Sister and I couldn’t contain ourselves. We had to rush downstairs to the fireplace to see if Santa brought our presents yet this year. We had a rough year but we knew we could always count on Santa. We never knew exactly when he would come down the chimney with our presents but we knew that he would always come. Even the fact that our parents both died this past year and Sister and I had to survive on our own didn’t kill our faith in Santa.
My friend Timmy said that when his parents died Santa stopped coming. But Timmy was always a bad kid and I think the reason Santa gave him gifts was because of some deal he had with his parents. Timmy was pretty sad and quiet after that Christmas, and when the zombies found him at his house a few days later he didn’t run or fight back like we normally do. I never did see him as a zombie. I think they ate him pretty quickly.
Santa hadn’t arrived yet when Sister and I went and looked. Sister looked sad but I told her that he still had plenty of time to come. Our parents always kept us from going downstairs on Christmas Eve so we never knew exactly when he would come. But we should get ready to hide, though. If Santa saw us he would be very disappointed in us and he wouldn’t leave us our presents. Or maybe next year he would leave less, maybe. Sister and I made it into a game, trying to find a place to hide from Santa. I knew that Santa would still know if we were there anyway, just like he somehow knew if we here good or bad all year. But I wanted to keep Sister happy. That had to count for something, right?
We found good hiding places: she hid behind the grandfather clock, while I jumped under the couch. We usually picked these places when the zombies came by our house. The man on the news—back when there was news—said that the zombies could smell only a little but relied mostly on sight, and if you hid inside your house well enough they couldn’t detect you either way. This seemed to have worked for us. Once, when I had to go down to the cellar to get some canned food I think a zombie might have seem me run by and I had to hide in a closet for about an hour before he left.
Sister and I waited like that in the darkness for what was probably half an hour. We couldn’t stop giggling but we kept shushing each other. It became a language between us, a language of waiting. Finally we heard some scratching at the walls and the front door. It sounded familiar but in the excitement Sister forgot. She immediately jumped out from behind the clock.
“Santa,” she squealed. “He’s coming through the front door!”
“Hide,” I whispered. “It’s not him.”
“Yes, it is. It’s Santa. I’m going to let him in.”
She ran past the couch but too quickly for me to grab her legs. I looked in horror as she opened the front door. But it wasn’t Santa. Standing there in the moonlight was a group of zombies. Sister screamed and ran back into the room as they slowly made their way in. I knew that up close they would smell me anyway so I got out from under the couch. I quickly ran up to Sister and held her. At this point I knew it was my job to keep her calm right up to the end.
Just then we heard some commotion on the roof. It sounded like hoof prints and sleigh bells. In our fear Sister and I didn’t register what it could mean. After the commotion stopped we heard somebody walking across the roof. His footsteps moved faster than the zombies. They weren’t taking their time at all. I guess they didn’t have to. Then we heard something heavy drop down the chimney and land in the fireplace. I looked up.
“Santa!” Sister and I both yelled.
The zombies looked up at Santa. He dusted himself off and picked up the large bag that he was carrying. “Merry Christmas,” he said and then laughed that familiar, jolly laugh. “Well, what do we have here? It looks like you nice kids have run into some naughty people. Well, that’s nothing a little bit of magic won’t solve.” He held the back out in front of him and slowly walked towards the zombies. They all stopped and looked at him. I know that they weren’t supposed to be alive but they looked like they were actually trying to remember him. Could it be that even the zombies know about the magic of Santa?
“Yes, Christmas magic,” he continued. “No matter who you are, or how alive you are, Christmas magic can warm everybody’s hearts. It can fill you with joy, peace and EAT LEAD, MOTHERFUCKERS!”
Santa then whipped the bag away to reveal a machine gun. He quickly mowed down all of the zombies that entered the house. It left a big mess everywhere but we didn’t care. Santa had saved us. He walked over bloody pulps that used to be the walking dead and through the pools of blood in order to close the front door. Miraculously he didn’t hit any of the windows. It didn’t look like there were any more zombies nearby, either.
“Well, that’s all of the zombies I saw on radar in this vicinity,” Santa said. He turned and looked at us. “You are two lucky little children. Well, I must be on my way to my next house.” He headed towards the fireplace. Sister ran up and tugged on his pant leg, stopping him.
“But what about our presents?” she said. “What did you get us this year?”
Santa let out a sigh and said, “Survival.”
“But I wanted a pony.”