A heartbroken and lonely woman gets a surprise on Christmas Eve.
|I looked up at the beautiful tree, perfectly trimmed in gold ribbons and white lights. A framed photo-ornament hung high in the front, in a place of honor, for this would be the first Christmas without my baby girl. She’d been gone almost a year and I still felt her absence keenly, especially on a night like this, on Christmas Eve. This time of the year had always been Bell’s favorite. She’d loved playing with the ornaments, pulling ribbons off the tree to hide them under the couch, or napping among the presents piled underneath. Tears pricked my eyes again and I looked away, feeling even more lonely looking at her picture. It just didn’t feel like Christmas without her, and the apartment felt as empty as my broken heart.
“Did you hear that noise?” I said aloud, out of habit, as I would’ve once to Bell, before realizing there was no one there to listen. It was a faint sound at the back door that I dismissed as my imagination - Bell used to scratch at the sliding door like that when she wanted to come inside from the garden. But the scratching persisted, followed by a distant jangle, and my curiosity got the better of me. I stalked to the back door, pulling it open to see nothing but darkness and the freezing wind blowing in freshly falling snow.
Then I looked down and felt my heart skip a beat. Impossibly, there sat a tiny kitten with fur as white as the snow on the ground and green eyes as big as the winter moon gazing up at me in quiet greeting. Around her neck was tied a red velvet ribbon, and hanging from that, jingling softly in the cold air, hung a single silver bell.
(Word Count: 297)