Rudolph ran as fast as his four legs would carry him. He had run out of fairy dust over a remote forest, and unfortunately it was deer season.

The celebrity found it hard to blend in with his shiny nose. In fact, it was damn near impossible. His snoz glowed like a blinking beacon, one the hunting party was only too glad to follow. He heard a voice, not far off, call, “I see him over here, boys!”

Damnation, but they were close!

Rudolph searched the area. Could he pull the ol' mud over the nose trick again? No, who was he fooling? He might as well admit his time was up. He kept running though, out of habit rather than hope. What else could he do?

Then, just ahead, salvation! A homely cottage in the near distance, invitingly close, with a fence and - thank Santa! - a bright red sign that said, "No Hunters Allowed." Above the door he could make out the words, "Happy Home Animal Shelter."

A lovely woman with scarlet hair beckoned him inside the fence. "Quick, dear, before they find you! You'll be safe here!"

The calls close behind him, Rudolph ran inside the gate. He wanted to thank the woman for her hospitality, but he didn't know what to say. She turned to him, smiling broadly. "You don't need to thank me, dear," she said. "You must be hungry after running so hard..."

Why could he no longer hear the hunters? He glanced at the cottage. Now that the adrenaline was wearing off, he noticed more details. The candy-colored shutters, the aromatic smell of gingerbread...

He turned a questioning eye upon the woman, whose smile turned feral.

The gate shut behind him.



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Galen over 10 years ago

Hah! ganymeder, that trap was well drawn. I walked right into it. Was expecting a happy ending. :P

ganymeder (joined almost 14 years ago)
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Author Catherine Russell shares her life with her high school sweetheart, their son, and two ferocious puppies in the Wilds of Ohio while writing short stories, editing her novel, and learning more about the craft every day. Her work has been published in Flash Me magazine, Metro Fiction, Beyond Centauri, and the ‘Best of Friday Flash – Volume One‘ and the ‘Best of Friday Flash – Volume Two‘ anthologies.

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