This was the prompt used in the latest finish the story contest. Included is my own ending to it. I enjoyed everyone else's take!
The War On Christmas
“He just walked in and sat down on his bunk,” Tili began. “Hasn’t said a word. He’s just been staring at the wall.” Rili thanked him and opened the door to the worker’s dorm. Gili the elf sat, his legs curled up to his chest, rocking back and forth, staring at the wall in the half-lit room.
“Hey Gili,” Rili said. He stepped inside the dorm and pulled up the blinds. “Heard you weren’t feeling too good. What’s wrong?”
Gili said nothing. He continued staring, his elvish eyes a shade of absence, black circles hanging beneath them. Rili stepped forward and put a hand on Gili’s shoulder. “I can’t help you if you don’t talk to me, Gili,” he said. “What’s wrong? What’s the matter?”
Gili turned his head to Rili, as if noticing him for the first time. The light slowly returned to his eyes. “What’s wrong?” Rili asked again.
“You won’t believe what I caught Santa doing…” Gili whispered.
Rili stormed out of the dorm, Tili chasing his heels down the shoddy hallway to the creaky elevator. “Well?” Tili asked. “What did he say? I heard him whispering.”
“We need to get a hold of Rudolph. Now,” Rili said.
“What? Rudy? What’s the matter?” Tili asked, the nervousness building in his voice.
“Do you still remember how to use a cane spear?” Rili asked.
“What? A cane spear? We haven’t used one of those in a thousand years…”
“I want every able bodied elfman and elfwoman out in front of the workshop, armed with a cane spear at sundown.” Rili smashed the elevator call button repeatedly.
“That’s crazy,” Tili said. “What’s happening?”
The elevator doors opened and Rili, foreman and village chief of the Northern Elves entered it. “Santa’s dead,” he said.
“And the Cold has claimed him.”
The elevator closed. Tili collapsed to his knees. “My god,” he whispered out loud. “It can’t be.”
The darkness of the hallway terrified him. Indeed, it seemed to call to him. Begging him to wander inside of it. Tili, for the briefest moment, heard a sound that, despite not seeing it, instinctively conjured an image into him mind. Of a skull, laughing.
Rudolph drew the arrow, firing it into the target. It flew straight enough, but landed just outside the rim. He swore, trying to load the bow again. But the booze was rising hard, now. And he stumbled the arrow and it landed on the snow. “Damn this piece of shit,” he mumbled. “God damn elvish piece of shit.”
“Suppose it’s not a good time,” Rili said, wandering in from the frost clouds of the Northern Plains. “Not happy with our trinkets?”
“An elf couldn’t make a proper train or sleigh, let alone a bow and arrow.” Rudolph spat on the ground. “What business have you with me, little one?”
“The Cold has returned,” Rili said. “It’s consumed Claus. The wife is missing as well. Darkness settles upon the city.”
“And you expect my help?” Rudolph asked, lighting a cigarette. “You think the deers have any skin in this game?”
“I do,” Rili said, fixing his boo-bit-y cut-sy red hat against the frigid arctic winds. “I’ve called my elves people for the fight. Ordered them out in spears. We’re storming Claus’ manse at sundown in hopes to catch him off guard. He’s consuming us, Rudy. Eating elfmen and elfwomen both. Like little gingerbread people.”
“Yeah, well that’s not my problem.” Rudolph picked up his bottle of vodka, staring at the picture of his long dead deerwife.
“What happened to you, Rudy?” Rili asked. “You used to be something. A leader of your people. And now look at you. Lost in grief over a deer that cared for you not.”
Rudy guzzled more of the vodka, his red nose beginning to illuminate a hint of a red light. “What do you know?” Rudy shouted, his eyes narrow in anger. “What does an elf know about love?”
“Enough to fight for it, Rudy. We need you. We need you and the deers.”
“The deers…are gone.” Rudy looked away, chugging the vodka and wandering off into the snow.
“I know you, Rudy!” Rili called after his old friend. “And this isn’t you!”
Rudy hesitated, his outline fading against the coming snows, before running off. Rili followed him as far as he could before the snows consumed him.
Rili surveyed the elfmen and elfwomen. Those who had come, that hadn’t already been swallowed by fear or the cold, numbered only in the thirties. Tili stepped close to him and whispered in his ear. “They found Gili…hanging from a noose on his bunk.”
“Fear took him,” Rili said. “And will do the same to us if we cannot win this fight tonight.” Rili cast a commander’s gaze over his army, standing in circles, huddling around makeshift flames in the empty street of North Town. Why hadn’t he seen it? he wondered. Hadn’t he? Hadn’t he seen it happening and just ignored it? The coming Cold? The Gloom?
The tragedy as elfmen and elfwomen slowly succumbed to that depth of fear and haunting terror?
He had. He’d ignored it. But it was clear now. The Cold had seized Clause. And the emptiness of North Town stood as testament. It would soon be too late. But what could thirty some cutsy bootsy cuddly winter elves do, armed with sugary sweet candy cane spears, against the possessed corpse of a long-dead god?
They stormed the manse. Frost had crept into the foyer, creeping the walls. Snow blew in. The elves illuminated the rooms with torch light. Their shadows cast giants on the frost-bitten walls. Rili knew well where Clause would be. They crept to the rear of the manse, to the Red Door that led to the basement cellar. The darkness was thick, almost palpable, and their torches barely cast their illumination against its maddening haze.
"We shouldn't be here," Tili whispered.
The army crept down the stairs, each one creaking, and followed a long spiraling hallway. The chill grew with each step, until at last the entirety of them shivered with fear and cold. And finally, in the darkest corner of the cellar, stood the man in red. At his feet was the frozen corpse of his once love, Mrs. Claus, her innards spilled over the frozen stone floor. A look of madness and fear had instilled itself on her frozen face. Claus hovered above her, his hands caked with frozen blood and gore.
“She wouldn’t stop,” Claus whispered. “Wouldn’t stop complaining…of the cold. No matter how much I asked.” The monster in Claus’ body gazed at the approaching elves. “And what gift is this from the Eternal Cold?” His skin had turned to an icy blue, and snot had frozen around his nose. “Come to give me a Christmas gift, have you?”
“We’ve come to free the soul of the corpse you inhabit, monster!” Rili shouted. “We’ve no words with you, demon. Elves of the North! Attack!”
The elfmen and elfwomen charged forward, stabbing at the Claus corpse with the cane spears. Though their weapons pierced the icy flesh, tearing away at his sinews and muscles, the monster felt no pain. Rili saw Tili stare back at him for the briefest moments, before Claus clapped onto his tiny skull. It exploded like a ball of rotten meat.
Claus kicked and smashed his immense limbs, sending the elves flying or crushing their bones outright. The elves prepared to send him aflame, but the monster breathed in and blew frozen air, leaving the cellar in complete darkness.
“Welcome,” Claus said, “to your end.”
Rili heard only the terrified shouts of the remaining elves. He closed his eyes, ready to accept his fate, when the sensation of a piercing red light approached.
He opened his eyes and turned around. A grand flame rushed towards them.
“Rudolph!” Rili shouted. “You son of a bitch!”
“Couldn’t let you take this one alone,” Rudolph said. He carried his elvish bow, the arrow strung and ready already lit with a soaring orange flame.
“Hey Clause!” Rudolph shouted. “Merry fucking Christmas!” Rudolph fired the arrow. It’s fiery steel head pierced Clause’s throat, penetrating deep through bone and into his skull. Clause roared and the elves ran and the flame consumed him whole. Rudolph raced for the stairs, leading the remaining elves out of the darkness with his red nose. They reached up the stairs and to the foyer when the ground erupted and a still flaming corpse of Santa Clause burst out from the wooden floor.
Rili led his people through the door. He turned, shouting for Rudolph to run.
“Come one, man!” Rili pleaded. “Let’s get out of here.”
“Sorry elfman,” Rudolph said, keeping his predatory deer eyes on the flaming monster. “But I’ve got to see this one through. Tell Dasher and Dancer, Prancer and Vixen, Comet and Cupid, Donner and Blixem that they’re assholes, for me.”
Rudolph pulled out a bottle of vodka, chugged it until his nose was bursting with red energy and roared a final battle cry. The last image Rili saw was the Claus monster and Rudolph charging at one another. Then a blast of energy threw him from the house. In the morning, among the still smoldering rubble of Claus’ manse, were the bones of Rudolph and Claus, still locked in an eternal struggle.