The holidays were coming up and everyone in the Mountain was celebrating! Well, they were only celebrating because Kurda, Darren, and Harkat convinced them. Darren loved Christmas growing up; it was one of his favorite holidays, that and Halloween, which he used to spend with Steve. Harkat always joined in the Christmas celebrations at the Cirque Du Freak, though he didn't talk then, and no one knew his name; he had fun, nonetheless. Kurda didn't really celebrate Christmas ever, even when he was human, but if he had any excuse to decorate the mountain, he would use it. Every other time he tried to decorate, Mika and Arrow would smack him upside the head and throw away or burn his decorations, causing the waterworks to turn on.
"Why are we celebrating this holiday?" Larten Crepsley asked, sitting at the table with a chessboard; chess was one of his favorite pastimes. He always beat people at it, except Seba, who knew a lot more than he did. Kurda tried playing chess with him once, but Arrow was yelling at him because he was too interested in the Knight than in the game.
"It's a pony!" He said when he first played, causing Larten to face palm and leave the room for a few hours, muttering about how 'stupid people were.'
"We're celebrating because it's fun," Darren told him, lugging up a box of decorations with Harkat, who had red and green tinsel wrapped around his neck; he nearly tripped on them as they were too long for his body. They set the box on the giant end table, which was covered in blood. Darren groaned, turning to the vampires. "What is up with the blood on the table?"
"We had a fight," Arrow replied as though it was not a big deal. When Darren raised his eyebrow, he added, "with Kurda. He was trying to throw glitter on me." Darren's eyes averted to the corner of the room, where Kurda was in a ball with blood dripping down his nose and lips. Larten let out a huge sigh of exasperation at the stupidity of these vampires, and he left to his own cell.
"Wow, you got him good," Gavner whistled as he walked in the room, completely in the Christmas mood, wearing a Santa hat, coat, and pants. Everyone was shocked when Gavner appeared; he had been away for a few months.
"Gavner!" Harkat yelled, running to him, tripping on the tinsel he forgot to unwrap around his neck. Gavner caught him, laughing. "What are you doing here?"
"I wanted to be here for Christmas!" He shouted. "Now, where is my good friend, Larten Crepsley?"
"Being all bitchy," Kurda replied, wiping the blood away from his face. "He's in his room, talking about how he isn't human or anything, and this holiday has nothing in store for him."
"He's always bitchy," Gavner told him. He should know; he's been friends with him longer than anyone else. "Hey, Larten! Get in here!" Larten came in shock in his eyes as he came face to face with his friend. He embraced the orange-haired vampire, and then looked at him seriously. "Cheer up, man. It's Christmas!" Larten groaned. He set Harkat on the ground, who went to join Darren.
"It is not our holiday to celebrate. I am not a human, and what does this holiday have for me?"
"Larten, let's just have a great party!" Gavner called. "It'll be fun!"
Kurda jumped out of the corner, the bruises magically gone from his face, and cheered.
"Then, let's get decorating!" He shouted, running to the table. "My blood is on the table… Can someone clean it up? I can't clean up my own blood." Mika growled, grabbing a rag and wiping it clean. He threw it against Kurda's face, who screamed and threw it on the ground.
"We should; it will be great," Gavner replied, patting his friend's shoulder. Kurda skipped beside them, with a huge grin on his face. Gavner's eyes narrowed. "What?" Kurda kept on smiling. "If you don't tell me what's up, I'm going to let Arrow and Mika cut you open. Now, are you going to tell me why you were smiling?"
"What's the plan with grouchy old vampire?"
"I am not grouchy!" Paris snapped, wielding a cane.
"Not you! Larten!"
"My pupil is always grouchy; nothing can help him," Seba said, walking into the room holding a bowl of bat broth. He sat at the table with a spoon and began eating. "It is sooo good."
"No, it is not," Larten replied, staring at the bowl with daggers. "It should die; it is evil."
"As evil as Steve?" Darren asked, coloring a Christmas tree.
"Almost, but not quite."
"I have no idea right now," Gavner replied, turning to Kurda/
"Awwwwwwwwwwww!" Kurda groaned, throwing his head back, causing his ponytail to whip Arrow in the face.
"Ow! There should be a warning label on that thing!" He growled, trying to grab Kurda's hair and cut it off.
"Don't be jealous because you're bald," he said, sticking out his tongue. There was a long silence after that.
It was broken by Gavner who yelled, "Ohhhhhh! He got you good, Arrow!"
"Like hell he did! He wants another bloody nose, doesn't he?"
"It looks like it," Paris replied.
"Come on…. It's Christmas…" Harkat gasped as Darren put up the tinsel. "We don't… need any… trouble." Arrow sighed, crossing his arms. He really wanted to punch Kurda.
"Yeah, just chill out," Darren spoke up, cracking his fingers. Larten shot a glare at him.
"Will you please stop with your disgusting teenage language?" He asked.
"Excuse me, but I was born in this century; let me speak the way I want to speak."
"Gavner, I am not partaking in the celebration of a Christmas party. And frankly, I do not think you should either. Anyone who dares tell me "Merry Christmas" will be soon dead." Kurdaflinched. Larten strode once more to his room.
Larten sat cross-legged on the floor, his cloak resting on his lap. He scratched at the scar running down the left side of his face.
"Just because they are angry with me," he told himself, "does not mean I should help with anything. It is not my holiday. So why worry?" A rush of cold air burst into the room, causing him to shiver so suddenly. "What was that?" Larten got up, holding his cloak under his right arm, stepping forward in order to see were the breeze came from. He found nothing, but he still felt uneasy. After a few minutes of searching, he came to the conclusion that his mind was playing tricks on him. He turned back to where he was sitting, and gasped. Sitting on his coffin, was the ghost of his dead cousin, Vur Horston.
"Hello, Larten," he said casually.
"V-Vur?" Larten stammered, involuntary stepping toward the ghost. "This is a dream, is it not?"
"No, it isn't."
"Why are you here?"
"To warn you. You have grown incredibly greedy since I have last seen you. You show no Christmas spirit or show any signs of being charitable. Even your mentor, Seba Nile, is working towards becoming more spirited."
"How do you know Seba Nile?" Larten asked.
"I'm a ghost, Larten, I know everyone. If you do not heed my warnings, terrible things will happen. Three ghosts will visit you, each with the goal to help you." Vur's ghost started to fade away; Larten ran toward him.
"Vur! I do not understand!" He shouted.
"You'll understand soon enough, dear cousin," Vur said, his ghost dissolving into thin air. Larten stood frozen, staring at the spot where his cousin was sitting. He had to be imagining things; there was no way this could be real. He let out a deep breath, telling himself not to worry. He put on his cloak, the air staying the same temperature.
Without warning, another ghost appeared in front of his eyes. He yelped, falling backwards. He studied its face carefully.
"Arra?" He asked in a soft voice.
"No," she replied. "I only resemble Arra Sails. I am the Ghost of Christmas Past." Past whisked Larten away before he could say anything else. He felt another breeze wrap itself around his body. The room began to warp, and soon it came back into view.
"We are still in the Mountain?" He asked, turning to Past. She nodded and then shook her head. "Yes and no?"
"We are in the mountain, but we are here many years ago," she explained, leading him into the Halls, where everything was decorated for Christmas. A long time ago, he used to love the holidays. He had the perfect life… the perfect friend, (more or less), and the perfect girl. But, she brought him to a Christmas Eve he never wished to relive.
In the halls, past Larten was dancing with a beautiful young woman, Arra Sails. One hand was on her waist, and the other was holding hers. Her free hand was on his shoulder. He smiled tenderly at her, and she smiled back. Larten could see Gavner watching them from afar. No one else was dancing; everyone's eyes were focused on the happy couple, waltzing about.
"I just love this," Arra said. "I never thought we would be celebrating Christmas, but here we are."
"Everyone needs a little joy in their lives," he replied. He stopped the dance so he could bring his hand to her face, stroke her lovingly, and kiss her. She noticed, when they broke apart,there was something in his eyes that disturbed her.
"What is it, Larten?" She asked.
"I have been thinking… I do not wish to be a general any longer. I cannot stand the killing, watching people I care about die… It hurts too much. I apologize deeply for this, but I do not think I could stay here."
"What do you mean?"
"The Mountain; it is not for me." He hated the anger in her eyes, but he hated the sadness even more. "I am so sorry." She stepped away from him, tears in her green eyes.
"I can't believe you," she said softly. "I can't believe you!" She screamed, causing everyone in the Hall to stare at them.
"I cannot stay here!" He shouted. Gavner ran up to them.
"What is going on?" He asked.
"He's leaving!" Arra told him.
"I am leaving because I cannot stand the killing! I am sorry! I am sorry! How many times do you want me to say it?"
"You can say it as many times as you want, Larten," Arra said, crossing her arms. "But, I'm not going to accept it. If you haven't figured it out, we're done. Our mating agreement is over."
"Do not say that," Past Larten said, his voice growing desperate.
"Then, don't leave."
"I have to."
"Then, it's over." She left the room, ignoring Gavner's calls for her to come back.
Larten saw the room warping again, and this time, he was back in the present.
Past looked at him carefully. He felt his eyes well up with tears at her face. She didn't say anything, but merely dissolved just like Vur had done. Another ghost took her place. This ghost was a boy, who resembled Darren.
"I am the Ghost of Christmas Present," he presented himself, bowing slightly. It had to be resemblance because the real Darren would never bow. "Come with me into the Halls."
"The Halls again?" Larten sighed, following the Darren-like ghost.
This time, the Christmas decorations were limited, but they were there nonetheless. Kurda was skipping around Mika, dumping pink glitter into his black hair.
"See? Now isn't that pretty?" He squealed, clapping his hands together. He brought out a bow and attached it to his head. "Yay!"
"You better hope all this glitter comes out," Mika said. "Or else I'll have to kill you." Kurda frowned, taking up all his pretty things and throwing it around so the whole room would be pink and pretty, as he said.
While he was bending down drawing pink swirls on the ground with a marker, Paris smacked him with his cane.
"Stop drawing on the floor!" He snapped. "It'll never come out!"
"It looks pretty though," he complained. "We need to be fabulous all the time."
"You whippersnapper, I should…" Paris stopped and gazed at the ceiling. "What were we talking about?"
"Uh… You were talking about amazing and beautiful I am," Kurda said, smiling.
"Oh, yes; you are very beautiful."
"So, are you guys as angry as I am?" Darren asked, sitting on a chair. "About Mr. Crepsley?"
"Yeah…" Harkat replied; he was sitting on the floor, staring up at Darren. "I don't… get the big… deal…"
"Me either," Gavner said; he didn't want to tell them about his ordeal with Arra so many years ago. "He's just an old grumpy man."
"Stop calling me that!" Paris shouted, throwing his cane at Gavner which hit him in the face.
"They were talking about Larten," Seba explained.
"Anyway," Gavner said, throwing back the cane. "We don't need him. He'll only bring dampers to our Christmas spirit."
"Look, I am Larten," Kurda shouted. "I hate Christmas! It should die! Love and joy is not for me! Let us go throw some pinkness around." He giggled. Everyone burst into laughter at Kurda's horrible impression.
Larten, unable to be seen, sighed and wished he could beat them up right now. Present put his hand on his shoulder.
"Don't let it get to you," he told him. "We have to take our leave soon; I just wanted you to see what was going on." Larten nodded, letting the room distort once again.
And he was brought back to his room, looking for the third ghost, but he was nowhere to be found.
"Hey there, Creepy Crepsley," A familiar voice said. Larten groaned, turning to see The Ghost of Christmas Future, who looked like Steve Leonard. "I am the Ghost of Christmas Future!"
"Damn it. Why do you look like Steve?" He asked.
"I don't know. He's your future, I'm guessing. Now, let's go, before I get pissed off."
Nothing really looked different in the future. The Halls were decorated fully like they were in his past, but everyone looked the same. Except… they were crying. Why were they crying?
"I can't believe he's gone," Darren said, wiping his tears with a tissue.
"I don't have the heart to throw pink and love around," Kurda said, his messy blonde hair hanging down his shoulders.
Darren got up and looked into a small box, the tears coming faster and faster. Future and Larten went over to the box and peeked inside. Larten's insides turned cold at the sight of Harkat Mulds, lying dead.
"What happened?" He asked.
"The limp was too much for him to bear," Future replied. "He was the worst off of all the Little People." Larten couldn't say anything; his eyes were fixed on Harkat. "Let's not linger here any longer."
Future took Larten into the Hall of the Guardians of Blood, where the white cloaked people were kneeling over a body.
Larten went to see who it was; he had no idea who it could be because everyone was in the room with Harkat's body. If Larten's insides felt cold when he saw Harkat, they were absolutely frozen now. It was him… He was dead.
"That is me…" He said, staring down at his body.
"Yes, that's you," Future said. "No one's crying over you, Creepy Crepsley. If you don't change your ways, you are destined for this. Since I am with you right now… I have to be the one to kill you."
There was a pit of stakes in the middle of the room.
"This was added," Future told him, grabbing him by his collar and tossing him in.
"No!" Larten yelled; the stakes impaled him, and the pain was horrible. His screams were not to be heard because Future's cackling laughs drowned them out. Fire consumed Larten; the pain was too much…
Larten awoke in his coffin, sweat dripping down his face. He looked around, realizing that he had been asleep for the whole day. It was Christmas.
"A dream…?" He asked himself. "No… A nightmare. I have to do something."
He ran to the Halls where the decorating was now completed. Darren and Harkat were exchanging presents, while the others were drinking eggnog. Kurda was wearing a Santa outfit minus the beard. It wasn't red though; it was pink.
"Don't I look dashing?" He cheered, running around with streamers in his hands.
"Haha, you do," Darren said, but stopped when he saw Larten come into view. "Maybe we should take all this stuff down before he kills…"
"No need, Master Shan," Larten said, raising a hand to stop him. "Merry Christmas. I understand your wants for this holiday, and I have realized that I desire it as well. So, let us enjoy the time we have together." Darren and Harkat smile, hugging Larten. Kurda and Gavner jumped onto him as well, all laughing.
"I have a gift for you, Larten," Gavner said, getting up. "Come in!" Larten watched as Arra Sails walked into the room, wearing the same red dress she wore on that fateful Christmas Eve.
"Hello, Larten," she said.
"Arra. Arra, I am so…" She put a finger on his lips. He blushed.
"Don't be. I forgive you." She placed a soft kiss on his lips, which he immediately deepened. "I love you."
"I love you, too."
"It's a Christmas miracle!" Arrow shouted. "Time for a drink!" He presented two bottles of champagne with a smile.
Everyone gathered around a big turkey that Mika and Arrow cooked earlier that day. Larten patted Harkat's head, never wanting to see him dead again. Harkat smiled, digging into a piece of turkey, even though he couldn't taste it. Everyone talked lively to each other. Kurda complimented Arra on her "most fabulous dress." Arrow and Mika were coming up with plans on how to kill Kurda. Darren and Harkat were laughing together. Larten and Gavner were making fun of each other. Seba and Paris were having a cane sword fight. Larten's smile never left his face; he just wished he didn't have to learn his lesson the hard way.