At first, little Sally precociously thought it was one of those sugar-induced nightmares her mother always warned her about. You know the type: too much hot cocoa followed by chocolate-dunked cookie Santas, caramel lollies, and iced butter cookies.
It didn’t take long for her to realize that she was really surrounded by little green men.
“Are you Santa’s elves?” she asked hopefully.
One little green man with pointed ears and silvery obsidian eyes sprinkled glitter over her sleep-tousled hair. She saw brilliant multi-colored rainbow lights, felt a brief moment of nausea, before she was whooshed through space.
She landed on her bottom in a patch of snow, her cinnamon sucker still in her mouth.
“Oh dear! I meant to beam us inside, not outside,” he offered by way of explanation, doing his best to wipe away the snow that had clung to her robe.
“You call this place Europa, if that helps,” one of the green men offered pleasantly in slightly-accented English.
“Please–don’t be alarmed. We have no intention of hurting you like those wayward elves–I mean–oh never mind. Please follow me. You’ve had quite the ordeal. We didn’t mean to bring you along. An accident, I tell you. That’s what it was. When He arrives, he’ll know what to do.“
Another little green man took Sally’s tiny pink hand in his gloved one, helped her across the slick path toward a domed structure.
“It looks like an igloo! We studied those in social studies!“
The little green man looked down at her, smiled, patted her hand. “You’re a bright one, aren’t you?”
As they approached, a panel slid open, and the group entered the cavern. There was quite a flurry of activity. Sally looked around at all the little green men and the tall people, too. They reminded her of Vikings.
One of the tall people, a woman with white hair and a friendly face, offered her a cup of something warm and spicy. She cautiously sniffed at the contents, then took a sip.
Sally nodded, took another sip. She felt warm all over.
A wall of ice slid open, and in waddled a huge gelatinous creature wearing a crimson jumpsuit. Sally yawned, and only caught the end of its conversation with the nice woman. Something about the sled arriving. She yawned again, leaned against the soft sides of the chair, tried not to fall asleep.
The others scrambled, exiting through other walls of ice that slid open just prior to collision.
Two giants appeared. They looked like the sort of characters who would appear in a Nordic fairy tale, with their ornately embroidered leather and fur caps, jackets, and leggings. Even their boots were decorated with runic patterns.
The cavern ceiling slid open, and there, in the night sky, was a canopy of stars, none of which looked familiar. “I must be on Europa after all,” Sally thought. Two of the green creatures, one on each side, ushered her behind a clear wall of ice where they watched as a craft slowly descended through the aperture with barely a sound.
A side panel of the craft slid open, and out crawled another of the Nordic giants, this one with a beard so brilliantly white, that the surrounding snow seemed dirty by comparison. The man twirled a strand of his bead-adorned, braided beard, as he caught sight of their visitor.
Everyone bowed to this imposing figure. Despite his bulk, he stepped lightly across the icy path toward Sally and the little green men; then, placing a finger alongside his massive nostrils, he cocked his head to the side.
“So, what have we here?”
Sally shook her head, drew her knees up to her chest, gripped them tightly.
“No need to be afraid. We’re all quite harmless.“ He took a deep breath, exhaled, then thunderous laughter resonated through the cavern.
“It seems you found one of our travel portals, my dear. No idea why it was left open.“ With this, he turned and rested stern eyes on those who were still assembled. They grinned sheepishly.
“We were only taking a peek. They look so sweet when they’re asleep.”
The giant chuckled. “Indeed.” He looked at Sally for a moment, and his immense mouth formed an even more immense smile. She could see the gleam of his teeth, a sharp contrast to the crimson of his cheeks.
“We’ve got the replicator back on-line. Do you have any last minute requests before we load the cargo bay?”
“Aren’t the transporters on-line yet? What about the replicator on station 7? We‘ve still got vid-cards from Terra 3 and that Tyralian outpost in C-vector.”
“All up and running.”
“Well–it looks like it’s a go, then. So my little earthling, care to see how it all works? The science behind the myth?”
“I’m sorry. I don’t understand.” Sally’s voice sounded braver than she felt.
All the little green men gathered around him as if for a bizarre, but somehow touching, family portrait.
“You see, “he said, “I’m Santa and these are my elves!“
Stay tuned for the next segment of this holiday tale, which was previously published in a Sam’s Dot publication several years ago. . .