The Mysterious Elf
The group, led by Cornelius on Bumble’s shoulder, made its way north. The wind howled, and Cornelius had a hard time finding his way. He filled in Joe and El on the latest.
“Right after the reindeer vanished, Elves started to disappear. One minute they’d be hard at work, singing Elf songs and building toys and the next they’d fade away.” Cornelius shook his head. “Santa says they stopped believing in Christmas.”
“How can an Elf stop believing in Christmas,” I asked. “I mean, they are Christmas.”
Bumbles stopped short. Cornelius patted him on the shoulder. “I know, buddy, I’ll explain it to him.” He jumped down from his perch and waved me over.
“Christmas lives on because we believe in it. The moment you stop believing, the spirit of Christmas fades a little. The fewer people who believe, the more it fades. Maybe those elves think we won’t be able to save Christmas. I don’t know. But we are going to try. Aren’t we?”
I looked at El, then back at Cornelius. “But I’m just a kid.”
“Yeah,” Cornelius gave out a laugh, “a kid with a giant Christmas Dragon. I think you’ll do.”
El laughed, Max laughed, even Bumbles laughed which shook snow and fur all over us.
“Hi,” a voice said, interrupting the moment. We all turned to the sound. There stood an Elf staring at us from the back of a polar bear.
El and Cornelius moved in front of me. “Who are you?” El said, her eyes narrowed as she studied the strange looking Elf.
With a slight bow of his head, he replied, “My name is Frank, Santa sent me to find you. We have no time to waste. You have to follow me, I found the reindeer.”
El took a step toward the Elf. “What kind of name for an Elf is Frank? How come I’ve never seen you? I know all the Elves.”
Frank disappeared for a moment, then reappeared standing next to Max and me. El and Cornelius had to turn around to watch.
“Joe, I need you to trust me. You and Max are the only hope we have. I can get you close to Mount Doubt, but you’ll be on your own from there. Are you ready?”
El stepped between Frank and me. “Hold on there, pal. How can we trust you? I’m not sure this is a good idea.”
Frank leaned around El to look me in the eye. “Remember what your grandfather said, Joe? He said you must believe. Remember?”
I nodded, remembering Pa’s words when he first gave me the dragon. “I’ll go with you. I know it’s the right thing to do.”
“Not without us, you’re not,” Cornelius said. He and El stood with Bumbles behind them as reinforcement.
Frank nodded. “We can all go to the valley before Mount Doubt. But from there, it will be up to Joe to do the rest.”
“I don’t think so,” El said. “wherever he goes, I go.”
“And us too,” Cornelius added, “we are a team.”
Frank disappeared again and reappeared on the back of the bear. “I’ve no time to argue, follow along if you like, but you’re on your own. My job is to guide Joe to the mountain. His job starts once we arrive.” He tapped with his right foot, and the bear turned and began to run. Looking over his shoulder, he said, “I will do what can to protect us all, but if I can’t the most important thing is Joe and Max, understand?”
El glanced at Cornelius. “We can take care of ourselves, Frank, I don’t need you to protect me.”
Frank shrugged, “up to you, let’s go.”
The group of five headed off into the raging blizzard and vanished in the snow. The shadow of Mount Doubt loomed in the distance.
TO BE CONTINUED