From behind came a scream of pure rage. Sugarplum Mary looked over her shoulder and saw Mrs. Claus pause in the kitchen doorway, her lace trimmed white apron was splattered with dark brown stains and her eyes were wide and not at all sane behind her round, wire-rim glasses. Raising a heavy cleaver in her right hand, Mrs. Claus screamed again and charged across the chocolate checkerboard floor.
Mary felt hot breath on the back of her neck, and then she was grabbed by the collar of her dress and yanked up and back, out of the Gingerbread House and into the snow-swirled night. Blitzen's great horns passed on either side of her and she landed astride his broad, shaggy shoulders, automatically grasping at his coat of shaggy coat of fur. Blitzen reared and his font legs kicked the door shut on the charging horror in the kitchen. Quick as frostbite, the great reindeer hopped backwards and leapt into the air just as Mrs. Claus came through the cottage door, splinters of layered gingerbread flying to all sides, her great cleaver swinging as Blitzen and Mary shot over her.
Blitzen was fast, but not quite fast enough. Mrs. Claus' cleaver carved a line of red pain across inside of his right hind-leg. "Santa's fucking balls that hurts!" he screamed.
Their flight over the house wavered, but Blitzen recovered with a snarl, lowering his head as they pushed into the snowstorm. Mary looked down at Christmas Village and gasped. Below them the cafeteria building next to the toy factory was engulfed in flames and while the surrounding elves and reindeer were doing their best to fight the blaze, their efforts were obviously too little, too late. The place was an inferno and the flames lit the arctic night like a hellish flare.
Sugarplum Mary turned away, and leaned forward to speak to her rescuer. "Blitzen, thank you, but I thought, I mean Sparky said that..."
"That I was behind all of the strange stuff happening lately?" Blitzen snorted in disgust. "Elves. I don't know how you people manage to breed, sometimes. Sparky went off half-cocked, as always."
"Well what is going on, then?"
"Tell you what... how's about we get somewhere safe where we can get back on the ground, then maybe slap a fuckin' band-aid or ten on Mother Christmas' little parting gift, and then I'll fill you in. Until then, why don't we play a game I like to call 'Shut the Fuck Up Mary'?"
They dove into the night, the only sounds the whistling of the air and Mary's quiet sobs.