It began with a simple text message.
The shrill sound of the phone disrupted her concentration. She got up from the bed, stretched, and crossed to the table at the other end of the first floor room that served as a bedroom for the two daughters of George Peters, and picked up the phone. Staring at the unfamiliar number, she read through the text, a frown furrowing her face. " If a big fat man wearing red jumps into your room and stuffs you into a bag, don't worry, don't fret, it's only because I want you for Christmas...... *...some text missing...*.
Just then, what appeared to be a large snowball sailed in through the open window, landing on the floor, and making an odd hissing sound. Still holding the phone, she turned toward the object, then to the window, to get a glimpse of the prankster, but she suddenly felt as if she was walking through a running river,against the current. Slow, languid steps took her toward the window, where a huge man in a red costume was climbing up the drain pipe, heading for her. She opened her mouth to shout for help, but her tongue had never seemed thicker. She slurred, her knees buckled, and she slumped, just as the phone in her hand began to beep again, the complete text of the message having entered. Her last conscious thought before she sank into a bottomless void was that the text message was coming true.
Then Laurel Peters succumbed to the effect of the drug, and passed out. The giant in the Father Christmas getup and a gas mask heaved himself over the window sill into the room, stepped over the unconscious girl, and picked up the canister. He then picked up the girl, and slowly climbed out the window, making his way gently down, to where a red car was idling in the street. The man entered the car, and they took off at a leisurely pace down the road, with the echoes of the chimes of the clock in her room fading away as they drove. Eight o'clock. The date was the nineteenth of December.