To Give is to Receive
On Christmas Eve ten-year old Samantha stood at the door of the homeless shelter while her mother dropped off the box of toys Samantha used to own. Samantha held tight to Barkus, her floppy-eared, brown stuffed dog.
As she waited, a young boy came up to Samantha. The boy looked longingly at Barkus. Samantha held the puppy even tighter as she examined the child. His mussed blonde hair and mismatched clothes caused her to loosen the grip on Barkus. The boy reached for the dog. Samantha hesitated, and then his eyes widened as she handed him her cherished toy. He grabbed Barkus with one arm and wrapped the other one around Samantha. She hugged the little boy in return. He let go of her, smiled at her with the biggest smile she’d ever seen, and then ran off – with Barkus – across the room.
Unknown to Samantha, her mom had been watching. She wiped a tear from Samantha’s cheek, took Samantha’s hand and squeezed it as they left the shelter, telling her, “I’m so proud of you.”
That night Samantha struggled to go to sleep without Barkus until she remembered the feel of the boy’s hug and the smile on his face.
The next morning, Christmas day, Samantha woke up to a strange sound. She thought she heard barking. She threw off her covers, and ran down the stairs. There at the foot of the stairs was a real, floppy-eared brown puppy. Samantha scooped up the puppy and cried, “It’s Barkus!”
This is an entry for Susanna Hill's Holiday contest. It has to be for children, about a surprise and limited to 250 words - excluding the title. I have used exactly 250 words.