Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 6 – by lostandwhatever
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Mary Christmas 2: Christmas in July – Chapter 6
Continued from Chapter 5.
Friday, June 29th, Evening
President George Gale sat quietly watching a row of muted TV screens. Around the table with him were various aides and cabinet secretaries as well a number of generals wearing enough stars to collectively make up a US flag. They were all busily passing around documents and pointing at screens and discussing the attack from earlier in the day.
The country was on alert, and the government had been moved underground to a collection of bunkers as they assessed the attack and decided on a response. Therefore, this meeting was occuring in a windowless subterranean “situation room” as opposed to the Oval Office.
President Gale scanned the TVs. Each one was tuned to a different cable news network. All of them showed helicopter feeds hovering above various schools. Occasionally, they were interrupted by an interview. He even saw himself appear briefly when they replayed his short message from earlier in the day announcing the attack and assuring the the country that a response was imminent. But, what the hell were they going to do?
He picked up a remote. “Can I get some quiet for a minute?” he said to the room at large. He did not need to raise his voice. Soon, the room was silent. He unmuted one of the screens to listen to the news.
“We want to welcome you if you are just joining us,” a silver-haired reporter said. A bar on the bottom of the screen read, “Magical Attack.” The reporter continued, “An apparent magical attack reminiscent of the one from last Christmas has occurred in the DC area, this time targeting schools and daycares. So far, we have reports of over a hundred affected summer school students and staff in a dozen schools, some as young as 2 years old. Amy Chung is live now outside of one of the schools.” The screen displayed a woman holding a microphone in front of a school building. “Amy, what do we know now at this hour?” the newsroom reporter said.
“Well, Andrew,” Amy said. “Authorities are not providing much information about the exact nature or cause of the attack, but we have multiple reports from within the schools that some sort of age changing magic had been used on students. Of course, this is similar to the Christmas attack from late last year. So far, we have no direct confirmation that the two events… these two attacks… are connected, but there are undeniable similarities.”
An edited video began then, narrated by Amy Chung’s voice: “It has happened again, a magical attack.” The video cut to shots of nearly naked young adults covered only in emergency blankets, some in tears, followed by images of young children and babies, some wearing oversized clothes. They all looked upset and disorientated. “Over a hundred people of ages varying from 2 to 40 have found themselves suddenly either growing older or younger randomly. The cases of these transformations seem to be centered around schools in Virginia, Maryland, and DC. Some adults have found themselves thrown back into childhood and some children have grown to adulthood in a matter of minutes. No cause has been found yet for these transformations.”
“President Gale addressed the country earlier from the White House.” The screen cut to the president. “Once more we have witnessed a magical attack on US soil. Our investigators are on the scene right now to find the cause and the culprit of this heinous attack so that we may bring those responsible to justice. Rest assured, we will do everything in our power to help those afflicted and prevent this sort of attack from happening again.”
The screen then cut to old stock footage from Christmas last year. “We all remember the attack from Christmas last year. Millions around the world found their lives touched by magic for the first time in recorded history.” A stream of images followed of crying babies and children in oversized clothes, including one short clip of a talking purple pony toy held in someone’s hand. “What had once been the realm of fantasy and myth was proven to be all too real and true. An elf, an actual elf from the North Pole was the culprit.” A picture of an unsmiling young girl with pointy ears appeared on the screen. “Mary Cole, pictured here, stole Santa’s sleigh and traveled the world distributing magical presents much like the legend of Santa Claus had described. Only her presents were anything but jolly. Each one included a dangerous magical curse for those unfortunate enough to open them. Some found themselves transformed into children and babies. Others discovered they had the power to trade physical qualities with other people to sometimes unpleasant effect. Still others found they could trade bodies with their own toys: a dream come true that could quickly turn into a nightmare.” Again, the little purple pony was shown. This time she spoke, “I just wish I could go back. I wish this had never happened. Why did I do it?” She broke down in tears interrupted by cute little neighing sounds.
“In response to the chaos, Santa Claus, the legendary figure himself, revealed himself to the world.” A video of a white-bearded old man wearing red and white played. “Hello,” he said in a wizened deep voice. “I am the real Santa Claus. I am speaking to you today to calm you and assure you that we at the North Pole mean you no harm and that we plan to work with you to help you following these terrible attacks. I have been in contact with the leaders of the world, in particular with the United States president, to explain what had happened and to discuss ways to assist those in need.” A picture was shown of Santa shaking the president’s hand in the Oval Office.
The president grumbled to himself then. There had been many things he had hoped to accomplish as president to cement his legacy as leader of the greatest nation in the world. He had plans for health care, immigration, and employment. What he did not have plans for were magic, elves, and Santa-fucking-Claus. Less than a year into his presidency, the whole world had gone crazy, and he was left scrambling to respond. Of course he had welcomed Santa. What the hell else could he do? Declare war on Christmas? Blow up the North Pole? The old man was offering peace and assistance. He had to take Santa at his word. It wasn’t like he had a secretary of magic in his cabinet. Diplomacy was the only answer, but he was far from happy about it. It was all a giant mess that he had believed was coming under control at last… at least until today.
The story continued. “Elves, like the one who had perpetrated the attacks, worked with government officials to try to repair the damage caused by Mary Cole.” Video clips played showing child-like elves examining people and using strange objects to cast spells. One clip showed the purple pony again, only this time she was standing on her hind legs and growing larger. Soon, she was the size of a child again, but she still appeared to be an anthropomorphic purple pony. In spite of that, she happily hugged her mother and wiped away a tear with a hoof, grateful at least to be human-sized again.
The narration continued, “What became of the magical gifts themselves? Many were confiscated by the North Pole. Others simply disappeared. Rumors swirled around the rich and famous who suddenly appeared much younger and fitter than they had looked in years. One famous Hollywood starlet even mysteriously disappeared from the public for a time until paparazzi snapped a picture of her looking too young even for high school.” A picture was shown of a young girl looking shocked and trying to cover her face.
“Yet, as time passed and no other attacks occurred, the mood of the public shifted from fear to childlike wonder. What had once been the dreams and fantasies of children was proven to be real, and many people declared themselves to be Santa fans and elf lovers.” Video clips of people holding signs and wearing T-shirts with phrases like “Santa’s Helper,” “What I want for Christmas is world peace!” and “Put me on the ‘Nice’ list!” were shown. “Across the world, Santa-mania has spread online like wildfire, and magic has become a new obsession for many.” The video then ended and cut back Amy Chung still broadcasting live from in front of a school.
“Although after the attacks of today,” she said into her microphone. “It is not clear what the response of the public will be to the magical world we find ourselves living in now. Andrew?”
The reporter in the studio replied, “Thank you for that report, Amy. Do you know if there will be any official briefings happening there soon?”
“No,” Amy replied. “All officials we had spoken to told us to wait for an official statement from the president later tonight.”
“Well,” said Andrew. “We will be waiting for that briefing when it comes. Thank you, Amy.”
The video then cut to a desk full of people with Andrew. “Now, we turn to our political panel to discuss the effects of this attack and our expectations of the president’s response. Paul, we’ll start with you. What do you think the president can say tonight to the nation that will calm their fears after another attack like this, happening less than a year following the last one?”
Paul responded, “Well, I’ll say this. I don’t envy him right now. After all of his speeches and assurances that we would be safer from magical attack, already a second attack has happened under his watch. He had better have some explanation and some solid plan of action for people tonight or he might find himself in real trouble following the midterm elections.”
President Cole hit the mute button and did his best to control his anger as he tensely set down the remote. He glared around the room at his staff and military leaders. “Well,” he said after a long pause. “What is our plan?”