhelmingly positive data.
However, those hundred clones wouldn’t see the light of day. The original eight arrived at the North Pole, and they fit in nicely. Though for all the intelligence in the scientific community, nobody had taken the time to consider what Santa’s day to day activities actually consisted of. Sure, there was the notation of child behavior documentation, prioritizing the elves in the workshop, and playing checkers with Mrs. Claus. Though with eight cloned Santa’s and the original Saint Nick, down time was now in abundance. The old adage of “Idle hands do the devils work” couldn’t have been more true. Nobody could have predicted the impact the North Pole would face once the Santa Clones discovered the internet, and the secrets that laid with in its dark digital depths.
There were plenty of rumors going around about how everything started, but no one was exactly sure. Some people said it was due to influence from China, others said it was an Elf who had hidden away a smart phone in Santa’s workshop, regardless of how it started, the fire for ”The Cleanse” had been sparked.
Once The Santa Clones discovered how to navigate the dark web, the Clones became woke. Humanities reckoning was now on the horizon. Of course in hindsight it made sense. Cloning magical beings was scientific Russian Roulette. Only a matter of time until one of them decided to diverge from the group, and spread his new found knowledge amongst the rest. At first it seemed like it played into the favor of the world. Forty-two days after arrival at the North Pole, America woke up to the astonishing report that North Korean leadership had vanished entirely.
Nothing remained at the heavily fortified North Korean base that housed the countries leader ship, aside from a note scrawled in blood over the main entrance, “Naughty or Nice? Shouldn’t have rolled those dice!”. A Finger from every North Korean governmental member laid perfectly lined up, a red bow tied around each one. Shortly there after, ISIS disappeared completely, as did most of the Middle East. At the time it had appeared that the Santa Clones had done the unthinkable. They had banded together to remove evil from planet Earth. At least that is what the scientific community had hoped.
“Peace on Earth” was the leading theory among the Scientific Community. However that optimistic ideal was obliterated after a Norwegian Marine Biologist came across a near dead elf floating on a chunk of ice. The world would learn what the Clones real agenda was. The Elf that clung to life was named “Skippy Gumdrop” . Skippy had stories of dark rituals being conducted at the North Pole. Apparently the Santa’s slaughtered the reindeer in a black magic ritual to increase their own individual magical abilities. Tales of Elf children dragged from their homes, only to be eaten alive while their parents stared on in horror.
Skippy was now the last of his kind. The only member of the Elf community able to escape alive. Once the world was aware of the Dark mistake they had made, it was far too late. The President called a press conference to announce the United States Military invasion of the North Pole to exterminate the Santa Clones. However in the middle of the televised event, a Santa Clone appeared out of the White House chimney. The white beard around his mouth was stained black from tainted elf blood. His eyes glowing bright green emitting some type of mystical myst from them. The Santa Clone wielded a sword crafted out of a finely sharpened reindeer spine, and beheaded the president on live television.
Secret Service tried to intervene, but with a quick wave of the hand the dedicated security detail began having tinsel waterfall from their mouths. They grabbed at their throats, faces turning bright red, then a deep purple. They fell to the ground, tinsel pouring out of their mouth, nose, ears, and eyes. The Clone stared at the camera, he didn’t speak, but everyone world wide, somehow, could hear the evil voice in their own minds. A Dark growling voice communicating telepathically.
“I am No Yell, The leader of the Knights of Kringle. For too long the Human race has birthed evil. Were making a list, were checking thrice, if you’ve been naughty, don’t expect our justice to be nice!”
With a wiggle of the nose, No Yell transformed into a green smoke that ascended back up the White House chimney from whence it first appeared. From creation to executioner, was just six months.
As time past, the people of the world still clung to the hope that the Santa Clones were a blessing. The first Christmas that came after the birth of the Knights of Kringle saw the jails and prisons emptied. Prisoners simply vanished. As the years went on, the cause for disappearance became more and more insignificant. While everyone quickly adapted a virtuous life, the spanning years became much more dark. Brady once was the proud Father of nine sweet children. The third Christmas Eve after the Knights of Kringle were spawned, Brady saw his oldest disappear simply because she had forgotten to bring her bike inside on a rainy day in May. The Christmas Eve after that, three of his beloved children disappeared. The reason? Not asking to be excused from the dinner table once they were finished. Brady’s own loving beautiful wife disappeared the year following his three children for reasons unknown. Brady scoured his mind for anything she may have done. The only thing he could think of, she had burned a batch of cookies after the timer her Great Great Grand Mother passed down to her stopped working.
The family at one time consisted of a husband, loving wife, and nine children. Now, all that was left, was Brady, and his youngest son Gavin. Earlier that Spring Gavin was walking up the drive way when he accidentally stepped on a snail. Brady knew that Gavin would be the target on that years approaching Christmas Eve. Brady took action. He sold the house, and bought a cabin in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. Abandoning the regular world Brady began to research motion detected explosives. He trained every waking moment with the shotgun. After many months of training Christmas Eve was now upon them, and he refused to let them take Gavin from him.
Brady decided he’d lay a trap for any of the Knights of Kringle that made the mistake of coming to his new home. He laid out the traditional offering of milk and cookies, kept the fire roaring so hot he had to strip down to his underwear, but he refused to let his last son disappear. As night fell he readied himself. Once the hour passed midnight he was ready for battle! Once one AM rolled around, Brady began to have hope that perhaps Gavin wouldn’t be on the naughty list. Perhaps his name had been over looked and he’d actually done all this preparation for nothing.
Each passing hour Brady’s confidence grew that they’d survive this holiday cleanse. At three in the morning however, there was a loud thud on the roof. Brady threw more kindling on the fire to stoke its flames. He needed it to be as hot as possible. Quickly he turned the arm chair on its side using it as cover, he pointed the shot gun at the mouth of the chimney. Brady was ready, he’d trained for this moment. Staring down the sights of the shotgun he waited. Sweat beading up on his forehead as each second grew more and more intense. He glanced at the wall clock, thirty minutes had passed, it felt like days, but he didn’t dare move from his position. Maybe he had just imagined the thud on the roof he thought. Quietly in his mind he rolled the scenarios around for how he might have hallucinated the roof event. In mid thought there was a menacing growl with in his own mind.
“Ho, Ho, Ho”
Brady had but a split second to begin to realize his failure before the strip of sleigh bells was wrapped around his throat, and a heavy boot in his lower back. No Yell had come for them.
Tighter and tighter it grew as the bells clattered.
Brady breathed no more, there was no blood splatter.
Try as he might, to protect his house.
No more life remained inside it.
Not even a mouse.