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Rated: E · Short Story · Children's · #1187076
When a family loses everything, a young girl show them what they had gained.
The Gift

Haylee was walking to the grocery store when a loud siren caught her attention. She thought, What is going on? It had to be something interesting.

She followed the siren’s wail for a couple of blocks and she came upon a chaotic scene. Across the street flames roared from a house. Standing on the sidewalk watching the fire was a young boy whose face was streaked with tears and soot.

The boy was Ed Barnes, the new kid at school. Haylee walked up to him and asked,”Hey Ed. What’s going on? Whose house is on fire?”

”Mine.” replied Ed.

Haylee stood there quietly, not knowing what to say. They watched as the firemen work hard to save Ed’s house but it was too late. The house was engulfed with flames and soon the roof collapsed.

A few days after the fire Haylee was on her way home from playing with her friends at Lucas Park. She was so caught up in her thoughts that she ran right into Mrs. Barnes. ”Oh, I am so sorry, Mrs. Barnes,” Haylee said.

“That’s quite alright,” Mrs. Barnes answered.

“How is Ed?” asked Haylee. ”We’ve missed him at school.”

” He’s fine, dear” sighed Mrs. Barnes. “He’ll be back on Monday. I have to go, but I’ll tell Ed you asked about him.” Haylee waved good-bye and watched Mrs. Barnes leave.

The rest of the way home, all Haylee could think about was The Barnes. Haylee thought about how awful it must be to lose everything you own: your food, clothes, even your toys. She had heard since the fire, the Barnes were living in a hotel.

Haylee knew if anything like this ever happened to her and her family she would have friends and family to help them out, but the Barnes were new in town and they hardly knew anyone.

When Haylee got home, Mother had dinner waiting, but Haylee was not hungry. She was too sad to even eat. “Momma, may I be excused, please?” Haylee asked. Haylee’s mother was worried, but said yes.

Later that night when Mother came to tuck Haylee into bed she asked,” Pumpkin, what’s wrong?”

Haylee told her about running into Mrs. Barnes, and how bad she felt for them. “Momma, I wish I could help them,” Haylee said.

”Why can’t you?” asked Mother.” You could go visit him or maybe make a card.”

Haylee thought for a moment then said,” I know just what to do.”

”I thought you would,” replied Mother with a wink.” Good night Pumpkin.”

The next day Haylee met her friends at the Lucas Park, she told them about Ed and his family, and she told them her idea. “So what do you think?” asked Haylee.
“I think it’s great,” Becca said.

“When can we start?” Autumn asked.

“Let’s do it today. Right now!” replied Courtney with excitement.

“That was the plan,” replied Haylee. “Let’s go.” Each friend had a special part to play.

Becca was responsible for getting the cardboard boxes. Autumn was to print out the flyers, and Courtney was in charge of the poster board and markers. Haylee was going to ask Mr. Williams if they could set up in front of his store. Everyone was excited about the plan.

They worked all morning, and by lunch, their project was finished. When they finished they took the stuff to Mr. Williams’ store, and set up their stand.

On the way to the store, they handed out flyers and even hung a few here and there. They were asking people for donations for the Barnes, anything they would like to give.

“Food, clothes, toys, anything would help. Please give to a family in need of friends, love, and kindness” was what the flyers, posters, and boxes read.

The friends worked all day into the late afternoon collecting donations from neighbors. By the end of the day they had three boxes full of clothes, food, toothpaste, toys, even books the Barnes. They had so much stuff it took all of them to move the boxes. They dragged the boxes the hotel where the Barnes were staying, and set it by the front door.

Haylee knocked on the door as everyone ran behind a bush. They waited for the Barnes. Ed answered the door, and when he saw the boxes overflowing with stuff all he could do was call for his mother.

Mrs. Barnes came to the door. She saw the boxes and asked,” Ed where did this come from?”

”I don’t know, Mom,” Ed answered. “It was here when I opened the door.” They looked around but could not find who left the boxes.

“Someone had to have left them. There’s so much stuff,” Mrs. Barnes said with a tear in her eye.

“Everything we needed, Mom” said Ed. As four friends watched silently, Ed pointed out the card to his mother and she read it, “For your family, from your family.”

“I wish I knew you these were from,” Mrs. Barnes said.

“I know,” answered Ed. “Some very special friends” Mrs. Barnes shook her head, picked up a box, and carried it inside. The friends knew they liked it. They quietly slipped out, careful not be been seen.

“I think they really liked it,” Courtney said.

Autumn added,” So do I.” The night was beautiful, full of stars and a full bright moon. As the friends stopped to say good-bye, it started to snow…just a little.

“Oh what a beautiful night it is going to be,” Becca said.

“What a beautiful night it already is,” Haylee answered. The four friends said goodnight and went their separate ways home. Each taking a bit longer to get there to enjoy the night.
© Copyright 2006 C.Lauren Lawler (leowriters at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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