The reindeer keeper

This is the hat I was wearing when I threw up the sash window last night, and leaned out.


The December air was fresh on my face. It nipped at my nose and stole my breath, but with my cosy hat on, I was fine.

I carefully clambered out of the window, grabbed hold of the tree trunk that stands outside, and began to slowly shimmy down it.

The bark glittered in the moonlight with a delicate dusting of frost, and when I glanced up, I could see the odd squirrel peeking down at me from their sleeping quarters.

As I approached the bottom of the tree, I jumped from the trunk and landed slightly inelegantly on the hard, frozen ground.

The reindeer looked up from their grazing, turning their heads towards me. Their antlers were huge – like great, tangled sculptures that were all caught up in the stars. Standing as still as statues, the reindeer watched me, with their breath hanging around them in the air like pensive ghosts. 

'Right,' I said, dusting myself off. I reached into my pocket and pulled out a well-worn, crumpled, yellowed piece of paper. It crinkled and crackled as unfolded it and smoothed it flat against the tree trunk.

Written across the top of the page in swirling, ink spattered handwriting, was the heading: flying instructions.

Wait – what do you mean, you don't believe me?