Sugarplum Mary the Christmas Elf clutched her knees to her chest and tried not to breathe. The cabinet she was hiding in had no lock, and small as she was, and unarmed, she wouldn't stand a chance against the horror stalking the Gingerbread House. "Mary!" came the deceptively soft, comforting mother-voice, "Marieeee! Come out, come out where ever you are..." One of the candy-cane chairs squeaked across the hard-chocolate floor as it was pulled out from the lollipop table, then groaned as it took the heavy weight of its new occupant. "That's okay, sweetheart, I can wait. I can wait all winter, if need be."