24 December 2014
Residential Area, Citadel Hub
Kelly was out for a flight, trying to incorporate an owl’s night vision into his bag of tricks. He’d only crashed once, so far, which made it a long way from his worst experiment to date.
There was something strange, off in the distance. Sometimes he got weird visual effects when he tried to use inhuman eyes, so he landed on his house and switched back to check it. Yeah, that still didn’t make any sense.
“Hey! Guys! Get out here!” Kelly called from the roof.
Isaac was the first to appear, followed shortly by Hector.
“What’s going on, is something wrong?” the big man shouted up.
“Look!” Kelly pointed.
“What’s the big deal?” Hector asked, puzzled.
Kelly’s jaw dropped. “It’s…it’s a flying fat man with a bunch of reindeer!”
Hector and Isaac answered at the same time.
“Yeah, Santa Claus. So what?” “It’s Christmas Eve, what’d you expect?”
“You’re telling me he’s real? Lives at the South Pole, elves, presents, all that?”
Isaac scratched his head. “Well, real’s kind of a strong way to put it.”
“Kelly, think about it. How many kids believe in Santa Claus enough to fixate on the idea? What’s the trigger for an empowerment?” Hector asked.
“Your telling me someone’s super power is that they’re Santa Claus?” Kelly couldn’t believe it. That was either one of the most disturbing things he’d ever heard, or the coolest.
“I believe that current estimates put it at about thirty eight people, actually.” Jason added as he joined Isaac and Hector at the door. “Thankfully, that particular myth is somewhat less well known.” He pointed across the road.
A hulking figure crouched in the darkness. Covered in patches of shaggy brown fur, it was more or less human shaped, the arms too long and the mouth too wide. The creature had long black claws and far too many teeth in its oversize grin, jagged and yellowing. Like Santa, it too carried a sack. Kelly was pretty sure it didn’t have presents. There was something moving around inside the red bag, something that gave out soft cries of fear and pain.
“Should we…should we try to stop it?”
“No.” Jason answered. “Any child the Krampus takes has earned their reward.”
Kelly sighed in relief as the fearsome thing turned away and disappeared into the night. A moment later, he was startled by a great noise, though he really shouldn’t have been.
“Ho ho ho!” laughed Santa Claus as he flew overhead.