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Today you can read a short story by @toritilla5
How Garmadon stole christmas
“Christmas Eve was one of the most stressful and joyful days of the year. The struggle to prepare parties, finish wrapping gifts and continue the yearly tradition of leaving milk and cookies for Santa was very much present. It may be much more difficult for the parents who have children who can barely sleep through the night, excited for the heaps of new toys they would receive when morning comes. Overall, Christmas was a cheerful time for everybody; spending the day with family and friends, enjoying time well spent together, and, of course, eating lots of food………”
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READ "How Garmadon Stole Christmas"
Christmas Eve was one of the most stressful and joyful days of the year. The struggle to prepare parties, finish wrapping gifts and continue the yearly tradition of leaving milk and cookies for Santa was very much present. It may be much more difficult for the parents who have children who can barely sleep through the night, excited for the heaps of new toys they would receive when morning comes. Overall, Christmas was a cheerful time for everybody; spending the day with family and friends, enjoying time well spent together, and, of course, eating lots of food.
However, Ninjago’s favourite holiday wasn’t loved by everyone.
“Well, Christofern, looks like it’s just you and me.”
Garmadon, the most miserable and arrogant person in the city, was spending it alone. In fact, he hadn’t spent a single Christmas with somebody since he was very young. His father had planned a special dinner with his brother, Wu, full of potatoes, turkey and brussel sprouts, which Garmadon despised. No matter how excited he had been for it, that year ended up being the worst year of his life.
December 25th, 145 years ago, was the day that their family changed for good.
Now, just like the decades he’d spent in the Underworld, he was on his own. The holiday he once loved with all his heart, he now hated with every fibre of his being.
“What do you want to watch today?” Garmadon turned his head to the windowsill behind him, his eyes landing on the very thing he was talking to.
The fern he had raised since the day it came into his life.
With no response, he turns back to the screen, the remote firmly in his hand. As he scrolls through the TV guide, a loud groan bounces off the apartment walls.
His roommate, Vinny, had decided to spend Christmas with his distant family, leaving the dark lord with free roam for the weekend. Surprisingly, Vinny trusted Garmadon enough to leave him in charge, even though he left a large pile of soda cans and pizza boxes in front of the couch when he had only gone on a business trip for a day. However, he didn’t have much choice this time as there was nowhere else for the knave to go. Hopefully he wouldn’t come home to there being a mess with a colony of ants between the floorboards and a family of rats living in the sink with the mound of dirty dishes.
He had enough trust in his sloppy roommate that he’d at least try to keep tidy.
“Christmas this, Christmas that,” he groans again, “why is there nothing normal on?”
Switching the TV off in a fit of rage, he slams the remote on the coffee table – which is already coated in used plates and cutlery – and continues to sit in silence, his arms crossed and his oversized dressing gown resting over his knees.
Sometimes the company of your plant is just enough.
But as much as Garmadon loved the peace and quiet, it never lasted long in a city full of merry folk. For what felt like the 20th time already, he could just about hear a group of carol singers passing by the apartment block. Living on one of the busiest streets in Ninjago City has its perks but when it comes to carnivals, celebrations or, in this case, carol singers, you’d rather live in the Underworld.
After groggily getting up from his warm spot on the couch, Garmadon marches over to the open window, reaching for the handle and aggressively pulling it closed, turning the key to lock it, just to be careful.
He breathes a sigh of relief, smiling at the potted plant beside him briefly.
“It’s okay, Christofern, no one is going to bother us.”
He picks up the white spray bottle on his left, sprays the plant a few times with clean water, and pats the side of the beige pot.
“It’s just us.”
Thud. Thud. Thud.
“Or it’s supposed to be.”
Contemplating whether to answer the door or not, the dark lord continues to stare at his ‘child’ for a moment. There was a great chance it could be those carol singers he had just blocked out coming to torment him, or it could potentially be someone important. However, he was sure he was still being tracked down by the Police Commissioner and he didn’t really want to risk being taken away, leaving Christofern on his own for the next two days.
Thud. Thud. Thud.
It didn’t seem like he had a choice.
Garmadon slowly made his way over to the door, slightly dragging his sandals across the dusty floorboards. Whoever it was, they were ruining his highly anticipated silence.
“Perhaps it’s Vinny of NGTV News.”
Once he arrives at the door, he slowly grabs hold of the doorknob and turns it, briefly yawning as it opens.
“I don’t want what you’re se-”
“Parcel for Vinny Fo-”
As the very tired delivery worker glanced up to see who they thought was Vinny, they bounced back, almost hitting the corridor wall behind them. A heavy gasp escapes their now jaw-dropped mouth.
“What do you want?” Garmadon questions, a blank stare on his face.
“I-” the worker gulps, “I have a parcel.”
“I didn’t order anything.”
“For.. Vinny Folson?”
Garmadon peers at the relatively small parcel in their hand before glancing back up at them. They try their best to avoid eye contact, eventually failing as Garmadon attempts to snatch the parcel out of their hand.
“Thank you. You may leave now.”
“Oh.. uh.. okay. Merry Christmas,” the worker smiles nervously, receiving nothing but a glare in response.
Garmadon takes one step back, keeping his thundering glare upon the terrified worker, grabbing the door with his free hand and swinging it forward until it slams.
“If one more person says that word, I am going to-”
Thud. Thud. Thud.
The worker clears their throat from the other side of the door, “I need you to sign for the-”
All the joy and excitement everyone had for this holiday was something the dark lord didn’t have. He still had many more Christmas’ to live through, too. How was he going to survive?
“I wish this foolish holiday never existed. Maybe then people would stop being so insufferable,” Garmadon grunts.
Throwing Vinny’s parcel onto the couch, Garmadon makes his way back over to his plant, once again picking up the spray bottle. After he sprays Christofern a few more times, he sighs, staring out the window at the carol singers and the multi-coloured lights hanging from each of the lampposts dotted along the street.
“If only I could just get rid of it completely.”
That’s something he had dreamt of since he was younger, since that horrible day had happened. Perhaps if the holiday disappeared entirely then he wouldn’t need to feel so lonely and confined whenever he heard a Christmas song. Perhaps if the holiday didn’t exist then he wouldn’t get so angry with people for the wrong reasons.
Perhaps there was a way…
A smirk tugs at his lip, “or maybe I can.”
Out of all the ideas Garmadon has had, this was his most ambitious one yet. How would he remove an entire holiday, Ninjago’s favourite to be exact, from existence? A day before Christmas, too. Although, if the dark lord has a plan, he will do whatever it takes to get it done. With the help of Christofern, he will do whatever it takes to make sure this ‘foolish’ holiday never happens again… or at least this year.
So, Garmadon comes up with a reliable plan and grabs all the equipment he needs. After raiding Vinny’s wardrobe, he finds a Santa hat and costume – what it was used for was beyond him – but decides it will do. He then finds his old infinity sack which he thought he’d thrown away in a natural fit of rage one day.
“I knew this would come in handy someday,” he grins, waving it in front of his plant, still sitting in its spot on the windowsill.
Once ready, he got his plan written out and proof checked, and was good to go.
The plan was simple. When everyone was asleep, around midnight, he would sneak into every home in Ninjago and take every decoration, tree and present, leaving nothing Christmas-related behind. No tinsel. No lights. No milk and cookies. It’ll be as if the holiday never existed.
Everything will be just how he wants it.
But once he had finished getting everything prepared, he found himself staring out the window, watching the sunset glisten behind Christofern.
Would it really be that easy to just take away an entire day?
“Well, Christofern, it’s almost time,” he grins widely, “are you ready?”
It’s unclear whether he was expecting a response from the inaudible fern but he continues to stare at the horizon in silence anyway. Over the past year, his plant had been the only thing that had stuck by his side, and not just because it had no other choice and couldn’t physically leave him, but it seemed to be the only constant thing in his life at that moment. Sure, he had family, but he rarely saw them – he mostly had himself to blame for that – and that was, predominantly, the main reason he didn’t like this season. Christofern meant a lot to him and, of course, he’d bring him on his most ambitious journey yet. Hopefully nothing would get in their way.
Although, there was one thing that could block his plans. How was he going to get across the entire of Ninjago in one night? Usually, trips to the Sea of Sands take days alone, how would he get to Nom or Stiix before dawn? Perhaps he hadn’t thought about his plan properly.
For what was probably the thirtieth time that day, he picks up the spray bottle on the windowsill in front of him and sprays the potted fern twice more.
“Maybe we’ll just take Christmas away from the city,” he suggests, “we’ll just have to work quickly to get as much as we can done. Are you ready, Christofern?”
Receiving, yet again, nothing in response, he slowly makes his way over to the floor-to-ceiling mirror on the far left of the room, beside the bland-looking filing cabinet. No matter how much he despised Christmas, he had to admit, he didn’t look half bad in the Santa attire. Perhaps the red coat, fake white fur and grey beard did suit him.
But that wasn’t what he was doing this for. If he were to get caught breaking into someone’s home, he could potentially play it off as ‘hey kids, I’m Santa Claus‘, and even though the flaws in his plan did stick out like a sore thumb, there was still part of him – a very small part – that believed he would get away with it.
Maybe once the sun finally set, he’d be a bit more confident in his project.
And that he was. When 23:43 arrived, he grew impatient and decided to take his leave, starting with the other families in the apartment block. Making as little noise as he could – which was difficult when you’re the dark lord – he unlocked the front doors with a safety pin he found earlier on Vinny’s bedside table. Tip-toeing to the main rooms where the presents and decorations were likely to be, he opened the sack he’d brought with him.
This wasn’t just any random sack he found laying around, however. His father had given him this specific one when he was barely reaching adolescence. The magic it contained was like none other and allowed him to put anything inside of it without the worry of it filling. The infinity sack.
Stuffing as much tinsel and baubles as he could inside, he tried to keep the noise minimal. Being as antisocial as he was meant he didn’t know much about the other residents in the building nor if they had any children or pets – which was definitely something else he had to worry about – so he had to be very careful. Once he’d finished with the largest bulk of unpleasant ornaments, he made his way over to the Christmas tree. Much weightier than imagined, he wrapped his arms aggressively around the middle of the shrub, eventually turning his entire body to face the sack which had been left wide open in the middle of the living room floor. Catching a glimpse of his very own potted fern in the doorway, he groans, rolling his eyes.
“Don’t look at me like that, be glad I’m getting rid of your brother. I wish I could throw mine into a sack, never to be seen again,” Garmadon huffed.
With that, he crams the large – now mostly broken – tree into the bag, stuffing it down until it completely disappears. Oh how much he loved his magical infinity sack.
One house done, a million more to go.
It became easier with the more practice he had. Once he’d wiped the entire street of its joy, avoiding children as if they were the plague, he quickly moved on to the rest of the block. Removing this aggravating, soul-destroying holiday from all these families’ homes was really exciting him. Also, seeing how many cookies people had left for the so-called ‘Santa Claus’ left room in his mind to think perhaps some things could go into his stomach sack instead.
“Who needs a Santa Claus when you can have a Garma-Claus?” he chuckled, grabbing a snowman from the fireplace and tossing it into the bag almost halfway across the dining room.
Where this sudden evil growing in his chest had come from was beyond the dark lord himself, and it was very disappointing considering how well he had been doing lately with becoming a better person, but this was something he wanted for a while. Christmas being gone meant he could finally focus on being better and being the person his family wanted around.
At least that’s what he thought.
Although, was taking a well-loved, important holiday away just because one person hated it worth the heartbreak it would cause the world?
It took Garmadon no time to get through the entire city. However, when he glanced at the time on the nearest clock he could find – mobile phones were a waste of time – he noticed it was only 40 minutes until sunrise, which would only put a foot in his plan. Maybe it was a good thing he didn’t attempt to take Christmas away from the whole of Ninjago.
Surely he could do one more house? He had the perfect one in mind.
It wasn’t much of a house but it definitely felt like a home to the dark lord. Perhaps not right now, but in the past, it was just that. He wasn’t welcome there anymore. If he was ever going to get his point across, however, this would be the best way to do it.
Take away the world’s favourite holiday from the world’s favourite family. The family he was excluded from.
“Alright, Christofern, this is our last stop for the night. I need you to keep quiet for me though; these guys have the hearing of a bat,” Garmadon mumbles to the plant tight in his right hand.
Making their way up the thousands of steps of one of the tallest mountains in Ninjago, Garmadon finally felt a little sympathy for the mailman having to make the journey up here every week. Although he swore it had never been this steep before. Maybe he was just out of practice.
When he’d finally made his way to the top step, a sudden wave of deja vu and slight guilt washed through him. The last time he was here, he had agreed to help his brother, son and their team to defeat the stone-cold bringers of darkness – the Oni. He’d left straight after that, freedom at last, but definitely with a lot of lessons learnt. Since then, he’d attempted to work on himself, and although it didn’t prove to be working well, he had gained a lot of refound respect for those he didn’t have before.
Except now he was back here taking away something they all truly cherished; the people who had trusted to set him free after he helped save the world.
Was he betraying their trust?
Shaking away that controlling feeling of shame, he grabs the looped, golden handles of the Monastery door, pushing them open as quietly as possible. He couldn’t quite place his finger on what made it look so different.
His plan was simple; all he needed to do was sneak into the main room, take all the decorations and gifts and leave. He’d already done it with the entire city, why was it so difficult now?
Memories of his younger self playing around and fighting his brother came pounding back, hitting with such a force that it made his head light and his heart heavy. The vision of that horrific day, 145 years ago, clouding his mind.
“Brother, this isn’t you,” he could hear his younger sibling call from behind.
No matter how desperately he wanted to turn back time to the day he was bitten by that merciless serpent, he couldn’t. This was his life now.
“Father always favourited you,” the older snarled in response, “I never had a chance in the spotlight.”
“That isn’t true. Father loved and cared for us both equally.”
“I’m the oldest,” he continued, the violence in his voice growing stronger, “I’m the one who should be trusted with the weapons.”
As much as Garmadon cherished his baby brother, he was aware of the blatant favouritism their father had shown him, and it was likely due to the unpleasant side of the eldest that continued to rise. Although he had the evil that struck him in the first place to blame, he somehow pinned it upon both himself and those who couldn’t help fix it. Maybe if his family believed in him more, he wouldn’t need to feel so defeated.
“He left us both in charge of taking care of them,” the concern in the other’s voice only made him more bitter.
“So why won’t you let me help? You’re organising everything yourself. You won’t let me near them.”
“I don’t want to risk anything happening to them,” he uttered.
“You don’t trust me.”
The way his brother’s mouth opened, only to quiver and close shortly after, gave Garmadon all the confirmation he needed.
That day, his resentment had gotten the better of him. The darkness had finally consumed him fully, turning him against not only his brother but his home too. He betrayed his father. He betrayed his sibling. And most importantly, he betrayed himself.
The battle between brothers had broken out.
Being back in the residence of where it took place only ripped his not-so-cold heart into further shreds, the isolation and agony stretching throughout his body.
He didn’t want to hurt anyone.
He’d gotten so lost in his thoughts that he hadn’t noticed the much smaller boy wearing green not far in front of him. The blonde he hadn’t even thought about when planning this selfish scheme.
“Why are you.. dressed like Santa..?”
Not a single sentence strung together in his lost mind. Why was he dressed like Santa? Why was he even here?
Garmadon glanced down at his attire briefly, frowning to himself, “Hmm.”
“And why are you holding a plant and a sack?”
Right. The sack.
He cleared his throat, glancing back up to look at the plant the boy had just pointed out.
“That’s his name.”
The silence is loud. The last time he saw his son, they weren’t on the best of terms. Lloyd had been angry at him for not caring about his friend’s death, for only caring for himself as usual, and was upset that his own father, son of the creator of Ninjago itself, didn’t want to help save the world. He did, of course, but they hadn’t spoken to or seen one another since. The last thing Garmadon wanted was to get into an argument, wake everybody up, and be in further trouble for the anguish he’d caused.
“I’ll be leaving now,” he states blankly, turning on his heel.
“Dad, wait,” the blonde chirps up, a slight sound of hope in his tone.
Not that he wanted to, the dark lord stopped dead in his tracks, clutching on tighter to the beige pot of the fern in his hand. Slowly turning back to his son, he notices the promising expression upon his face.
“Why are you here?” he asks.
And somehow, the severity of the situation finally struck him.
“I was trying to take away Christmas.”
“What?” the blonde questions, an eyebrow raised, “take away Christmas?”
“Although it’s not as easy as I thought it would be.”
“You were trying to take away a whole holiday? Why?” Lloyd grimaces, “is it just another one of your evil plans to take over the world again? I thought you were over that.”
Garmadon lets out a small hum, his ruby eyes landing on a large stone on the floor to his left. They soon travel to the black sac in his right hand; all the joy he’d taken away from excited children was entrapped in there, likely lost forever.
Why was he doing all of this? To be the villain? Was it jealousy?
“I took all the decorations and presents. They can’t come back,” Garmadon frowned.
An echoing laugh escapes the boy’s mouth, startling the father slightly.
“What? What’s so funny?” the dark lord queries.
“Did you really think taking away a few presents and baubles will stop Christmas?”
“Christmas is much more than some decorations. It’s about the joy that comes from within,” Lloyd grins, “it’s about family and the time you spend with them.”
Garmadon finds himself staring at the floor again. Family. That’s what had gotten him into this mess. Spending the holidays alone all those years made him miserable beyond belief, made him hate the joyful season, and, in the end, made him do stupid things. Maybe he didn’t really want to ruin people’s lives – he wanted to be better – but taking away the thing that made so many people happy just because he was angry was one of the most selfish things he could’ve done.
He sighs, “you’re right.”
“Oh, that was.. easy.”
“But I can’t put everything back. It’s gone,” he lifts his arm slightly, staring at his magical sack in disbelief.
What had he done?
The silence is loud once again, but this time, it doesn’t last long. Lloyd steps towards his father, reaching out to touch the fern he’d been clutching onto the entire time.
Hesitantly, the dark lord let his son take it, watching as his new child landed in the hands of his old one.
“How about we go to a few stores, pick up some bits and pieces and go and apologise to the families you took from? I’m sure they’d understand.”
“As long as you promise not to do it again.”
Garmadon gave the blonde a doubtful look. Taking another glance towards his fern, he shook his head in dismay.
“I am not a child. I don’t need to make a promise.”
“C’mon..” Lloyd grins, “I’m sure Christopine would be very proud.”
“Christofern,” Garmadon mutters toughly.
“Alright, Christofern,” Lloyd chuckles.
After everything he’d done to hurt his child, why would he forgive him now? Why would he trust him to make amends when he tried to hurt him and his friends on multiple occasions?
Throughout his time in Ninjago, the only person who had ever trusted him fully was the person he had bruised the most. Lloyd trusted that he would come back to help when fighting against the serpentine. He’d trusted that he would do good by sacrificing himself to the Departed Realm to save the world from Chen and his army. He’d trusted that even after all the agony his father put him through that he would help save the world against the very thing he was. And no matter how many times Garmadon had betrayed his son, he never stopped trusting him.
“Once we’re done, you can join us,” Lloyd adds, “I’m assuming you’re spending today alone.”
“I said you can join us today. We’re gonna have a huge dinner made by Zane and Cole. And we’re gonna make gingerbread houses tonight too,” he smiles brightly.
A gracious smile makes its way from the dark lord’s merry heart to his face, receiving one from the smaller boy too. Suddenly the idea of Christmas didn’t ache anymore. All the hatred that once encased his soul was instead replaced with gratitude and contentment. He hadn’t felt this happy in years.
“I would like that.”
So once dawn reached, Lloyd explained to the team what happened, with Garmadon apologising as best he could. They came up with a fully detailed plan – including backup plans – to return Christmas to the families who had almost lost it. While Zane and Wu made calls to store owners about buying heaps of Christmas gifts and decorations, Lloyd helped Garmadon work on his apology. Once everything was prepared, they went to every house in the city, giving gifts to not only those who had it taken away but also the less fortunate. Apologising was the most difficult part but most were grateful that the dark lord did the right thing in the end. What surprised Garmadon the most, however, was that nobody seemed to want to run from him.
Perhaps all of this has taught him a lesson.
Back at the Monastery, the team ate together, chatting about recent times Garmadon had missed and enjoyable memories they made over the years – most of which Garmadon was there for. It felt relieving to be able to talk about each other’s troubles and often worst thoughts surrounding certain subjects, including what he’d done in the past which he wasn’t exactly proud of.
The dinner was delicious. Cole’s cooking had improved greatly. The turkey was perfectly juicy and the potatoes were roasted just right, all thanks to Zane. Nya had proved fresh smoothies, which Jay had assisted her with, while Kai and Lloyd had set the table. It was a team effort.
Once they’d all finished eating, it was a family cleanup. Nya washed the dishes, Zane dried them, Cole put them away, whilst Kai, Wu and Garmadon cleared and wiped down the messy table with a wet cloth, and Lloyd and Jay started setting up the gingerbread houses.
Everyone split off into pairs. Kai kept knocking over his, earning frustrated noises from his sister. Zane and Lloyd’s was the best-built one so far, likely due to Zane’s amazing ability to steady his hands and stack the pieces accurately. Cole kept catching Jay taking bites out of the parts they needed and they ended up arguing as usual, while Wu and Garmadon were blocking out the rest of the team and focusing on their little home themselves.
“What are you doing?” Garmadon questioned, peering over his brother’s shoulder.
Wu was holding a small gingerbread man in his hand, painting it a little hat and beard using icing.
“Creating our father,” he smiles, before putting both the icing and the tiny ancestor on the table and picking up other tiny objects he had created earlier on. They lay gently in the palm of his hand. “Hold your hand out.”
After giving a look of confusion, Garmadon eventually flattens his hand, watching as Wu places the tiny pieces in it. When the eldest takes a closer look, they are painted a bright yellow, one in the shape of a sword, another as nunchucks, the third as tiny shurikens and the last as a scythe.
“The golden weapons,” Garmadon mutters.
“I thought that since you’re the only one that can handle the power of all four of them at once, you should be the one to protect them,” Wu explained with a soft expression.
“Protect them? From what?”
“Being eaten by Jay.”
“Hey!” the lightning master called out, earning laughs from everyone at the table.
Garmadon turned to look at his brother briefly, struggling to form a smile.
“Thank you, brother.”
Once the houses were finished, Jay and Kai, the tech gurus, took pictures of the finished products and posted them all over social media for their fans to judge.
As the team cleaned up, the Spinjitzu brothers took one last look at their accomplishment before it would be eaten.
“I think father would be proud of what we’ve achieved,” Wu spoke softly.
Garmadon frowned, “are you talking about the gingerbread house?”
He receives only a chuckle in response. Perhaps all those years that he spent alone thinking he was excluded from his family were a waste. His family really did care about him. He cared about them too.
Even though Christmas was both stressful and joyful for everyone, the real struggle for many wasn’t just setting up presents and food, but rather worrying about whether you’re wanted or not. Christmas really was cheerful and perhaps Garmadon could learn to love it as much as everybody else.
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