Christmas. Holiday. Family. Home.
I shook the thoughts from my head, turning to see a package on the bed beside me. I wrestled with the paper wrapping half-heartedly.
The bracelet sparkled in the shiny cornflower-blue gift box. It brightened the dull, dark room as I lifted it from the satin bed. “It's beautiful.” The words left my lips as I stared at it.
“Beautiful.” I slipped the bracelet around my wrist, fastening the toggle clasp. The holiday season was truly the worst time of year for me. My family could not send word to the school. They could not. I had been lost to them longer than I cared to count.
My Christmases and New Year celebrations consisted of soup in the West wing with the teachers and the headmistress. If I was lucky, there would be plum pudding for dessert and no homework. If I'd asked one question too many, I was sent to my room.
I was always the only one left, which is why this gift surprised me. Surely my family hadn't sent it, they could not reach me since my...accident. But, what other explanation was there? I held my hand up to the light and for the briefest of moments, it glowed a soft blue. I shook my head and blinked, somewhat relieved to see a plain sparkle as I stared at it again.
A faint twitch in the back of my head, tugged at something in my mind, but I couldn't put my finger on it. The dinner bell rang and my roommate, Valina, burst through the door. She jabbered loudly on her cell phone before offering the usual routine of a fake smile and a wiggle of the fingers, vaguely resembling a wave.
To go home for Christmas, Daddy. I prayed. To be home. Please send me home.
The day passed by in a blur. Strangely, I could not remember another thing. Time gave way to night and I awoke to find another gift box by my pillow. This time, the charm was a yellow, instead of the blue. I automatically added it to the bracelet and turned to pack up the box, only to discover it had disappeared.
I thought to ask Valina, but thought better of it when I realized she was sleeping with a pillow over her head instead of under it.
Strange. Stranger. Strangest.
The thought trickled through my head, but I was not paying attention to it. These beautiful charms were more gorgeous than reason at this point. It almost made me dream of home.
House. Home. Hovel.
The words danced through my head again and I squeezed my eyes shut, willing them away. I could not dare to remember now, it was too long ago, too far away.
Impossible. Obstacle. Never.
I shivered and tucked myself into bed.
With morning's light, a new box and a pink charm awaited my eager, trembling fingers. It was even more dazzling than the first two gems and it sparkled suggestively from its place on the lovely bracelet. I couldn't bear the thought of losing it, so I made sure I hid it beneath my sweater sleeve.
If the headmistress caught wind of it, I could be forced to put it up for 'safekeeping'. I tugged the sleeve lower just in case.
By nightfall again, there was a new box with a green gem. The fire in this one seemed to be dimmer than all the others before it. I studied it for a moment, puzzled, before I finally added it to the charm. The moment I'd closed the clasp, each gem began to glow brighter.
Rainbow colors streaked across the room, temporarily blinding me. When I could finally see again, a vast expanse of stars stretched out before me. I held my breath, waiting.
Familiar burning ripped through my shoulders and I felt the wings snap open with force. The ache in my heart began to soften. My wings fluttered for a moment, I took a deep breath. “Mahtim? Deta?” I called out.
“Daughter!” The simultaneous cry drowned out the very last of my reservations of this strange happening. I knew it was no trick as my parents flew to greet me, adorned in all their finery. My mother, a muse of music. My father, a healer of planets.
As their arms wrapped around me, I sent a new prayer upwards. Thank you, Daddy, for my most favorite Christmas present ever!
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