Authors note: welcome to another advent story! Back in 2012 I started to write an annual story, using the presents from the LEGO City advent calendar as “seeds” for the stories, where the daily story had to feature the present in some way. Due to a whole number of things (see my earlier post) this year will be a weekly story but will feature all the items for that week. I hope you enjoy the story.
December 1 – December 3
Come in, please sit down and warm yourself by the fire. Yes, it is a bit chilly out, isn’t it? I’ll get one of my colleagues to go and get us some hot chocolates – you’re OK if we put little marshmallows on the top? It’s a bit of a seasonal treat for me, you see.
So, now you’re nice and settled, I’ll begin, and I don’t think we’ve met before. My name is Edgar Lance Taylor Boothready – but I’m only ever called that by my mother when I’ve been a little naughty – most people just call me Wodge. The room that we are in is a very important part of Father Christmas’ Records Office; this is commonly called SH5 by the elves. Now you may have heard of the British spy departments of MI5 and MI6 and we’re a little like that. You see, whilst the popular song says that Santa will check the Naughty List twice the truth is that he doesn’t really have time to go through the whole list – and certainly not enough to maintain it. So, he has these “Santa Helper” departments who will look into everybody’s records and determine whether they will appear on the Naughty or Nice list. Some are easy, others are more complicated, and these may get passed onto special SH departments, such as SH5, to investigate. With our experience we can check, investigate and… sorry – I do tend to ramble a bit. What you need is an example from our archives and I’ll tell you that in a moment; but I guess it’s worth knowing that we have many of these departments for things such as “politicians”, “liking Marmite and not liking Timbits”, “colouring outside the lines when drawing”, “stepping on the cracks in the pavement” and the like.
But let’s get down to the story. It happened in one of the loveliest places to visit, Heartlake in Legoland. I got to hear about it when an investigation form was put on my desk. It said:
Location: Heartlake, Legoland
Person(s) to be investigated: Cameo; Doodlefig
Reason: Possible transfer to the Naughty List
And that was it. No further explanation of who they were, where I would find them, or if they had been bad before (we don’t rollover people onto the Naughty List; everyone starts on the Nice List at the start of the year and then the SH departments will then get alerts and take the appropriate actions. Of course, some might get moved across instantly the clock chimes midnight – but that’s the responsibility of SH1)
With nothing else to go on, I decided to go to Heartlake. Besides, I needed some mini-marshmallows for my hot chocolate…
William was out in the snow. He loved this time of year – it was the perfect opportunity to get out his snowboard and head to the slopes. Fortunately, the Heartlake hills were a short walk from his house, and even better the ski lift was close too, so he could finish school, get home and be on the slopes before his dad got home from work and they had tea. Last Christmas he had been given a new board – it was a lovely colourful board and it stood out on the snow as he carved his way down the slope. He made his way up to the top of the slope and clipped his boots into the board. He was about to push off and start to slide down when a man just skied straight over the end of his board.
“Hey” said William.
“I was here first, you pushed in” said the man.
William didn’t realise that there was a queue and as he looked round, he could see that everyone else hadn’t realised there was a queue either. They all shrugged their shoulders and carried on. William enjoyed this slope – about a third of the way down there was a section that allowed him to do some very simple tricks – and get a little air too, which was always fun. As he headed down, he carefully made sure that he kept out of the way of anyone else, especially those who were still learning or going slowly, so that everyone could enjoy the slope. Because he knew the slope so well, he also knew the little dog leg through the trees that would bring him out close by the entrance to the ski lift – something that those who followed the marked path would be away from. He came to a stop and started to walk towards the lift.
“Hey, get behind me – I was here first!” This was shouted from a way behind William. It was that man again.
“I finished by following the proper route. You took a short cut. You should get the lift after me.”
William was now very confused – and a little worried as this man was definitely strange. He looked at his watch and decided that it would just be easier to go home. With a cheeky bow, he waved the man through and onto the lift. The stranger got onto the ski lift without a word of thanks.
By the time William had got home, he had forgotten all about it. At the top of the lift, the man got off. He had not forgotten – and for him it was another reason for what he had planned.
At the other end of Heartlake, in a house that had definitely seen better days, Steven laid out the train track for his model toy train. Like the house, the train was old, made from old tin and bent roughly into the shape of a train. The paint on the train was chipped and faded and the train tracks were a dark stained brown from years of use. This was a train set that had been passed down through generations. Steven wound up the train and the clockwork motor started to pull the train round. In his mind, Steven was on board the train. For him, the track didn’t go around in a loop – it went off and away from here. Whilst the train went around the tracks taking Steven’s mind off to faraway places, he doodled absent-mindedly on his sketch pad. The clockwork soon ran out, bringing him back to that worn out living room and the threadbare carpet. He looked at the sketch pad and saw he’d drawn a tunnel. “Wouldn’t it be fun if it worked” he thought. He wound the train up and it started round the track. With a mischievous smile, Steven stood the sketch pad on the tracks. The train got closer to the sketch paper… the clockwork motor already sounding like it was running out of power… closer… slower… closer… slower… and… then… It went into the tunnel! Or rather, it HALF went into the tunnel – the clockwork motor stopped with the last of the train still sticking out. Steven’s mouth dropped open. He looked at the paper – and the train – and then looked at the other side of the paper, which was just a blank piece of paper! Steven carefully pulled the train out and then carefully put his hand up to… into… the tunnel. Then his arm – right up to the shoulder. He pulled his hand out and looked inside. It was pitch black.
“Of course – I’ve not drawn the other end of the tunnel!” he exclaimed. A few minutes later he had drawn the entrance to a second tunnel on another piece of paper. He propped the paper up on the train tracks, then carefully propped the first one up. He looked down the tunnel – he could see a light at the other end! He wound up the train and let it run. It went into the tunnel… there was a pause… and then it came out of the other entrance!
For the next few hours, Steven tried various railway set ups – he even broke the loop of the train tracks but made sure the tunnel was on the lines. He worked out that it was always just three seconds from something going in to the tunnel to coming out.
The next day Steven could not think of anything else except for this new-found trick. He started to think about all the things he could do with this – but as he thought about this, he started to wonder; how big could he make the hole? Where did it go – and did it always need a tunnel at the other end? That evening was going to be exciting!
For me, I had arrived at Heartlake. We had a standard agreement with the hotel and always had a room on standby – every year something seems to happen around here that requires one of us to come and visit. We’ve often thought about opening a little shop here rather than relying on the post delivering the Santa Wish lists. I decided to take the opportunity to do a little skiing – whilst we do have snow in Lapland, it is quite flat where we are and it’s quite nice to let the slope do the work. I watched a strange man tell a boy off for something – I didn’t pay too much attention as that was the sort of thing that SH8 would be told about and investigate. But about an hour later I received a Santatext from SH8 that the incident may be linked to my own investigation. Could one of them be somehow connected to my two persons of interest? Something to investigate I thought… but first, time for hot chocolate.
This week we only had three days – and those were the Toy Train, William the Snowboarding boy and this lovely brick fireplace.
See you next week!