Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 1 – by lostandwhatever
Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 1
Last Christmas Eve a recently fired elf stole Santa’s sleigh and took revenge by handing out dangerous magical gifts to the children of the world.
After that, the world was never the same…
Friday, June 29th, Midday
Mary waited in the delivery van’s passenger seat while her large companion gripped the steering wheel firmly. The van idled on the shoulder of the road as both of them watched a distant security gate in anticipation.
Mary checked her watch. “It should only be a few more minutes,” she said flatly.
Her companion grunted his acknowledgement.
Mary adjusted her glasses and scanned the forest that surrounded them. Aside from the gate, there was nothing much to see around them but trees and a fading fog. The air blowing in through the open windows was cool now, but the weather forecast called a hot day to come. Things were definitely about to heat up.
“There,” she said as a nondescript black van pulled out of the gate and accelerated down the road away from them. It was followed by another similar van, then a third one. The three raced off together, as Mary and her companion waited a moment to see if anymore vans would emerge. When it was clear that no more were coming, Mary said, “All right, they’re gone. It’s time. Let’s roll.”
Her companion put the van into gear and peeled out from the shoulder of the road.
“Take it easy!” she said as a dust cloud rose up behind them.. “We’re trying to avoid drawing attention to ourselves.”
Her companion grunted and slowed down.
They pulled up to the security gate and were greeted by a uniformed guard with a pistol holstered at his hip. There were no signs indicating what lay beyond the gate, but the guard and the gate sent a clear enough message: keep out.
“May I help you?” the guard said, letting his hand rest indescretly on his belt just above his weapon. The driver turned his expressionless face to look at the guard. There was a tense moment of quiet.
Then, Mary leaned over her companion and said, “Hello there! We’re here with a party delivery.”
The guard looked over the two of them carefully. Then, he pulled out a walkie talkie and called in a description of their bakery van and its license plate number. The guard listened to a quiet reply and responded, “Affirmative.” He turned to Mary and her companion and said, “There was only supposed to be one person on this delivery, a woman.” He regarded the driver suspiciously.
“That’s me,” Mary said. “My friend here is a trainee. This is his first delivery. I’m showing him the ropes.” She smiled and waited nervously for the guard’s reply.
The guard sighed and said, “Right, then, I need to see both of your IDs.” They both pulled out driver’s licenses, which the guard checked and scanned at his station. When he handed their IDs back, he said, “Drive up to the front the building and park by the front entrance. Do not approach any other part of the building. You are being watched.”
“Understood,” Mary said. She glanced up at a security camera aimed at the van.
“Do not linger. Drop off your delivery and return here immediately after you are done.”
“Sure thing,” she said. “See you soon.”
The barrier bar was raised in front of them. Her companion put the van in gear and drove leisurely forward down the lane to a large office building that was just out of sight of the gate. Much like the vans that had raced out of the gate earlier, the building seemed designed to appear as nondescript and ordinary as possible. It looked almost too normal, as if it were trying to act casual but failing.
The driver parked the van in the circular lane by the front entrance. Mary got out and opened the back of the van. She pulled out a few white cardboard boxes. Her much larger and bulkier companion joined her and pulled out one large box.
“Remember the plan,” she said as they approached a glass door. She opened it by hitting the disabled access button and said, “You go first.” Her companion grunted and walked in before her.
They walked across the polished granite floor of the lobby to a security checkpoint desk with gates and a metal detector. A guard behind the desk waved them over. On the wall above her was a strange seal or sigil like a star with eight points, a sight only a few people had witnessed before. “Put the boxes down here,” the guard said as she stood up and pointed to the desk. “We need to look inside each of them and send them through the x-ray machine.” Mary’s companion put his box down first. “Open it,” the guard said. Mary casually looked away as her companion opened the box. He lifted the lid, and all four sides of the box fell away from what was inside. The guard looked at it, and a smile formed on her face. “Hey, look at that,” she said and chuckled. “That’s so cute… It’s…. It’s so…” Her voice trailed off as she grinned madly. Her eyes were so firmly locked on the object in the box that she refused to even blink.
Mary called to the other security guard who had been watching a monitor. “Hey, have you ever seen one of these?”
The other guard approached and said, “One of what?” Mary pointed her thumb over her shoulder, and he looked at the object. “What. Is. That?” he said with a childlike sense of wonder in his voice. “Oh, that’s the cutest thing I ever… What is it? It’s…” His voice trailed off as well as he joined the other guard in helpless admiration of the object in front of them.
Mary carefully avoided even glancing at the object as she set down her boxes and walked behind the security desk. She took off her jacket, revealing a shirt and tie that looked identical to the ones the guards wore, and said, “That is the cutest thing in the world, my friends.” The guards did not move an inch or make any indication that they had heard her. They just stood there in catatonic bliss. “I mean that literally. Elves worked on that design for years. Unfortunately for them, it proved to be a bit too cute for anyone to look at without becoming hopelessly hypnotized by it. A few of its creators nearly starved to death just staring at it.” Mary dropped her jacket behind the desk. Her companion followed her lead and did the same. “You two are lucky. I’ve never even glanced at the finished version of it myself. Enjoy it.” She walked up to the first guard and removed her ID card. “I’m just going to borrow this for a bit,” Mary said as she clipped the card to her shirt pocket. Now, her security guard disguise was complete. Mary’s companion did the same with the other guard.
Mary turned to her hulking friend and said, “Keep watch here. Make sure anyone who passes gets a good look at our present.” She patted the desk behind her. He grunted and looked down at the world’s cutest object, but he did not even smirk. His face just remained an emotionless granite wall.
Mary picked up her boxes and walked through the checkpoint into the US government’s most secret and secure new facility. As she headed for an elevator, she grinned.
Everything was going exactly to plan.