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Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Contest Entry · #2069323
A lonely reindeer has enough.
It was only a matter of time before Ruddy completely lost it. We all knew it was coming. Kris, the missus and all the little guys saw the way he was treated. He was a different kind of animal. You know the type, not invited to join the games, kept to himself buried in his computer, always trying to hide his insecurity – which of course wasn’t helped by that giant red thing on his face! We all hoped it would get better. No one expected this..

It started a few months before the big night. Odd, inexplicable events began to happen.

There was the incident involving the Ds (that’s what we at the pole nicknamed Dasher, Dancer and Donder). They were always together so a nickname just seemed right. After a bout of cyber bullying clearly directed at Ruddy, their cell phones mysteriously vanished. The Ds were crazed with anxiety as they couldn't possibly direct the sleigh during practice without their GPS apps. Three days later the baker found them. How did those phones end up in the fudge pot, dripping in gooey sweetness? Needless to say chocolate in the GPS did not go over well with the Big Guy. One month suspension and demotion to back of the line.

Just last month when Blitzen was applying for the lead sleigh position, his honor was questioned. Tech support couldn’t figure out why all the computers were flashing “Don’t Trust Blitzen” flowed by photos of him snagging a gumdrop or candy cane from the Main Christmas tree. Blitzen swore those images were doctored. I found it odd that it happened right after Blitzen embarrassed Ruddy in front of that hottie Clarice. Sure the twigs were eaten and round droppings were all around the area…but why did Blitzen immediately identify them as Ruddy’s? He rarely ate twigs and never the twigs in front of the gingerbread house! He would never drop near the house. No question why Blitzen was passed over and had to remain in the second row for another season.

But it was Comet and Cupid who broke the proverbial camel’s back. Prancer and Vixen were not blameless but the inception of the plan and the level of humiliation caused by the execution of that plan, could only have been accomplished by these two delinquents. You see Jessica was like a mother to Ruddy. She made him special cookies, brushed his tail and even cheered when he jumped over that tree (a feat that he practiced daily for weeks). In return he was her constant companion, guard and confidant. Ruddy loved her and found comfort in her presence. The only time they were separated is when Kris was home.

Cupid and Comet were playing in the house with the others. Playing in the house was forbidden and everyone knew it. Always too rough and always inappropriate, their behavior broke Jessica’s favorite snow globe. Glass and sparkles were everywhere. It was the giant red and green one Kris gave her on their first date. If Cupid and Comet were implicated it would mean severe punishment and maybe even removal from the squad. Something had to be done. Cupid came up with the nefarious plan to blame Ruddy.

They lured him in with fake kindness and the illusion of comradery. They complimented his jumping skills and begged for demonstrations. He knew he shouldn't be in the house but he was basking in the attention and friendship he craved yet never experienced. Ruddy had no idea that his inclusion in this game would see him landing in shattered glass cutting the bottoms of his hooves and causing him to scream in pain. His surprise, his fear and his anguish mandated a thrashing, thus knocking over the entire shelf of snow globes; the globes that meant so much to her. He was frozen in fear, regret and sorrow. Comet laughed. Cupid gloated. All left him as she came to see what was causing such a commotion.

Ruddy tried to explain but her facial expression showed everything. She was hurt, crushed by the material loss and devastated by the extreme betrayal. He was overcome with regret and paralyzed with self-loathing. Ruddy hung his head and hobbled outside.

Word of the incident circled the pole like a snowstorm. Soon Ruddy’s popularity went from bad to terrible and he didn’t even have his Jessica for comfort. He spent days isolated; hidden under snow piles or in deep caves. No one saw him.

Finally it was the big night. The squad was ready but the storms were blinding. Kris asked for Ruddy…his only option for piloting that sleigh. Ruddy was nowhere to be found. The entire campus searched for him; in the stockings, under the wrapping paper, and behind the trees. Even Clarice abandoned all appropriateness and searched his most secret, private locations. Ruddy was gone.

Santa never made the trip. The children of the world wept. Christmas passed and sadness overwhelmed everyone. However question remained….what ever happened to Ruddy?
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