Santa’s Helpers

📅 Published on January 21, 2022

“Santa’s Helpers”

Written by AUTHOR NAME HERE
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

ESTIMATED READING TIME — 9 minutes

Rating: 9.50/10. From 2 votes.
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In the beginning, what we did was beautiful.

It all started in 345 when Saint Nicholas supposedly “died.” Or at least, that was the story given out. What a bad joke. As if a man who could resurrect pickled meat into living breathing children would ever be killed. Hell, there’s a reason no one can agree when he’s supposed to have died. Because the story was impossible to keep straight. But it wouldn’t do for a man of his talents to leave a forwarding address, so he let Diocletian believe he had murdered yet another Christian martyr and came north. As north as north would go. Where there would be no Romans, no Pagans, and no governments of any kind to interfere with his noble work: the work not of a noble mortal bishop, but of an immortal sorcerer-king – the being you call Santa. It was a perfect plan. Saint Nicholas thought he would be left alone to do his work at the north pole, where no man could survive except by means of magic. It never occurred to him that someone would be waiting for him – that we would.

And yet, when Saint Nicholas first stepped onto the frozen tundra that made up our home, he must have sensed that he was an intruder in a place filled with beings infinitely more terrible and infinitely more ancient, because to his credit, he did not seek to drive us out. He was wise enough to know that he would be torn limb from limb and his immortal guts would be left to writhe in the cold northern air for eternity if he mounted a full-frontal assault. So, rather than fight us with magic, Saint Nicholas did what he did best: he brought gifts. Oh, not toys or bonbons of the kind he gives to human children, don’t misunderstand. No, the gifts he brought us were gifts of blood: heads of polar bears stuffed with burning holly; whole, dripping caribou roasted with Greek spices; even the occasional aborted fox cub rubbed in cranberry sauce. In short, he brought all the gifts that we cold sprites of the north would be most hungry to try and, in so doing, attracted us to his bonfire night after night, until even our great Erlking himself grew hungry and curious about the man who did not run when we approached. It was only when that dread monarch approached Saint Nicholas’s fire that he spoke to us at last and offered the partnership that endures to this day.

Saint Nicholas told us that he planned to raise a castle in the north, where he would begin the great missionary process of teaching children the ways of God through an ingenious strategy. He would spend the whole year making gifts for the world’s children, the very gifts that they most desperately wanted, and then he would give them away to those select children who had lived according to God’s word. And gradually, as word of this magical phenomenon spread by word of mouth, Saint Nicholas would convert all the world into his flock. Such was his plan, but in order to carry it off, he would need the help of beings like us for, while he had great magic, his powers were as a candle compared to the sun when matched against ours. He needed us to hide his castle from mortal eyes, and to slow down time so that he could conjure the gifts required for his plan to work. In exchange for our producing these wonders, he would give us an invincible passport to walk among mortals. He would teach the children to regard us not as evil dervishes of the cold northern air, but rather as his helpers. In time, he would even station one of us in every child’s home to keep tabs on the child in question: to record his or her sins, to communicate what gifts he or she wanted, and most importantly, to act as enforcers if the sinning did not stop.

It was an ingenious offer, for we are not like mortals. Neither time nor death nor hunger can touch us, and so Saint Nicholas offered us the one thing that keeps our existence worthwhile: novelty. If his plan worked, we could not only indulge our curiosity about mortal men, but could even play tricks on mankind’s children for the rest of eternity with the implicit sanction of human morality. And so, the bargain between Saint Nicholas and the Erlking was struck. We raised him a great castle out of the ice and snow, and hid it from all eyes but his and ours. We even fixed the broken-down old sleigh he had used to reach us and gave him eight immortal caribou that ran faster than any other beast of burden to draw it. And so, slowly, the conquest of the world by Saint Nicholas and his sprites began.

At first, he kept his influence solely to those parts of the world that were closest to the North Pole. Then, once the children in those places had internalized how and why presents mysteriously appeared at their homes every year at the same time, Saint Nicholas would invite us along to enter those children’s homes and to hide in the dark places where no one would care to look so that we could keep watch. And soon after that, it wasn’t just the story of Santa that children in the north told each other. No, the story of monsters under their beds and in their cupboards began to multiply as well, for the naughty children soon learned that worse things than coal awaited them when they angered their mysterious benefactor and his enforcers. Our Erlking was even allowed to abduct the worst of them each year and subject them to sundry frightening but harmless torments before returning them to their parents, properly chastened. And so for those first few centuries, our partnership prospered.

Now at first, we lived to see the moments when those children broke the covenant that our employer’s generosity imposed on them. The sound of their cries was like a shimmering song to us, and the taste of their tears was sweeter than the richest hot cocoa. Yet as our reach expanded and we grew used to living alongside generation after generation of children, our attitudes began to change. We began to grow…fond of the children. The sight of their joy on Christmas morning became just as sweet as the sound of their cries of terror when we had to punish them. In fact, our punishments became less gleeful and more angry, more disappointed, the longer we went on living with mortal men. I think Saint Nicholas must have known this would happen. In fact, I wonder if he wasn’t doing the whole thing to civilize not just his own species, but ours as well. It would fit with his way of doing things.

But, in any case, even as our punishments carried more disappointment, I am happy to say that they also grew less frequent with time. The sternness of Saint Nicholas and his enforcers had, in fact, wrought a change in humanity, and made them all more obedient, more docile, and even, sometimes, kinder to each other. And the more we cared for humanity, the more beautiful this seemed to us, that we – the beings that mankind most feared – had brought a modicum of peace on earth and of goodwill to mankind.

Of course, we only measured the decency of mankind by looking at the behavior of its children. Perhaps as a consequence of growing up with us, and of developing a science that sucked out ever more mystery and magic from the world, the adults ceased to fear us, or to believe in us altogether. Which, we thought, would not make much difference. By the time they reached adulthood, the lessons that we had enforced would have sunk in perfectly well, and they would no longer need the dread of the fae to make them behave themselves. So long as the children remained believers, we thought nothing could interfere with our work.

We were fools.

The first cracks began to show with the development of industry. Mind you, industry seemed good for our employer at first. He was pushing 1500 years old, and even our magic could not delay the slowing effects of age enough to wash that away entirely. To be able to automate his labors was a blessing, as was the development of the chimney, which made the laborious process of entering houses that much easier. But, unfortunately, that gift of the chimney was quite literally poisoned. A 1500-year-old man can only shimmy down so many smoke-blackened chutes before breathing all that soot starts to affect his mind. It was only our magic that kept him doing this for 1600 years before the most serious problems became unavoidable. Really, we should have known what was coming when Saint Nicholas’s eyesight all but went and we were forced to give him a ninth caribou that could see through fog with glowing red eyes, and was intelligent enough to navigate the sleigh in his place.

I do not know which of us first saw the ultimate betrayal happen. Perhaps one day a child screamed at their parents in a way that would normally earn a visit from the Erlking, only to wake up and find a pile of presents under their tree, as if nothing had happened. Perhaps it was slower, and more minor transgressions ceased to earn coal in the stocking before the whole moral architecture collapsed. But one way or another, eventually, a panic spread among us as we realized that something had broken down, and that children who broke the rules were somehow still receiving presents. Frantically, we sent messages to the North Pole asking to understand what was happening, and the grim reply came back: “Saint Nicholas’s mind is going. The toxins and old age have become too much. We think it will be easier if he just gives presents to everyone. And in any case, it’s not fair to expect the children to follow the rules. Their parents don’t teach them anymore.”

We were stunned. In our foolishness, we had thought that the adults would carry the lessons of their childhood forever. But apparently, the opposite had happened. Mankind had grown arrogant. They had ceased to believe not only in spirits and monsters, but in the entire enterprise. Saint Nicholas was a joke to them, a friendly face to be plastered onto objects and then forgotten about for eleven months of the year. And as for the morality he had tried to teach them? Not one of them had actually believed in it. They had simply complied until the threat of losing presents, and of facing monsters they no longer believed in, was gone.

At first, this realization prompted only shock. Then came despair. Then anger. And then the deepest, most savage revulsion. Of course mankind didn’t believe in monsters! They wanted to be naughty so badly that they had destroyed every notion of magic, or morality in their children. Why should they fear monsters? Now, they were the monsters. Whereas we, who had started as the nightmare denizens of a Pagan wilderness, were now wholly and desperately attached to the rectitude of our mission. All the beauty of what we had done, of what we had accomplished, tasted like ashes in our mouths. We had not brought peace on earth and goodwill to men. We had only created the artificial show of it among mankind’s children, who then happily returned to cruelty and viciousness once our boots were off their necks. Saint Nicholas had shown them generosity and they had spat on it, and yet still reaped the benefits of what he offered because an ancient, foolish, and fond old man was now too demented to understand anything other than the joy his visits brought, and therefore would never stop them. We should have simply let Saint Nicholas die in order to stop the sick charade, but beings like us are bound by promises, and as Saint Nicholas had not broken our covenant, we could not sever it ourselves. There would be no choice for us but to let him continue until our magic completely ran out.

And yet, in that covenant, the ghost of something like justice was still able to be found. For Saint Nicholas had still empowered us to punish the children of man when they failed to abide by the morality he taught. And while mankind no longer feared monsters of the literal sort, we soon learned that they feared something else with the power to be far worse: they feared the monsters in their own minds. Where once, mankind had done rituals to rid themselves of bogies and pixies and sprites, now they did similar but more complicated rituals to wade off new demons. So we adapted, and took on the new names they had fashioned for us. But, no longer did we fancy that we could offer succor to those who behaved morally, who still followed the old code. We knew better now. We knew that the entire human pretense to morality was simply a cringing mask to avoid punishment. That there were no naughty and nice children: that deep down, every child was naughty in their hearts, even if they were nice in their actions. And so we inflicted ourselves upon mankind with indiscriminate wrath. And our new names, I am happy to say, are even more feared today than our old Pagan identities were: names like depression, anxiety, schizophrenia, and disassociative identity disorder. We do not want to bear these names, but neither do we mourn the necessity. Mankind showed their true face to us long since. We are only abiding by the contract that Saint Nicholas was foolish enough to believe that he – and they – could keep.

So by all means, lie to yourselves that you can avoid us if you just don’t cry, or don’t pout. Delude yourselves into thinking that we keep some sort of list, let alone need to check it twice, to see which of you to afflict. Not one sentence of it is true. Except one. The reason you face the persecution of spirits who were foolish to believe better of you, and now know the error of our ways, is because now, centuries after it should have stopped, Santa Claus Is Coming to Town.

Rating: 9.50/10. From 2 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Written by AUTHOR NAME HERE
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: AUTHOR NAME HERE


Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on CreepypastaStories.com are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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