Summer Coffèy sat and stared at the clock hands. The seconds ticked by as she waited for Winter Break. She was tired of school and of all the teachers forcing her creative mind to turn off. Finally, she would taste freedom.
To her right, Archer Kandre whispered to his friend, Todd Benson. “Summer is so weird,” he laughed.
“Yeah,” Todd agreed. “I hear she’s gonna be in the next horror movie.” The two boys lost it and began laughing.
The teacher was starting to get mad at them, but the bell drowned out her words.
All of the students rushed out, Archer in the lead. He ran over to the front of the school to wait for his sister to arrive, as Todd slowly walked up to him.
“I…have an…idea,” he panted, tired from running.
“What?” Archer asked.
“Winter Break Truth or Dare,” Todd slyly smiled.
“Really?” Archer shrugged. “I don’t know. We haven’t done that since fourth grade-four years ago.”
“No,” Todd shook his head. “You say a dare we flip a coin. Heads means we have to do it. Tails means we don’t.”
Archer chuckled. “Sure,” he grinned.
Todd pumped his fist and pulled a coin out of his backpack. “What should the dare be?” he inquired.
“You have to go to Summer Coffèy’s house,” Archer said proudly.
Todd flipped the silver quarter in the air and stood back. The coin came down with a ring and tails up. “Ha!” Todd exclaimed, doing a dance.
Archer rolled his eyes. “My turn,” he said, turning to make sure his ride wasn’t there.
“Same dare,” Todd spoke, getting ready for the quarter flip.
“Okay,” Archer nodded, rubbing his hands together, “on three.”
“One,” Todd counted, “two, three!” He threw the quarter in the air while Archer crossed his fingers. When it came down, only Todd looked. “Uh, Archer,” he said nervously.
“Yeah?” Archer answered. He looked to where Todd was and his eyes were wide. “It’s-it’s,” he stuttered.
“Heads,” Todd finished gloomily.
Summer ditched the bus and raced to the front door of her creepy-looking house. It looked like a haunted mansion, but still, had a homey feeling. After a long day of school, she could finally relax. She threw open the door and ran to the kitchen to grab a snack. Slowly, her pregnant mother came down stairs.
“Hello, Sweetie,” she smiled, tiredly. “How was school?”
“Good,” Summer replied, kissing her cheek. “I’ll be in my room in case you need me.” She snatched a nearby banana and walked up the creaking stairs. She walked over to a door with a simple mirror on it. She went into her room, flopped onto her bed, and watched T.V.
Summer’s room had an eerie feel, like the rest of her house. It was dark and dull with cobwebs everywhere. Dust laid on top of everything and creepy dolls surrounded the entire perimeter. Yet, that’s how Summer liked it.
She smiled and laughed at the show, glad that no one would bug her.
Archer sat silently on the way home. All he could think about was the face of George Washington staring up at him.
“You alright, Archer?” his older sister, Jessica, asked.
He nodded. “Can we pick up Todd tomorrow?”
“Why?” Jessica inquired.
“We-” he began, “I’ll tell you later,”
“Whatever you say,” Jessica said, rolling her eyes.
Archer was really nervous. Thousands of questions buzzed in his brain. What if I get murdered? Will I see tomorrow? Will I ever play Fortnite again?
The thoughts haunted him through homework and dinner. Archer could barely sleep thinking about the next day.
When Saturday morning came around, Archer looked as if he hadn’t slept in days. Thankfully, it was washed away after a quick shower. He ate breakfast, got in his sister’s car, and waited.
Summer stretched and watched more T.V. She got ready in case she had to go anywhere and munched on a waffle her mother made. As she was about to run back up stairs, Summer heard a knock at the door. Assuming she was hearing things, she started back up, but there was another knock.
“Get the door, please,” her mother called from the kitchen.
Summer groaned and unlocked the door. She pulled it open and saw Archer Kandre looking as if he just saw a ghost.
“H-h-hi Summer,” Archer stuttered.
“Uh, hi?” she replied, “Why are you here?”
“To hang out,” he tried to say coolly.
“But we’re not-” she started, getting cut off by Mrs. Coffèy’s approaching footsteps.
“You must be Mrs. Coffèy,” Archer greeted Summer’s mom as she walked in from the kitchen.
“Yes,” she smiled. “And you are?”
Summer groaned. “This is Archer Kandre,” she spat. “He’s a friend from school.”
Archer smiled and slowly walked past Summer. “This place is…nice,” he said.
“Here,” Summer said, enthusiastically. “In my room, I have that Xbox I told you about.”
Archer followed Summer with a goofy grin. He was surprised that Summer was playing along. He slightly wondered is she actually thought they were friends. He shuddered.
“You okay?” Summer wondered, raising an eyebrow.
“Yeah,” he replied.
They both got to the top of the stairs and turned down a hall of mirrors.
Summer turned to the first on on the left and walked into it.
Archer freaked out. “GHOST!” he shrieked.
Summer opened the door a crack and grabbed his arm. Slowly, she dragged him towards the mirror.
Still screaming, Archer grabbed at the floorboards. He could not die like this, He tried his hardest, but Summer won.
Archer cried out as the glass grew closer. Slowly, his feet started to go into the mirror. He felt a tingly feeling and stopped yelling for a second. Soon, his waist disappeared and then his shoulders. Archer looked forward as he felt his head get sucked in.
Summer cursed under her breath as Archer was sprawled on the floor of her room. “Archer,” she muttered, “ get up.”
“Where am I?” he asked.
“My room,” Summer said, walking over to her bed.
Archer got on his knees and quickly noticed the creepy dolls. “You like dolls?”
“No,” Summer shook her head. “My mom buys me them.”
“Oh,” Archer awkwardly said. They sat in silence until Summer spoke.
“Wanna see something cool?” she asked, her eyes full of excitement.
“Sure,” Archer nodded, happy for the silence to be broken. “What is it?”
Summer motioned him over towards her closet and pushed it aside. Behind it was an old wooden door.
Archer craned his neck and looked at it. “What’s so cool about a door?” he asked.
“Not the door,” Summer stated, clearly annoyed. “It’s what behind the door that matters.” She gripped the handle and unlocked the door. “Ready?” she grinned.
“You bet I am,” Archer said.
Summer smiled widely and pulled the door open. It creaked as cold air came rushing out.
Archer’s mouth dropped. There was a winter wonderland with snow and everything. Candy canes littered the ground and snowflakes fell from the sky. “How…what…where?” Archer spoke, the words fumbling in his mouth.
“Magic,” Summer creepily said. “Follow me.” She raced down a snow-covered hill towards a village in the distance.
Archer shook his head and watched her. He debated whether or not he wanted to go. He could leave, lock the door, and say he never knew Summer, but that would be cruel.
“Are you coming?” Summer yelled from below.
Archer bit his lip. He glanced at the door and then at Summer. He laughed and ran after her. The cool wind whipped his face and the fresh snow felt like a slap when he tripped. Archer shot up from the ground and brushed the snow off his face.
Summer giggled at him.
Archer’s ears burned and he looked away. He gasped at two short men who walked in front of them.
“Those are elves,” Summer explained.
“Like ‘Santa’s elves’?” he asked, as one of them noticed him.
“Yep,” she smiled. “They work 365 days a year. Not always making toys, but cars, pots, pans, everything.”
It took him a minute, but Archer slowly realized that they were in the North Pole
Suddenly, the sky turned red. A heart-shaped, flying ship floated above them.
“What’s that?” Archer asked as the wind speed increased dramatically.
“I’m not sure,” Summer said, examining it.
Soon, hail started pelting down on them and Archer put his hands up to shield his head. The hail hurt and was falling harder and harder. “Where do we go?” he called out, the wind getting more intense.
“This way!” Summer cried. They ran past the small village towards a large building labeled “Reindeer Headquarters”. Summer opened the door and Archer followed her inside. They walked over to a nearby fire to warm up.
“What was that?” Archer said, flabbergasted.
“I don’t know,” Summer said, worried. “Of all of the times I’ve been here, I’ve never seen anything like that.”
“Will you two be quiet?” a voice angrily yelled. “I’m trying to sleep!”
Archer stumbled and stood up. “Who was that?” he whispered down to her.
Summer lightly laughed and got up. “Dasher,” she muttered, “we’ve been over this. Don’t wake everyone else up, please.”
“Well, we’re up now,” another voice chimed in.
“Sorry Dancer,” Summer apologized.
“Don’t apologize,” Dancer assured. “Prancer kicked me and woke me up.”
A group of large reindeer walked out of the shadows towards them. One of the reindeer ran from the back and got in Archer’s face.
“Who is this?” he asked.
“Vixen,” Summer replied. “That’s my friend Archer. Archer, this is Vixen.”
Vixen looked a little suspicious, but back off.
“Wait,” Archer paused. “These are the Dasher, Dancer, Prancer, Vixen`, Comet, Cupid, Donner, and Blitzen?”
“You bet!” a hyper reindeer exclaimed, bouncing off the walls.
“Where’s Rudolph?” Archer joked.
“In his mansion,” a reindeer replied. “Why?”
Archer looked a little confused, but Dancer walked in front of him.
“Enough about Rudolph,” Dancer barked. “Have you guys been outside? Comet was flying around and saw the sky.”
“Yeah,” Comet agreed. “I was gonna tell Santa, but the hail stopped me from flying.”
“So the hail takes your flying ability?” Summer inquired.
Comet nodded. “It’s the strangest thing to not be able to fly,” he explained. “Now I know what it would be like to be a person.”
“This is worse than I thought,” Summer murmured. “Some magic is destroying the North Pole, but what is it?”
“I know what it is,” a voice boomed.
Archer looked at the shadows and saw a red light. “You have gotta be joking,” he laughed.
A reindeer sitting in a swivel chair turned to reveal a bright red nose. Rudolph smirked, stood up, and walked over to Vixen. “I thought you’d be asleep by now,” Rudolph chuckled.
Vixen glared at him and snorted, “Why aren’t you in your mansion?”
Rudolph put on his sunglasses and shrugged. “Why do I have to be?” He clicked his tongue and went over to Summer. “I know what the threat is,” he said.
“What is it?” Summer asked.
“A holiday,” he said, his face clouding. “One that uses arrows and untold horrors. A holiday that-”
“Sounds like Valentine’s Day,” Archer interrupted. He laughed and gave himself a high-five.
Rudolph stared at him. “That’s exactly what it is,” he said, astonished. “Valentine’s Day is trying to prevent Christmas from happening.”
“But why?” Summer wondered aloud.
“Jealousy I believe,” Rudolph spoke. “But no matter the reason, we must fight back.”
“But how do we fight a holiday?” Archer playfully asked.
“With holidays,” Summer said, nodding. An idea was slowly forming in her mind. “And I know how we can win.”
Archer stood as snow and candy canes fell from the sky. In his right hand, he held a sword made from candy canes. Summer had devised a plan to use Christmas items to fight Valentine’s Day. It was hard, but Archer had agreed to do it. While he was positioned behind a Christmas tree, Summer was inside creating something that would make the reindeer fly. If they couldn’t fly, the plan wouldn’t work. The deer had to fly them up and take Valentine’s Day down; Christmas style. It sounded so simple. Archer turned and saw Summer hide behind a tree near him.
She gave him a thumbs up and nodded. The reindeer were ready and so was she.
Archer nodded back as Dancer walked behind him.
“Hop on,” Dancer said, crouching down.
“Okay,” Archer nervously said. He grabbed Dancer’s antler and climbed on top of his back. He was sort of like a horse, but smaller and furrier. Archer gulped and looked at Summer.
Summer sat on Vixen like she’d done it hundreds of times. Never was she so ready to fight. Summer lowered her mouth to Vixen’s ear and whispered, “Tell Rudolph we’re ready.”
Vixen growled and told Rudolph.
Rudolph nodded and enabled small bands around his ankles causing him to fly.
Summer silently cheered that her invention had worked. Both of them knew that stealth was the key. Rudolph flew higher towards the sky with Dancer and Vixen close behind. They flew higher until Rudolph signaled them to stop. “Prepare yourselves,” he said quietly.
Summer grabbed her candy cane hilt and drew it.
Archer clutched his sword also as they snuck onto the Valentine’s Day’s ship.
They snuck around the ship in the sky. Not much action had happened beside a few pipes spraying chocolate and hail.
Acher groaned at the boring sight. “Where’s the action you talked about?” he murmured.
Then he got his answer. A person appeared out of nowhere with a bow and heart-shaped arrows. “I demand you get off my ship!” he screamed in rage.
“We will,” Rudolph said bravely. “When you leave the North Pole.”
“Never,” the man hissed.
“Then you leave us no choice,” Rudolph said, bowing his head. “Get him!”
Summer and Archer slid off the reindeer as the man pressed a button. Instantly, about twenty heart-shaped people ran from the shadows to fight.
Archer shook his head as he ran at one. “This is the weirdest thing I have ever done!” he called out to Summer.
“Same!” she replied as she kicked a heart. “Try to get to the man. I think it’s Cupid.”
“But Cupid isn’t here,” Dancer realized. He stepped on a heart and thought about it.
“The person,” Vixen yelled. “Not the reindeer.”
“Oh,” Dancer said, embarrassed.
Summer slashed her sword at a heart and ran towards Cupid. She lunged at him and the two fell to the floor.
Archer ran over to help Summer.
Cupid jumped up and realized his side was losing. He tried to run, but Vixen used his antlers to charge at him. The reindeer picked Cupid up and tossed him to the side.
Dancer ran over to Vixen and pinned him against the wall. “Use the cookie bombs in your pockets to blow the ship up!”
Archer pulled out two cookies and tossed one to Summer.
They placed them on the floor and called to the reindeer.
Rudolph stepped on some more hearts and made his way to Archer and Summer. Vixen and Dancer ran after him and jumped off of the ship.
Summer lept out of the ship onto Vixen and called out to Archer.
He jumped onto Dancer and flew away as the ship turned into dozens of tiny presents.
They all smiled and laughed as the reindeer flew them towards the wooden door.
“Let’s go, Archer,” Summer said opening the door.
Archer ran into the room, panting.
Summer said her goodbyes and locked the door.
Outside a car honked loudly.
“I guess you have to go,” Summer sighed.
“Don’t worry,” Archer assured, “I’ll be back soon see the North Pole soon.”
They laughed and went down stairs. Archer left and Summer smiled. She had finally shared her secret.
By: Avey Schulz
Photo Credits: bonappetit.com