Edited By Sanyam Garg
The Claus Chronicles
"Hurry up! He's been waiting all morning."
Marcus, the sly, sharply dressed and limping assistant shoved the shabby man ahead towards the icicle-laden doorway. As soon as they passed through, a massive Persian blue ice block flung down to barricade the door way behind them. The floor started to get glassier as they moved to the King's court. The appearance of His Highness now became clearer. He had a lanky, leggy and eerily pointy-edged figure. The grey crystal-like hair danced on his head. He pretty much looked like a Saturday morning cartoon sketch from the Retro Ages. He slouched against his throne, the periphery of which was coated with the fur of the long-extinct Siberian husky. "Quite the delay, Marcus!"; The voice reverberated around the chamber with a booming intensity that rattled the icy silver chandeliers above them. The blue flames that ignited the candles were put out, only to be restored with a flick of the demon's fingers. "I'm sorry, Sire. The storm slowed down the air cruisers, but you're going to love what I've brought for you today.", Marcus nudged the haggard hermit towards his master.
"So you're Jack Frost, huh? The Jack Frost?" the man questioned with a compelling tone.
Jack turned to Marcus again and guffawed, "I like this one already."
He gently stroked his chin, rose from his seat and continued
“Tell me, young man. What have you got for me today?”
“Now, Mr. Frost, I think we need to negotiate the terms of my ‘compensation’ before we get started”
“Provided the intel you have is useful to me, you’ll be getting paid upfront in Flake credit on your way -”
“No! Your money means nothing to me. Sir, my name is Hayden Reynor. I was a part of the Frontline Marksmen squadron in the ‘27 uprising.”
“Ah, the presidential uprising. Those were good times. Your men fought alongside Claus, didn’t they?”
“Yeah, right, but-”
“And now you stand before me. Reynor. The man who killed my apprentice went by that name. I miss my orange-faced billionaire. He was a good boy for a President.”
“I prefer to let the past die. Kill it if I have to. What I ask now though, is to make me one of your Rangers.”
“No, I’d, uhh, rather have your throat cut actually. I’ve wiped out every last human who pledged their allegiance to the North Pole. I won’t be stopping now.
“Frost! Listen to me!”
The hall started to get chillier. Reynor’s arms turned numb and Frost’s eyes were now, a Deep Blue. The Lord was upset, and Reynor knew he had a slim chance of survival. There was a sudden sense of urgency that filled the scene.
“Look at me!” the hermit returned to his senses and went on. “We’re alike, you and I. I’ve grown tired of my people. After the victory at D.C., they threw me away. Like I was an exhausted, obsolete weapon. I was exiled to lands you haven’t even heard of, in the name of extremist tendencies. Me, a soldier who vowed to die for my country. I sit at an outer-rim communication base now, waiting to die!”
“And what about Claus?” Frost sneered.
“What about him? He’s no enemy to me. The old man has lost hope just like all of us. Do you think he still cares about us and our children? No. All he does is hunt your fleet in the night, saving his little elves and reindeers. I’ll only kill him if your regime demands it. He doesn't know it, but he's still a powerful man. The people still latch onto their pathetic lives, waiting. Waiting for one of his Christmas miracles.”
“Yet my flags reign across the sky. Now tell me. You know where he is, don't you?” Frost now sported an unsettling grin which appeared like a frozen crescent moon.
“I’m afraid I do. I picked up a private transmission from one of your failed Reindeer mission envoys. Your team saw him before he massacred them”
“That explains the body count. Classic Claus! Always on the move. Quick and easy deaths. Where was the message coming from?”
“I traced it back to Huntington village, in the far West. I believe he's hiding in the heartland with his comrades.”
Frost could finally end him once and for all. His jolly nemesis in red was only a day’s journey away. His eyes shone out of their sockets like diamonds corrupted by freezing blue ink.
“Marcus, send the word out. Deploy the entire Western garrison. I want every man and woman we have by my side.”
“Every soldier? Are you sure a-”
“Get it done”
“Right away, My Lord.” Marcus bustled out of the courtyard, taking long steps to steer away from the slippery black ice patches.
“And you.”, He came back to Hayden. “Prepare my ship. We leave right away. You’ve slain leaders before, now you are one. The lead squadron on the Western Front is yours. I want no survivors in that village. Burn them all. The children, elders, all of them. Well, except that Reindeer. Been looking for it since Thanksgiving dinner. That one’s mine.”