I had killed Father Christmas. Not on purpose, but he was still dead. He lay still on the pavement and blood had turned his beard pink. When there’s that much blood on telly, the person’s nearly always dead.
Mum took charge and phoned an ambulance. I stood behind her, holding our Molly’s hand, waiting for everybody to blame me. Nobody did. They were all too busy arguing about what to do.
‘Don’t move him!’ some woman shouted. The football that Father Christmas had tripped over was on the other side of the road, near the sleigh. A reindeer was licking it. I needed to get rid of it without anyone noticing. Molly was bawling her head off. I shoved a Jelly Baby in her mouth. She kept asking who was going to bring her presents.
‘Is that all you can bloody well think about?’ Mum shouted. She never normally swears, so I knew it was really bad.
A bus went past and loads of kids stared out, looking terrified, probably thinking the same as Molly. I was more worried about the policeman who’d turned up. He mumbled into his radio, acting like it was a normal thing, coming across a dead Father Christmas on a Saturday morning. He told everyone to move back.
Mum was on the phone again, telling someone not to panic. This made me feel worse. That was what they said when I fell in the playground and broke my leg. Mum saw me staring and moved away.
Molly kept pulling on my arm, but I took no notice. It was her wanted to come and see Father Christmas arriving at Brodie’s. Mum said he was the real one. The others were just helpers. I was too old. Not for the presents, just the other stuff. I was hoping none of my mates would see me, especially not Bradley Walker, who didn’t believe any more. I’d brought the football so I could pretend I was on my way to the park if I bumped into anyone.
The paramedics thought it was a laugh.
‘All right, Santa?’ one of them said. Father Christmas grunted and tried to sit up. You could see he was wearing normal old man’s clothes under his red suit. And a dead posh watch that I was sure I’d seen before somewhere. They got him into the ambulance and closed the doors. People started moving away but Mum stayed where she was. I had a terrible thought. She was going to make me say sorry. Father Christmas was going to hate me, big time. I’d be lucky to get a lump of coal.
Somebody came huffing and puffing down the street. It was Mrs Rimmer from next door, looking dead worried. Mrs Rimmer’s ancient. This was probably the first time she’d run anywhere in twenty years or something. Mum grabbed her shoulders and said
‘Calm down, Audrey. It looked worse than it was.’
She tapped on the ambulance and they let Mrs Rimmer in, which I thought was a bit weird. After a bit the doors opened and she stuck her head out and told Mum they were taking Eric in to check him over. Eric is Mr Rimmer. I wondered how he’d got into the ambulance when we’d all been standing here the whole time. Then the penny dropped, as my Nan would say. Bradley was right. I felt a proper saddo. Mr Rimmer was Father Christmas. I liked it better when he was dead.