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The Santa Swap

The silhouette of a young child facing the open double doors of a gothic-style ice castle. The doorway is glowing so that nothing inside can be seen (pure white), and black tentacles are emerging from the inside.

Dear Journal,

It’s Christmas Eve again, and it’s been the worst year of my whole life. I snuck you and this pen out of the trash, so I have to be careful. I’m hiding under my covers with a light right now so I can write everything down before I start forgetting even more about what happened last Christmas. 

The others are all asleep, and if she catches me up past bedtime . . . I don’t even want to think about what she’ll do to me. None of the others that she took away have ever come back. But I don’t want to forget my life from before, and it’s getting harder and harder to remember. After I write everything down, I’ll hide you in the secret hole I made in my bed.

I can already hear that thing outside in the sky again. Like it’s calling to me with that deep groan that echoes in my brain and makes my heart beat weirdly. I have to hurry now before I run out of time.


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