—  Ken and Vesta  —

Wedding and Portrait Photography

541 773-3373

Untitled photo
The Bois de Boulogne is the second largest park in Paris and it’s almost three times as large as New York’s Central Park. At night, prostitutes ply their trade in parts of the park, the homeless sleep in other parts and it was with them that Santa found rest.

It snowed throughout the night and the homeless were bundled up tight, but they were cold, even though they had fires. Santa, however, didn’t get cold.

And even with all that was going on, he found he was able to sleep. Probably, because he’d learned to sleep through generations of Christmas Eves. And that wasn’t easy for him to learn, because he gets just as excited as every child everywhere the night before Christmas.

In the morning, he took his umbrella and set out for a walk. He had no doubt the Devil’s Dark Angels three would be contacting him before the day was finished.

He also new it would be coming at night, whatever it was.

He decided to spend the first part of this snowy day around the Eiffel Tower. It was as good a place as any. Besides, he loved the Tower.

Untitled photo
Santa brooded as he approached tower. He walked under it, enjoying both the Tower and the Snow. There was nothing like winter. He loved it to his very core.

He thought about winter, thought about Christmas Eve and all of the children and all of the smiles that would be on their faces Christmas morning, when they opened their presents.

And then he realized he hadn’t been thinking about the evil that was coming with the night and he wondered if this was what it was like for God. Knowing horrible things are going to happen and having to put them out of His mind, because if He couldn’t ,He wouldn’t be able to go on living. Not sanely, anyway.

Untitled photo
Only a few minutes into his stroll, he heard someone singing behind him, he turned and saw a young woman, who was happy as can be, dancing in the snow.

“Oh, Merry Christmas, Santa Claus.” She was American and her happiness was infectious.

“Merry Christmas back at you,” Santa said.

“Isn’t it a glorious day?”

“It is.” And then he couldn’t help himself. “What would you like for Christmas?”

“That the Earth keeps rotating. That we have oodles and oodles of more days just like this.”

“Destiny?” It was always hard to identify Destiny, because she changed her looks all the time. She could be any kind of woman she wanted. Old, young, Asian or African, anything. Today, she was a young American.

“That I am.” She kissed his cheek. “Now I’m mortal too. Death wanted to help as well, but we couldn’t let him. He’ll need his power to deal with the dead if you fail.” She gripped his hand. “So please don’t fail.” She kissed him on the cheek again. “We all love you, you know.” She squeezed his hand. “Even Death and the Devil. All of us, we love you.”

And then she danced away and was gone, leaving him to continue his morning walk in the Snow.

Untitled photo
She had been right, he thought, it was a glorious day. Too glorious for him to feel so powerless, even though he was all powerful now. He could heal the sick, right wrongs, stop wars and injustice too. He was the most powerful being there ever was, but he could do nothing, help no one, because he had to conserve every bit of energy and power for the coming battle.

And he still didn’t know who or what he was up against. He did know, however, that an evil force had come to Earth and created a pall over all the immortals. So evil, they sensed it was, that they were willing to give up their immortality, their lives, to give Santa a chance to stop it.

Untitled photo
All of a sudden he was engulfed in a sea of sad. Never had he been so depressed. In fact, he’d never been depressed. He’d never understood depression, but he did now. He wanted to cry, to curl up into a ball in the snow.

He felt a hand on his shoulder, hot breath on his cheek.

“Hold it together, Santa.” It was Maze, Lucy’s most devout Dark Angel. How she could be so devout to Lucy, Santa didn’t know. But then he had never been one to judge. Yet now, he found himself judging. He shuttered, with their powers, came some of their selves. He didn’t want to be anybody’s judge.

And even though the song says he finds out who’s been naughty and nice, that wasn’t true. He didn’t judge children. They were children, after all. Adults made that part of his legend up.

“I’m trying, Maze.”

“We’re all counting on you.”

“I know.”

“It’s coming at midnight.”

“What is it?”

“We don’t know yet. We’ll know more soon.”

“How do you know?”

“Apparently it wants us to.”


“It’s not afraid of you.”

“That’s not good."

“Take care, Santa. We care about you.” Then she flew straight up and was gone.

Untitled photo
He continued on his walk. There were people out and about. And like last night they all seemed happy. Christmas was close, after all. And people were happy at Christmastime. That’s why being Santa Claus for all these generations had been such a good job.

True, the hours were long. But the joys were many and that made it all worthwhile. And it hurt him to the soul that there was an evil force out there that wanted to take all of the joy in the world away. An evil that wanted to make the world a dark place and keep it that way forever.

He stopped. How did he know that?

“You’ll know more about me soon enough.”

It was it. It had thought called him.

It was powerful. Very powerful. For the first time he began to think, despite all the power he had now, that he might not win.

Untitled photo
And one he walked, the depression building with every step. He’d never had suicidal thoughts before, but he did now.

“Hey, Santa.” 

He looked up. “Hey, Diana.” She was dressed in black as usual and she looked stunning in the snow. He never would’ve thought she was stunning before. He was lusting again. He fought it off.

“It’s coming on a train at midnight and it’ll be waiting for you.” She shuddered, which was saying something, because nothing scared her. “I hope against hope that you win.” She was still shaking. “It’s looking forward to meeting you.” She stopped her quaking, then vanished into the sky at the speed of so fast that nobody could see her go.

Untitled photo

A brown, murky fog fell over the city and it caused all the people who were out, to suddenly have a desire to be home and that’s were they went and in no time, Santa had the city to himself. Paris in midday had become a ghost town.

Untitled photo
And now he was consumed with anger. He thought back to his early days in the city. His first streetcar ride in Paris. They didn’t have streetcars anymore. He thought about the years and years of walking and meeting people he’d done in this city and the joy he’d gotten from it. And something wanted to take all that away. To kill it!

Over his dead body.

Santa Claus was the most powerful being to ever exist. He gripped his hands into fists. He would meet this evil head on at midnight and he would stomp it out and kill it!

Untitled photo
And he still felt that way, bubbling over with an anger he’d never felt before, when he found Cinder in an almost deserted Parisian alley. She was sitting on the pavement, mice crawling over her body, as she stared up at a hooded phantom. The being was dressed in a long black cloak and it had no face.

Cinder seemed to be pleading with it as Santa approached.

“Ah, Mister Claus.” It didn’t speak with words. It thought talk. Was this it? Was it here? If so, it was early.

“What are you?” Asking couldn’t hurt. Besides, in its apparent arrogance, maybe it would tell him.”

“Just a vision, invisible to all, but you and the Angel called Cinder.” It did tell him, but Santa couldn’t see what good it would do him.

“Why are you here?”

“That, you’ll find out at the Gare du Nord at midnight.” If you could thought talk an evil laugh, the phantom was doing it. Then it vanished.

“Are you alright?” Santa waved a hand in an Obi Wan Kenobi gesture and the mice scampered away. “Come on, girl.” He held out an arm. Cinder took it with a Viking grip and he pulled her to her feet.

“It’s hopeless, Santa.” Cinder looked right into his eyes.

And Santa wanted her, right here and right now. And she wanted him, he could see it in those eyes. But he fought it off. He had too much evil in him.

“That’s the way it is, when you walk in the dark, you want all manner of things you shouldn’t have, like me. You want me and you can have me and I can’t resist, so you have to.” She’d read his mind. “It’s in your hands. You can have anything you want.” She paused. “Or you can lose it all.”

He’d never seen, never felt lust like it was radiating from her. Just a word, a nod or wink from him and she’d tear her clothes off and be all over him.

“It’s true.” She was still reading his mind. Angels couldn’t do that, so how was she doing it?

“It’s given me the power,” she said. “When it defeats you, it’ll move on, conquering more worlds, leaving more like me to rule in his stead.”


“I’m to rule, to be queen of a dark and alien place none of us will like very much. Least of me. And there’s not a thing I can do about it.” She took his hands in hers. “But you can. When it was in my mind, I was in it’s. It projects power, but it’s afraid of you. You can beat it and I think you know how.”

“I hope you’re right.”

“One more thing, Santa,” she squeezed his hands, “if you win, I’m crossing over to God’s side and some of the other Dark Angels will too.” She sighed. “Lucy will be furious.”

“I have to go.” He hugged her. “I need my reindeer.”

He left the alley and thought called Rudy. This was a power he could get used to. He hoped he could keep it when this was all over. It made his life a lot easier. Sure he could thought call God anytime he wanted. But to be able to thought call anybody he wanted, that was convenient. 

Untitled photo
When his sleigh arrived, it was being pulled by all nine reindeer. Rudy must have gone back to the Pole for reinforcements. Santa climbed aboard. “North, Rudy.” And the team took to the sky, with Santa’s anger rising to a fever pitch.

The phantom had said to meet him at the Gare du Nord at midnight. So it was coming from the north on a train. He would meet it early and he would kill it. Of that, he had no doubt.

And an hour before midnight, forty miles north of Paris, Rudy flew them low, over the train and they all shuddered, because a foul stench radiated from the train, so evil, so foul they could smell it, even when they were high in the sky.

Santa worked the reins and turned the crew around and a few minutes later, Rudy brought them down in the snow, next to the tracks. He unharnessed the reindeer and one by one they came to him and nuzzled his open hand. And then they were just reindeer a long way from home and Santa was just a little more powerful.

He stood in the middle of the tracks, waiting, so hot with anger his face turned blood red. So full of arrogance that he was sure it would be a short battle and that he’d wind up victorious.

And then he heard the train coming.

And then something Cinder had said to him, peeked up from the back of his mind. He could have anything he wanted, or he could lose it all.

And then he knew, he couldn’t defeat it. It was invincible. All the power, all the anger on Earth added up to nothing more than a basket full of hate. And hate wouldn’t win this battle. There was only one way. He had to shed the hate, the anger, the arrogance.

And the train got louder.

He had to fill himself with love and he to die. He had to sacrifice himself to win. God and the immortals, all save Death, would be mortal, but they would live. The humans would live. He, however, would not. He was the most powerful being who’d ever walked the Earth. He could have anything he wanted, or so it wanted him to think. Or he could make the ultimate sacrifice.

This he knew in an instant. There was no evil in the universe that could conquer one willing to throw it all away to save others.

And the train roared down the track.

And Santa closed his eyes and thought of Mrs Claus as it grew ever closer.

And now the roar was deafening.

He opened his eyes and was blinded by the train’s bright lights as they seemed to form a halo around his wife’s smiling face. And that was his last vision, his wife, someone he loved more than anybody ever loved anybody.

And the train smashed into him and roared over him.

Untitled photo
He woke in the snow at the foot of the Tower and the Tower was dark.

“Are you all right?” It was Cinder. Maze and Diana were with her. This time Cinder offered her hand. He took it and she pulled him from the snow. “If you touch the Tower,” she said,  “They’ll get their powers back and you’ll be as you were.”

“What about—?”

“You not only beat it, you killed it,” Maze said.

“Cinder gave you the clue,” Diana said, “and you figured it out.”

“I couldn’t tell you right out,” Cinder said, “because if it knew what I was trying to do, it would have stopped me.”

“Let’s get this over with,” he said. And the three former Dark Angels led him to the Tower and he touched it, but it didn’t light up like before. However, it took all he had borrowed and returned it.

“It’s not just us you saved,” Cinder said. You saved countless beings on countless planets in countless galaxies. It had been around forever, unknown even to God. But it’s gone now. Gone for good.

She kissed his cheek. Maze and Diana did too.

“Now go home,” Cinder said.

“My reindeer?”

“Why don’t you call them?”



He tried a thought call to Rudy and to his surprise he answered and said he and his crew would be there straightway.

“I can thought talk to anybody?”

“A small gift from God.” Cinder smiled.

“My reindeer?”

“Why don’t you call them?”



He tried a thought call to Rudy and to his surprise he answered and said he and his crew would be there straightway.

“I can thought talk to anybody?”

“A small gift from God.” Cinder smiled.

Untitled photo

And a half hour later, Rudy and crew flew low over the City of Light and Santa saw it, not as it is today, but as it was right after the Tower was built, and he smiled.

Powered by SmugMug Owner Log In