The Patron Saint of…..Murder?!

Stories…. fairy tales…myths, all are forms of art, and all hold forms of truth. They can take all shapes and sizes, from music to poetry, to pictures, and both verbal and written narratives. However, regardless of whether it be fiction or fact. Stories hold a strong degree of power. They are able to spark more creativity and bring out raw emotions. Anger, love, passion, inspiration, curiosity, despair, and hope, these are just a few emotions that take form just by engaging in an interesting story. Each story we compose shapes the world around us, history is a prime example of this. Stories really have the power to change the world, but whether it is for the good of us all or for the worse of us all is still anyone’s guess. Ladies and Gentlemen, my name is Mr.X, and today I have a story to share with you all. Hopefully, this story will also aid in changing the world. For all you know……. it might just change…. you. So, without further adieu, let us begin this interesting narrative.

 

I truly hate the holidays…always have. I never understood how people can find such merriment in this pitiful holiday. It’s really just an excuse to extort gifts and time out of people you “care about”  and to promote “peace on earth”. It also boggles my mind to see how much Christmas evolved over the years. What started out as a pagan holiday originating in Rome, where a whole assortment of debauchery went on, now became a religious holiday invoking peace and togetherness ….whatever that means. I wonder how many years before Christmas changes once again. Sigh~ It’s not like I make it a point to be a Scrooge, but the holidays for me have always been boring and uninteresting. Nothing interesting really happens for me. Not to mention my work has been put on hold, like the entire criminal element itself decided to take a holiday. Oh, and I should introduce myself and what I do. “Yo, we got mail!” Ah yes, my partner, Zed, we’ve been together for years. “Look, Zed, I know you like being in that form, but seriously, you don’t have to give me the mail on all fours,” I said while taking the mail from his mouth. Taking a look at all these letters, just one bill after another. However, I came across a letter that was quite odd. The letter seemed quite ominous in nature, so I looked closer to inspect the contents.  

 

It had a weathered exterior, and natural in color, with a yellowish tint. Though it wasn’t stained it was just the hue of the paper. It was high-quality paper, to be honest,  etched within its exterior were designs akin to mistletoe. Quite weird even for this time of year.  It had a red wax seal on the front engraved with a cross. So this must be a religious entity. Regardless I opened the seal to reveal the contents within. It was a simple card sparse with words, but clear and direct.

 

Don’t be a naughty boy, or you might get a stocking full of coal

 

The word naughty was bolded in dark red ink, very similar to oxidized blood. It gave me an eerie feeling. “Zed come sniff this real quick!” I said. He looked at me with an odd expression “fine…,” he said with a long drawn out “e”. “It’s scentless,” he said.  Weird, even ink tends to have a smell, so this must be some substitute. I looked at the envelope one last time and found an address on the back right corner. It read: The North Pole, Alaska 37564 “….Spam! Toss it!”

 

The next letter looked expensive and official. A bright white envelope with a typewritten return address on the right corner of it, indicating the contents probably won’t contain anything handwritten. The envelope itself felt very stiff, like construction paper? From this, I was able to surmise that the envelope was brand new and whatever it contained was for a special occasion. Since the title of our address contained ‘Residents of-’ I realized pretty quickly that this letter was sent out to a multitude of people, not just myself. In addition to the fact there seemed to be a wax seal on the envelope. “Whoever sent this must have some deep pockets,” I said while undoing the seal to read the contents.

 

Dear Current Residents,

The Evergreen  Household would like to welcome you to the first annual Evergreen Christmas Party. In this letter, you will be given a golden ticket with an express pass to the Evergreen manor. Present your ticket to the Polaris Express train station and you will be escorted to the manor. The party will be at 8:00 pm sharp on Christmas Eve. Let the Christmas season move you, and the feelings inhabit you; for it is Christmas and all will be very well. We truly look forward to having you come to our humble abode.

 

Sincerely,

Mr. Alderheim Evergreen  

         

“Hmm? Surprise, surprise, we managed to get an invitation, Zed.”  

“Where and who’s it from?”

“Seems those big wigs of Evergreen decided to invite us to a festive get-together.”

“That rich family in the mountains? Why invite us?”

“Well, it wasn’t an invitation to us specifically.”

“A Christmas party, huh? Sounds lackluster…”

I gazed at the invitation, then redirected my gaze to the other letter with threatening words. I paused, thinking of the coincidence of timing of these two letters and the hidden intention. “Quite the contrary, Zed,” I said with my mouth forming into a smile. “I believe this invite is just the distraction I have been looking for.” And with that, it was decided, Zed and I began to get ready for hopefully an interesting evening.

8 o’clock rolls around and I am standing outside a huge gate. “whistle~ pretty big gate” I remarked. “Tickets please.” A big security guard said to me in a deep voice. The security guard was pretty big and tall, wearing sunglasses sporting a shaved hair due. I presented him with my ticket, he inspects it, then turns his attention to Zed. “Is that furball with you?” Asked the guard, which immediately caused Zed to snarl at the man. “Yes, he is with me and you would do well not to refer to him as a ‘furball'” after my response, the guard merely rolled his eyes and opened the gate. As we walked through the gate, Zed gave one final growl to the guard. Finally entering the premise the Evergreen manor, the place was huge. The Evergreens lived in a castle which could possibly rival the castle of Dracula…not that I would know. The front yard had a very wide open space and you can clearly see the courtyard and its oddly shaped shrubbery. I’d like to think they were crude depictions of Christmas ornaments. One thing for sure, it definitely was deserving of the title…. “Abstract”.

“Okay Zed, mind making yourself presentable, please? I rather not give one of those dignitaries a heart attack at the sight of you.”  

“Ok, Ok, sheesh”

With my furry four legged friends now on two legs and with less hair we can properly begin the night’s festivities. As we made my way into the castle we were greeted by one of the butlers asking for our jacket. We complied and Zed snagged us a glass of champagne from one of the passing servers. My partner wasted no time downing his glass while I was too busy observing the guests at this point.

“Are you sure those two letters are connected?” My companion asked me in a somewhat excited tone.

“I’m not 100% sure but based on the timing of those two letters, I’m willing to bet there is some sort of correlation between them. There’s no such thing as coincidences, now we need only find the cause.” Said I.

“Interesting, anything I should keep an eye out for, or will the universe just hand it to us on a silver platter?” Zed said in a jovial tone

“Ha ha, very funny. Look out for any suspicious people and anyone using the same scentless ink as in the letter. One more thing, stick to facts and not holistic, it’s not your forte.” I said feeling slightly annoyed.

“Any ideas what our mystery writer wants?” Zed inquired

“I have only two possible ideas, but let’s not discuss it now and just get to work.”

“Okay but I have one question.”

I raised my eyebrow signaling Zed to go on

“You gonna finish your drink?

I wordlessly gave him my untouched glass of champagne. With that, Zed merely gave me a makeshift salute as we parted ways. I made my way to the ballroom, it was quite a sizable room, being nearly packed to the brim with rich idiots with too much free time. The ceiling of the ballroom had a Gothic style to it, with statues of goblins chasing angels. While I appreciated the break from all of the Christmas apparel, I couldn’t help but think how grim the art looked since it wasn’t exactly “festive”. Unfortunately, my appreciation was cut short due to so much babbling and nonsense going on, I hardly knew what to make of it. I slowly digested the hundreds of guests, all wearing either highly tailored suits or over the top dresses. Unsurprisingly countless dignitaries were here, and a few rich entrepreneurs. I made my way through the crowd and found that they were all dressed for the season, some with little ornaments on their ties or reindeer earrings. It was quite an assortment of foul objects, and no I am not a Scrooge, I just honestly think these people have awful taste in clothing. I noticed the hall was decorated much the same way but more vibrantly. There were lights hung up in complex designs and ornaments hanging from the ceiling… “not bad”.

 

A man in a green pinstriped suit was slowly making his rounds from guest to guest. He stood out from the rest, maybe it was his charisma, but he looked like someone I could entertain myself with. I made my way towards him when suddenly a group of what I presume are trained animals in suits stepped into my path. Then they spoke…. “Well, I do say who may you be dear sir,” the largest of the trio said. He seemed to be struggling to fit into his suit, which of course was way too tight for his figure. Possibly a were-hog as he had small tusks coming from his bottom jaw.  His two compatriots were both equally as odd. One was tall and lanky while the other was short and sturdy. The short one could have been a dwarf, but I wasn’t completely sure as he didn’t have the trademark beard. The tall one was a mystery to me, but honestly, I could care less. I simply replied “I was invited” while flashing my golden ticket. The large one then replied with his name and then took it upon himself to tell his life story, which I didn’t ask for. Honestly, even if I did pay attention to what he was saying, the only thing I could register is how inexplicably foul his breath was. With my somewhat watery eyes, I simply replied, “I’ve heard of a fabulous invention called breath mints, might I offer you some? Though I should warn it may cost you, but I assure you it would be a wise investment.”. He then said “You insolent little-!  Do you know who I am!?”. I replied, “Besides the fact you’re a were-hog with no sense of personal hygiene, not really?”. He then puffed his face up and started to shift. “I am of the lineage of the three hogs who triumphed over the impetuous wolf!” he growled. Spot on, I thought definitely a were-hog. “Seems someone can’t keep a temper,” I said. He looked like he was about to charge me while his friends looked ready to back him up. Then just like clockwork the man in the green pin-striped suit made an appearance. Looking closely, he had cuffs that resembled Christmas trees, also known as evergreens and a tie in the same shape. Quite sharp I thought. I deduced this could only be our amicable host Mr. Evergreen. “Hello my name is  Alderheim Evergreen, it is a pleasure to be acquainted with such a legend such as yourself,” he said with exaggerated enthusiasm. “Excuse me gentlemen for interrupting, but I am afraid he and I have some business to attend to” I slightly raised my eyebrow at Mr.Evergreen’s words, but as soon as he spoke the trio quickly dispersed.

“Well, Mr. Evergreen it appears you are good at clearing a room,” I remarked.

“But of course, it simply wouldn’t do for a ruckus to break out in the middle of my party, after all, especially someone of your caliber in the fray.” He spoke, but I couldn’t help but feel some dark undertone to his words. “You heard of me, have you? I suppose you know the reason I am here?” I probed. “I assume you’re here to enjoy the festivities, but I have another guest to attend to Mr.-”

“Ah, I’ll be sure to enjoy myself then.”

From our brief exchange, I learned one key thing and that’s chances are he isn’t aware of the other letter I have received. “But before I leave, I’d like to introduce you to my daughter” As quickly as he left, Alderheim appeared behind me and as quick as I turned I was greeted by an enchanting young lady. Her hair was stark white, her face looked almost cherubic. I could tell by her icy blue-eyed stare that she didn’t much care for my existence, merely just responding to “Daddy dearest”. Alderheim continued to speak, “This is my daughter, Nikola. Nikola please be a dear and show our esteemed guest around.” “Tch…” She was despondent not really caring about the situation thrust on both of us. At this moment, Alderheim grabbed his daughter by the arm and whispered in her ear. Normally, a person could hear something at such a low volume, but I was able to faintly make out, “Be on you best behavior or else”. With those words, Nikola’s attitude shifted from uncaring to displeasure and gave out a quick sigh. “Ok, you two have fun” were Alderheim’s parting words before leaving us together. As a desperate attempt to change the mood Nikola tries introducing herself, “Hello, I’m Nikola Evergreen, with a k, not a c, and you said your name was?” “I didn’t, but it is very nice to meet you,” I said trying to be polite.

“By the way what sort of name is Nikola?” I inquired.

“I was named after my great great grandfather.” Her response seemed quite Bubbly.

“Who, Nikola Tesla?” I made an attempt at a joke.

“No, but I have heard that joke a lot…” She happily, yet un-amusingly smiled; something about it seemed superficial to me.

“Ok, new question, where’s your mother?” I asked again, but it seemed I reached a sore spot in the conversation. Her smile faded and her visage showed a hint of despair.

“Probably in bed, my mother….died quite some time ago. The doctors seem to believe it was stress…” I could tell it was hard for Nikola to continue so I opted to change the subject matter.

“So why is ‘daddy dearest’ appointing you to my aid?” I said this in order to change the mood but had the opposite effect. The previous look of despair turned into slight anger. With an exhausted sigh, she spoke. “That’s always been my father for you, a bit of a slave driver.” Nikola paused for a moment then continued. “He’s always been strict and overbearing, to the point it can even be overbearing. Sometimes, I find myself  wanting to escape and be free before…” As she spoke I noticed a slight tremble in her hands. Realizing this took an unpleasant turn I spoke,        “ ‘Free. To be free, absolutely free. To spend time playing with the children. To have a clean, beautiful house, the way Torvald likes it.’or in this case, you father.” I quoted a line from a play from Henrik Ibsen’s, Dollhouse. She seemed to be amused as she laughed lightly, “Seems you do understand haha, but that’s enough about my father, he’s not as interesting as you may think he is.” She said in an ominous tone. It was almost as if her personality shifted from the happy go lucky girl into a more mature sinister woman. I guess the saying is true, there are two sides to every coin. We continued to conversate and her usual persona came back into the fore. My intuition was telling me, this girl is definitely hiding something.

 

Eventually, Nikola began to probe me for questioning, “So why did you decide to come to such a party like this?” She inquired.

“I was invited, obviously,” I said plainly

“So, why the interest in my family?”

“It’s only natural that a guest wishes to inquire about their host,” I said dismissively.

“Is that the truth?” she said staring up at me.

“What makes you think otherwise?” I asked innocently. Nikola then paused in exaggerated thought, before I could question her again she gave her explanation.

“The moment I saw you enter the ballroom, you had a disinterested look on you face. You didn’t even seem know or be well acquainted with anyone. Yet you tried speaking to my father almost immediately and since you asked those question, you clearly don’t know him personally. This also cancels the possibility of you being one of his business partners. However, my father does seem to be aware of you, which could mean you have some degree of fame to you, especially since you haven’t introduced yourself once. So I ask again, why are you really here?”

Not bad, she seemed to have me pinned. I snatch a bottle of water from a passing server while she went on. I was almost at a loss for words, but I did learn something crucial. It’s the fact I caught her attention since I walked into the room. Seems I still got it. I was still faced with her question, I simply smiled at Nikola and extended my right hand out to her and spoke,

“It’s because I believe ‘Something glorious is going to happen’.

Suddenly, just as our conversation came to an end, the band started their symphony. Nikola still at a loss by my declaration, she merely smiled and asked, “Would you like to dance?”. I simply lowered my head as she grabbed my hand.  Though I wasn’t very keen on showing my moves, I decided denying our host’s daughter wouldn’t help in my search for the truth. Besides, it was better to keep her close. The music picked up and she quickly led me to the center floor. I was curious well a sheltered rich girl can bust a move. As if reading my mind, Nikola glided onto the dance floor and we began to tango to the rhythm. She moved with elegance but sharp like a blade twirling in my arms. I followed suit and matched her speed, almost like a sword fight we clashed in rhythm to the beat. It was a unique dance as if we were the only two in the room. She went on as if the entire ballroom was just a stage to her and everyone else were purely spectators just to gaze at her. I had to be sure to keep up with her pace as to not look like a fool, but to her, this was just another day. I was so busy making sure our dance went smoothly that unbeknownst to me the song came to an end. Everyone was staring at us in a wordless awe. After a moment of silence, the crowd began a round of applause. “Who knew, you were such a good dancer?” Nikola commented. “You’re not so bad yourself.” I returned.

 

After the applause was over, the sound of one slow clap reverberated behind me. “Oh dear,” I said in trepidation.

“Well, well, well. While I’m hard at work, my own partner is busy fraternizing the host’s daughter. Seriously what kind of guest are you?” Zed was in full teasing mode.

“It isn’t what it looks like,” I said

“Oh really? Then what would you call your friend being the center of attention with an attractive girl?” Zed said with a goofy smile on his face.

“I was working, you idiot” I chided Zed.

“Is that so? Seemed to me you were seducing such a pure girl?” Zed was teasingly poking my face.

“The HELL are you saying” I eked out

The banter between Zed and I went on for a moment. He really loved to tease me in certain cases, and female occurrences where his favorite subject to mess with me about. As we continued our tomfoolery, “Um, Excuse me” Nikola decided to interject.

“I don’t believe we have met, my name is Nikola Evergreen.” The moment she introduced herself, Zed’s playful manner faded. Nikola raised her hand, which almost caused Zed to growl instinctively. Before I could question what was wrong with him, he said “Mrs.Evergreen I presume. Names Zed it’s nice to meet you.” and proceeded to sniff her hand. “You have a nice scent,” he said. I instinctively grabbed Zed by the collar pulling him away from her.

“What the hell are you doing?” I whispered to Zed.

 

Suddenly a bell chime started to ring, it was Mr. Evergreen signaling everyone’s attention.

“Looks like father is getting ready for one of his grand speeches. I better go to his side.” Nikola seemed very drained at the thought of public obligations. However, she quickly regained her smile and walked off while saying “It was really fun meeting you two.”

As soon as she left Zed and I began to share some words.

“Ok, care to explain that stunt, Zed?”

“Something felt off about that one…”

“Off in what way?”

“Well, I did what you said and kept my eye’s peeled for anyone suspicious and using the scentless ink. Everyone has a scent, regardless of if they use chemicals to erase their own….but oddly enough..she didn’t have one…..and that’s not possible. Technically she shouldn’t exist” I quickly came to piece together what my partner said and turned my head towards the ever-fading back of Nikola Evergreen.

  

   

Hello everyone,

I would like to thank you all for coming here today to visit my family to help celebrate this holiday season. Today is a day where we all put our differences aside, regardless of if you are of the human variety or the more inhuman kind. This world we live in is ever changing, but one thing that stays the same is Christmas. It is the one time of year that we can end discrimination and stop the bloodshed and feuds that have been plaguing us throughout the year. So let it be known that today the leaders of each faction were able to come together and show that they are much more than the beasts that society pictures them as. Now let us countdown to the day that will always be remembered in our hearts.

 

After finishing such a grandiose speech, Mr. Evergreen took out a remote and pressed a button. A giant clock came down. “This guy really loves to show off his wealth” I couldn’t help but remark at such a melodramatic display. The time on the clock said 11:59 pm, just one minute till showtime. However, Mr. Evergreen was quick to leave, away from any wandering eyes. I noticed he paid key attention to make sure he wasn’t being followed. “58!” they shouted. Well almost, I was curious as to where he had to go in such a hurry, so I followed him. “42!” they shouted once more. Or rather I tried to until, “Where are you going?” Nikola caught up to me. “Nothing I am just trying to-” before I could even finish my sentence, Nikola already began dragging me closer to the clock. “38!”  “The countdown has begun, we should find a spot for the show,” Nikola said with excitement. I soon met up with Zed, I tried to wordlessly signal him to follow Mr. Evergreen. Zed immediately tried to comply but was soon at a loss he couldn’t find Mr. Evergreen. Zed quickly came to my side as I was with Nikola and whispered to me,

“23!”“I can’t find him.”

“Whaddya mean you can’t?”

“I mean the guy went ghost.”

“Can’t you track him by smell?”

“No, I never got his sent and there are too many people here, I’d be flying blind.”

“Can’t you use the daughter’s scent?”

“Scents don’t work that way and that’s if she even had a smell”

We were running out of time, both Zed and I lost track of Mr. Evergreen and I had a sneaking suspicion whatever was about to happen would happen at midnight. Time was of the essence!

“Oh, Zed you made it just in time only a few more seconds left till the show!” Nikola with her excitement brought Zed close to us, I was too busy thinking of what’s going to happen next.

“10!” “So what kind of show are we in for?” Zed asked Nikola

“9!”   “I don’t know honestly, but I’m sure something memorable will happen,” Nikola said enthusiastically.

“8!” “That I do not doubt for a second,” I said with a deadpan face.

“7!” “I have a bad feeling about this,” Zed whispered to me.

“6!” “You and me both,” I whispered back

“5!” “Uh, Nikola where did your…?” As Zed was about to ask a question, he and I both realized something important. “Nikola disappeared!!” Zed and I said in unison.

“4!” “3!” “2!” “1!” “MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!”

Immediately after the crowd screamed Merry Christmas, Zed and I stared at each other in confusion. Without any time to properly organize our thoughts we heard a loud girlish shriek, it was somewhere between a high pitched power saw and nails on a chalkboard and it reverberated throughout the gothic castle. Not wanting to was anytime, Zed and I began to make a dash to the direction of the scream. “Let’s go” I signaled Zed. Zed quickly transformed into his hound form, I saddled up and we rushed into action. We arrived at an open door, and immediately went in to see a weeping Nikola and the now late Mr. Alderheim Evergreen. I quickly scanned the area for important clues or a sign of a struggle, that may have been left behind. As I was looking around the room a group of people nearly swarmed in to see the see the fresh corpse,……… of Mr. Evergreen. Zed snarled driving the people back as to not disturb the crime scene. Nikola seemed to be in shock, but I couldn’t immediately tend to her, I had to make sure everything in the crime scene was well in tacked. Soon a tall man around 6 foot, with a straggly beard came out of the crowd and to approach me. “Hello, I am Sir Flame Hawk of the Every Monster needs Whiskey association or EMW for short. The group of rich airheads over there voted me to take the lead, seeing as our previous host just kicked the bucket.” “Good, have someone to call the police, and please stand guard so no one gets in and contaminates the crime scene,” I said giving orders offhandedly. Flame Hawk nodded but before he left he asked me, “The people have been asking who are you…….. What am I supposed to tell them?” When the question was posed to me, I paused for a moment then spoke, “My name is Kai, Detective Kai.”   

 

After the pleasantries of self-introduction were finished, a few bigwigs decided to take their leave and allow the authorities to best handle the situation. However, after a loud shrill, Sir Flame Hawk requested to speak with me again, “Yeah, about calling the police, that idea may just have to stay an idea, you know since there’s a massive blizzard outside”  “What?!” I exclaimed. I proceeded to the window and the blizzard winds were fierce. The storm was really picking up and I was hardly able to see anything for miles. Nonetheless, I was still able to faintly make out a wolf in the distance. I then heard a chorus of wolf howls that reverberated off the window glass. “Welp not going out there,” I thought.  “Flame Hawk tell everyone no one is to leave the premises, for if they do the blizzard will be the least of their worries.” Flame Hawk quickly left to inform the group. “Now things are actually looking like a proper mystery murder story,” I said with excitement. So without further distractions, I put on a pair of gloves and kneeled down to examine the corpse of Mr. Evergreen. I noticed there weren’t any external wounds on the body. Though, there seemed to be a splatter of blood and a black substance around the lips. Even stranger was the Adam’s apple of the victim had risen as if there was a lump. “Strange” I parted the corpse’s lips and plunged my hand down his esophagus. I managed to grab hold of something and proceeded to pull it out. With a few tugs and a wet pop, I had my prize.

“What the ham hock and P-Funk?” All I could do was utter complete gibberish at this peculiar sight. What I pulled out was a Christmas stocking that appeared to be full of…….. “nope this has to be a joke.”. I looked inside the stocking and found a lump of coal inside. Query after query bombarded my mind, I quickly came to the conclusion that Evergreen must have choked on the stocking full of coal, but what I couldn’t understand was, “How the hell did this happen?”

Zed hearing my outcry, came to see what I had found. “Wow, talk about a real stocking stuffer….what?……… too soon?” Zed said as tactless as ever. While under normal circumstances, I may have rebuked Zed for such a comment. However, my mind was too busy hard at work to uncover the truth. After a moment of thought, I noticed a letter inside the stocking along with the coal. I retrieved the letter and instantly noticed the design inscribed on the paper….. “mistletoe” I said in a whisper. I open the letter to find the words were written in the same handwriting and ink.

 

Oh dear child did I not forewarn thee

Naughty boys are only worth their lump sum in coal.

 

“Yo Zed, sniff this.” Zed came over and started to smelling the paper. “Yep, it’s the same scentless ink as before.” Zed complied. After which, I pulled out the letter I received to compare the two. “Hmm, whoever wrote the first letter clearly wrote the second, it’s the same format right down to the address,” I explained to Zed. Both had the same address of North Pole, Alaska 37564. “So in other words, whoever wrote this is the culprit?” Zed inquired.

“That seems to be the general consensus,” I concurred with Zed. I thought it was time to look around the room, it seemed to be a typical private study. Two things stood out to me, the first thing was the fireplace. The fireplace was still warm with residual smoke coming from it, “The fire was recently put out” I was mumbling to myself. The second thing I noticed was on the desk there was a plate with crumbs and an empty glass. I looked in the glass and stuck my finger inside the glass to taste a small sample. “Milk?” I said slightly puzzled.

 

After this point, I thought is was appropriate to address the weeping Miss, Nikola.

“Miss Nikola I have a few questions that I need you to answer” I tried to be as gentle as possible when speaking to her. She nodded readily for my questions.

“How did you find your father in such a state?” I asked.

“After my father’s sudden disappearance, I decided to look for him. I presumed he was in his study as it is the place he spends most of his idle time, but when I went to check the door it was locked. So…” She stopped and looked shaken once again, but I had no time to console her. “Please continue Nikola the faster the better. If the culprit is still here we might be able to apprehend them.” She seemed to have collected herself then continued her rendition of the past events. “The…the room was locked so I went and got the spare key from his secret hiding place. It’s under the potted evergreen tree on the right of the door.”

“So you found your father’s body alone? No one else was there?” I asked

“Not that I saw, the room only had my father’s body on the ground.” She stated still shuddering at the image.

“One more question, Miss Nikola.”

“Yes?”

“Did your father have a sweet tooth?” I asked curiously. As soon as I asked the question Nikola had a surprised expression on her face.

“N-no, not really, but what does that have to do with-” I smirked as she tried to answer the question.  

“Thank you for your time” I ended the conversation abruptly. “Come along Zed, we have work to do,” and with that, I continued the investigation.

“I know that look, you figured something out..” Zed asked.

“Now now Zed, spoilers,” I said teasing Zed. I searched the room one more time to see if I could find something I might not have noticed before. Then I noticed a slip of paper on the desk in the far corner. I walked towards it making sure to be careful in case the culprit was just out of sight. I picked up the letter and instantly noticed the design on the paper…..It was the same paper used for the threatening letter and the demise letter. The only difference was the handwriting and content. I could tell this wasn’t written by the same person as the way they dotted their “i” with a heart easily told me this was most likely a girl’s handwriting. “Zed come here!”. My partner ran into the room with a look of confusion on his face. “Whats up?! What happened?!”. “Calm down, nothing’s wrong just check this letter for me.” He still had a look of confusion on his face but slowly acknowledge my request. He checked the letter then began to sniff it. “It’s….scentless, it’s the same ink used for the past two letters. Though……there’s a faint hint of ….milk? “Figures I said.” The address it was addressed to was the same as the last two letters sender’s address. “Wait let me see that.” I took the letter from his hand and noticed in the bottom right corner there was a slight stain. Most likely the milk residue my partner smelled. I searched the desk for further evidence. It was a hardwood desk most likely made from the same material as the rest of the room…..evergreen most likely pine or cedar due to the smell. It was handcrafted so it might have some secret compartments. As I started to look through each drawer for a hidden compartment my partner yelled out “Woah I found some half eaten cookies over here and some milk residue with an empty glass. It…can’t be….right? It’s not possible…?”  I cut him off before he could say what I was hoping he wouldn’t. I found a hidden compartment inside the bottom desk drawer with letters between what seemed to be the anonymous sender and the now known to be Nikola. Since one of the letters was addressed as so, “From Nikola to Grandpa”. one of the letters were ripped as if someone was in a fit of rage. I dug a little further and found pictures of Nikola and her….father in what seemed to be her bedroom…she was without clothing…and…he had various tools… I found a code on the back of one of the photos and quickly realized it was a password to his desktop computer. I logged in and found a hidden folder which was encrypted. I looked for more clues on the back of each picture and found another code and typed it into the password bar. “Bingo,” I said. My partner rushed over to see what I had uncovered. “Nice sleuthing …..Detective Kai.” He said. I ignored him and slowly read over the documents within. It seems that the late Mr. Evergreen wasn’t as upstanding a citizen as most thought. He was definitely no saint that’s for sure. It seem’s he married himself into the Evergreen family and took the last name for prestige. I wasn’t sure if he actually married the deceased Mrs. Evergreen out of love or just for the wealth. From what I could tell, he most likely started his tirade after her death. His fake visage was most likely the cause of her death. To cope with the loss of probably his only love he turned his aggravation towards his daughter……what a pitiful creature he was.

 

“Nikola!” I called, “Come here for a second I found something that you might want to see. She looked at me in confusion and then quickly found her way to my side. I showed her the pictures and she froze. She started to convulse and her face went white with despair. Just as I suspected…..that bastard had broken this girl… Sometimes it disgusts me how monstrous humanity can be….yet we call the progeny of the old ones the true monsters.I

“How much did you hate your father?” I asked with a stone cold expression

“I-i-i It wasn’t enough to-”

“I didn’t ask that now answer my question.” I was resting my head on my hand waiting for a reply. Her face slowly contorted and now she had a sinister smile.

“ That man could rot for all I care, and now that he choked himself to death his estate is up for grabs,” She said in a nonsensical matter.

“So you’re taking credit for killing your own father?” Zed ask puzzled.

“You actually think I killed my own father?” She said as if belittling him.

I stood up from my seat and stared at her, “That’s not what he asked.” I interjected.

“He asked if you taking credit in order to cover the real murderer” As I said this she paused and looked a bit concerned.

“What are you talking about?” she asks as if taunting us.

“You know exactly what I’m talking about, Nikola Evergreen. Named after your great grandfather St. Nicholas.”

“You’re a fool! No one would believe something so nonsensical ?” she taunted as I spoke.

She wasn’t going to give in easily. “This letter has your name on it addressed to these other letters which have the same handwriting as the one found in you father’s throat and in the letter given to us Christmas eve. Based on who you addressed this letter to, it is safe to assume that your grandfather is your oh so mysterious pen-pal. In other words, he sent a letter to both your father and us”

“Why would he kill my father then?” She was curious as to what I had discovered.

“Simple, he was tired of seeing his granddaughter being abused, duh. Any parent or grandparent would take any means necessary to take keep their child safe”

“But how would they know? Why would I relive such a traumatizing event even on paper? Nor did I ever send such a thing.” She said while shivering the dark thought.

“You’re right, you would never write such a thing,” As I paused she looked up a bit confused and that’s when I continued.

“ ‘He sees you when you’re sleeping, he knows when you’re awake’. Your grandfather wouldn’t need you to tell him since he had live cable footage of the heinous activity between you and your father.” Her face went pale when I said this. I knew I was on the right track, I just needed to press forward.

“Hell, the milk and cookies could help prove the fact that someone other than your father was in the room and who else do we know eats milk and cookies around the holidays?” Her face darkened she ceased all communication. “That’s the jolly old fat man himself.”

“Lastly the fireplace; based on the architecture of the castle, this fireplace is connected to the main chimney outside. When we came into the room the fireplace was still warm with residual smoke and there was only one way in or out of the room, the room was locked. There are only two ways to obtain a key to the private study, one that was in Mr. Evergreen’s possession and two the spare key which you, Nikola, had access to. So unless you’re willing to admit to killing your father or that you’re an accomplice, I believe that you’re not getting out of this room. The only way in or out of that room was from the fireplace through the chimney. ‘And down through the chimney was old Saint Nick.’” I paused then pointed my index finger at her saying, “It could’ve only been none other than Santa Claus, your grandfather!!”

 

She remained motionless “pfft” then started…laughing?!

“Hahahahahaha, you guys are really basing your theory on the idea that Santa Claus exists? And even if that were true, how are the cops suppose to catch a myth?”

I smirked “I’m happy you asked my dear” And with that, I pulled out my gun.

Zed tried to restrain her as I was busy aiming my gun at her “I’m sorry for this Nikola as I’m sure you’ve been through enough tragedy in your lifetime, but I can’t let a culprit get away after I start a case. It would destroy my reputation…..policy and all that.” I looked towards Zed and he nodded in approval. We both knew that we weren’t alone in that room and that there was only one way to get that entity to show itself. “What are you doing, do you plan to kill me?!” Nikola said frantically. I looked towards the family portrait on the far wall over the fireplace. Standing over Nikola and her mother was a Long curly bearded man with what could only be described as a jolliest smile. “Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth – Sherlock Holmes.” My trusty revolver, it’s a custom made with silver anti-tank bullets. Not compact and quite heavy but it gets the job done. I call it the Scarlet-Hiro. I took aim right between Nikolas’ eyes. “You asked the wrong question, my dear Nikola, it’s not how the cops will catch a myth.” I pulled the trigger “Boom!” The shot went off like thunder as red flames approached her cranium.The bullet disappeared in a flash of red and white and maybe a hint of green. I smiled as I finally realized the true enemy and said, “It’s how to catch a protective parent.”

 

“Ho…Ho…..Ho….” Instantly a figure appeared in front of her with the jolliest smile one could imagine. “Hello……, I presume you’re our mysterious sender. What should I call you, Santa……Mr. Claus…..Father Christmas…. Saint Nick or ….probably the one Nikola’s most used to…..Grandpa.” I said. “Well haven’t you been a Naughty Boy?” He said. “Yeah Yeah Yeah we’ve heard it all before I expect next you’ll say I deserve coal for Christmas?” “No no Mr.Kai or should I call you Jack I believe you have done much good uncovering many truths this year. As they say, the good outweighs the bad. But sadly you made a mistake betting on my granddaughters’ safety.” His smile faded and a killing intent filled the room, one much stronger than a certain Count that I’d rather not name.  I began putting on my gloves “Yeah whatever, so are we gonna do this or what?” Without any warning, Santa Claus rushed at me, crashing through the wall. I barely managed to dodge while putting on my second-hand glove. Realizing a fight was inevitable, I yelled at my partner, “ZED! Get out of here !! And whatever you do, DON’T LET HER GO!!” As long as we had the girl, Santa had to play by our rules. I saw a mass of rubble approach me, “Do you really think I’d let you go?” Massive killing intent filled the room. Santa already set his sights on Zed’s escape route, but I immediately stood in his field of view. “If you want to get to them you’re gonna have to get through me,” I said with a smirk. Santa grinned as well, we both jumped up in the air and lunged at each other with a punch. Our fists collided but mine was holding a knife which connected with Santa’s fist. See I can siphon energy off of supernatural entities and add their strength to my own as long as I stab or slash them with my blade. Unexpectedly though I didn’t feel a rush of anything. “What the hell-” It was the last thing I said as the force of Santa’s punch sent me flying through a wall. It appeared my Knife was ineffective against him. “One down, now time for the mutt” Santa went chasing after Zed. At this point, Nikola lost consciousness due to the shock of the battle. “There you are!” Santa exclaimed running towards Zed. “You got past Kai?!” Zed was in disbelief but stood his ground preparing to fight. Just as Santa was about lunge at Zed, “Paws off!!” I jumped at Santa Claus sending a series of kicks to his chest and face. The force of my kicks was strong enough to send Santa flying back crashing into a wall. “Guess that’s makes us even,” I said with an air of confidence. However, that confidence nearly faded as Santa emerged from the rubble merely dusting himself off. “I suppose I can’t take you very lightly Jack.” My face nearly blanched but I still kept my trademark smile. “You’re much stronger than some of the old ones I’ve met before. Your…..something different aren’t you?” I said. “I am merely a myth, just like you” As Santa said this he was ready to launch another attack. “ZED!” I yelled, “We need to keep moving is there any way for us to slow him down?”

I looked at Zed and he knew exactly what to do. I dashed towards our opponent while Zed sent out his hounds. You see Zed isn’t a lycanthrope as you might have assumed, he’s actually human or at least somewhat human. He’s like me and enhanced. After myths such as the fatso over there became common place to combat the sudden evolutionary pressure humans with abilities started to pop up. Zed, for example, has an ability he calls “The Hounds of Baskerville” yes it’s based on the novel by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. He can not only turn into a hound which is mostly impervious to physical damage and has a high regeneration factor, but he can send out copies of himself with about the same strength as him within a certain area.  Of course…for me, it was the perfect distraction.

 

The hounds managed to slow the jolly one down but not by much. Zed and I dashed at our foe and sent a swift double kick to Santa’s solar plexus. We succeeded in knocking the wind out of him, but we didn’t stay long to see the after. “Let’s go, Kai, I’m not sure how long my hounds will keep him!” I quickly followed suit and ran like the wind with Zed. However, I soon noticed no matter how fast Zed and I ran we weren’t getting anywhere. We were literally stuck in the same position running in place. I felt a gust of wind pulling as in the opposite direction. I turned around and I saw Santa using his bag of presents to suck in all the hounds Zed summoned and most importantly us. No matter how fast we ran, it was fruitless. Zed slipped causing me to follow suite. “OH NO!” Yelled Zed as he lost his grip of Nikola. Nikola ended up getting sucked in the bag. “Game over boys, I’m afraid you lose this time” Santa became so smug, he wasn’t wrong, though. Without the girl, we had nothing, no leverage, no proof and no reason for him to stay. Santa gave us an exaggerated wave and said, “Merry Christmas” Immediately after he said this a whirlwind of red and white and maybe a hint of green made its way out the door in a flash. Nikola was nowhere in sight and I could only assume that our jolly guest had made his way onto the roof with our not so distressed damsel. “Ugghhhh……I Fucking Hate Christmas!” My partner looked at me then smirked “Scrooge”.  I frowned in his direction as he chuckled through a concerned face. “Not today, he’s not getting away so easily” as I uttered my words I grabbed Zed and began to head for a window. “Wait, Kai, give me a chance to get ready!” I ignored my partner’s words and crashed through the window. As we fell I took out Scarlet-Hiro and aimed at the sleigh on the roof of the castle, I fired the bullet and just as the bullet was about to reach the sleigh I teleported in place of the bullet. Zed and I managed to make it to the roof right on time. You see I can teleport to any object I inscribe my runes onto and luckily all of Scarlet-Hiro’s bullet have my runes.  It’s a nice little ability I picked up on one of my many adventures, but that’s a story for another day.

 

I get on my feet for the last confrontation with Father Nicholas. “YO! St. Beatnick,” Santa turns his head in confusion, wondering how I appeared so fast. “HAPPY NEW YEAR!!” I yelled as I gave one good punch to his jolly face. Santa Claus backed up a few steps, which gave me time to grab Nikola by the scruff. However, Santa grabbed me by the collar screaming, “THAT’S NOT GOOD ENOUGH JACK!!!” He then proceeds to throw me like a ragdoll, speeding towards my partner Zed. We both fall off the roof. I fumbled to reach my gun in time in order to teleport us away from our doom. “Hang on guys!!” A phoenix cry pierced the night stillness, and a red streak quickly flew to our aid and caught us. We landed safely on the ground. As soon as we landed I proceeded to thank our savior “Thanks, Mr…?” “Flame Hawk” It appeared our Phoenix savior was none other than Flame Hawk of the EMW association. “So you’re a giant chicken now?” Zed said trying to be funny. After which Flame Hawk explained how he saw our little commotion outside and came to our aid. Suddenly Santa Claus sped through the sky with his sled. Mr.Claus thought it would be the perfect to bid us adieu. “Better luck next year boys! Have a Merry Christmas!” Flame Hawk turned back to a phoenix and said: “C’mon we can still catch him.” “That won’t be necessary Sir,” I said smirking. “Why do you have such a satisfied look on your face?” Zed inquired. I ignored his question and asked Zed, “Can you make another Hound real quick?”

 

I place my rune on the hound’s forehead, then I snapped my fingers. Immediately, the hound disappeared and after a few seconds, Nikola appeared in my arms. Turns out, when I grabbed Nikola for the brief moment on the roof. I had enough time to transcribe my rune on her shirt. The cool thing about my ability is I am also able to switch objects around as long as they have my rune on them. In other words, while we have the girl, Santa Claus is in for a surprise of my design. Zed realized what I did and remarked, “You sly devil you.” Off in the distance if you were as quiet as a mouse you could just hear the tick…tick…boom! And a not so Jolly Bah humbug carried in the wind.

      

Well, Ladies and Gentlemen, that was the Christmas adventure of Mr.Kai and his companion Zed. This story was a collaborative effort between me and my good pal          Ygor von Frankenstein. If you would like to read more of the adventures of Mr.Kai and Zed, be sure click on his name. I would like to thank all the lovely readers that stopped to take the time to read our little Christmas Tale. Ygor and I would love to wish you a MERRY CHRISTMAS!!! And HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!! We spent a lot of time making this story, and it is our first story. So please feel free to give us constructive feedback. That’s it for me not if you will excuse me, I have to spend time with the folks. SEE YOU IN THE NEXT ENTRY!!

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