The Reading Corner: novels by Lichelle Christensen

Santa's Last Delivery

Chapter One

“Slow down there, Dasher and Dancer.” Santa pulled back on the reins. “This is our next stop.”

Dasher and Dancer and the rest of the team tiptoed across the snow-covered roof. As the sleigh pulled in, Santa pushed the hand brake forward, and the sleigh slid to a smooth stop. Santa threw one leg, then the other, over the sleigh and slipped to the roof. The snow crunched under his feet as he walked past the reindeer. He patted each one on the head and called them by name.

“Donner and Blitzen, you’re doing just fine there.”

“Comet and Cupid, you’re holding the center together in a grand way.”

“Prancer, you’ve got your usual good marching prance.” Prancer kicked up his feet and snorted his gratitude.

“Vixen, you’re holding up well. I know that little cold of yours is still hanging on.”

“Dasher and Dancer, you’re leading wonderfully well as you always do. I know you’re getting tired now.”

Santa raised his hand above their heads and waved at all of them. “I know you’re all getting tired. We’re almost finished. Keep up the fine work. I couldn’t have a better team.”

All the reindeer responded with soft pawing in the snow.

Santa pulled the Sleepometer from his breast pocket. It dangled on a silver chain that was pinned to the inside of the pocket. It resembled a stop watch, except instead of numbers on the face, it had eight marks that corresponded with the eight stages of sleepfulness/wakefulness. From the left to right, they were “Wide Awake, Awake, Tired, Fighting Sleep, Sleepy, Drifting Off, Barely Asleep, Fast Asleep.”

“Ho, ho, ho. Father is fast asleep.” Santa clicked the button on the right top, and the name inside the display at the bottom clicked to “Mother.” “Mother is fast asleep also.” He clicked the button again and the name flipped to “Linnie Lu.” The needle on the Sleepometer jumped to the left and hovered over “Fighting Sleep.” “It looks like little Miss Linnie Lu is trying to stay awake. We’ll visit the rest of the neighbors and come back to Linnie Lu.”

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