“Sybil is fine. She was dehydrated and fainted from exhaustion The doctor wants her to be monitored for twenty-four forty-eight hours to make sure she gets the rest she needs. I couldn’t leave her in the hospital so I offered to have her stay with us. Of course, that means that her son Daniel will be visiting as well. I hope that’s okay with you Molly. I didn’t have time to call and ask.” Santa took a gulp his tea and wiped his brow.
Jessie thought that Santa looked as tired as Sybil had the previous night. Santa worked long hours too and often worked too much. Jessie didn’t want Santa to get sick too.
“It’s fine Santa. I’m surprised you had to ask. I like Sybil and it will be nice to have young Daniel visiting. Won’t it Jessie,” Molly replied as she refilled Santa’s tea?
Jessie wasn’t sure if Daniel visiting was a good idea or not but she wagged her tail and looked up at Molly anyway.
Sybil and Daniel arrived together shortly afterwards. Sybil was immediately shooed to the couch where she was entombed in blankets and fluffy pillows. Molly fluttered about around Sybil leaving Daniel to himself.
“Welcome, Daniel. We are pleased to have you visiting us. this is Jessie. Why don’t the two of you get some exercise and play ball outside.”
Jessie reluctantly jumped off her couch and picked up one of her older tennis balls. She moved to the door and went through the doggy door. She waited on the sidewalk for Daniel.
Daniel came out of the house and stomped his foot. He grabbed a branch off of the pine tree and yanked. It was too strong for the boy and it did not move. He did, however, strip many of the needles off of the branch.
Daniel roared and then stomped to the gate overlooking Mangles department store. He tried to open the gate but it was locked. The gate was high and the lock was a magical one Santa had installed to keep Trader Mike out.
Daniel shook the fence then shrieked in frustration. He looked around the yard and spied Jessie.
Jessie timidly wagged her tail and dropped the ball on the ground. There was no way she was going to get close to Daniel. She lowered her tail and shifted her gaze away from the boy. she slumped her way back towards the door to the house.
Daniel picked up some snow and formed it into a snowball She threw it at the dog. It missed her by inches. He picked up another ball and threw it at Jessie again. This time it hit its mark and Jessie yelped in pain. She ran back through the doggie door and jumped on her couch. She hid her head under her foot and trembled.
“What’s wrong, Jessie,” asked Molly. She then spied the coating of snow on Jessie’s back. Her face turned red and she came over with a towel to sponge off the dog’s coat. She stroked the dog and gave her a kiss. Jessie stopped trembling and leaned against Molly’s arm.
Christopher Cringle You brought that child into this house now you take care of him. It’s no wonder Sybil is sick. You need to have a talk with him.
“Fine, Molly. But let him blow off some steam outside today. I’ll talk to him in the morning and straighten things out. Meanwhile, I think Jessie deserves a treat. I’m sorry the boy hurt you Jessie. I wouldn’t have sent you out with him if I thought he would have thrown snow at you. Why don’t we play a game of ball. We can play in the hall.”
Jessie barked and ran to her toy box. She picked out her best ball and returned. She dropped the ball at Santa’s feet and sat waiting expectantly.
Santa laughed. “Okay, girl. Let’s play today. I’ll take care of Daniel tomorrow.”