Behind him, Rudolph snorted and stomped his hoof, sending a small avalanche down the slope and over the guttering, to land with a resounding ‘gloop’ on the snow-covered patio beneath.
“Sshhh,” hissed Santa. “They’ll hear you.”
Too late. Inside, David had been awoken by the clatter on the roof and was already scampering to the window. He turned to his little brother, Harry, who was right on his heels; eyes shining. “It’s got to be him.”
Awe and wonder filled his voice. Harry’s three-year-old brain could accept Santa being on the roof, but couldn’t fathom how he would get inside to deliver all their presents.
Just a few feet above their heads, Santa shook his head, his eyes scanning the blank, featureless roof. “Not another one,” he repeated. “I reckon we’ll be needing the magic key for quite a while around here.” Reaching into the voluminous red folds covering his ample girth, he pulled out a silver chain, containing one shiny golden key with a green LED light at its tip.
Standing as he was, alongside the toy-laden sleigh on David and Harry’s roof, he could see that nothing rose to break the monotony of the whole estate’s roofline. “New houses with their central heating certainly make our job harder, don’t they? Just look at that – not a chimney in sight anywhere.
“Come on Rudolph, old boy, take us down to the front door. Every year there are more and more houses with no chimneys.” He tightened his grip on the key. “This is the only way to get in and make sure all these wonderful little children have a very Merry Christmas.”