The sign on the door said;
‘Recruiting – we need lively and fun individuals to play the part of Christmas Elves in a grotto near you.
As an Elf you will be wearing one of our excellent hand-made Elf costumes and responsible for promoting Santa’s message around the world.
As an Elf you will be taught clever new techniques and smart dialogue to support you in this unique experience. Interaction and improvisation will be required throughout.
You will ensure our company sales standards are met at all times.
Full and part-time positions are available. Full training is provided, apply within.’
This will do thought Gemma; she could do this. A degree in performing arts and the only job she’d had so far had been in a garden centre. Three months carrying compost and plants to people’s cars. This one she had convinced herself was a proper performing job. Well at least it was a step in the right direction. It was a bonus that she liked children and Santa.
Even if it was only for a month or so, she was going for it. The bright young woman didn’t hesitate as she stepped inside the small marquee. It was set up in the middle of the bright, glitzy shopping centre. The place was decorated as flash as these places are with Christmas decorations and seasonal music. What awaited her wasn’t quite what she expected.
As she entered the very dark tent Gemma was greeted by one of the creepiest men she had ever met.
“Hello young lady I’m Santa,” said the creepy guy.
“You don’t look like Santa,” said Gemma.
She was right, he didn’t. He looked less like Santa than anyone she had ever met. He was around sixty years old, with collar length grey hair, a wiry build, pale complexion and yellowing broken teeth. He had a three-piece suit on with shirt and tie on but didn’t look smart. There was dandruff all over his jacket and stains from food or worse on his clothes. He dribbled constantly from the corners of his mouth dabbing it with a large damp and dirty handkerchief.
Gemma cringed “Is this a joke, I thought this was a Santa’s grotto. That there were some jobs as Elves,” she said.
“All in good time my dear, I am only here for a week or so. This is what you would call a recruitment drive. Our grotto is elsewhere, our work is elsewhere,” said Santa.
Gemma began to back away; this was all getting very strange. The man moved quickly given his age and apparent condition. He grabbed her right hand with his long bony hand. His fingernails were gross thought Gemma. Long and sharp with a layer of black dirt crusted under each one.
“Don’t leave, please let me tell you about the excellent package we offer if you join us,” said Santa.
He still held her right hand, his grip was vice like and his skin so cold. Gemma always marveled at the speed of what happened next. In an instant with his other hand he grabbed her head and pulled it towards his face. His breath smelt disgusting like putrid water and rotting vegetation left for months in pond. She was terrified and thought she should be screaming. She couldn’t scream, it was as if everything was happening in slow motion.
This was disgusting he wasn’t, was he. The creepiest guy Gemma had ever met was licking the side of her face. His tongue was rough like a dogs. His saliva was running down her neck. She was going to be sick and then she saw them. He opened his mouth wide and there behind his prominent front teeth were a set the like of which she had never seen before. Fangs two at the top, two at bottom. His licking had reached her neck and stopped. He slowly, surgically sunk his teeth into her neck.
Gemma was powerless to stop him and passed out. When she woke still in the tent she was laid on blankets in the corner. The man who called himself Santa was kneeling beside her dabbing her neck with a piece of gauze.
“Congratulations young lady you have passed the interview. Welcome to our world, go out now and share the love. Spread the good news, great power and immortality is available to all. For such a small price to pay,” he said.
The young woman still wasn’t sure what had happened. She felt her neck, there were too small puncture wounds and blood still was running. She did though feel different, it was hard to explain. It was as if a hundred, maybe thousands of other people were in the room with them. Watching her, sharing the pain and joy. She wasn’t sure but felt that this elderly vampire might have bestowed something remarkable on her. Gemma knew her life had changed and was surprised to find that she was happy. The young woman felt good about what had happened and confident about her future. Hey, it might even help with her career in the performing arts. © Gareth Walker @ Curious Narrative