I was really dreading doing this but this short story I wrote awhile back carries a pretty strong message and our nation needs to hear this message. If you like the story and/or the message please share this!

The stairs didn’t creak. The black shoe moved from one, skipped another and rested on the last one. The other shoe did the same but slowed before the descent. The tiled, wooden floor was touchy. The shoe lightly touched the wood and slowly pressed down. It was sturdy.

Thunder rolled just outside the window. The thunder subsided and then another lightning bolt streaked across the sky, exposing the owner of the black shoes. The owner counted to two and placed her gloved hand on the door handle. The door creaked but it was lost in a sea of thunder.

The woman quickly slipped into the room and pulled the door up and then closed it, leaving any creaks behind. A black rag was removed from one of her pockets, then a bottle. The top was unscrewed and the liquid was quickly dabbed on the rag.

The bottle was put away and the rag was rubbed together and then wrapped around the left-hand glove. The room was quiet. The woman waited for the lightning. It struck and the thunder soon after it.

She quickly moved across the room into the small hallway. The thunder stopped and soft humming/singing was heard.

The woman stepped to the door where the song was escaping and slightly pushed it open with her right hand.

The humming was slightly louder to the woman since she passed around the door. The singer’s back was to the woman. Nothing else escaped the singer’s mouth as the rag was wrapped around it and quickly silenced.

Lightning streaked again and the thunder followed at nearly the same moment. Suddenly, a wailing cry erupted from the lap of the silenced singer. A little baby girl lay in the arms of her mother.

The woman reached down and gently touched the baby. The crying stopped, until the hand was removed. Then it stopped again as the woman picked the baby up and cuddled it.

The girl was no more than 10 months old and very weak. The face was thin and lacked pudgy cheeks but it was not skin and bones. The arms and legs were wrapped in a cover and the woman laid the baby on the bed next to her and unwrapped the blanket.

The arms and legs were also skinny but had flesh on them. The only wealthy part of the baby was the long, black hair. The baby was unusually small for a 10 month old.

The lightning had stopped. For the moment, the last roll of thunder had faded in the darkness and the final drop of rain had made its descent. The sudden quietness startled the baby and she started to whimper.

The woman took the baby’s hand and whispered, “fear not the stillness, little one. It only means that the storm has passed.”

The girl was settled by the woman’s voice and touch and snuggled down. The woman started to hum and sing lightly and the baby’s breath became even. The grip loosened on the woman’s hand and the baby fell asleep. She stood there, for over an hour, cradling the baby.

The woman slipped off her gloves, careful not to wake the baby, and lightly caressed the cheeks. She then rubbed the arms, legs and lay hold of the tiny hands. Immediately, the first smile in months, shot through the woman.

She began to whisper the name of the precious child. “Noel, my sweet child. Noel. Noel. How I wish. Noel. Noel.”

Tears made the black mask stick to her cheek and made it itch. She removed one hand from behind Noel’s head and pulled the mask off. She rubbed the tears away and then released some more. The tears came down without scolding and the woman began to shake.

The shakes became convulsions that gripped the body in emotion. The movement woke Noel and she looked up at the woman. This sent the woman into more tears.

Finally, with the tears subsiding, the woman looked deep into the eyes of the baby. “Noel, I want you only to remember my name. I will whisper it to you until this woman wakes. But, you must whisper it in your own mind. Okay?”

Noel stared.

The woman’s mouth opened and her name began to form on her lips, but they stopped. The other woman was stirring.

“Oh, Noel?”

In a flash the woman had set the baby on the bed and stood, flattened against a shadowed wall.

The woman stood from her chair and saw the baby through the peeking moonlight. She quickly walked over to her and picked her up. Noel had begun to cry.

“It is okay, darling. Momma’s got you.”

The gloves were back on the woman and she slipped out the door and the building the moment the other woman was facing the window.

“I am sorry, darling. Momma left you. I am sorry, my dear Noel.” The mask was still in the hand of the woman, but the tears prevented her from putting it on. The mask finally slipped from the numb fingers of the woman and fell among the green, wet grass outside.

The wind started back up, the lightning came and the thunder soon after. And, with the rain, swirled the tears of a forgotten mother. And amongst the puddles lay a lifeless figure in black, the life gone out of her; the life given to another that she could not accept herself.