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Bluebird


            “Here comes Santa Claus, here comes Santa Claus,” I sang at the top of my lungs.
            “Right down Santa Claus Lane!” Preston joined in.
            It was the night of Christmas Eve and I was driving with Preston to his parents’ house. We were going to spend the night and exchange gifts in the morning. As we drove through the snow, Preston and I belted out our favorite Christmas carols.
            I inhaled deeply, grinning as my favorite smells entered my nose. I could practically taste his mom’s gingerbread and apple pie. The other air freshener filled the car with the sharp scent of pine trees. Christmas was my favorite time of year.
            “Here comes Santa Claus,” Preston started again. Then I saw her in the dark night.
            The little girl wore a tattered blue coat. She waddled onto the train tracks and started playing with the white fluff on the ground. Her chubby hands dug into the ground, though she wasn’t wearing any mittens. Her chocolate colored curls were lightly dusted with snowflakes, as though someone had sprinkled powdered sugar on her head. The way she walked, it appeared as though she were floating. The child looked like a little bird.
            “Preston, slow down,” I ordered. He stopped right in front of the girl. The tracks looked old and rickety. I stepped into the frigid Montana air.
            “Hey, sweetie,” I called. “Where are your parents?”
            The child looked at me with a sweet, innocent look on her face. She cocked her head slightly, looking like a confused bird. I noticed that her bright blue eyes were the color of the ice I was standing on.
            The ice was slippery and I wobbled around trying to gain balance. I slipped back into the sleek, black BMW, very out of breath.
            “Gracie, we shouldn’t leave her out there,” Preston’s soft brown eyes gave me a pleading look. “Go get her. Pleeeeeeease?”
            I rolled my eyes and sighed. “I can’t get her off the tracks.”
            Preston glared at me and commented, “You didn’t try very hard, did you?”
            I looked back sheepishly. Then I rubbed my eyelashes and the snow on them melted. “I can try again, I guess. But it’s cold out there!” I protested.
            That’s when I heard the horn. Then I saw the lights. It happened in a flash. One moment, the child in blue stood in the cold looking at me. The next, the train crushed the girl with a horrible bang!
            I didn’t even hear myself scream.
            When the train had passed, Preston laid a shaky hand on my shoulder. His features looked troubled.
            “What are we gonna do?” he asked. 
             "I don't know," I whispered.
            We both stepped out of his BMW and walked toward the tracks. I couldn’t stand to look at the sight of the bloody mess. The girl’s mangled body was a horrible sight to look at and I turned away, threatening to vomit. It was a long night.
***
                We went to visit her grave exactly a year later. It really was hard to do because I didn’t want to remember the sweet look she gave me. I didn’t want to remember her bird-like mannerisms. I didn’t want to relive seeing her mangled, bloody body.
            When we arrived at her grave, I brushed off the hat of snow that covered the top. Her tombstone read “In loving memory of the girl in blue. Killed by train December 24, 2016. Unknown, but not forgotten.”
            We weren’t able to locate a family of the little girl. When we tried to explain to the police what happened, the assured us that there was no way they could find a family. Nevertheless, they tried to find the girl’s identity. They failed, however.
            I set down my holly wreath and put my little note next to it. I wiped away my tears before they could freeze to my face. Preston wrapped an arm around my shoulder.
            I noticed that a holly leaf pierced my note. The little piece of paper flapped in the slight breeze. 
            The note read “We miss you Bluebird.” 





"Laugh. It's worth it."
~Molly
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