Robin Hood peeked around a pine tree at the empty street. No princesses, ninjas, or teen turtles with bulging bags of candy. No parents with flashlights. Now his crew was the only costumed group here.

He turned to the white colonial behind him. Lights off. No sound. No motion. Should be easy. He pressed his earpiece. “Merry Men, check in.”

“Alarm disconnected.”

“Surveillance looping.”

“Deep-sleep dust released.”

“Give it a minute to work.” Robin had borrowed Santa’s equipment without permission, so none of it had come with directions. The sleigh had been easy to figure out. The sleep dust was a different matter. Hopefully the dosage would cover the home intrusion without sending the occupants to the emergency room. The man and his wife were unscrupulous, greedy snakes, but Robin wasn’t an executioner.

He checked his watch. His team needed to return Santa’s property before the big guy’s fever broke and he realized his sleigh was missing.

If only Santa had embraced Robin’s vision for social justice. Instead, Pudgy had insisted on doling out lumps of coal to bad kids, as if that would make a difference.

“Hood, we’re ready,” Little John said.

“LJ, find the wallet and purse. We need credit card details.” Robin strode across the lawn and around the house. “The rest of you, find the office. Get copies of bank statements, social security cards, and passports. Don’t touch cash or jewelry. As soon as they notice something missing, the gig is up.”

He slipped past the jimmied back door and entered the kitchen where Little John rummaged through a handbag. Robin continued down a small hallway and paused outside a palatial room filled with a massive cherry-wood desk and matching leather furniture. One Merry Man was hacking a laptop. Two others were rifling through filing cabinets. Another was picking a safe lock. The team should be done in a few minutes. Justice served.

If only Santa had embraced Robin’s vision for social justice. Instead, Pudgy had insisted on doling out lumps of coal to bad kids, as if that would make a difference.

“Who are you?”

Robin spun to face a boy standing at the bottom of the staircase. The couple had a son?

Empty candy bar wrappers hung from the boy’s jeans’ pockets. Chocolate stains covered his Superman T-shirt and face. He held a lollipop in each hand. His eyes were unnaturally bright.

A ten-year-old on a sugar high. Did sweets block sleep dust’s effects? Regardless, Robin couldn’t afford a witness. “You’re dreaming. Go back to bed.”

The boy’s eyes grew more intense, and he stepped closer. “Who are you?”

Robin glanced in the office. His men had paused their work and were waiting for direction.

The encounter with the munchkin had to end now. “I’m Santa, and I’ll give you a present if you go back to bed and keep this a secret.”

Brows furrowed, the boy tilted his head and studied Robin. “I want candy.”

“Hey, Hood.” Little John tapped Robin’s shoulder. “What’s with the creepy kid and the glowing eyes?”

The boy took another step forward. “You said you were Santa.”

“I am.” Those eyes were disturbing. “I’m Santa Hood, just a friendly-neighborhood Santa looking to give gifts to good boys and girls. So be a good kid and go to bed.”

“It’s not Christmas,” the boy rasped as his voice deepened. The glow intensified.

The kid must be possessed by a sugar-craving demon. That was an eerie, but perfect, punishment for his parents. Robin slid his hand behind his back and rotated his finger in a circle, signaling the team to move out. “My mistake.”

“Give me candy!”

The booming command sent Merry Men scurrying from the office. Little John followed them toward the back door.

The kid must be possessed by a sugar-craving demon. That was an eerie, but perfect, punishment for his parents.

Robin backed away from the candy-obsessed child. “I hid chocolate in your parents’ bedroom.”

The boy turned and raced upstairs.

Robin sprinted after his team.

Outside, the sleigh was waiting by the back door. Robin jumped in. “Did we get anything?”

“Left everything behind with Devil-Spawn.” Little John pressed buttons, and the sleigh lifted off the ground. “Are we heading to New York, Texas, or California next?”

Robin checked the colonial, but the boy hadn’t followed. “Plot a course for Asia—Hong Kong or Tokyo—some place where they don’t celebrate Halloween.” He rubbed his forehead. “And make sure the rest of our targets don’t have kids.”

 

Find more holiday mash-ups in the October 2017 edition of Havok magazine.

 

Meet the Author

Emma Carrie is a YA author, part-time introvert, and opportunist. She’s explored an active coal mine, fired a Gatling gun from a Humvee, and examined chromosomes with a scanning electron microscope. She’s also hitched a ride in a corporate jet and wiped on stage while modeling.

During the day, Emma Carrie enjoys amusement parks, basketball, and movies—ripsticking may someday join that list. At night, she’s a superhero who reads minds, manipulates time, and shifts shape…at least in her dreams.

Emma published her first YA Sci-Fi series this year. She hopes to build on that series and add a YA fantasy series next year. You can find Emma on her website.