read part 1
The location of the North Pole was ever-changing, and Slodgy McStuffins remembered that once he lifted his head out of the snow and turned to nothing. So, he curled that straight look into a scowl, he even growled, and he kicked a cluster of snow towards the empty space where his home just was. He wouldn’t get answers standing there, so he moved along and plotted his revenge.
Looking at his surroundings, he guessed he was somewhere on the border of Greenland, tossed back into the wildness of the real world. It wasn’t as simple as going north to get home, although he tried for weeks, only to fall through thin layers of ice into freezing waters. He didn’t give up though, never would, but time slowly went by as he continued to fail.
He’d spent months sleeping in snow beds and half caves, encountering polar bears and wild arctic foxes, but the scariest of everything he’d ran into were the footprints. So wide, so deep, he thought they were graves. Then, he saw another, and another, and another, yards apart. Slodgy avoided that area at all costs, and continued his trek in the opposite direction. Then, with little sleep and no energy to hunt for food anymore, he found a cave. An underground chamber where the walls shined and hummed.
Intrigued by this place in the middle of the cold wild, and the noise bouncing off the walls, Slodgy ventured deeper inside. After he walked through an entryway where his body barely fit, he heard the humming clearer, the noise. They were songs. Songs he knew. Through a tunnel beyond the entryway, he saw lights flickering in rhythm with the tunes. One cautious foot after the other, he kept on until the end. And he looked down to a lair.
Five elves danced around a fire and sung a song only heard between Santa’s elves. He knew they were from the North Pole and had heard stories of other elves being thrown out. He’d forgotten about that til now. These had to be those other elves.
He was sure that he’d be welcomed amongst other outcasts, so, he climbed down and introduced himself. “Slodgy McStuffins. Fat Man tossed me out,” he said.
“Whatcha out for?” the shortest of the five elves asked.
“I made some toys that may or may not have hurt some kids,” Slodgy told them, holding back laughter. Seeing children cry had always made him happy. When he saw some of the elves smile, one even laughed, Slodgy released his grin.
“That’s genius,” the short elf nodded his approval. “I’m Piggy Colorstone. I was a toymaker, too. I built a gun and blew a hole in the workshop. They were backed up for months.”
The next elf introduced himself. “Kid Pumperwine. I was a guard. I broke into the Fat Man’s home.”
“That doesn’t seem so bad,” Slodgy said.
“I stole wine from his kitchen and lit his favorite chair on fire,” Kid winked.
Slodgy busted out into laughter. He felt a warmness grow throughout his body, a feeling of friendship. Something he’d never experienced back home.
“Berry Trufflebells. Teacher. I kicked a student for misbehaving. I’d do it again, too.” Berry had eyes that pointed downward toward his nose and some of his teeth were sharp as nails. A scary look to go with his harsh voice. Slodgy was sure he’d done something much worse than that, but wouldn’t ask.
Next was… “Plump Ice-Sickle…not like Icicle.” He wanted to be clear about that. “I was a Cook. I poisoned the soup.” Plump was a fitting name for him. He was the chubbiest of the five elves and wobbled when he walked.
The last to introduce themselves was “Garland.” That’s all he said when it was his turn. Clearly the eldest by the wrinkles on his face and the grays in his hair. None of them actually knew what he’d done but he was the first of them to be thrown out. They say he knew how to find the North Pole, and also how to dethrone the Fat Man. But he always had said, “When the time is right.”
“It’s weird here,” Slodgy said.
“No. It’s real here,” Berry responded.
“No Fat Man ordering us around,” Kid added.
“No slaving,” Piggy punched the air with his fist.
“But more importantly,” Plump said, then looked at the others.
“No rhyming,” the five elves said together, even Garland joined in.
Slodgy loved that the most. Being in those magical walls, trapped, he didn’t realize that everything he had done or said was in rhythm. SICK! Some sort of spell, or worse, brainwashed into a cult. A Christmas cult much dangerous than Slodgy ever was. Fat Man probably plucked me from my family long ago and forced me into slavery. Slodgy’s mind went wild with this revelation, no changing it now.
Slodgy was good, they were bad. They were naughty. They were evil. But perhaps the Fat Man had done him a favor kicking him out on his head. He was free.
The five elves welcomed Slodgy into their group, sharing their food, fire and shelter. They hunted together and slept near one another. It wasn’t ideal, but it was brotherhood. And he’d take that any day over Santa’s cult. He loved this, but that revenge was eating him alive. The itching for payback spread from him through the others like fire and eventually they all hopped on the revenge train.
Slodgy connected with Garland more than the others. The old man took him under his wing, taught him their ways and how to survive. For months, the two of them hung out outside of the group. Slodgy brought the man out of his shell and got him to open up more. And on the twelfth month of the year, Garland confessed to Slodgy how they would find the North Pole.
But there was the problem of the giant walls. The walls that never fall. Then, Slodgy remembered. “The Footprints. Out there, before I came here. I saw—”
“Snowmen!” Garland exclaimed.
It took them a week to find the snowman cave, and inside, they discovered two of the twelve-foot beasts sleeping. The six elves retreated back to the outside.
Garland had heard of a myth on how to befriend a Snowman, and he told them. The plan was to sneak in the snowman cave and communicate with them by dancing and singing, then offer some meat. So, Berry grabbed a stick and broke it in six; five long, one short. Slodgy pulled first and Slodgy pulled long. Garland pulled long, Kid pulled long, Piggy pulled long, but Plump pulled the short one, leaving Berry with the last long one.
Plump Icesickle tip-toed in the cave while holding a warm, juicy piece of deer meat. By the time he reached the beasts, Plump’s wool top was soaked in his sweat. He stood before the two sleeping bodies and lifted the meat over his head. Then, he shuffled from side to side. He started to sing, but he stuttered and couldn’t remember he lyrics.
The two snowmen woke up, snarling as they got to their feet and roared so hard, so loud that Plump fell to his butt. He quickly climbed back to his feet and continued shuffling.
The white furry beasts were taller than anything he’d ever seen. Forget their monstrous faces, Plump paid close attention to those long claws hanging on their sides. Thick, sharp claws that were bigger than he was. Their feet were twice his size and chunkier. As he kept on with the shuffling, his tongue continued to betray him. Just a stuttering, blabbering mess. Poor Plump was in shock. Dancing in shock. Couldn’t stop.
One snowman grabbed the top of Plump’s head, the other snowman snatched his ankles, and they pulled until the chubby elf was in two. They tossed their respective pieces into their mouths as the deer meat dropped on the ground, unnoticed.
The elves heard the roaring, but never heard a peep from Plump. Bad news. He failed. So, Slodgy ran inside the cave to see before the others could stop him. He interrupted the Snowmen smacking on chunky skin and he grabbed the meat on the ground. Slodgy lifted it over his head and started shuffling his feet.
That got the beasts’ attention and they stopped chewing and swallowed the rest of poor Plump. One of them lunged for Slodgy’s head but the elf started singing.
Slodgy McStuffins didn’t have the best voice and might as well had pegs for legs, but the motion and sound saved himself from being dessert. His passion for revenge against the Fat Man superseded any fear he might have with these creatures. He didn’t sweat or shiver or quiver or stutter, he just sang a stupid song that he’d usually heard around the holidays.
When he finished the tune, he stopped dancing, and waited, and waited, still holding the heavy piece of meat over his head.
One of the snowmen smacked the meat out of Slodgy’s hands and smiled. Then, together, the beasts gave the elf a round of applause. Slodgy decided to introduce himself. They nodded and signaled like they understood, but they couldn’t respond. Then, Slodgy jumped to the point. “There’s a magical place near, full of evil snow creatures, led by a Fat Snow Devil. It’s guarded by a giant wall. We need your help breaking it down.”
The snowmen agreed and followed Slodgy out of the cave. They left the deer meat on the ground. They were full of Plump.
So, Garland pointed the way. And the elves trekked through six miles of five-inch snow, all on the backs of their new friends until Garland ordered them to “Stop.” The old elf looked around, then dove into the thick snow. The others watched, baffled, wondering why. But he knew exactly what he was doing. He listened to the dirt, then popped out of the whiteness and pointed. “There!”
To the others, he was pointing at nothing. But they trusted Garland with their lives.
“Twenty yards ahead, it’s there. Break it down,” the old elf ordered.
The elves hopped off the backs of the beasts, then the two snowmen rushed toward the emptiness they were directed to. Twenty yards later, they broke down invisible walls, and revealed the North Pole.