Heroes A2Z
Real Heroes Read!

“H-h-horrified,” Zoë whimpered, hiding behind her sister.

It was Christmas Eve afternoon, and she and her siblings were at the Grand Traverse Mall. Colorful lights sparkled in every window. Holiday carols played from every store.

Zoë should have felt happy and safe, but she was terrified. Why?

Because she was waiting in line to see Santa Claus. Almost nothing frightened her more.

Think about it. The pressure, the stress. One slip in Santa’s presence and she would be put on the Naughty List. That would mean no presents on Christmas morning and coal in her stocking.

Abigail smiled at her little sister. Poor Zoë! She remembered being afraid to sit on Santa’s lap years ago. Mom and Dad had even taken a picture of it once. Now they kept the photograph above the fireplace for everyone to see. Humiliating!

So she tried to cheer Zoë up. One family photograph of a sobbing superhero was enough.

Out of her duffel bag Abigail pulled three balls. First she placed a basketball on the tip of her index finger and spun it. Nice trick but nothing new. Zoë had seen that before and wasn’t impressed.

So Abigail made it more challenging. She added two more balls to her act. Tada! Instant indoor snowman.

“I call this trick the Triple Frosty.” She grinned proudly.

Abigail’s trick worked on Zoë, but it didn’t impress their brother. Andrew didn’t even look their way.

He had bigger things on his mind. Longer things. Like his Christmas list. It was huge. Andrew had been working on it for weeks now. Name something with wheels—anything—and it was probably on the list. Twice.

Andrew didn’t want Santa to miss anything. Pretty thoughtful of him, don’t you think?

Finally the line moved, and it was the heroes’ turn to see Santa. Abigail and Andrew sprang forward eagerly, but they had to drag Zoë.

“Come on, Zoë,” Andrew pleaded.

“It’ll be fun,” Abigail promised. “Trust us.”

Zoë didn’t believe them. They were talking about Santa. Kris to the Kringle. He was sitting so close he could hear them!

Her eyes widened, and her knees started to shake.

“Help!” she squealed, trying to fly away.

Luckily Zoë didn’t get far. The twins snatched her ankles before she could escape. Then they shoved her roughly onto Santa’s lap. So much for peace on Earth.

“Ho-ho-ho!” chuckled Santa. Predictable, maybe, but comforting, too.

Zoë relaxed immediately and took a deep breath. She wanted to be sure Santa heard what she wanted for Christmas.

“Hippo!” she shouted at the top of her lungs. She wanted a hippopotamus, just like the singer in her favorite Christmas song.

The cracking sound that followed was that of Santa’s glasses breaking. He had heard her, all right. So had everyone else in the Grand Traverse Mall.

End of the preview.
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