Alyssa's Tale

Because I felt I hadn't written enough for NaNo this year I started another one :) Joke, I was just bored. It has to be finished (or at least at 50k) by Christmas Day

November 30th (Page 1)

Oh, if you had seen her waiting, with her eyes so bright and empty and her heart so cold; if you had seen the way she stood at the gate in the snow with no coat, no shoes, just her bare ragged cardigan and little jeans, with her hair over her face to keep her slightly warmer. Soaked through, she was, just waiting and waiting for those that she knew would come. But they hadn’t yet. And why not? Because they didn’t know that she was there, of course, because they hadn’t seen her.

Some children are so patient. They will wait forever for the people they are looking for. I know that because I’ve seen them. You see, that girl had been standing there for three hours, seven inches of snow on the ground with her little bare feet growing blue from the cold, and she hadn’t moved an inch. The occupants of the house were out, but that didn’t bother her. She would wait until they returned.

I first met her when she was six years old. She used to take ballet classes and one day I saw her walking home, hand in hand with her mother in her little pink leotard and tights with her black skirt over the top to keep her warm as they walked. Something inside me ached with recognition – once, I’d been a child just like that, who had dreams of becoming a professional dancer.

When I met her again she had stopped dancing. She was eleven years old, a serious girl with big brown eyes. Well, it wasn’t quite the next time that I met her, for I saw her once when she was nine years old, at a party. But she didn’t see me there. I’m not sure she was supposed to be attending, not in her ragged clothes anyway. How would she have known the host and hostess? It was my suspicion that she and her mother were gate crashing because of the free food, but that was just a suspicion and I could have been mistaken.

Her name was Alyssa and she had been born in 1996 to a lovely couple that I had known, briefly, when they were courting. They had been married at twenty-one and she was their second child, born when they were just twenty-four and their first child, a boy, was two.

Alyssa had a beautiful personality from the very start, but they were very poor and could hardly afford anything. There you have it, the recipe for a sickly-sweet Christmas story about a little poor child that, because of their radiant saintliness is willing to give up the little they own to save their family’s life. Isn’t that how they always begin? But this Christmas tale has a twist. This Christmas tale isn’t quite so simple.

But she did have that personality, the one the Victorian novelists always grant to the little girls in the stories. She was full of bright, bubbling loyalty. If you were her friend, you would always be her friend – that was all there was to it, and she wouldn’t care if you turned out to be a criminal. She would look after you, because she loved you.

Of course this got her into a lot of trouble. For example, when her Catholic mother discovered that her best friend was a lesbian she was shocked, and yet Alyssa didn’t seem at all bothered. And when it was exposed that one of the boys she regularly talked to had in fact been caught for robbing the corner shop, she hardly noticed the looks she was given.

And then there was the little matter of the way she constantly helped other people. Somebody had fallen over and hurt themselves? She would be on the scene with a plaster and a hug to make them feel better. Somebody was running out of money or food? No matter that she had little enough for herself – Alyssa would be the one to give them her lunch money in case it would help. And this got her enemies.

The End

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