View Full-Size Image
You Save: $0.51
A Short Story by: Julie Jansen
Genre: Holiday Sci-fi
Editor: Susan Davis
Line editor: Greta Gunselman
Cover Designer: Delilah K. Stephans
The crooked Leader of the Northern Territories plans to pose as a political Santa Claus to spiff up his tarnished image. On Christmas he’ll fire up his teleportation jet to deliver 206 presents across the world. And these aren’t just any presents. They’re reliquaries, beautiful jewelled containers each housing one of Santa’s bones.
The Leader assigns funeral director Merlin the task of creating the reliquaries.
For Merlin it’s a dream job.
For his assistant Joseph, it’s an abomination.
Will Joseph convince Merlin to abandon the job and preserve the memory of Santa Claus? Or will Christmas become a new form of twisted politics where deadly gifts are disguised as shiny new toys?
Santa’s Bones is a fun holiday science fiction: snow globes full of magic and Christmas spirit.
A few days later, Merlin finished the first reliquary, his exquisite tip-of-Santa’s-pinky jar. A few more bones were ready to be placed in their reliquaries. It was a slow, careful process. The long work days turned my usual almost cheerful mood sour. I caught a few more beetles crawling around and convinced Merlin we’d need to call the exterminator once our project was complete.
“Joseph, be careful with the ulna. It’s brittle as a bone.” Uncle Merlin chuckled to himself.
I rolled my eyes, his attempt at a joke not amusing.
I painted the arm bone with whitening solution and watched the liquid seep into the gray and black cracks and tiny holes. As the liquid worked its way through the porous cavities, I thought of Santa in his heyday, squeezing his way down the chimney of every boy and girl in the world over the course of one single night. A twinkle, like a diamond, blinked at the tip of the bone when that thought crossed my mind.
There had been other sparks, too. I’d just attributed them to static electricity from a recent cold snap. The twinkle was different. It was like light reflecting off an icicle combined with the sparkle in a child’s eye. It made me smile.
“Uncle Merlin, were you fiddling around with Swarovskis at my workstation again?” My uncle was always ogling new gems he’d ordered, sometimes carelessly, and always at my desk.
“No, I haven’t touched the latest shipment yet.”
I pulled out my retractable magnifying lens and held it over the ulna. Other than another of the beetles that I flicked away, it was nothing but a plain old geriatric bone riddled with arthritic spurs that must have given Santa a lot of grief. And yet, he used those ancient arms to reach into his sack over and over and pull out toys for millions of children. Santa was an amazing man.
There it was again, the twinkle. I flinched and pulled away from the lens.
“You find something interesting? A healed crack from where the missus nailed him with a flying plate of cookies when she found out his post-holiday stopover in Thailand involved a little hanky-panky with the natives?” Uncle Merlin snorted.
He was getting really annoying.
Uncle Merlin leaned in and looked through the lens. “I see one. A beetle!”
“Another one?” I turned back to the bone, upped the magnification on the lens, even put on my bottle-thick reading glasses thinking that might help.
“Maybe those little beetles hitched a ride in Santa’s slay? Get it? Sleigh’s spelled different.” He snorted again.
“This really isn’t the time for your bizarre humor. Santa wasn’t slain anyway. He caught a tropical disease.”
Merlin was unusually quiet. He stared into space.
“What?” I asked.
“Oh. I was just thinking about my grandma’s stories of how she’d watch out the window Christmas Eve, hoping to see Santa and his reindeer in the night’s sky.”
This time Uncle Merlin flinched with a blinding flash of light, like a lightning bolt that jumped from metal tray to metal tray around the room.
“Did you see that?” Uncle Merlin asked.
“Of course I did! But the real question is: did you feel that?” My body tingled all over, not with the effects of lightning, but with something else, something warm and fuzzy that made me think of snuggling with my girlfriend in front of a fire with a mug of rum-spiked eggnog.
“I do. I do feel it. I smell it, too.” Uncle Merlin sniffed the air and it was true that on the air hung a faint whiff of peppermint.
I walked toward one of the trays. It steamed from the recent jolt. I leaned in close and sniffed.
I sprang back with a start when Uncle Merlin tapped me on the shoulder and knocked one of the trays into another. One bone, the mandible, fell into the tray of cervical vertebrae. A spark show erupted like a tinsel fountain. Clearly spelled out amongst the sparks were the words “make me whole.”
Uncle Merlin and I grinned from ear to ear and burst out laughing.
“Santa wants to be whole!” Uncle Merlin spouted with joy. The joy lasted only a moment. As he scanned the room his face changed. He muttered softly, “My reliquaries. They’ve all been a waste.”
I glared at my uncle. “Do you see now what’s wrong here? Santa’s pissed off we took him apart. He wants to be put back together again.”
My uncle nodded, and then bowed his head in shame.
The phone rang. On the teleprompter the face of the Leader waited impatiently for our answer.
“You ready for this?” I asked my uncle before pushing the ‘accept call’ button.
Uncle Merlin took a deep breath, and then blew it out. “Ready,” he said.
I pushed the button.
The Leader, dressed in a red and white suit just in time for Christmas, asked Uncle Merlin how things were going.
“Beautifully,” my uncle replied and held up the pinky reliquary.
The Leader just about jumped out of cyberspace to get at it he was so excited. “Show me the others,” the Leader demanded, his voice chock full of greed.
Uncle held back.
“Well? What are you waiting for?” the Leader snapped.
“You. I’m waiting for you to come see the rest in person.”
The Leader just about came unglued. “Do you realize how busy my schedule is?”
“I certainly do, Sir. But how can I be sure you like what I’m doing? What if you have a different idea for one of the bones? I’d hate to disappoint you.” My uncle could spread the charm when he needed to, like pink frosting on a sugar cookie. I wasn’t sure what he had up his sleeve, but it was something big.
“Very well,” the Leader said. “I’ll be there this evening.”
The call ended. My uncle sighed and his face turned serious. “We have a lot of work to do.”
In Stock: 99
Usually ships in:
Customer Reviews:(Tuesday, 27 December 2011)
You may also be interested in this/these product(s)
Teachers Guides (15)
SHORT STORIES (82)
List All Products
Adobe Acrobat Reader for PDF
Adobe Digital Editions for Epub
Mobipocket Ebook Reader for Prc
New Muse e-books released on the first of each month!
What is an e-book?
It’s an electronic file that can be read on your computer or a handheld e-reader.
Why purchase an e-book?
You get immediate download satisfaction at affordable prices. With an e-reader you can carry hundreds of books with you instead of lugging only a few print books.
The Association of English-language Publishers of Quebec
All materials on this site © 2010-2012 MuseItUp Publishing and its imprints.
MUSEITUP E-BOOK CLUB
MuseItUp authors span worldwide and are eagerly waiting to meet you in our readers groups. Be the first to get a glimpse of their upcoming books, excerpts, author interviews, advance notice of any upcoming contests, time sensitive discount coupons…and have an all-around fun time!
Why not join one of our two groups today!
Facebook (Interaction and discussions)
Facebook (Discover our authors and books)
Elixir is fantasy at its best. Katie Caroll draws us into her world with ease, her well-polished writing style and flow holding us captive until the end. I especially liked the relationship between Katora and her sister Kylene, obviously drawn from real life. I can't wait to read the sequel.
I was pleasantly surprised when I opened this very charming and witty book to read on the skytrain. But I have to say it was kind of embarrassing. I couldn't stop giggling out loud at Maggie Lyon's humour. People kept looking at me, and I tried my hardest to hold in the laughter, but it was impossible. What a delightful story! What child wouldn't love this. It's a story for 6-10 year olds. It's a great book to read to your children when they're young or by themselves when they're older. If your child likes Geronimo Stilton, they'll fall in love with Dewie the little dragon and his friend Jones the toad. I hope Maggie Lyons will turn this into a series.
Joy Smith pulled me into the story on the very first pages. Fast moving, first I hated Victor, than I love him, than I hated until I loved him. And Marisol with her guarded heart had me hoping throughout that she'd open it again to love.
I loved her descriptions. They created such visuals, I felt I was traveling and discovering Colombia with Victor.
Ms. Smith writes believable, flawed characters that I wound up cheering and caring for on each page. I can't wait to read her next book. Goodreads Reader Review - Five Stars
"...murder, mystery and intrigue..plus did I mention our hero is a witch? Tex and his best friend Olivia are brilliant characters, really well written and I love tex's dad. Can't wait to read more about tex in the future! -Amazon Reader Review
I really enjoyed the twists and turns of the plot of this novel. From Annabelle putting her life in danger when running away from Boarding School where she has lived since the age of five to her tenacious pursuit in finding clues as to her origins.
She is rescued by Roland, who is too much of a gentleman not to help the intriguing young lady. I relished the suspense of the reciprocal desire between Roland and Belle which is thwarted by misunderstanding after misunderstanding and prevents them achieving mutual fulfilment. The reader yearns for the truth to replace the false pretences and for Roland and Belle to overcome each other's prejudices.
Rosemary Morris' major and minor characters spring to life. I sympathised with Annabelle and found Roland charming. Apart from this, Rosemary's great attention to every aspect of the Regency era is impressive.
False Pretences is a ripping read and I look forward to reading this author's next novel. - F.Way- Amazon Review