I wrote this story a couple of months ago, but I have only shown it to a few people- mostly out of some fear of rejection. Well, recently this story won second place in a writing contest, so I finally have the strenght of heart to share it with the public. I hope you like it.
Nicholas rubbed his arms, but it didn’t help. He couldn’t feel his hands; that is to say he couldn’t feel his hands touching anything. He could feel pain, tingling like someone was holding his hands under scalding hot water. The frail little boy pulled his knees to his chest and desperately wished it would bring some warmth. If he could just make himself smaller- curl up in a tighter circle. Nicholas started crying again, but his tears instantly met a cruel wind that caught his tears before they could reach his cheeks.
“Stop crying,” Nicholas told himself, still sobbing. “It hurts too much. Stop crying.”
Nicholas almost wished he had not run away from his new foster home, almost. He just could not face that uncertainty one more time. Besides, he thought he would probably just do something wrong again and be moved to yet another family. He almost could not remember his real family anymore. He thought they could not have loved him very much, or else they would have never given him up. Now it was late at night and he was out on the streets, curled up on the steps of an old church building. He wished that he had a blanket or a jacket, but when he had ran away he had not thought to bring anything with him. He did not really think that he was going to get away with it.
“Pleases don’t cry. You don’t have to be afraid,” said a sweet voice.
Nicholas’s heart skipped a beat; he held his breath as he looked up to see who it was.
Before him was a scrawny little girl with golden red hair, which was being mussed by the wind. Like Nicholas, she was ill dressed for the weather, with a just dirty white dress to wrap meagerly around her fragile frame. Somehow, she did not appear to be that cold. To Nicholas she looked like an angel, glowing softly like a matchstick or candle does in the dark.
“I-I’m cold.” Nicholas managed to stutter, shivering uncontrollably. Nicholas was old enough to be embarrassed that some one had seen him crying, but the pain outweighed the shame.
“It’s okay. I can help,” she said. The words sang out softly like a beautiful lullaby.
“I’m not afraid,” Nicholas said, mostly to himself. The tears were coming slower now. “And I’m not going back.”
“Of course we can’t go back!” she giggled. “Let’s go somewhere else, somewhere better.”
This seemed like a very good idea to Nicholas. It always had occurred to him that somewhere there would be something better. There was a part of him that had a vague conception of the ways things should be, but the only existence Nicholas had ever experienced was of pain and very little love. Now this girl was offering to him what he had only dared to believe existed.
“Let’s go to my house, it’s warm and we could have hot chocolate. Do you want to come?” she asked hopefully, with a hint of fear he might turn her down.
“Sure.” Nicholas said feebly, but remaining motionless because of the pain.
“Here, take my hand.” The girl said.
The two congruent hands met in a perfect intersection of grace and despair. Upon contact with grace, despair is transformed into something absolutely wonderful: hope. Hope, however, doesn’t eradicate pain as Nicholas found out as he tried feebly to pull himself to his feet. His own efforts failed, as Nicholas found himself completely helpless in the girl's hands. The little girl pulled valiantly though, and brought Nicholas to his feet.
Nicholas was still very weak. It took every effort of his scrawny muscles to keep from collapsing onto the sidewalk as the little girl helped him along. It was difficult, but it did not hurt as much as it had when he had been on the ground.
“Just a few of more steps,” the little girl said. “We’re almost there.”
Nicholas could not bear to look up to see their progress, but he noticed that with each step he took it was a little easier to take another. The truth was with each step they took the little girl bore more and more of his weight, until Nicholas was merely moving his feet as the girl held him up. They continued until Nicholas thought he could bear no more.
“Just one more step.” The little girl whispered.
Nicholas opened his eyes to see the sun rising over the horizon, illuminating in a brilliant glow.
“Where are we?” he asked the girl in wonderment.
“My father’s house,” she replied, in a whisper.
The light grew brighter until Nicholas’s surroundings began to fade and the details of the landscape became utterly indistinguishable in the light. Nicholas looked at his hands to see that they were glowing just as the little girl had been when he first met her. He turned to show the girl, but she was glowing so brightly he could barely see her. She gave Nicholas one last smile as she vanished completely in the light. Now Nicholas was standing alone in the midst of the bright light. The small child did not fully grasp the significance of the situation, but he knew that this was indeed good, and he could trust his new friend. Nicholas took one more final, painless step, and all the hurt and suffering that had filled his life was burned away. Then there was only light, and a poor, little child was made whole.