3: Twists and Trains

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C H A P T E R    T H R E E

Twists and Trains

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                  GEMMA OPENED THE door to a disgruntled Harry about twenty minutes after he'd left Ed.  She was in her nightgown already, hair damp from a shower and looking longer than usual.  Harry could feel the heat from his family's fireplace begin to warm his face already through the open doorway, and it's only been a few seconds.

                  "Hi, Harry.  Is everything alright?" his sister asked, stepping aside to let him in.

                  Gemma was his half-sister, really.  They shared a mum, but Gemma's father wasn't Harry's.  Therefore, Gemma was full elf, just like their mother was.  Harry was a bit of an oddball in that sense, the one that stuck out.  Gemma's father was a Worker Elf who died long ago; as far as Harry knew, his sister never even knew her dad.  Harry's father was human, and he never knew his either.  But he did know that he was half human, half elf because of it.

                  He wasn't the only one.  There were many elves around the North Pole like Harry, with rounded ears instead of pointed, just a little bit taller than everyone else.  Longer fingers, a little bit more sensitive to the cold.  Half-elves like Harry always needed their shoes to be custom made because their feet were just a little bit larger.

                  Harry didn't mind.  Maybe if he was the only half-elf around he would, but he's not.  It's more common than anyone realizes.  He isn't treated as less of an elf, he doesn't have to hide his human ears (although his hair had grown quite long recently and tends to cover them anyway), and he doesn't feel the need to only hang around other half-elves like himself.  If anything, he was considered more valuable to the North Pole. 

                  Half-elves generally go into one of two professions: they become Worker Elves due to their larger hands and height – perfect for factory-working – or they head to the Hit-Maker House. 

                  His mother used to work at the Hit-Maker house when she was younger.  She had a knack for songwriting and singing, which is what Ed specialized in now.  Harry used to love listening to her sing familiar Christmas carols every morning while he got dressed and ready for training.  He loved even more the times she'd sing him something she came up with herself.  Once an elf is promoted from elf-in-training to their job title, they normally stay there.  And when that happens in the Hit-Maker House, an elf has access to the whole world.  Literally.

                  An elf's job in the Hit-Maker House entailed not only the creation of art and music, but the ability to integrate it into the lives of humans everywhere to increase the interest and belief in both Santa Claus and Christmas.  Hit-Maker Elves are meant to bring the spirit of Christmas back to a world desensitized by war, natural disasters, and a media-based society.  Half-elves make great Hit-Maker Elves because they can blend in with humans easily.  Pointed ears tend to stand out, especially if the humans aren't celebrating the winter season or Halloween.  Harry's mum blended in alright because her hair is thick and long and can hide her ears well.  Harry knew he'd blend in perfectly too.

                  He had already been planning his future as a Hit-Maker Elf since he was a young boy.  Originally, he wanted to do what his mother did.  He wanted to write music and lyrics and sing the songs he'd created all around the world.  He wanted to hear his songs on the radios in America, on the streets the United Kingdom, being covered by musical acts in Australia and New Zealand and in other languages.  He'd wanted that so badly that it led him to befriending Ed, who had been quite the troublemaker back in the day.  But Ed could sure make music.

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