“A Mystery for Christmas” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Cathal Duffy, Scoil Lorcain, Monkstown, Republic of Ireland.

A Mystery for Christmas

Ok, I’ll start from the beginning. My Dad and I were in the car on our way to Dundrum Shopping Centre. It was Friday the 22nd December and it was our plan to go man shopping for Christmas presents (quickly and no browsing).

Traffic was busy. All of a sudden I felt a thud. We’d been hit by the car behind us. I watched in disbelief as Dad went flying through the windscreen. Within minutes a concerned crowd of people gathered around us. I pushed through the crowd but the car that hit us was gone. This seemed an unusual thing to do. I thought it was just a regular accident. How wrong I was...

I was fine but my Dad was rushed straight to hospital.He looked awful, lying there with a broken arm and two broken legs. Next morning, he asked could my sister and I get his notebook. Luckily we lived nearby, so my sister and I walked home to get it. When we opened his wardrobe, we noticed a red glint. We immediately forgot about the notebook.Instead we found a Santa costume..in perfect condition. I tried it on and Helen my sister, stared at me. What? I said. “You look old…and wrinkly,” she replied.

When I turned up in the hospital with the suit, his face tensed up. I said to Dad “What do you know about this suit?”.“Now Children” said Dad “I know this will be hard to take but...” he paused “I’m Santa Claus” Under different circumstances, I might have laughed but I knew he was being serious. “..But if you’re injured, how are you going to get the presents to the children?” I asked.

“That’s the problem” he whispered“I think someone did this to me to ruin Christmas and I know who it is”. “Did you see the porter on the way in?” He asked.

Dad told us the full story. On Christmas Eve, a few years back, Dad was putting on his Santa suit, turned around and saw a man staring at him through the window. Luckily enough, Dad was able to take a quick photo (there was always a risk someone would find out one day). He downloaded the man’s image onto his Santa computer and the information was returned. It was the disappointed boy from years ago…

Dad explained what had happened...There was a mix up in presents and the boy didn’t get what he wanted from Santa”. He never forgave me. “Dad said. He left a complaint the next year (the only one Santa had ever gotten) saying he never wanted a present from Santa ever again. Now that he’s grown up he wants revenge. Dad had seen him in his rear view mirror yesterday, driving his car at speed towards us, and today he was pretending to be a porter to stop Dad leaving the hospital.

I had a crazy plan, Helen and I rushed out of the room towards the pretend porter and told him our dad had disappeared and he’d been seen in the car park. He burst out through the hospital doors without a word. We spotted a wheelchair in the corridor, perfect for Dads escape. We wheeled Dad out of the hospital up the street, and by the back alley into our garden, where a giant Oak tree stood.

“What now” I asked my Dad. “Run into the Oak tree” he replied, “Are you going mad?” I said.”Just do it” he said. So I closed my eyes and ran towards the tree. Suddenly I felt really cold. I opened my eyes and there right in front of me, was a mountain of presents, so huge it would have dwarfed a blue whale! I turned around to see my dad and my sister Helen looking at me.

“Where’s the sleigh?” I asked. ”Well we don’t use it anymore. We now use the Deliver-Ray 2000” replied Dad. We both turned to Helen. “What does this button do?” she said and pressed it. “Oh no” said Dad “you’ve delivered them too early. What will we do now??

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