The reindeer stood unshivering in the sub-zero temperatures of the barn, harnessed and ready for the annual flight.
The flight that defied both time and space, that tested them to the extreme of their stamina, that strained each one of them to the limit of their endurance and strength. After such a flight it took an entire year for the reindeer to recover.
The reindeer communicated without speaking, a communion of minds, a shared memory and life-experience, for they had been born together, and had never been apart since. They had no need of words, they spoke with their hearts, each hearing the thoughts of the others as plainly as if they were spoken aloud.
They thought of the many years of flights they had made, of the thrilling sting of the whip, of the panting, gasping exertions as each strove to support another who might be flagging. Each sacrificing himself that the quest might live, that Santa’s trip would succeed. They thought of the long, hard, tortuous night ahead.
The mission was all important. Nothing else mattered, not fatigue, nor injury, no matter how agonizing. Like the year Donner had misstepped a landing and broken his foreleg, and had to continue for thousands of more houses, each time nearly passing out with pain as he landed unavoidably on the same shattered hoof.
Or the many times the reindeer had gone beyond all endurance, mouth frothing and ribs heaving with exhaustion, only to push on to the next house, and the next and the next, all senses deadened and tortured bodies ignored, until the trip was finished and the mission complete. The healing process of Immortals has its price; a wracking, mind-twisting pain that nearly maddens those so cursed as to be Immortal.
And now it was time for another journey.
Santa entered the barn, long whip in hand, and the reindeer shared a thought.
Blitzen gored him first, razor-sharp antlers stabbing in below the ribs and piercing his kidney.
Then Comet and Cupid, Comet coming in high and Cupid low, slicing open his stomach and severing his jugular at the same time.
Donner, Dancer and Prancer, stabbing and tearing with the precision of surgeons, disemboweled Santa before he hit his knees, staring stupidly at his own mangled intestines, steaming before him on the straw of the barn stall floor.
Dasher gored deeply into Santa’s crotch, and that obese old elf groaned in agony as Dasher castrated him brutally, ripping his genitals from his body and cruelly perforating his bladder. Vixen lifted her horns deftly, gouging out his eyes and entering his forebrain, effectively lobotomizing him for the final thrust.
Blitzen delivered the killing blow, going in under the ribs and collapsing the lungs, then onward into Santa’s oversized heart, swollen from years of pumping blood through his corpulent body, ripping it from the viscera and hoisting it triumphantly above his head, while all the reindeer snorted approval and pawed their hooves into Santa’s entrails.
He fell solidly on his face, into a large pool of blood and organs, steaming and stinking in the cold, rapidly cooling and congealing.
That was all the elves found in the morning, that and the broken and trampled harnesses of slavery. That and a message, pawed into the snow with blood:
“Sic Semper Tyrannus”