One Christmas Eve I saw an elf

So…I don’t have a Christmas themed Friday Flash story for today. That’s for next week for the day before everyone is panicking over burned meals, badly wrapped presents and awkward family meetings. Or however you’re having it. It could be just a regular day. But in my case it’s the day before Christmas Eve. It’s a story about ice and angels.

But nonetheless I am going to tell you a very old memory of mine and I’ll use ugly drawings to help convince all of you that what I experienced truly happened.

It all happened on Christmas Eve. I was an impossibly curly six-year-old, impossibly curious and impatient and I saw an elf stuck in the living room ceiling.

untitled_drawing_by_cindyvaskova-darwy1xIn the evening after the holy dinner, when the grownups were catching their breath in the kitchen, I decided to masterfully sneak out and go into the living room to get just a glimpse at the wrapped presents because I couldn’t wait.

This is how the ceiling looks like. But it was night when the elf was there so not a totally accurate representation.

imag3004That’s more like it. It was dark and I always remember it darker and darker when I recall the memory. But I wasn’t afraid because I could see the twinkle of the ornaments on the Christmas tree towering on the other side of the room. I didn’t dare turn on the light and ruin the moment. Or get caught.

imag3006

So, trying very carefully to not let the door handle make that squeaky noise it used to make, I snuck my little head inside and basked in the glory of the Christmas tree and marveled at the shiny packets and boxes placed neatly underneath it. There were voices coming from the other room, distant, laughing. But I was in awe, my little prowl in the night unnoticed. I ventured forth unafraid, tiptoeing through the hushed shadows, the carpet softening the sound of my tiny feet. I thought I could probably even investigate the presents.

untitled_drawing_by_cindyvaskova-darwv4c

But just as I was about to make my move a  pair of red wiggling legs in stripped socks and curly green shoes appeared above me. They kicked helplessly and soundlessly in the air. They were somewhat transparent like the elf was almost trying to be invisible but failing miserably. He had been seen by a child. I knew it was an elf immediately of course – who else would try to sneak through the roof and wear those cloths?

untitled_drawing_by_cindyvaskova-darwtnq

I watched him struggle and wondered what kind of stupid elf mistakes a solid roof for a chimney. A part of me felt sorry for him being stuck like that. I wondered whether it hurt him and whether there were other elves above trying to pull him out and whether Santa was sitting beside tut-ting at the scene. I giggled.

It was all well until…untill it lasted too long. You would say a child could manifest such imagery with ease more so just before Christmas when the hunger for gifts is great and the festivity is in full swing. But I wasn’t a child who solemnly believed in Santa. I knew he lived so far away that he would never come to a place where no one spoke his language, or the streets were icy and mushy at the same time and blocked by noisy traffic. I amused myself with the notion of him but never truly expected to find him kneeling beside the Christmas tree hiding presents.

Suddenly the red wiggling legs in their transparent blood red color and the curly sharp shoes of poison green frightened me. What if something else came? What if it meant to do harm, steal the presents? What if it wasn’t an elf at all? Would it glow in the dark or drink it in, the red becoming black, the green becoming ash? Would it have pointy teeth and yellow eyes and sing carols backwards? What if it came down and I was there all alone with the floor that softened my feet and the adults miles and miles away in the other room where it was bright and warm and funny?

I screamed and the elf began to kick frantically, desperate to escape. When my grandfather came to the rescue and flipped the light switch the elf was gone. Poof! Like he had never been there or the light had erased the already fading colors off of him.

“I saw an elf stuck in the ceiling!” I said.

“Santa forgot to take him when he came to leave the presents!” the grownups explained.

It was back to sweet talk and joyful laughter before long, my little curly head forgetting all about the elf and focusing anew on the coming day and the prospect of all those presents being finally gifted.

I don’t know if you believe me or not. I know how these illusions appear and how the brain alters memories and such but this one always resurfaces as true, so, so vivid too. Kind of like that time when we all sat in the living room and a dark shadow of a tall man in a trench coat and a fedora ran past the glass door and towards the bathroom. He just paused to look. At me.

untitled_drawing_by_cindyvaskova-dary6vr

They are fun little memories that I am fond of so I choose to believe in them. Elves get stuck in ceilings, it’s a possibility, why not? They are either demonic spawns, specters from another world or just Santa’s helpers. Who am I to judge? On Christmas Eve all things are possible.

Have you seen similar things when you were a child or in the dark? Do you believe in them?

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