In the silence of the dark living room, in the boughs of the Christmas tree, a strange conversation evolves.
"Okay, it's safe to talk."
"Is that you Snowy?"
"You betcha, Olga. Mr. Snowman, himself. How's our pretty little ice skating queen?"
"I'm still here."
Another female speaks, "Me, too."
A new macho voice. "Is that Tina, our tiny ballerina? Still twirling?"
"Okay," Snowy said. "Tina and Mr. Football are still here."
"Yeah, Snowy. I'm ready for the big game."
"Okay. What about Santa?"
"Ho, Ho, Ho, Snowy."
Snowy keeps up the roll call. "Angel?"
A sweet voice drifts down from the top of the tree. "I'm here Snowy, but I don't hear Chirpy singing."
Snowy calls out, "Chirpy?" Nothing. He tries again. "Chirpy, are you here?"
Chirpy was missing, and he wasn't the first. Last night they'd lost the Snowboarder, and before that, Rudolph and Teddy Bear had disappeared.
A frightened little voice cries, "Where is everyone?"
"Easy, Tina," Snowy says.
"Who's doing this?" Angel asks.
Olga answers. "I heard the mother say there were too many ornaments on the tree."
"I think it's the little boy," says Nutcracker. "Snowboarder said the boy wanted to play with him."
"That's right," Mr. Football says. "And Rudolph said the boy pinched his nose. Now they're both gone. I hope he doesn't hurt them."
"I wish we could see each other,"says the ballerina. "I'm afraid, twirling up here by myself."
"I can see your head, Tina," says Angel.
A squeaky voice pipes up. "I can't see anybody."
"Who's that?" Snowy says.
"Gingerbread Man. What are we going to do?"
"I'm afraid," Tina says. "Who'll be next?"
"Don't worry, Tina. I'll protect you." The deep voice belongs to Mr. Nutcracker.
"Thank you Mr. Nutcracker, but you couldn't protect all the others."
Tina's words resound throughout the tree, and the living room gets very quiet. They all know how easy it is for someone to steal them.
As each ornament worries about his fate, the branches on the tree begin to move. Tiny voices cry out, "What's that? Who's there? What's going on?"
Then they hear a scream. "Help! Help! He's got me."
"Who is that? I can't see. What's happening?" Snowy yells.
"It's Gingerbread Man. Save me."
"What can we do?" Nutcracker says.
As Ginger's scream fade off into the distance, Angel asks, "Who took him? Did anyone see?"
No one saw anything. Finally, it becomes quiet again. None of the ornaments speak. It's Christmas Eve and they don't know if they'll be here to see Christmas morning.
In another room, a tiny voice calls out, "Mommy? Mommy?"
A sleepy voice answers. "What is it honey?"
"Mittens got ahold of something. I heard it scream."
"I'll take care of it in the morning."
"Mommy, it's in my room. I think it's crying."
"Oh, for heaven's sake. I'm coming."
Mommy comes in, turns on the light, and laughs.
"Mittens! He's been stealing ornaments off the tree. Naughty kitty. Shoo."
She picks up Ginger, Snowboarder, Rudolph, Teddy Bear, and Chirpy and puts them all back on the tree. Chirpy's feathers are a little chewed, but he can still sing.
The little boy follows Mommy into the living room. "But, Mommy, I heard a scream."
"It was probably Mittens playing. Go to sleep. Santa will be coming soon."
After all the humans go back to bed and everyone has been welcomed back to the tree, Snowy whispers, "I forgot that humans can hear us on Christmas Eve. If that wicked kitten comes back, we'll all yell and make a great big ruckus.
Just then, they hear sleigh bells outside, and a sigh sweeps the tree.
"We'll be all right now," Angel says.
And, keep writing.