The Little Candle Girlbysack©
Note: This submission has only the suggestion of sex and contains a Christian religious theme. If that isn't your cup of tea, consider not reading, voting or commenting on this story....thank you.
Scott Hanson's foot pressed down on the accelerator as his blood pressure went through the roof. His car careened madly along the narrow side streets leading to the Mill Street Bridge. Just an hour before, he had arrived home unexpectedly early, and found his wife in bed with another man. Everything happened in a blur, and he only caught a brief glimpse of the surprised stranger as he leapt off the bed and snatched his pants off the floor. Scott ran out of the house in a complete panic, ignoring his wife's shouts from the window to stop. He jumped into the car, shooting out of the driveway like a rocket and sending a shower of pebbles across the mailbox.
At first, Scott chain smoked cigarettes as he drove wildly in no particular direction. He had a wonderful marriage with two lovely children and had no idea his wife had been carrying on behind his back. Their sex life wasn't great, but it was far from awful. Over the last 16 years, Scott had been a faithful husband who lovingly cared for his children. So why was his wife kicking him in the teeth now?
He went through every scenario in his mind as to what had gone wrong, but could come up with nothing definitive. The thought of another man making love to his spouse totally enraged Scott and clouded his judgment. In his nearly deranged state, a plan slowly but surely formed in his mind. He would drive over to the Mill Street Bridge, where the road was being repaired. All he would need to do is move a few sawhorses and then drive over the river at full throttle. The bridge was totally out, but Scott figured if he went fast enough, the car would be propelled over to the other side. And if he missed and the car fell into the water, so what? No one loved him anyway, his wife certainly didn't. The thought of a divorce, prolonged court battles, and angry visitations scared Scott so much he immediately pushed such possibilities out of his mind. He needed to do something daring to prove to himself he was still a man, and he needed to do it now.
The furious thirty-eight year old was smoking cigarettes so quickly and unconsciously, he realized with a start he was down to his last one. Taking a short cut to the heart of the city, Scott decided to quickly stop at his favorite dive, The Horsehead Pub. Here, his best buddy Mel could get him some cigarettes dirt cheap. At the same time, Scott figured a few rounds of vodka would dull his pain and give him more courage to carry out his sinister deed.
Nightfall was quickly descending as Scott came to a quick stop in The Horsehead Pub tiny parking lot. It had been a bitingly chilly day, the coldest in a long time. Scott had no idea of how frigid it actually was, but figured it was well below zero. His cheeks burned as he jogged briskly into the seedy pub. Three vodkas later, Scott emerged with two packs of cancer sticks in his hot little hands. He was just about to open the car door, when he heard a scraping sound in the narrow alley behind the bar. Thinking it was just some homeless person living out of a box, Scott slid into the car and turned on the headlights. A sudden feeling started nagging him that he needed to see what was making a noise in the remote alley. Scott reluctantly turned the car off and resolutely made his way toward the dimly lit passage. As he rounded the corner, the faded scent of lavender perfumed the air. A distant street light provided the only illumination, leaving long shadows that gave the scene a morbid, surreal quality.
Sitting on small tottering chair was The Little Candle Girl. Her face was covered with dirt and soot, which continued down her torn dress and holey leggings. She could not have been more than eight, and even in the dim light of the alleyway, Scott could see that she was shivering.
"Would you like to buy some candles, Mister?" Despite the smudges on her face the little girl's voice was positively angelic.
"Some candles!" Scott was shocked. On a makeshift upside down cardboard box, there were about a dozen multicolored candles burning feebly in the frigid cold. Behind the candles was an old stuffed dog which was as discolored and crumpled as the little girl's clothing.
"Yeah, they're really beautiful!" Her voice was like a church chime, pure and chaste as the newly fallen snow.
"You're selling candles...in this freezing weather?" Scott was incredulous.
"I have to sell five a day, so my dad can pay the rent." The Little Candle Girl tried to smile, but only succeeded in looking vaguely hopeful.
"How many have you sold today?" Scott still couldn't believe the pathetic scene in front of him.
"Only two." Scott sensed the desperation in the little girl's voice, but suddenly thought of the diabolical plan he needed to carry out.
"I'm in a terrible hurry....sorry." Scott needed to leave this depressing scene, before it swallowed him whole.
"Are you sure?" The Little Candle Girl gave him a last pleading glance that could melt even the hardest of hearts.
"I'm t-tt-err-ib-bly sorry." Scott could barely get the words out. "I have to go now."
"Oh....Okay." The little girl shivered in disappointment. As Scott rounded the corner he thought he saw a tear fall down her dingy cheek.
Scott hurried to his car, anxious to erase the memory of The Little Candle Girl. But as he headed once more toward the Mill Street Bridge, he couldn't get her out of his mind. Everything about the scene, the archaic clothes, the weird location, the makeshift box, seemed impossible and Scott wondered if he had simply dreamed the entire thing up. Also creeping through his consciousness was a present his grandmother had given him as a child. It was his first picture book, and one of the most poignant images was the visage of a forlorn little girl, holding a clump of matches in her hand.
Matches...That was it! The story was called The Little Match Girl, and it was Scott's favorite throughout childhood. In his head, he came up with the sequence of the story pretty well until he reached the ending. All Scott could remember was that it was sad, very sad. As a matter of fact, he still recalled crying his eyes out the first time he came to the end of the story....
As Scott was driving away from the city, The Little Candle Girl continued to shiver in the sub-zero cold. A sudden gust of wind had blown all of her candles out but one, but it didn't matter as they gave off precious little heat anyway. She started to cry, realizing that her father would beat her when she got home for not selling enough candles. She closed her eyes and dreamed about a special room in her house, a room full of heat and beautiful toys everywhere that Santa had just delivered. In the corner was a small statue of the Virgin Mary that her mother had given her just before she died. The Little Candle Girl prayed every night that the Virgin Mary would rescue her from the cold. She squeezed her eyes tightly shut and clasped her hands tightly around her stuffed animal as she softly mouthed the words she knew by heart...
"Hail Mary Full of Grace..."
Scott reached the threatening sign as shivers started to go up and down his spine. In the thick darkness illuminated only by the car headlights, he could barely make out the faded lettering on a sign attached to the two sawhorses that prevented cars from traveling further on the unpaved road.
BRIDGE CLOSED- KEEP OUT!
The paint was peeling, but the message was still readable. Scott took a deep breath and picked up the first sawhorse. As he was doing so, the ending of The Little Match Girl revealed itself in his mind. Of course, she had frozen to death in the bitter cold, still clutching a book of matches that had long since gone out.
Scott let out a hoarse yell and threw the sawhorse wildly into the woods. He hurried back toward his car like a madman, determined to save The Little Candle Girl. He would buy all her candles, call the police, and get her some hot tea to drink. Scott was so consumed with the idea of rescuing his new friend, he completely forgot about his own dire situation. The car whistled along at 80 miles an hour as Scott prayed that The Little Candle Girl would still be in the alley. After what seemed an eternity, he reached the parking lot by The Horsehead Pub. The bar had closed early because of the bitter cold and was desolate and deserted. Scott jumped of the car so fast, the door banged against a concrete barrier, but he was beyond caring. He rounded the corner to the narrow alley huffing and puffing, then paused as he took in the heartrending scene, illuminated by a single flickering candle.
The Little Candle Girl's eyes were closed. In her tightly clutched hands was the stuffed plush dog, and her cheeks had turned deep blue. Just a few minutes earlier, she had froze to death as she prayed to the Virgin Mary.
"Noooooo!" Scott let out a loud wail that was pure emotion. He collapsed at The Little Candle Girl's delicate feet and let out loud baby sobs. Scott cried and cried, and thought he would never stop. After what seemed like hours, but was probably only minutes, Scott slowly got up, dazed and heartbroken. He moved the candles off the cardboard box and gently placed them on the snow covered ground. Then, he took the stained towel The Little Candle Girl had used as a makeshift tablecloth, and gently covered her fragile body with it. At that poignant moment, Scott realized in his heart he was not going to drive his car off the Mill Street Bridge. He would try to save his marriage, and more importantly, he would devote the rest of his life to helping poor and disadvantaged children. He gently kissed The Little Candle Girl on the cheek, then went back to his chilled car. Finding a cell phone, he dialed the number of a good friend that had recently gone through a divorce. Scott could barely speak, but he managed to get the words out.
"I found my wife with another man...I'm really depressed....please help me...please..."
And then he dissolved in a pool of tears.....
Just before the Little Candle Girl finished her daily prayer, she had a wonderful dream. In it, The Virgin Mary was walking with her down a beautiful path with lovely flowers and sparkling fountains. Then, they went into a vast church together, with soaring ceilings that rose up higher and higher into the sky. Unlike most dreams, this one kept going on, and The Little Candle Girl never woke up. When they reached the imposing altar, the Virgin Mary kissed her on the lips. At that point she became a saint for saving a human life. For you see, the Little Candle Girl's name was Theresa, and St. Theresa is the little flower....
If you know of a friend who has the holiday blues, feel free to copy this story and spread the message of The Little Candle Girl all over the world. Happy Holidays to you all!