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Thread: The Rusty Vault

  1. #1
    Word Wizard J.P O'Callaghan's Avatar
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    Nov 2017
    Northern Ireland

    The Rusty Vault

    I carry a box. A package that must be delivered. I walk to the designated delivery point. I knock the door 3 times and await patiently with a feeling of nervousness coursing through my veins and a rush of adrenaline perspiring off my face. This door isn't your average everyday entry. This door is corroded like a nasty piece of wood. Not a friendly full festive welcome for the holiday season. Rainfall makes it's attendance famous as I wait for the door to open. This is a shady part of town. Perfect place to lay low from the po-po while people prepare for Saint Nicholas' "Ho-Ho!". Perfect spot to do some illegal business. Drug dealing, theft, even murder. Folks around here call this place "The Rusty Vault" for a reason I don't want to know.

    As I check my watch, 2 minutes have passed. I go to knock the door but a short old man with dwarfism in his 70s opens and asks me in an unfriendly manner

    "What you do want?"

    "Sorry to trouble you but I was said to deliver this package to you."

    He has a smug and skeptical look on his rough unwashed face and replies

    "Is that so huh? Who gave this to you?"

    "He didn't tell me his real name. He said his name was Nick."

    The old man smiles and then laughs. I feel very uncomfortable as I clear up the situation.

    "He said to tell you Merry Christmas and to enjoy your present."

    He looks at the package as I give it to him. Surprisingly this box looked very pristine. It had a festive decoration with rich red and green colouring. A tied knot was on the top as if it were a traditional present. What was in this box? God himself only knows.

    "That fat buffoon." he laughs

    "Tell you what, as a token of appreciation I want you to come into my house for a hot chocolate. It's flooding rain out here and I am sure you are freezing to death"

    I wanted to leave right for my car but something about this situation intrigued me greatly. You know the old saying "Curiosity killed the cat." But I just had to see what this was all about so I agreed and made my way into his house.

    As I enter this old bloke's place of living I am surprised by how tidy the inside looks. From the outside the one story house looks filthy and ruined. The inside was clearly well cleaned and maintained. As you walk in there is a path with doors. The right features the living room which then leads into the kitchen whilst the left leads into the bed and the toilet. I head into his living room and see fancy furniture. 3 very hygienic chairs, a fireplace and a 50 inch television. Standard stuff.

    I take a seat on one of the chairs and he goes in to make the hot chocolate. As I wait I scout the place out. Something seems off about this house. Portraits of Santa and his elves are on each wall. Maybe it's just decorations for Christmas. Maybe I'm being too paranoid. The man finishes the duty and comes into the living room with two mugs of hot chocolate.

    This is really strange. This shady gentleman made a fine looking hot chocolate. I didn't think he'd put a lot of effort into making it. Dark chocolate shavings and cream with a delicious Flake bar sticking out like a flag and other ingredients I'm not familiar with. I sip it and it's the most beautiful thing that my taste buds have tasted.

    "You like it? It's called an "Elf Special"." He says with a lit up face

    "This tastes amazing. Like my taste buds are smiling right now." I joke

    He smiles as my curiosity increases.

    "Let me introduce myself. I'm Bernie." He shakes my hand as I feel his firm grip.

    "I'm Daniel pleased to meet you sir." I reply.

    "I'm sure you are wondering what this package is about right? I knew that stubborn fella wouldn't fill in details. Details aren't in his naughty or nice list." He laughs.

    "If I am being honest yes I am wondering what this is about." I reply with a sense of interest.

    "I don't blame ya but be warned with that mindset. "Curiosity kills the cat" as they say."

    "I know but it's just interesting. It's not everyday I do delivery duty for strangers." I plainly point out

    "Fair point. I'll tell you but you must never tell anyone else or bad things will happen to you. Trust me on that part boy." He made clear with a serious aura surrounding him.

    I felt a little awkward and intrusive. I'm a naturally curious guy but I feel sometimes I invade people's personal stuff a lot. It's a habit I cannot lose. I should be a Journalist. "Daniel Dalton reporting for BBC news."

    "I promise I won't tell anyone. I'm a man of my word." I instantly reply.

    Bernie nods at me, stands up and walks over to a shelf across from his seat. He moves the shelf out of the way and beneath the spot where the shelf sat reveals a secret door almost like a sewer grate. At this point I was both intrigued and impressed. This seemed like a movie. I'd never seen a secret doorway before like this.

    "Down here is the point of no return. You come down here your perception of the world changes. You sure you still wanna find out what this whole thing is about? Ignorance is bliss after all." He wisely suggested.

    I think about it for a solid 10 seconds. This seemed like a warning more than an option. "Your perception of the world changes." These words frightened me a little but like I said before, I'm a curious guy and if curiosity kills Daniel then so be it.

    He notices my silence and asks one more time

    "You sure you want to see this?"

    "Yeah I do." I answer

    "Very well then. May curiosity kill the cat or feed it."

    Bernie was a man full of wise sayings. I admired his phrases. I could learn a thing or two from his wisdom. We made our way down through the secret door and the first thing I saw was darkness. Darkness, darkness and hmm oh yeah more darkness. He pulls out a lighter from his pocket and holds it to the switch.

    "You sure you are sure? Last chance. Speak now or forever look through different eyes." He said.

    I was beginning to lose patience inside and finally said to him

    "Look, I'm sure I want to see this. I won't tell a single person. You can trust me."

    Bernie hit the light switch on and the darkness disappeared. My jaw dropped and I struggled for words. I couldn't believe the sight I saw. I thought I was hallucinating things.

    A massive picture covered the entire wall in this room. In the picture was Santa, Mrs Clause and all of his elves. There was an elf standing right beside Santa and Mrs Clause while the other elves stood behind them. This elf was Bernie. I was in complete shock as my heart stopped for a second.

    "My name is Bernard. I was the head elf of Santa's workshop." He clarified.

    I couldn't reply. I was too shocked. No words could exit my mouth. Santa was real. All those stories were true and I didn't know what to say. I just stood there like a frozen figure. Bernard saw that I was shocked and began to explain the situation.

    "Stuck for words? I'm not surprised. The entire world is ironically blinded. The norms talk about Santa and all these legends but don't have faith in them. It's quite humorous actually. They call the area we live in "The Rusty Vault" because of how bad it looks on the outside but little do they know the real reason."

    I snap out of my trance and ask

    "What's the real reason?"

    "A vault always has something in it. Money or belongings what have you. It's called "The Rusty Vault" because we are hiding the secret, the legend, the truth." He answers.

    "We?" I ask.

    "You think I'm the only elf that lives in the vault? You can't be that foolish. All the others that were deemed unfit to work were cast away here. Cast away like a leper. I worked until my fingers were bleeding for that fat fella and this is what he does to us. He sends us to live with the norms. We all make the area look horrible to draw away any attention. Who the hell would wanna live or walk around here? I don't want to live here, I want to be the head elf again. I want to make children happy again. I want to make them smile with joy as they open their presents on Christmas day. I want to work. I was designed to work. I wasn't designed for this. An old man waiting to die along with all the other elves here."

    Hearing this news made me fill up with sadness and sympathy. This is a man chained from doing what he loves. I couldn't just sit there and let him stand with grief and sorrow. I patted him on the back and said

    "I'm really sorry to hear that. I wish I could help you I really do."

    He turned to me and replied

    "You brought me something. You brought me a message from the chief himself. I'll never forget that. How did you get the box?"

    "The man that gave it to me saved my life. I was walking down an alley late at night on my way home when suddenly I was confronted by a mugger with a knife. He threatened to kill me if I didn't hand over my things. I of course complied to his threat and was about to hand over my belongings until a big man stood in and disarmed the mugger. The big man dropped the criminal with ease and assured me I'd be safe. He said he needed a favour done for the goodness of his heart. He gave me a box and told me to deliver it to you. I couldn't refuse doing a favour for a man that saved my life so I agreed. He told me to tell you "Merry Christmas" like I told you before." I explained

    Bernard's face formed a sudden sense of anger as he closed his fist and suddenly shouted

    "Damn you Nick! Why must you summon me to this place? All I ever wanted to do was work and you do this to me. You fat foul oaf!"

    A tear rolled down his cheek as I gave him a moment to cool down and think. He cooled off and I said to him

    "Look, I know he sent you here but maybe he sent this box here for a reason. He said it was out of the goodness of his heart so maybe we should look at it."

    "I want to work for him again. I can't keep living in the vault. I feel like a criminal. I'm not a criminal. I am an elf. The head elf. The manager of the workshop. The close friend of Nicolas. I don't want to die alone in a rotten part of town. I want to die surrounded by my friends and family in the North Pole. I have to go back." Bernard stated

    "Let's check out the box." I suggested

    Bernard agreed as we headed back up to the living room to investigate the box. We both sit down as the box sits on the floor. He pulls the box towards us as we sit across from each other. The box rests in between us as my curiosity again is heightened.

    "This is it. Time to see what Nick has to say." He says

    I open the box up and an unknown device is contained within along with a note. The device was shaped like a TV remote only there was just one red button on the device. I tell Bernard

    "There's a note here too if you want to read it?"

    "Kid, my eyesight's not the best. Old age takes it's toll. Can you read it for me?"

    I take the note out of the box and begin to read

    "Hello Bernie how've you been? I've been looking to see you for quite some time now. I've been feeling horrible about what I've done to you and all the other elves. It's been on my mind for so long and it's eating me up so I want to make things right. I want to do the right thing and not the selfish thing. I cast you all away because I was thinking of me. I was thinking of business instead of friendship. Friendship is priceless. That's why I want you and the elves to come back to the North Pole to work for me again. I know you would love nothing more than to come back. The device in the box is the teleporter to the workshop. Hit the button 3 times and you will transported to me. Don't worry about the other elves, I made sure to send each and every one of you a device for safe travel. If you don't want to come back I understand. What I did was inexcusable and I completely understand if you don't want to even look at my guts. I'm sorry for sending you all to the vault and I hope you can forgive me. I'm not apologising for business, I'm apologising because you all are my family. You all mean the world to me and I hope to see all of you soon. Santa Clause."

  2. #2
    TheFairyDogMother kiz_paws's Avatar
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    Mar 2007
    The Prairies, Canada
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    Loved it, JP!
    Our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature and its beauty
    ~Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    Registered User fudgetusk's Avatar
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    Oct 2017
    >>Rainfall makes it's attendance famous (it's should be its.)
    >>? Ignorance is bliss after all." He wisely suggested.
    Should be ''after all," he wisely suggested. (You make the same error a few times.)
    Also >>I take the note out of the box and begin to read(gap)

    "Hello Bernie how've you been?
    Doesn't look right. you shouldn't end a sentence without a punctuation mark. I would avoid such things.
    Other than that it was an interesting read. Who would read such a thing however? I can't imagine many would seek out stories on Santa. But that's just me.

  4. #4
    Word Wizard J.P O'Callaghan's Avatar
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    Nov 2017
    Northern Ireland
    Appreciate the feedback. It will only help me improve.

  5. #5
    On the road, but not! Danik 2016's Avatar
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    Jan 2016
    Beyond nowhere
    Its one interesting story, but to match the happy end maybe you could make a children story out of it.

    Somehow I kept expecting that it would turn out that the elves were a cover for some kind of criminal activity. For me it is as if you are telling a story that started darkly and is unexpectedly transformed in a kind of Christmas carol.
    "You can always find something better than death."
    Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, The Bremen Town Musicians

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