Nibbles and the Christmas Eve Trap

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A short story for Patrick, Jack and Daisy in memory of Nibbles, our beloved family pet. Merry Christmas!

At one minute past midnight, Nibbles sprung his trap.

A bundle of rope flew through the air, like a giant spider’s web, and covered Santa’s sleigh and all eight of his reindeer.

The reindeer did not panic. They shuffled their feet under the weight of the rope and continued to chew on their carrots.

The one called Dancer glanced over to the other side of the roof where he saw a hamster, standing with a big grin on this face, holding the other end of the rope.

Nibbles the hamster was no fan of Christmas.

“You lot are not going anywhere!” Nibbles told the reindeer.

The reindeer did not reply. Dancer closed his eyes and continued to eat his carrot. Nibbles noticed that all the reindeer were eating carrots.

“Where did you get those?” Nibbles demanded to know.

“I bet the kids around here leave those carrots out for you, don’t they? You reindeer go skipping across these roofs, from one house to another, getting free carrots all night long and do you know what us hamsters get? Nothing! We have to eat the same old, boring, dry pellets every single Christmas morning.”

Nibbles leaned in closer.

“Well, here’s the secret my tall legged friends. This Christmas will be different.”

Nibbles stood up on his back paws and pointed towards the night sky.

“Tonight, this hamster is taking back Christmas!”

The reindeer continued to eat their carrots and paid no attention to the angry hamster whatsoever.

Nibbles turned his attention towards the sleigh, which was perched on the top of the house, teetering back and forth under the rope.

“Anyway, I’m here to talk to the organ grinder, not his trained monkeys.”

Nibbles scurried across the roof and climbed his way up and along the rope.

“Ah ha!” Nibbles shouted as he dropped down into the seat of the sleigh. “There you are!”

Nibbles found himself pointing at an empty seat.

“He’s not here?” said Nibbles. “Where is Santa!”

Nibbles heard a screeching noise. The same sound you hear when you drag your fingernails down a chalkboard.

Uh oh, that’s not good, he thought. These ropes might be too heav…VVVYYYY….!”

It was too late. Nibbles, the reindeer and the flying machine, loaded with bags of toys, were sliding.

Nibbles had no time to react. Fearing for his own safety, he buried himself behind a cushion.

WHOOSH! The sled few over the edge and, BANG, it knocked the gutters off the house.

“This is the end,” said Nibbles. “I’m done for!”

The gutters crashed into the frozen backyard below and then somehow the sleigh stopped in mid-air and then bounced up and down again.

Nibbles poked his head out to see what had happened and there, straight above him, he saw Dancer chewing on a carrot. In fact, he could see that all the reindeer were still on the roof.

Nibbles scrambled up to the top of the sleigh to find that the rope had wrapped itself around the satellite dish.

Santa’s sleigh was now tied to the side of the house and it was bouncing up and down like an over-sized yo-yo.

“This is not good,” said Nibbles.

Dancer dropped a piece of carrot out of his mouth and Nibbles watched in horror as the half chewed bit of food fell through the air and landed smack in the middle of his furry face.

“Disgusting!” said Nibbles. “Reindeer drool!”

Nibbles wiped his face clean and decided it was time to move.

He figured he only had a few minutes to get out of this predicament before the rope broke or the satellite dish snapped in half and the sleigh crashed into the frozen ground below like those crumpled gutters.

Nibbles took a running start and leapt off the sleigh and onto the top of the window ledge.

Lucky for him, the window to the boy’s bedroom, which he had escaped from an hour earlier, was still ajar. He ducked down and crawled through the tight space and back into the warmth of the house.

~

The sound of snoring filled the house.

Nibbles landed with a soft plop onto the the bed, careful not to wake the sleeping boy.

That’s when he heard the sound of rustling paper.

“He’s downstairs!”

Nibbles rushed as fast as his little feet would take him, flying out of the room, across the carpet and down the dark stairs.

Reaching the bottom step, Nibbles saw Santa crouching under the Christmas tree, pulling presents out of his bag.

“I’ve got you now Santa,” squeaked Nibbles. “Time for phase 2.”

Nibbles crept around the back of the sofa, through the legs of the table, under the curtain and jumped through the cat flap.

He shivered as he stood on the cold back step. He then walked over to the bushes on the side of the house and dragged out a small watering can.

“Okay Santa”, said Nibbles. “Let’s see you get past this trap.”

Nibbles tipped over the can allowing all the water to pour out onto the path.

“If Santa tries to leave out the back door, he tumble over like a baby reindeer on ice.”

Nibbles finished emptying the can and turned to go back into the warm house when the strangest thing happened. He heard a sort of popping noise behind him. He looked back, expecting to see the start of his homemade ice rink, but what he saw on the path looked like a miniature Christmas tree.

“What is the world is going on?” said Nibbles. “Am I seeing things? Did I eat a dodgy pellet?”

Next to the mini Christmas tree, another one popped up and then another. Christmas trees where popping up all over the pathway. Instead of creating ice, the water was sprouting Christmas trees!

Baffled by what he was seeing, Nibbles backed away and ran into the house.

“Yes, I must have eaten a bad pellet,” Nibbles decided, shaking his head in disbelief.

He crawled under the couch and behind the TV and from this angle Nibbles could see Santa was still placing gifts beneath the tree.

He could also see the spot where he had placed his glue trap. In a certain spot, that only Nibbles knew about, the carpet was covered with enough glue to stick a rhino to a moving truck.

“Time for phase 3,” squeaked Nibbles.

~

Nibbles had been waiting for this very moment ever since the disappointment of last year’s Christmas and he was not going to let anything mess it up.

Santa would step in the glue and he would be trapped until morning and by that time, it would be too late to hand out the rest of the Christmas gifts.

Christmas would be cancelled for everyone.

Nibbles watched as Santa moved closer and closer to his trap every time he placed down another gift.

Santa edged closer and closer to the trap until, all of a sudden, Santa stopped.

“What’s he doing?” squeaked Nibbles.

Santa was eating! He had picked up the tray of cookies and milk that had been left out for him.

“Oh, this is just great!” squeaked Nibbles. “Santa gets to eat delicious biscuits and milk I’m stuck with here with my bowl of dry pellets! No fresh carrots for me, or Christmas cards or a Christmas tree!”

“Well, enjoy it while you can, Santa,” squeaked Nibbles. “Christmas is about to be cancelled!”

Santa finished the last of the biscuits and placed the empty dish back on the table.

“Oh no, where’s he going now?” squeaked Nibbles.

Santa slung his bag over his shoulder and started to walk towards the chimney.

“Santa’s going to leave!” squeaked Nibbles.

“Oh dear, I can’t forget this one,” said Santa. “This is the most important present of them all.”

Santa put his bag back down on the floor and pulled out the biggest present yet, a big box covered in blue sparkling paper.

“Ah yes,” said Santa. “This is the one.”

“Just move a bit closer to that spot…” squeaked Nibbles.

Santa placed the sparkling gift beneath the tree.

“Just a big closer…” squeaked Nibbles.

Nibbles watched as Santa’s foot inched closer and closer to the trap.

“There we go, job done,” said Santa as he started to walk back towards the chimney.

Forgetting that he was supposed to be hiding, Nibbles ran out from behind the TV and stood right in the middle of the living room.

“No, no, no! This will not do!” said Nibbles, jumping up and down. “You’re not supposed to leave yet! You’re supposed to walk over there!”

“Oh, hello Nibbles,” said Santa, looking down at the hamster.

“You can understand me?” said Nibbles. “You know my name?”

Santa laughed.

“Of course I know your name. You’re Nibbles, who lives in the white cage, in Patrick and Jack’s room, at 5 Fairwater Road. You like to take long runs in your wheel, go for trips around the house in your ball and you like to sleep late on the weekends.”

“Yes, that’s me,” said Nibbles, smiling up at Santa.

Then Nibbles noticed the gift tag hanging off the blue gift.

“To Nibbles. Love Santa,” said the note.

“Is that for me?”

“Why yes it is,” said Santa

Nibbles felt his hamster heart swell up to twice its normal size.

Santa walked towards Nibbles to shake his little paw and happened to step right into middle of the glue trap.

Nibble’s heart went cold as he saw Santa’s foot freeze in place.

Santa placed his other foot down to catch his balance, but it stuck to the glue as well.

Both of Santa’s legs were now stuck in the trap and his whole body started to sway back and forth, out of control.

Santa tried to reach out and grab something for support, but the only thing he could reach was a single branch on the Christmas tree. That was probably not the best idea though, since the tree started to fall forward as well.

“LOOK OUT SANTA!” said Nibbles.

~

The Christmas tree hit Santa and all the baubles, tinsel and multi-coloured lights, fell on top of him with a giant CRASH!

Nibbles, summoning up all the courage in the world, lowered his paws to reveal the mess.

The once brilliant looking tree was strewn across the floor and Nibbles could only see a sliver of Santa’s red jacket sticking out from underneath the tree.

“Santa!” said Nibbles. “I’m coming for you!”

Nibbles jumped into the tree and ran along the broken branches and in between the shattered baubles and the busted candy canes.

Nibbles dug and dug and when he made it to the bottom he grabbed Santa’s jacket between his teeth and pulled.

He tugged on that jacket so hard that it snapped free and he went tumbling across the floor, flipping over and over until he came to a stop, landing upside down against the wall.

Nibbles flipped himself over, gave his head a shake and looked up expecting to see Santa lying beside him.

Except the only thing lying on the ground was Santa’s empty jacket.

“Oh no, what have I done!” said Nibbles. “Santa, are you still under there?”

Nibbles ran back under the pile of broken branches and the tangle of flashing red and green lights. He searched and searched, but there was no sign of Santa.

Nibbles crawled his way back out into the middle of the room once again, panting from exhaustion and covered in tree sap.

“Hello Nibbles,” said a voice from behind him.

Nibbles almost jumped out of his fur!

He leapt around to see Santa standing before him.

“Santa, is that you?”

Nibbles ran over and jumped up onto Santa’s boot and the big man scooped him up into the palm of his hand.

“You’re okay Santa!” said Nibbles. “You’re okay!”

“Of course!” Santa laughed.

“But I thought…” said Nibbles. “I thought…well, that you were trapped under the tree.”

Oh no,” said Santa. “I was up on the roof untangling the boys from that terrible mess. Took me longer than I thought. That rope was really stuck!”

You were up on the roof?” said Nibbles. “But how?”

Santa let out another deep laugh. “Magic of course! A little sprinkle of the old Christmas Magic will fix most things. Although, I do think Dancer may have dropped his carrot. He was a little upset, but not to worry, there’s plenty more houses to visit and plenty more carrots and biscuits to eat.”

“I’m so glad,” said Nibbles. “And Santa?”

“Yes Nibbles…”

“I have a confession to make. I sort of, well, set up those traps to keep you here tonight.”

“Yes Nibbles, I know.”

“You do?”

“Of course! Santa’s see’s everything. I do have one question though. Why did you want to stop Christmas?”

Nibbles looked at the ground. “Well, last year, I didn’t get what I wanted.”

“You didn’t?” Santa looked puzzled.

“I am so tired of eating those dry pellets and all I wanted was some new snacks. I wanted my own supply of carrots and celery. Plus, I never get my own Christmas tree or the chance to create my own Christmas cards.”

“Nibbles,” said Santa. “I think you should open your present.”

Santa pointed towards the tree where Nibbles expected to see a giant mess, but he saw the tree standing tall once again.

Nibbles rubbed his eyes, not believing what was in front of him.

“Christmas Magic,” said Santa with a wink. “Now on you go and open your gift. If I’m going to keep on schedule, I’ll have to be going soon.”

Santa placed Nibbles back down on the carpet.

“Thanks Santa,” said Nibbles, but as he turned around he saw that Santa had already left. He heard hooves trampling across the roof.

Nibbles jumped on top of his gift and tore it open to discover the box was empty, except for a handwritten note, which said:

Dear Nibbles,

I am so sorry. Please accept my deepest apologies. Last year, I forgot to include the instructions for the 3 gifts that I left beside your cage.

To make up for it, I have left a giant bag of Harry’s Amazing Hamster Treats in your room. I have it on good authority that they are the best hamster treats in the world.

Also, better late than never, I have included the instructions for last year’s gifts:

#1: A Magic Rope: this can be used to climb anywhere and everywhere (even to the top shelf in the kitchen where your family keep the fresh carrots and celery!)

Warning: This rope has a mind of its own and it will tie itself to anything that comes near it!

#2: A Magic Watering Can. This watering grows instant Christmas trees.

Warning: One drop is all you need!

#3: A Magic Glue Stick. This is the stickiest glue in the world. You can use it to create the best Christmas cards you have ever seen!

Warning: When I say sticky, I mean sticky!

Sorry again Nibbles and I hope you enjoy these gifts.

Love,

Santa

PS.

Remember that Christmas isn’t something you capture, it is something you create.

THE END