Deadly cold sucked the heat from my bones’ marrow as I surveyed my surroundings.
“Here,” she said.
Here? Here was a sloping field of snow glistening like icing in moonlight. Here was a field edged by elderly pines draped in snow. Here was a starry black night and the pond of a moon staring down on us. Here was a wind slicing through my gloves, shearing off my ears, and paring down my cheeks.
“Here?” I said.
I looked at the traveler. Smiling like she knew Mona Lisa’s secret, she pointed past me into the sky. As she did but before I turned, I caught sleigh bells’ tinny ringing.
Distracted by the famous sound, I turned so quickly, I slipped on the snowy field and would have fallen, had the traveler not caught my arm and kept me upright. After thanking her, I gazed through my breath toward the sound and spotted the immortal silhouette of reindeer pulling a sled commanded by a pudgy elf.
I gasped. “Santa.”
“Yes,” the traveler said.
“He was real.”
“Of course. It was on this day that he was last seen, long before his existence trickled into your dimension’s awareness.”
I nodded. Then this was was where my story begins. “I shall find him,” I whispered into the silent night as the sleigh bells faded and the wind nuzzled me. “I shall find him and bring him back.”