Friday, December 16, 2016

Peter's Christmas - Part 2

Good morning Christmas Lovers,
It's been another busy week here. I've actually gotten quite a bit done, but sometimes it doesn't seem that way. It's so hard to believe that Christmas is *gulp* 10 days away! (If you count today and Christmas.) Umm, I don't think I'm ready. Are you? Tomorrow is the last rehearsal for the Christmas play at church. I'm part of the music for it which is fun. But it means I'll be gone for about two hours tomorrow. But the program is Sunday evening, and next week it'll all be over.
So many things. So little time.

But I won't drag this out. I'll let you get right to the second part of:

Peter's Christmas
Part 2

    “At Mrs. Mead’s boarding house. We just moved there two weeks ago when I was transferred to this telephone branch. I’m the new Hello Girl.”
    “What’s that?” Alice wanted to know.
    “Shh,” Dorothy whispered. “It’s a telephone operator.”
    “When did you find Peter missing?” I was determined not to get too distracted.
    “When I got off work at four. I thought at first that he was playing with some of the other children in the nearby houses, but he never came home. I asked around, and several people said they had seen him walking down the road in this direction. You didn’t see a brown haired boy in a red shirt, did you?” Virginia looked hopefully at Ruth and Alice, but both girls shook their heads.
    The thud of feet sounded on the porch and John came in. “They’re on their way.”
    Quickly I filled him in on what we had learned. As I spoke, I could almost see the wheels turning in John’s mind. When I had finished, he turned to the couch and asked, “What does Peter like to do?”
    Virginia looked somewhat confused. “I don’t know. He likes to play marbles and play with other children.” Her brown eyes filled with tears. “I just don’t know!”
    “Don’t worry, we’ll find him. Tell me, did he like it when you moved here?”
    “Yes, he liked it better than I did. Grantsville was my home nearly all my life, and I didn’t like the thought of leaving. But I needed the better pay this job offered.”
    It wasn’t much to go on, but I knew we had to start searching. John said our neighbor had promised to round up as many men as he could.
    “I’ll keep looking too,” Virginia said, starting to get up. But there were instant objections from John, Mary and myself.
    “You stay right there and let us find Peter,” John said.
    Lying back with closed eyes, Virginia nodded. “I’ll be praying you find him soon.”
    As soon as the sheriff and Dr. Brown arrived, John, Charles and I went out to talk with the sheriff. Other men began arriving, and within fifteen minutes there were nearly a dozen men and boys. Dorothy begged to join the search party, but I shook my head. “No,” I told her. “I want you to stay home and help your mom keep Virginia company.”

    The men spread out and began combing the woods; some went down the road, and the sheriff went back to town to check and see if the boy had returned to the boarding house. Charles had joined the men on the far side of the road while John was with me. It was dark in the woods though the stars covered the sky and the moon shone brightly.
    The call echoed in the silent night. Where would a small boy go? I offered a silent prayer for his safety and asked for wisdom about where to look. Where would my boys have gone when they were six? Charles never ran off, but John– Suddenly the thought struck me. “John,” I called. “The stone hut!”
    My son turned to me, and I could see his face in the light of my lantern. He nodded. “I should have thought of that myself.”
    He was right. He should have thought of it; after all, that was his favorite place to run off to when he was having a hard day. The two of us turned right and then cut back towards the house when we reached an old road before it wound away up the hill. Every boy in town knew of the old stone hut. It had been the refuge of most of them at one time or another.
    On we went up the old road, over branches broken by the late storm, through piles of damp leaves. Neither one of us called any longer. We didn’t want to frighten the boy if he was in the hut. I hoped and prayed he would be there. The sheriff had promised to blow the factory whistle if he was found in town, and there had been no sound of it.
    “Dad,” John said quietly, “where are we going to look if he’s not there?”
    I didn’t want to even think of that. “I don’t know. There’s the hut.”
    “Peter?” John called, and I marveled at how calm he sounded.
    There was a stir in the hut, and I held my lantern up praying we would see a boy and not just a wild animal.
    The small face that peered out of the doorway was streaked with tears.
    “Are you Peter Stone?” John asked kindly, kneeling down before the small boy.
    The brown head nodded.
    “Your sister’s been looking for you.”
    Peter sniffed and rubbed his eyes with a dirty hand. “It wasn’t true. I came here but it wasn’t true!”
    “What wasn’t true, Peter?” John sat down on the stoop, and I waited and watched.
    “The boys said that everything becomes all right when you come here and–” A hiccup interrupted his words. “And you get something to help you. But there’s nothing here. I looked all over and . . . and . . . now I’ve made Ginia fret, and I just wanted to make her happy again!” The pitiful story ended in a burst of tears, and Peter disappeared back into the dark house.
    “Poor kid,” John murmured with a sigh.
    I agreed with him. Life must be difficult for a lad his age, moving to a new town, having his sister at work nearly all day, and having no other family around. As I thought of these things, I followed John inside. By the light of my lantern I watched my son gather the heartbroken boy in his arms and soothe him. A lump rose in my throat. John would make such a good father, but his fiancĂ©e had been killed in an accident in the spring.
    “Let’s get you back to your sister,” John was saying when I pulled my thoughts back from their wandering. “It will make her happy to know you are safe.”
    If Peter gave an answer, I didn’t hear it, but his quivering sigh went straight to my heart.

Have you ever had to look for a missing child?
Have you had a busy week?
Are you ready for Christmas to arrive? 
Join the fun and read other posts from the "12 Days of Christmas" by clicking on the image.


Faith P. said...

Awww, I'm really enjoying this story!! :) I love John's character.

Rebekah said...

Thanks, Faith. :) Yeah, I kind of like John myself. ;)

Blessing Counter said...

Such a sweet story! This isn't the last part, right? I wants to know what happens to Peter and John! ^_^

Rebekah said...

Don't worry, Blessing, there is another part ready for next Friday. :)