Santa’s Little Helper (1)

A creature traveled three hundred million light-years and gave a sleeping girl a gift.

“What is it?” She asked, for she was young and naive, and thought the timeless and inscrutable creature stood before her was Santa Claus.

The creature noticed this.

“A present, my dear, for a good little girl.” The alien mouth struggled for a moment around unfamiliar sounds, a problem quickly overcome.

“Are you Santa? It’s not Christmas.”

The creature paused, accessed the planet’s knowledge. “Not Santa, dear girl. A helper. We would like you to test out this new toy for us, to make sure it will work just right by Christmas.”

The girl nodded sagely, turned the small device over in her hands. Black, it was, and somewhat translucent. She held it up to peer through it, looking around the room. It fell upon the Helper, who reached out and gently pushed it down before she could resolve him through the glasslike machine.

“What’s it do?”

“It,” a pause, a consideration of several variables, “captures.” The being detected a micro-expression on the girl’s face, made an adjustment. “It takes pictures. Special pictures.”

“What’s special about pictures?”

“That is for you to discover, little one. Now, sleep.” His voice drawled into a hypnotic predatory drone, and the girl slept.

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