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Danger walked out in that night air,
and it was getting closer... December had just begun, and the night air shivered with a promise of snow. I shuffled through the door, stoked a fire and opened a book of empty pages.

The minutes ticked by, filled only with the comfortable voice of the fire. I kept an eye on the door, half-expecting to hear a knock. I didn’t know when, but I knew I would have a visitor very soon. Danger walked out in that night air, and it was getting closer.

I heard nothing. I felt nothing. But as soon as he was there, I knew it.

“Just curious,” I said without looking up, “do you ever slide down the chimney?”

“When it suits me.”

The lumber of his cloven step shook the room. Chains about his person jingled like a reindeer’s harness. Horned, hairy and drooling, he carried with him the smell of snow and smoke and howling winds in the northern stars.

“You know who I am?” he asked.
“Of course. I’ve been expecting you for months.”
A moment passed as he looked about the room. He se…

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