Jamie was sat up in his bed staring at the door. He couldn't believe it.
It was 4am on Christmas morning and he'd been woken up by the sounds of someone opening his door. He had opened his eyes only to catch a glimpse of his Mum leaving his stocking at the end of his bed.
Where was Santa? Was he okay? Did he need help? Were the reindeer safe? That's when he had sat up and asked his Mum what was going on.
She had looked startled, surprised and worried to see him awake. She sat next to him on the bed with a very serious look about her. Jamie started to worry even more; whatever had happened must be bad.
"James, you're old enough now that I think it's time you knew the truth."
His Mum only called him James when she was telling him off or when something really, really bad had happened. He prepared himself for the worst.
"Santa... doesn't exist."
"Stop messing around Mum, tell me what's going on. He's sick isn't he? I knew this would happen. Christmas is ruined. How do I get to the North Pole, I have to help him!"
"I mean it James, there really is no Santa; we made him up."
Jamie felt his world collapse.
"What do you mean you made him up?"
"All parents do it; it makes Christmas more exciting for you kids doesn't it?"
He stared through his Mum's eyes. His mind was racing. The was no Santa. Father Christmas doesn't exist.
This couldn't be right; he refused to believe it. He got presents from him every year. His stocking and his biggest present both had "from Santa" on them, every year. He asked his Mum to explain how that was possible if he didn't exist.
"Your Father and I, we give those for you and write that on them."
It didn't make sense to him; this couldn't be true. He must be dreaming!
Yes, that was it, this wasn't real; that's why it didn't make sense. He started pinching his arms repeatedly and with increasing force.
His Mum scowled at him, grabbed his arms and stopped him.
"What are you doing?" she exclaimed.
"I'm trying to wake myself up from this nightmare" he replied, struggling against her superior strength. After a couple of minutes of trying to break free he gave up and relaxed his arms. As soon as his Mum released them he went back to pinching himself again.
She grabbed his arms once more and pulled him into a hug.
"Stop it, you're going to hurt yourself. I know this is hard to take, but you had to find out sooner or later."
He started sobbing which made his Mum hold him tighter. His mind was still racing but he couldn't separate his thoughts enough to understand what he was thinking. His head felt like it was going to explode. And the squeezing wasn't helping.
He pushed her away, turned over and buried his head in his pillow.
"Are you okay?"
"LEAVE ME ALONE!"