Sugarplum Mary the Christmas Elf carefully tensed and relaxed the muscles in her legs, trying to keep her blood circulating and ward off the pins and needles that were threatening to settle in from so many hours spent cramped in the small cabinet. Suddenly, from outside the Gingerbread House she heard the muffled sounds of shouting, quick and panicked, but she couldn’t make out what was going on through the thick butter-cream coating on the House’s exterior. Her every nerve came alive, however, when she heard Mrs. Claus push up out of her candy-cane-back chair and move towards the front of the house, where the sugar glazed windows looked out onto Tannenbaum Lane. Now was her chance, probably the only one she would get. She waited until she heard the old witch’s heavy tread leave the dining room, and made a supreme effort.
Sugarplum Mary threw open the cabinet door and lurched out onto the checkerboard dark and white chocolate tiles of the kitchen, already turning for the back door, when her legs, numb despite all of her efforts, betrayed her sending her sprawling with a crash as she instinctively grabbed at one of the lollipop stools around the kitchen island to steady herself and brought it down with her instead.
“Mary?” said a delighted voice from the front room, “is that you dear?”
Mrs. Claus’ feet thudded on the floor, moving quickly. Crying now, Sugarplum Mary scrabbled across the kitchen floor on all fours, her nails leaving deep furrows n the hard chocolate flooring, as she heard the insane woman enter the dining room, just one small room away. Mary reached the door, desperately clutching the rock-candy doorknob. “Pleasebeunlockedpleasebeunlocked,” she chanted under her breath like the holiest rosary.
The doorknob turned, Mary fell out into the cold night, her mouth already open to call for help when she saw the great, hard hooves before her.
“Hello, Mary,” Blitzen said. “I’ve been looking for you.”