The elf on the shelf is listening and learning.
The elf on the shelf. The changeling huddled and white at the foot of the bed. The nixies floating on darkling whispers in your curtains. The kobolds shifting from one foot to the other in the dark, in the quiet of the shuttered house. The wights with eyes wide open beyond the door. The draugr outside your window looking in. All creatures stirring but not yet ready to move. Something has happened to the mouse.
The elf on the shelf. Two elves on the shelf. Three elves on the shelf. All holding hands. Four elves on the shelf. All smiling now. Five elves. Six.
Too many elves for the shelf. Elves drift downward and take to the floor; elves collect and flow out into the halls. Elves inside of the walls, now, feet padding lightly over the rafters above your head. Elves moving with soft laughter inside of the heat ducts. Elves turning their heads and spilling out liquid chatter to one another. Elves pouring into the house.
[Image via The Elf on the Shelf]