'Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house
not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse.
The stockings were hung by the chimney with care
in hopes that St. Nicholas soon would be there.

Tommy was huddled under his covers. It was a cold night, so cold that the decrepit furnace couldn’t possibly keep up with the freezing temperatures outside the old three story house where Tommy slept. Perhaps the only saving grace keeping him mildly warm was the heat given off by the eleven other boys softly snoring in their bunks.

Tommy’s bunk was the first one by the door. It was the least desired bunk in the room and because of that, Tommy was made to sleep there. Tommy was made to do lots of things by the other boys. Tommy and the boys lived in an establishment for boys who had strayed a bit too far from the courses of normal boyish fun. Carlos, the short brutish boy, was missing a thumb. He was here because he always stole things wherever he went. Mick was here because he had killed his first foster family’s cat, and then both of the dogs in his second foster home. Mick had a foul mouth, and couldn’t go more than five or six words without dropping some four lettered variant. The worst one of all was Sean. Sean had it out for Tommy. The other boys all talked about how Sean had killed another boy and had gotten away with it by hiding him under the tires of a bus that crushed all the evidence. The bus driver was in jail for manslaughter. Sean constantly beat on Tommy, and stole all of his candy and other knickknacks that make living in a boarding house for boys with criminal dispositions bearable.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
while visions of sugar plums danced in their heads.
And Mama in her 'kerchief, and I in my cap,
had just settled our brains for a long winter's nap.

Tommy had only managed to keep one thing from Sean in the months that he had been at St. Martin’s, a small stuffed Santa Claus, worn nearly to tatters that he had found in the alley dumpster behind a row of houses. The threadbare Santa currently occupied the small space between Tommy’s arms, though it would be carefully stashed before the sun came up, lest Sean discover a new object of torture, and subsequently behead the small Santa.

Tommy did not belong in St. Martin’s Boarding Home for Boys with a Criminal Disposition. In fact, the case was nearly the opposite. Tommy had been homeless for quite sometime, and had survived on scraps and the occasional kind act of a passerby. The deed that landed him at St. Martin’s was his attempt to stop a fellow homeless child from stealing a woman’s groceries. The woman in question had been walking down the rough cobblestone drive just outside the market, when a small child, motivated partially by hunger, and somewhat by resentment, charged the woman, knocking her over, and stealing her bag of groceries.

When out on the roof there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the window I flew like a flash,
tore open the shutter, and threw up the sash.

Tommy, seeing this act, ran and grabbed the child. The small thief, being quite a bit shorter than Tommy, panicked and thrust the bag at Tommy. Tommy stumbled and upon turning about to return the bag to the woman, was summarily apprehended by two gentlemen summoned by the woman’s cries for help. Unfortunately, in the particular social strata that Tommy found himself detained, the chances of the woman distinguishing him from the culprit were practically non-existent. Tommy shortly found himself in the hands of the constable, who gave him a severe beating. The magistrate sentenced him to lead the rest of his childhood behind the barred windows of St. Martin’s, mostly due to the upper-class identity of the woman whom he supposedly mugged.

So now, Tommy occupied the first bunk by the door, squatting pitifully against the cracked wall, and the hard uneven floorboards. As Tommy lay beneath his covers he heard the headmaster making his rounds, Mr. Chapman was his name. Chapman was a portly man, with a fiery complexion, and a terrible attitude. The whole reason he ran St. Martin’s was the large government stipend that he received, which was to be spent on the boys’ reeducation into the ways of gentlemanly existence. As it stood, he spent very little on the boys and pocketed the rest. It was Mr. Chapman’s duty to keep the boys in line, and to make sure (more or less) that they did not kill each other. The fact that tomorrow was Christmas insured that Chapman has a little extra in his pockets, sponsored by a government charity to provide a Christmas meal for the boys, and perhaps some new shoes or trousers.

The moon on the breast of the new-fallen snow
gave the lustre of midday to objects below,
when, what to my wondering eyes should appear,
but a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer.

Tommy took a deep breath and rolled over on his sunken mattress, trying to drift to sleep, when crash, crash , a huge weight settled upon the roof. Tommy and the other boys awoke instantly, some of them running to the barred window. Melted snow could be seen, refreezing to the window, as heavy footsteps crunched down the length of the roof toward the broken stove at the end of the boys room.

Shouts of “Santa! Santa!” were echoing around the boys chamber, as the boys excitedly looked toward the stove, awaiting the glorious Saint Nick. The roof around the stove pipe shuddered and let loose a cloud of plaster and dry wall. Clanking and shaking, the stove pipe began to burst at the rivets. As suddenly as it began, the clanking stopped and all was still. Then a wave of heat and a forceful gust of wind flashed through the room, scattering the boys’ blankets and knocking over some of the smaller boys. A gaping hole was blown out of the ceiling, and the debris crushed and instantaneously killed Sam, a rotten bully of a child.

With a little old driver, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than eagles, his coursers they came,
and he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

Two bright flaming lights slowly approached the hole in the roof. As they got nearer they could be seen emanating from the boots of a tall figure, dressed in red with fluffy white trim. The lights were rocket thrusters that slowly lowered the figure to the floor, scorching the wood panels.

“Santa?” a boy plaintively asked. With a mechanical, servo-motor sound, the figure's head rotated and faced the child. Above the red pants and red jacket gleamed the silver skin of the figure’s face. His eyes glowed bright orange-red underneath a fuzzy red hat. The red hat, instead of being adorned with a white pom at the tip, sported a grenade that dangled above the figure’s brow. The figure’s beard looked like a tangled bush of razor wire, crudely painted white.

"Now Dasher! Now Dancer!
Now, Prancer and Vixen!
On, Comet! On, Cupid!
On, Donner and Blitzen!
To the top of the porch!
To the top of the wall!
Now dash away! Dash away!
Dash away all!"

“Not Santa...” creaked a machine voice, akin to metal claws on a chalkboard, “guess again.” “Who are you,” asked Sean, eyes wide with fear, “why did you kill Sam?” “I… am MECHA SANTA!” boomed the metallic voice, “you do not have a chimney!” Tommy glanced upward and saw eight jet engines hovering above the whole in the roof, they were harnessed to a chariot, painted silver and red, adorned with two huge machine guns and several rockets. Mecha Santa grasped the bandolier that rested over his shoulder and across his chest. Contained inside each loop was a large bullet that was painted in a spiraling red and white pattern, much like a candy cane. Mecha Santa slowly fed his bandolier into the huge machine gun that he now held in front of himself. The boys, finally recovered from their shell shock, ran away from the ghastly apparition. They ducked under beds, behind trunks, and under covers. Tommy ran behind a rickety chair toward the back of the room, and peered from behind its slatted back.

As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly,
when they meet with an obstacle, mount to the sky
so up to the house-top the coursers they flew,
with the sleigh full of toys, and St. Nicholas too.

“I am Mecha Santa,” the creature again intoned. “I am here because there are bad people in the world. These bad people do bad things.” As Mecha Santa spoke, he slowly prepared his rifle, and swept it across the room. “These bad people don’t just appear. They all start somewhere. They all start as children. Now riddle me this my dear children: when Mr. Chapman finds a baby snake in the yard, does he set it free to become an adult snake, or does he kill it? Or rather, let me ask you this, why do we reward the good, but overlook the bad on Christmas? This holiday means NOTHING anymore. I want a Playstation, I want a Tickle-Me-Elmo, I want, I want I want. You know what I want for Christmas? Mecha Santa’s face squealed and contorted into a gristly smile. “I want all of the insufferable children who will grow up and make the world an insufferable place for others to burn in hell. You would be lucky to get a lump of coal this year.” Mecha Santa’s head snapped suddenly toward the chamber door, which Mr. Chapman was crouched behind watching the scene unfold through a small port. “Mr. Chapman, you probably couldn’t have saved these children, but you certainly didn’t try.” With this Mecha Santa let forth an eruption of gunfire from his rifle. The bullets carved through the chamber door and in fell the body of Mr. Chapman. “I don’t just deal in children.”

And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
the prancing and pawing of each little hoof.
As I drew in my head and was turning around,
down the chimney St. Nicholas came with a bound.

“Who is the worst child in this room?” Mecha Santa demanded. Slowly Sean sat up from his covers, and extended a shaking finger toward Tommy. Mecha Santa slowly reached in his pocket and pulled out a small wrapped gift and threw it toward Sean. “Thank you Sean,” he rattled. Sean, who had always been rewarded by his greed before, had a stupid grin on his face when his gift erupted, turning him into a smear with the consistency of ground chuck plastered to the wall behind his bunk. “Anyone else care to lie to me, boys?” screeched Mecha Santa. The remaining ten boys stared with a mixture of horrified and sick expressions on their faces.

Mecha Santa tossed a grenade under a bunk where two boys were hiding. Before the grenade exploded, he dispatched another boy with a flurry of candy cane bullets. Mick cursed and made a break for the remains of the door, Carlos and two others followed his lead. Carlos, the slowest of the group absorbed most of the gunfire, allowing the other three to escape. Tommy and the remaining boys got up to follow, and made it out. Mecha Santa was busy switching his rifle to flame thrower mode.

He was dressed all in fur, from his head to his foot,
and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot.
A bundle of toys he had flung on his back,
and he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.

The six boys dashed down the hall, down the spiral staircase, and ran headlong into the locked front door. “We’re trapped!” Tommy shouted, his eyes desperately searching for another way out. The boys turned and took off through the kitchen headed for the back door.

As the boys crashed through the back door, out into the snow, a sudden burst of white heat and white light singed their eyebrows. Up above Mecha Santa was flying down on his rocket boots, brandishing his flame thrower. He let another cloud of flames fly toward the boys who took off running through the garden.

Split up!” cried Mick, and the boys separated and ran in different paths through the garden. Tommy ran toward the back of the shed, hearing Mecha Santa roaring in pursuit.

His eyes--how they twinkled! His dimples, how merry!
His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His droll little mouth was drawn up like a bow,
and the beard on his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
and the smoke it encircled his head like a wreath.
He had a broad face and a little round belly,
that shook when he laughed, like a bowl full of jelly.

Unfortunately for the boys, Mecha Santa had forward looking infrared vision, and he easily plucked the boys from the garden one by one, and once he had all six, he brought them up to the roof.

The moon glistened off of Mecha Santa’s shiny face, intensifying his fiery eyes. “Mick, you like killing things? Kill Andrew,” Said Mecha Santa, pointing. Mecha Santa tossed Mick a knife. Mick trembled, then feinted toward Andrew, but then changed course and charged toward Mecha Santa. The blade thudded against Mecha Santa’s chest, and he fell to his knees with a loud crunch. Mick looked in Mecha Santa’s face, which was now eye level, with horror. He slowly removed the knife, as Mecha Santa’s eyes ceased to glow. Mick turned around toward the other boys. He saw the looks on their faces change from panic, to even greater panic, as he was slapped off of the roof so hard that he flew across the street and was impaled on the neighbor’s tree. Mecha Santa’s eyes lit up once more. “It’s not that easy…” he droned.

He was chubby and plump, a right jolly old elf,
and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself.
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head
soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread.

Mecha Santa quickly killed the remaining boys, all except for Tommy. Tommy trembled on the snow covered roof, staring at Mecha Santa. Mecha Santa stared back. Finally Mecha Santa broke the silence, “What are you doing in this place Tommy? You are not a bad boy…” Mecha Santa seemed almost distraught. Like an executioner that realized his son was in the audience. Tommy began to answer, but he was shaking too badly, and his voice trembled too much to form any words. “You didn’t like those children, did you Tommy? They weren’t your friends were they?” Tommy shook his head from side to side. “Come with me then,” croaked Mecha Santa. He placed Tommy in his flying chariot, and fired the jet engines, sweeping around until the rig was pointed straight toward the boarding house.

He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work,
and filled all the stockings, then turned with a jerk.
And laying his finger aside of his nose,
and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose.

Mecha Santa fired his rockets toward the house, knocking most of the structure down, and immersing the whole thing in flames. Tommy looked on with tears in his eyes. Mecha Santa did not look at Tommy, but pointed the rig skyward, and both of them were forced backward as they flew straight up into the night. Mecha Santa pulled a bomb out from under the seat and bade Tommy to drop it. Tommy fearfully took the bomb and held it out into the air over where the boarding home once stood.

He sprang to his sleigh, to his team gave a whistle,
And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.
But I heard him exclaim, 'ere he drove out of sight,

Tommy dropped the bomb, and looked toward Mecha Santa.

"Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!"

Mecha Santa nodded at Tommy, and produced from his pocket Tommy’s tattered Santa doll.

You better watch out,
You better not cry,
Better not pout,
I'm telling you why:
Mecha Santa is coming to town.
He's making a list,
And checking it twice;
Gonna find out
Who's naughty and nice.
Mecha Santa is coming to town.
He sees you when you're sleeping.
He knows when you're awake.
He knows if you've been bad or good,
So be good for goodness sake!
Oh, you better watch out!
You better not cry.
Better not pout,
I'm telling you why:
Mecha Santa is coming to town.
And he’s going to kick your ass!