The Journey Into... Annual (November 2006, Tom Russell, with "house ads" by Saxon Brenton and Jamie Rosen) is the thirty-ninth Eightfold publication. Billed as an "eighty-page giant"-- though that would depend on what font size and margins you use to print it-- it presents five stories about Santa Claus.
"The Boy Who Believed"-- probably the most tangential and weakest of the bunch-- finds Santa using his ability to stop and manipulate time on Christmas Eve to thwart a home invasion.
In "A Thousand-Thousand Snowflakes", Santa finds himself attracted to Arielle, a lonely forty-something woman in France. Pausing time for everyone but themselves, he woos his new bride with the manifold wonders of his existence. Also, they slay a dragon.
"The Teardrop Princess" sets Santa and his elves on a scavenger hunt to find the internal organs of a small magical child made of teardrops and tissue paper. Their search is temporarily disturbed by the machinations of Santa's arch-nemesis, the immortal eight-year-old Objectivist Charlie Cooker. When the girl is made whole again, it becomes clear that she has no memories or feelings of her own, merely borrowing those of Mrs. Claus. Santa and his wife decide to adopt her anyway.
"The Breath of Ghosts" finds Santa travelling to the land of ghosts, who never get presents. But there's a very good reason why Santa has to keep his distance: he's deathly allergic to ghosts.
The final story, "All a Year in a Single Breath", finds Mrs. Claus on her death-bed. Before she exhales her final breath, Santa freezes her in time. Unable to unfreeze her until the following Christmas, Santa spends the next year searching for a way to save his beloved, even turning to Cooker and the king of the ghosts. The elves leave, and so does the Teardrop Princess. Finally, on the next Christmas, he has to let Arielle go. For the first time since he began, the reindeer do not appear, and the magic of time is no longer his to command.
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