Charity’s Christmas Wish – Book 2 of the Charity Brooks Series

(This story is still in the makings. Stay tuned for more chapters!)

Copyright 2016. All Rights Reserved by the eighth commandment, THOU SHALT NOT STEAL.
Not to be reprinted, reposted, or used unless given permission from myself, Madison Lorfing. 

Chapter 1

Thump. “Ouch!” Came the cry from the corner of the backyard. I stopped running and whirled my head around to the direction from where the sound had come from.

“Maisie!” I gasped when I saw her sprawled on the dry, leaf-covered ground. “Are you alright?”

I rushed over to her and offered my hand to help her up. She took it and brushed off her skirt. “I’m fine,” Maisie finally answered after taking a deep breath.

“You’re bleeding a little,” I noted as I looked at her two elbows. “You must have been running pretty fast for such a hard fall.”

Maisie proudly grinned. “I didn’t want Lilia to catch me. I had to run fast then, didn’t I?” I couldn’t help but smile at Maisie’s hilarious antics.

“Come on, let’s go see if Courtney can help,” I laughed, bringing her to Courtney.

Courtney left Monique, the second-oldest girl at Miss Hattie’s Orphanage for Girls, in charge while she brought Maisie inside to clean her scrapes. I turned around and looked out at the backyard of all the girls now resuming our fast-paced game of tag.

It had been over a week since the seventy-five percent recovery of the orphans that had been infected with Veinera. The new head of the orphanage, Mrs. Jones, and the oldest orphan who watched over us, Courtney, were both relieved and relaxed. For Mrs. Jones, it was a quite stressful way to start off your first day taking care of orphans; half of the entire orphanage falling ill with an incurable disease!

It had only been the grace of God that every single one of them was healed. Well, that and a little faith and prayer – each one of us prayed very hard for our fellow orphans. Now everyone had recovered, and it made me glad to watch all the orphans playing and in vital, lively health.

A chilly wind chased my thoughts about the recent autumn away and brought my attention to the goose bumps on my bare arms. I hugged myself tightly, wishing I had a shawl. It was already late November, and the official day of winter in December would be here before we knew it. I was eager to find out how they celebrated Christmas at the orphanage. I had only arrived in early autumn and lived here for about a month, so I didn’t know yet.

“Charity!” Gasped my breathless friend Jaida as she trotted over to me. I smiled at her windblown hair and rosy cheeks and nose from being out in the cold. When she reached me she placed her hands on her knees and panted for a bit before straightening up. “Boy, what a workout a single game of tag can be! Are you going to finish playing?”

“Oh, yes, I was just taking a break. Maisie fell and so I brought her to Courtney. I was just thinking about the past few weeks. So much has gone by!” I told her.

Jaida smiled and nodded, then replied, “I know what you mean. It seems like just yesterday was your first day here, doesn’t it?”

I let out a laugh at this. “Oh, don’t remind me! My first few days here were terrible.”

Jaida chuckled. “I’ll say! Courtney and Miss Hattie were very mad at you.”

“They weren’t just mad. They were absolutely furious!” The first few days I lived here, I was very angry and upset. My parents had just died in a fire and I had no relatives that I knew of to take me in, so my kind neighbor dropped me off at the orphanage. Every time I could I would do something naughty and bad, and I thought I would be known as the bad girl forever!

I even threw a book at my other best friend Elaine, I remembered as I saw her running around to avoid being tagged. It had actually been an accident, but I hit her head very hard with it! It finally took a whipping from Miss Hattie to set me straight. And now… it’s like every orphan here at Miss Hattie’s Orphanage for Girls were my sisters. We were inseparable like family.

“Come on, let’s go play one more round of tag before we have to go in,” Jaida urged after we finished chuckling at the thought of my first dramatic days here.

“Alright,” I agreed as Jaida and I jumped back into the action of the game.

All too soon, Courtney returned with Maisie. “Alright, girls, it’s time to come inside for the midday meal!” She called out.

“Aww!” Nine-year-old Lilia whined. “But I was just about to tag Kate…”

Every one of us hurried into a single-file line. “Follow me,” Courtney beckoned as she led us to the “mess hall” or cafeteria. “Sit down, everybody,” Directed Courtney.

“Psst, Charity! Jaida!” Elaine hissed, waving us over to a near-empty table where we could all sit together before anybody else took the seats.

Mrs. Jones brought out a few trays of food – from the smell of it, I realized with an inwards groan that it was fried potatoes again – and motioned for Courtney to come and help her. When all the plates had been set on the tables, Mrs. Jones returned to the kitchen and Courtney led us in a prayer over the food.

“Potatoes again?” Lilia complained. “Don’t we ever eat anything else these days?” Jaida eyed Lilia sternly.

“Lilia, be grateful you’re even eating anything at all. Think about the starving children in Ethiopia! Tell her, Elaine.”

Elaine’s parents (now dead, of course) had emigrated from Ethiopia, and Elaine quickly explained, “The orphans in Ethiopia rarely get to live in orphanages, like we do. They live in the wild and many die of starvation.”

Lilia just rolled her eyes and poked a fried potato with her fork. “How did I know you guys would say that? Aren’t any of you tired of potatoes?”

Jaida sighed before answering, “I never said I wasn’t tired of eating potatoes. But it’s better then starving, right?” Lilia shrugged, embarrassed, but she popped a potato in her mouth anyways.

“Guess what I overheard Mrs. Jones say today,” Spoke up eleven-year-old Isabelle, the other girl at our table, leaning in closer.

“Isabelle!” Snapped Courtney from a nearby table. Isabelle whipped her head around to look at her. “No gossiping, and no rumors. That’s wrong.”

Isabelle frowned and then sighed in frustration, but she didn’t continue. “Never mind then.”

“If it isn’t private, I bet we’ll find out soon enough,” I reassured after swallowing a tasteless potato. “Because here comes Mrs. Jones.”

“Girls!” Cried the shrill voice of Mrs. Jones. She hiked up her skirts and stood atop an empty bench at one of the tables. “I have news for all of you!”