To the North Pole
Max hovered just outside my window, waiting for me to jump on. “Wait, what about my Mom and Dad?”
“No worries, Joe,” El said. “They won’t even know you’re gone.”
“My Mom notices everything.”
“There’s nothing to notice,” El pointed to my bed. Someone was in it. The covers moved and I couldn’t believe my eyes. In the bed, waving at me was me.
“How did…?” I looked at El.
She smiled. “I may not be part of a Christmas Dragon team, but I do have a team. That’s Bartholomew Christmas time Jingle Bells Dashing through the Snow elf. He wants to be an actor.”
“Let me guess, you call him Bart.”
El scrunched her face and shook her head. “No, why would you think that?”
“Never mind.” I waved back at myself and he, I mean I, waved back. Even I was confused. I climbed onto Max. He snorted and I felt his muscles tensing. As much as I’d learned to enjoy flying with him, his need to take off like a rocket made me nervous.
El climbed on Max’s back, wrapped her arms around me, and said, “No time to waste, Joe, steer Max to the North Pole.”
“I don’t know the way.” I answered, twisting around to look at her.
“Think about it, North Pole. There might be a hint there.”
“North?” I said.
“Boy is a regular genius, let’s try that shall we?”
I nodded, leaned over to Max, and gave him the command. In a flash we were off. I steered him toward the North star and hoped for the best.
On the way, El explained what had happened. In the weeks leading up to Christmas Eve, Santa does practice runs with the reindeer. He likes to make sure everything, and everyone, is prepared and ready for the big night.
This morning, Santa, El, and the rest of the Elf pre-flight team went out to hook up the reindeer. When they got to the reindeer barn, the doors were torn off their hinges and the reindeer were gone.
“Any idea who did this?”
“Whoever it was, they have powerful magic,” El said. “Reindeer are tough. They wouldn’t be easy to capture.”
“Powerful magic? How am I supposed to fight magic? I’m just a kid.”
El hesitated a moment, which made me more nervous. Then she yelled over the wind,”Believe in yourself, Joe, believe.”
Max flew on, climbing up over mountains then diving down over the snowy north. We crossed over Greenland and deeper into the Arctic Circle. I steered Max lower, trying to see if I could spot something, anything.
Max slowed, beating his wings just enough to keep us moving.
“Hear that?” El said.
“Hear what? I don’t hear anything.” Then, off in the distance,I heard a faint sound like someone yelling Yahoooooo….
I looked through the swirling snow. All I could see were pine trees and snow drifts. Suddenly, a mountain of snow loomed in front of us. I tried to steer Max around it, but it was too late.
I could feel El’s grip tighten around me and I braced for the crash.
We slammed into the mountain, were swallowed up in the white, then bounced back, falling into a snowdrift.
“El, you okay?”
“I think so, you?”
“I think so. What did we hit? It was warm and furry. Where’s Max?” I felt a hand grab my foot. I yelled and heard El yell at the same time. “Aaaaarrrrgh.” I flew out of the snowbank and hung upside down in the air. El hung upside down next to me.
“Cornelius,” she yelled. “Is it really you?”
Whoever held me dropped me to the ground. I shook the snow off and looked at the man standing before me. “Yukon Cornelius? You’re Yukon Cornelius. Are you real too?”
Cornelius laughed. “Of course I’m real.” He turned to El. “This is the new Dragon team?”
Cornelius reached down and helped me stand.
“You look different than I remember.”
“Yeah, I didn’t like the guy who played me on TV. He wasn’t handsome enough.”
Max shuffled over, nuzzling against me. He was covered in white fur. “What happened to you?” I asked.
Cornelius chuckled. “I’ll tell you what happened, you flew your dragon into my Bumbles.” As he said this the mountain behind him began to shake, and laugh.
I backed up, leaning against Max. “What is th..th..that? I asked.
Cornelius turned around then poked the mountain. “That is Bumbles, formerly the Abominable Snow man, now my prospecting partner.”
The mountain bent and a face appeared. A giant face. He smiled at me with a full set of teeth. “He’s real too? Wait, didn’t that Elf dentist pull his teeth?”
“Yup,” Cornelius said, “and then he put the back. Herbie is a full service dentist now.”
El came over to stand next to me. “Why are you here, Cornelius, is there more news?”
Cornelius face turned serious. “I’m afraid so, El. Santa sent me to look for you,” he looked at Max and I, “although he didn’t tell me I needed to duck.”
“Sorry,” I said.
“Let me tell you what happened while we head to see Santa. We need to hurry, there are just a few days to Christmas.”
TO BE CONTINUED