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Santa Suit Stories!

"Of Soot and Santa" - By Daniel Brantly (Exclusive to Santa.CC)

Sure it's magical. As it sat in the corner, the velveteen Santa suit appeared as magical as a pair of pliers. The thought made Darren snicker. The only difference is that a pair of pliers is immediately useful, he said to himself.

santa suit burgundy deluxeYears before-decades actually, Darren's grandfather had tried to fill Darren's head with fantastical stories about some chubby guy who would come by every year, snatch that very suit that was now in Darren's duplex, fly around the globe in a reindeer-powered sleigh, and squeeze through chimney after chimney, leaving behind nothing but a couple of sooty footprints and a stack of presents.

There would be candies and pellet guns for the boys, hair bows and dolls for the girls, and some rather boring things for the kids' parents. Darren remembered the tale's simplicity, his grandfather's insistence of its truth, and most important, his own unwillingness to put his reasoning aside and believe in something outside of what he could touch and see right that moment.

And he hadn't changed a bit. Despite growing a bit softer physically and mentally by the passage of time, Darren still held fast to his belief that Santa Claus was little more than a myth, the Santa suit a powerless sign of a powerless children's story.

Yet in honor of his grandfather, Darren had the old Santa suit out in the old corner chair in the living room. He'd even had it cleaned and pressed, just as his grandfather had year after year. Because while his grandfather passed away three months earlier and Darren knew in his heart of hearts that the Santa suit held no magic powers, it did hold some strength over Darren. A power Darren readily admitted to. The power of sentimentality.

Because while Darren resisted the idea of anything bigger than his 800-square-foot duplex, he was a sucker for sentiment. It's why he listened to his grandfather's story year after year, regardless of his own thoughts on Santa and his grandfather's supposedly special Santa suit. It's why he stared long at the freshly cleaned and pressed suit that rested innocently on the corner chair, clashing brilliantly against the chair's fading yellow fabric.

I miss you, Grandpa, he sighed, as he wiped a single tear away.

With that, Darren turned from the Santa suit and headed into the kitchen to finish cooking his dinner of chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese. As he sat down at his rickety kitchen table, something caught his eye.

He looked deeper into the living room.

My mind's playing tricks on me, he said to no one. That suit's not going anywhere.

Finishing his nuggets and chugging his milk, Darren changed into his beige pajamas, brushed his teeth without vigor, and roamed his way down the hall and into bed. As he lay there, a noise caught his imagination. Living in the city, he had grown accustomed to incessant noises. There were cars, planes, buses, people, doors being opened and shut, rattling windows, and sirens. If it weren't noisy, Darren would think something was suspicious.

But this wasn't a city noise. It wasn't brash and loud. It wasn't someone honking a horn to get someone living on the third story to wake up. This sound was little more than a brushing, a breath of calm wind. This sound wasn't meant to be heard.

Darren sat upright in his bed.

It wasn't meant to be heard.

He flung the covers off himself, slid on his backless house shoes, stepped to the door. He grabbed the handle, turned, paused.

Breathing heavy, Darren laughed as his heart pummeled his chest. He laughed at his grandfather, the clean and pressed Santa suit he knew was still in the living room, and his own near brush with belief.

It's all silliness, he repeated to himself over and over, his laughter growing louder with each repetition.

A short while later, he was asleep with a smug smile that told all of the believers of Santa Claus that they were fools and he-Darren Douglas-was right.

When the alarm sounded seven hours later, Darren had moved beyond Santa Claus and was instead concerned with the tasks of daily life. He combed his hair, put on a white collared shirt and khaki pants, and made a mental to-do list.

Walking into the kitchen, something caught his eye. Something was in the corner of the living room, sitting on an old chair. Darren turned and gasped.

There on the chair was the Santa suit Darren had cleaned and pressed only 24 hours earlier. But now, Darren could barely recognize it through the slight dusting of soot that covered the entire suit from head to toe.


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