"It's Santa, you stupid kids, not Satan! Gosh, did no one teach these kids how to spell? And where's their sense of religion?" blustered St. Nick, as he was reading a letter from Satan himself. No exaggeration. The actual ruler of Hell wrote Santa Claus a letter, that read
Nick. Your stupid beloved children are basically illiterate. They keep sending me your mail. Can't you tell them it's Santa, not Satan? Maybe leave a note on their Christmas gifts. Oh, wait. I just thought of something. Since Christmas makes people happy, and the aim of Hell is to make people unhappy, I'm cancelling Christmas this year, unless you come get your mail yourself. But you'll have to fight through Hell for it. Literally. Why? Maybe they'll learn about sending me YOUR MAIL! Merry not-Christmas.
Satan, Ruler of Hell
St. Nick kicked a chair and threw a projectile candy cane, breaking the window.
The noise caused by the window breaking caused Mrs. Claus to stop working out and yell, "NICK! WHAT DID YOU DO THIS TIME?" St. Nick panicked and offered no response.
He sat down in a chair, pretending to be acting casual when Julia descended the stairs.
She glared at him and he melted internally under the intensity of her gaze.
Julia looked around and saw a broken chair on the ground, a cracked window, and a letter on the floor. Her expression lightened considerably when she realised what had happened.
She said, "Nick."
He replied, "Yes, darling?"
She calmly asked him, "Did someone threaten to cancel Christmas again?"
Nick nodded fervently and said, "Yup. Satan. Because no one told these kids how to spell Santa. I told them it'd be easier just to call me Nick, but no. They had to pick Santa Claus. And now, I have to literally fight through Hell just to pick up my mail, or our main source of food stops."
Julia's eyes widened and she grabbed St. Nick by the collar. She told him, "You have to do this. I refuse to live without Nigella Lawson's Christmas cookies. They're so decadent! And I cannot go a year living off whatever we have stocked in the kitchen cabinets. I need those Christmas cookies freshly baked with milk, Nick. I work out all year and only eat healthy so that I can gorge on these cookies."
Nick rolled his eyes, chuckled and said, "Do you expect it to be easy to fight through hell? In my current..." His voice trailed off as he gestured to his stomach. "...state?"
Julia buried her face in her hands and replied, "I told you, you should've started doing those pilates workouts with me! They got me from where you are, to where I am now!" And this was indeed considerable, given that Julia was now capable of going a few rounds with UFC fighters in their hyperrealistic simulators. Kids get gifts on Christmas, but Nick saves the best for his wife.
Nick shrugged and Julia rubbed her eyes, saying, "First that idiot, the Grinch, and now this chucklehead. Can't we have a few centuries of normal Christmas?"
Nick shook his head and said, "Apparently, it's too much to ask for. "
Julia looked him in the eye, and asked, "There isn't anything we can do except getting it done, right?"
Nick replied, "Actually, how about we just let it go? Let the kids enjoy family time, and learn the true meaning of Christma-"
Julia cut him off with an eyebrow raise and crossed her arms. "You're the official protector of children, Nick, you are literally obligated to do this."
Nick finally sighed and said, "Yeah, you're right. The "true meaning of Christmas" is a load of baloney anyways. Not getting presents sucks."
Julia stepped closer to him, kissed his bearded cheek and said, "Well, then, it's your job to make sure it doesn't happen. Also, your beard is scratchier than usual, maybe shave a little."
Nick sighed, said, "I hate my life", like any other 15 year-old, sorry, 1500 year old, and went upstairs to change into his combat clothing. Some things never change.
Satan lounged on his crown of bones and lava, devouring bats as though they were bonbons. As this thought occurred to him, he said, "BONBATS! AHA! AND YOU, GORDON RAMSAY, SAID MY DESSERT IDEAS WERE BAD!"
Gordon Ramsay, Hell's Senior Lieutenant because Satan had watched his show and fell in love, said, "Yes, indeed, sire, bonbats. They sound excellent." He shuddered, and internally thought, "Even those restaurants from the show were better than this old fool's cooking."
Satan perked up. "What did you say?"
Gordon replied, "I didn't say anything, sire."
Satan said, "No. But you certainly thought something unkind."
Gordon's heartbeat quickened and he was sweating hard, but relaxed as a cruel grin broke out on the Ruler of Hell's face.
Satan said, "And I love that! A little sass against your boss is something we all feel, even moi. Old Stick-Up-His-Butt, or God, as those mortals call him? Ugh, he's such a Clean Colin. I even need torture permits from him to do stuff in my own kingdom! I mean, Gordon, can you even?"
Gordon, in a deadpan tone, replied, "No. I can't even."
Nick emerged from his room, wearing a bright red tee with "Ho, Ho, Ho" written on it in gold, a black leather duster jacket, white trousers, a black belt with gold ornament and expensive Italian leather shoes with gold lace. A grin spread across his face, but then Julia gave him one scrutinising look and all excitement about his choice of clothing dissipated.
Nick, in a slightly upset tone, asked, "What? Is it the duster?" Julia laughed and replied, "No, it's just that you looked a lot better in this, like, a 1000 years ago."
Nick grumbled and left the house, carrying a few carrots for each of the reindeer.
As he approached the stables, he noticed an argument between the reindeer. He knew the usual parties. Everyone against Rudolph, but not in the way that you'd think.
All the reindeer were grumbling and arguing amongst each other, when Rudolph said, "Contention must come from within."
Comet and Vixen simultaneously replied, "Stop with your "The Rock's Yoga Program" bullshit, Rudy, you just get all the publicity!"
Rudolph raised an eyebrow. "It's not exactly my fault you guys decided to bully me about my nose."
Donner snorted and commented, "Yeah, it's your mom's."
A collective "OOOH!" went up among the reindeer, except from Rudolph. He chest bumped Donner with malicious intent and said, "Come at me, you want a piece of this?"
Donner replied, "Yeah, the nose specifically!"
Another "OOOH!" and a kick from Rudolph, and Donner chuckled and went, "My grandma kicks harder." Dancer and Prancer winced from experience, from the time they'd TP'ed Donner's stable when his grandma was visiting.
Blitzen, meanwhile, sat in the corner and quietly meditated, silently repeating to himself, "What has my life come to?"
Nick approached and said, "Guys, if we're gonna fight through Hell, we're gonna need to be a team."
All of them stayed quiet. Finally, Rudolph broke the silence, "Say WHAT?"
Donner replied, "That's actually the same way your dad reacted then he figured out your nose wasn't actually a pimple."
Rudolph shot him a withering glare.
Nick rolled his eyes, and said, "Satan's got my mail."
All the reindeer grumbled and argument broke out with cries of, "AGAIN?" and "BUT I HAVE A MANI-PEDI RESERVATION TOMORROW!" being heard.
Nick whistled, silencing them, and said, "Come on, guys, do it for the kids."
All the reindeer gave him a collective confused look.
Nick explained, "The ones that give you the carrots?"
The reindeer talked among themselves now, saying "Ah, alright, maybe for them" and "BUT MY MANI-PEDI?"
Nick smiled and said, "Alright, that's the spirit!"
He snapped his fingers, summoning his golden chariot with green patterns. He clicked a green button that said, "GO!" and the reindeer ran and leaped into the sky, starting to fly, when a realisation dawned upon Nick.
He said, "Wait a sec," and all the reindeer came to a sudden stop.
He continued, "Isn't Hell supposed to be... down?"
The reindeer nodded and soared downwards, eventually landing on the snowy ground.
Nick twirled his snow flecked beard and said, "Gosh, it's cold out here."
Donner stuttered, "Y-yeah, N-n-no sh-shit, Sh-sherlock."
Nick glared at him, and then summoned all his rage and channeled it into one massive punch to the surface of the snow, and created a gigantic hole in the ground, which created a direct path for them to go to Hell. Nick gestured to the hole and said, "After you," to the reindeer. They nervously trotted down into the hole.
They all began chanting the famous AC/DC song, "Highway to Hell" on the way down, Nick included.
"GOSH, WHAT IS THAT AWFUL SINGING I HEAR?" Satan roared, hearing, "Highway to Hell" being blared on one of his surveillance cameras. "WHAT IS IT?"
One of his tech specialists explained, "It's originating from the North Pole."
Satan banged his hand on the desk and asked, "HOW IS THAT SUPPOSED TO HELP ME?"
The techie rolled his eyes and said, a slight drawl in his voice, "Who do we know who's coming in from the North Pole to pick up his mail?"
Satan slapped his own forehead as he said, "Nick."
The techie spread his arms in a gesture of vindication and Satan, annoyed by this arrogance, snapped his fingers and turned him into a mole rat.
The techie muttered curses at him and scampered away before his condition was made worse.
Satan pulled his cloak after him and snapped his fingers, summoning none other than Gordon Ramsay.
Gordon, once again in a deadpan tone, asked, "You summoned, sire?"
Satan made a face at the name and said, "Okay, listen up, Gordon. First: You will not call me sire ever again. It's a drab and boring title, and it has no charisma, no flair. From now on, you will refer to me only as Lord Of Darkness. Got it?"
Gordon replied, "I don't know, sir, you use a lot of lava and that's pretty bright-"
Satan cut him off with an intense glare.
Gordon curtsied and said, "As you wish, Lord Of Darkness."
Satan nodded approvingly. He continued, "Secondly: Gather the hellions. We're taking a trip to the North Pole entrance."
Gordon said, "Um, sire-"
Satan glared at him again.
Gordon continued, "Sorry, Lord Of Darkness. I meant to say, there is no North Pole entrance."
Satan grinned evilly.
"There is now."
Hell looked exactly as it was described. Plenty of tall, sheer structures of black rock, flowing lava rivers, and flying demons surrounding them. Nick wondered why they didn't attack, but he also didn't want to try his luck.
As they trudged on among the hellscape of, well, Hell, they became aware of a dark, shadowy figure following them.
It stayed not too close, but not too far either. Once, Nick felt it brush against his duster jacket and he shuddered, feeling a cold and malevolent presence.
Some time after that, the presence decided to make its presence known again. It attempted to slash off Rudolph's nose, for it was glowing a brighter red than ever before, for reasons unknown.
Like a moth to the flame, it charged, at unimaginable speeds, directly at Rudolph. What it didn't realise was that Nick had picked up a few tricks over the years. Nick instantly turned, pulled out a shotgun (He didn't just use those to carry kiddie gifts, as a matter of fact) and blasted the creature in the face, peppering its face with holes.
Its lifeless, midnight black corpse lay dead on the floor, the place where its face was replaced by a Venus flytrap looking contraption with bright red "eyes" and teeth, and a slimy white tongue.
Nick looked at it, immediately retched and said, "Ugh, who called the Demogorgon?"
Vixen had an epiphany and said, "Well, that makes sense, because this is literally the Upside Down." All the reindeer muttered in approval.
Nick chuckled as they continued on their journey.
Satan led his army to meet Nick's party at the entrance they'd just made in the North Pole, which, as Satan realised, could literally be called a "Hellhole." He chuckled at the idea.
Gordon, carrying all of his heavy tools and armour, grunted, "Something funny, Lord?"
Satan shook his head and gestured at Gordon to move on. They were leading an army of about a thousand, including trolls, gorgons, cyclopes, and any other nasties you could probably think of, including some human mercenaries and some zombies.
Satan seemed at ease about the encounter with Nick, but didn't underestimate him. Nick had learned more magic than him in 1500-1700 years than he had in all his time in Hell.
Satan's thoughts were punctuated by grunts of stress from Gordon, who looked worse for the wear. Sweaty and exhausted from carrying Satan's stuff through literal HELL was not his idea of a good Sunday before Christmas.
He wanted to be making fun of people's horrific attempts at cooking. He wanted to be putting restaurants out of business. He wanted to ruin the lives of bad chefs. Then again, if he thought all this was the idea of a good Sunday before Christmas, maybe he deserved it.
Out of nowhere, he heard the clip-clop of hooves, interrupting his train of thought. At first, he thought he was delirious, then realised that those were the hooves of reindeer. A very specific eight reindeer, with their master. Nick.
He looked up at his boss and saw his boss' cruel, twisted grin.
Nick and the reindeer noticed the temperature getting higher and the hellscape around becoming drier and more arid as they marched on. Nick realised this was the effect of Satan's army, the Hellions.
The gang trudged on, jumping past lava puddles and climbing mountains of black rock with much difficulty. Donner kept making snarky commentary on hell and Rudolph, Rudolph kept kicking Donner and subsequently being embarrassed and the rest kept quiet and conserved their energy.
Eventually, over the peak of one of the mountains. Nick noticed an army, moving straight at them. He said, "That's them. They're the fools who made us come here," in an attempt to irk the reindeer enough to win the inevitable fight. As he took another step, Satan appeared directly in front of him, surprising him and almost causing him to fall off the cliff. Nick bent and put a hand on his heart.
"Jesus Christ, Satan."
Satan pretended torch, wagged his finger at Nick and said, "Don't say that name."
Nick shrugged and replied, "His birthday is my main business window, so I have nothing against him."
Satan grinned. "Not this year."
Nick pulled out his shotgun, along with a pistol. "We'll see about that."
He took in Satan's outfit, a purple velvet jacket over an unbuttoned orange shirt and white pants. It complimented his fiery orange eyes and mahogany skin, but Nick commented, "Oh, and Joe Exotic called. He wants his outfit back."
Satan rolled his eyes and replied, "It's funny, Mulan and Keanu Reeves said the same thing about you too."
Nick grinned and said, "Let's do this." The reindeers bucked, as if to show they were ready to battle. Except Blitzen. He was sitting, probably catching up on meditation again.
The demon army charged and Satan summoned his trident and took to the skies along with Gordon, presumably to watch from a safe distance.
Rudolph grunted and yelled, "REINDEER! ATTACK PLAN DELTA! DESTROY EVERYTHING WITH NO ACTUAL PLAN IN MIND!" and the reindeer obeyed.
In less than a minute of chaotic fighting, Nick snapping his fingers and the surprisingly awe-inspiring martial arts abilities displayed by Blitzen, the fight was over. The reindeer emerged unscathed, as the remains of the demon army lay on the ground: ragged cloth and random claws and teeth, and splattered lava, which replaced the demons' blood.
Satan clapped, apparently impressed, when Nick shouted at him, "GET DOWN, YOU COWARD! LET'S DO THIS!"
Satan shrugged and jumped from his position in the sky, simply to show off. He landed in the superhero landing. Gordon remained in the air and continued eating popcorn.
Nick slow clapped and prepared his shotgun and pistol. Satan pulled out his trident, and tapped it on the ground, signalling the beginning of the fight. Nick emptied the clip of the pistol and threw it at Satan. Satan dodged the bullets and smacked the pistol out of the air.
Nick took aim with his shotgun and fired at Satan's face, immediately crouching after that and sweeping his legs. Satan fell on his backside. Nick pointed the shotgun at his face and said, "It's over: give me my mail NOW!"
Satan looked confused. "What mail?"
Nick raised an eyebrow.
Satan laughed as he realised what Nick meant.
"Oh, that mail? Oh, yeah. I never had it. I was just messing with you."
Nick's eyes widened.
"So, you mean to tell me the mail was in my mailbox the entire time and I literally punched a hole in the earth and shot a bunch of demons... FOR NOTHING?"
Satan nodded, chuckling.
Nick cursed, yelling, "DAMN IT!" He then calmed down and said to the reindeer, all of whom were grumbling among themselves, "Let's go home, guys. It was for nothing."
Vixen burst out, loudest of all, "SO I MISSED MY MANI-PEDI FOR NOTHING?"
Nick nodded, boarded the chariot and told them to take him home, where he promised he'd give them a truckload of carrots.
Satan giggled and waved goodbye as Gordon tended to his wounds.