A flash fiction story from one of Chuck Wendig’s prompts. I went to TVTropes, hit random, and came up with the “Saving Christmas” trope. Here’s my story of the same name.
The machine was dead silent around me, and I was starting to get irritated. I banged on the steel door. “Hey!” I shouted. “Turn it on, already!” Nothing happened. The bastards weren’t even bothering to reply to me.
It was getting more and more cramped in the little metal sphere. Sure, the plush seat was cozy enough, but my claustrophobia was rising with each passing second. I kicked the door hard. “Get me out of here! I quit!”
I slammed into it with both feet. The door busted off of its hinges and landed on a fern. “Well, that’s not normal,” I said to no one in particular. I wasn’t in the lab anymore. I was in a jungle.
Hannah poked her head into the doorway. “Took you long enough,” she said. She offered her hand, and I used it to clamber out of the time machine.
“How was I supposed to know? It was so damn quiet in there.” I took in my surroundings. This wasn’t like any jungle I’d ever seen. “Where the hell are we?”
“More like when are we.” Hannah produced a scanner from her lab coat and pointed it at a piece of flora.
I crossed my arms and tapped my foot. “Well? I’m not getting any younger over here.”
“Hush. We’re somewhere in the Triassic.”
I looked around again. The huge ferns made more sense now. “So you’re saying we’re about to get torn apart by dinosaurs?” She ignored me and set off around the time machine. I jogged to catch up with her. “Hey, where are you going?”
She wheeled around to squint at me. “Did you forget? We have to save Christmas.”
I grabbed her by the hand before she could run off again. “Are you serious? I don’t know about you, but I don’t see any snow around here. We’re in the wrong place.” I let out a little cry as a deadly-looking insect the size of a motorcycle buzzed past us.
“Oh, quit being such a crybaby. It’s just a dragonfly.” She shook her hand away from mine and hurried off in the opposite direction. “Come on,” she called over her shoulder. “He’s close.”
“Santa, you idiot. Do I have to explain everything to you?”
I hopped over a sticky-looking purple flower. I figured I should stop asking so many questions. She’d probably smack me upside the head with her little scanner if I kept badgering her.
“There,” she said, pointing skyward.
I raised my eyes to see an extremely fat, extremely jolly old man dangling from a vine. “What the fuck?”
Hannah snapped at me to get my attention. “Hey, don’t curse in front of him! You don’t want to go on the naughty list, do you?”
“Help me, would you?” Santa said. He sounded very matter-of-fact about the whole thing.
“Sure thing, Mr. Claus!” Hannah called up to him. She snapped her fingers at me again. “Are you going to give me the machete, or what?”
I suddenly found myself holding the knife in question in my right hand. “Where the hell—“
“Sent from the future,” Hannah said with a wave of her hand. “Just give it to me.”
I tossed it over, and she hacked at a nearby vine. Santa tumbled to the ground. He tugged the vine off of his ankle. “Thanks,” he said as he righted himself. “You guys are lifesavers.”
Hannah blushed. “Aw, it was nothing, Santa. We couldn’t leave all those kids hanging.”
Santa laughed, his belly jiggling like a bowl full of jelly. “Hanging! Oh ho ho, you’re still just as hilarious as you were as a child.”
I cleared my throat. “Excuse me, but can someone tell me what the fuck is going on?”
Hannah gasped. Santa patted her on the back. “It’s alright, Hannah. He always was a profane one, but he has a good heart.”
I buried my face in my hands. This was not what I’d expected when I’d signed up for a scientific study. “I’m so lost,” I moaned.
“Allow me,” Santa said to Hannah. “It’s all the Easter Bunny’s fault. He’s been after me for years.” He rumbled laughter again. “Thanks for saving me, you two. The children of the future owe you a debt.”
My head felt like it was literally spinning. When I looked up from my hands, we were somewhere else entirely. It looked like a war room. It was full of elves tapping away at keyboards and studying computer screens. “Christmas magic,” Hannah said. “How exciting!”
I groaned. “Yeah. Exciting.”
“Cheer up, young one. We have planning to do.” Santa touched the side of his nose and floated to the middle of the room.
“Planning?” I asked.
Hannah kicked me in the shin. “For the battle, you moron! We’re going to war.”
I stared at her incredulously, unable to pull the right words out of my racing mind.
She kicked me again. “Against the Easter Bunny? Did you listen to anything Santa said? You can’t just go around kidnapping Santa Claus without expecting a military response, even if you are a six foot tall rabbit.”
I had to admit, I’d never been fond of the Easter Bunny. “I guess he is kind of a shady motherfucker. I mean, he steals little kids’ eggs and hides them. It’s downright dastardly.”
Hannah bobbed her head up and down. “Pardon your French, but you hit the nail on the head. Get some rest, now. You’ll need it for the coming battle.”
There was a cot off to the right. I collapsed onto it and tried to ignore the buzzing of the elves and their machinery.